Court to consolidate propane tank suits in Mo.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal panel has ordered a series of lawsuits claiming propane sellers deceived consumers by underfilling reusable fuel canisters to be consolidated in Missouri.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation earlier this month ordered five cases that have been filed in Missouri, Kansas and California to be heard by a federal judge in Kansas City. It said 14 additional cases are possible.

The suits were filed earlier this year by people who said they bought propane fuel canisters typically used for backyard grills from AmeriGas Partners Inc. or Ferrellgas Partners LP. The industry typically has sold the 20-pound tanks with 17 or 18 pounds of fuel, leaving the rest empty as a safety precaution.

Last year, AmeriGas and Ferrellgas quietly reduced the amount to 15 pounds as oil prices surged.

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