A federal judge in Los Angeles said Monday that lack of evidence prompted him last week to dismiss key allegations in a suit that accused several major oil companies of conspiring in the early 1970s to fix the price of oil pumped from Long Beach tidelands.
U.S. District Judge William P. Gray, elaborating in court on last Wednesday's surprise ruling that followed nearly 10 years of extensive pretrial testimony, said attorneys for the plaintiffs--the State of California and the City of Long Beach--had failed to uncover any evidence of a conspiracy.
"The plaintiffs have not been able to develop evidence from which the finding of conspiracy can be charged," Gray said. "You may very well want to appeal this decision. . . . I'd be amazed if you didn't," he added.
Attorneys for the state and city said they would await Judge Gray's written opinion, expected early this fall, before filing an appeal.