PMPA Litigation of Franchise Termination or Non-Renewal Cases
One of Barr & Morgan’s most important areas of practice is defending gasoline dealers from attempted terminations or non-renewals by their suppliers. We recognize that a termination or non-renewal letter can be one of the most traumatic events of a dealer’s life. We know that if the defense is not handled with the greatest care and skill, the dealer’s business may well be at an end. It can be “life or death” for the business. We understand that your gasoline business or convenience store is probably the support for you, your family and many of your employee’s families.
Almost every PMPA case will require you to seek Injunctive relief in United States Federal court. Unfortunately, there have been many unhelpful Court decisions across the country. The PMPA Lawyers at the law offices of Barr & Morgan are beginning to turn the tide and change “business as usual” for the oil companies.
In every case, you need to navigate the minefield created by bad old cases and create new tactics and strategies to gain success. You should bring a PMPA Lawyer with you who has been there before.
Barr & Morgan and its predecessor law firms have handled almost every reported Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA) in its home state, Connecticut. A.J. Barr and John J. Morgan have participated in the drafting of virtually every piece of PMPA legislation substantially effecting gasoline retailing in Connecticut. Barr & Morgan also has extensive litigation experience representing gasoline dealers for termination or non-renewal cases in Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. This history and experience simply cannot be duplicated and will be applied for your benefit. You want a PMPA attorney who has ready command of the issues as well as the rules (written and unwritten) that apply to your situation.
The PMPA law firm you choose to handle your case makes a difference. If your Gasoline franchise is at risk of termination or non-renewal and you have questions, contact the law offices of Barr & Morgan to speak directly with your PMPA Lawyer. We speak Spanish, are available for evening and weekend appointments, and are conveniently located between Bedford and Summer Streets in Stamford. We have off street parking on site. Contact us today at 203-356-1595 for a free initial consultation.
Summary of The Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA)
Title I of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA) sets certain requirements for the contracts between gasoline refiners or distributors and their retailers. It prohibits franchisors from terminating a franchise, or failing to renew one, except in accordance with its provisions. It is intended to protect distributors and retailers. A supplier may terminate a franchise only for certain reasons such as the franchisee’s failure to make a good faith effort to carry out the terms of the franchise or if the supplier loses the right to grant use of the trademark under which the gasoline is sold. A supplier may choose not to renew a franchise for all of the reasons it may terminate a franchise and for certain other additional reasons. These include the franchisee’s failure to agree to certain additional franchise terms or if the franchisee has a record of numerous customer complaints.
The PMPA preempts state laws concerning gasoline franchise termination and non-renewal.
Title II of the act requires sellers to disclose octane rating and Title III required the federal energy secretary to study fuel marketing subsidization and report to Congress in 1980.
Title 1 of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA) defines “franchise” as the contract between (1) a refiner and distributor, (2) refiner and retailer, (3) a distributor and another distributor, or (4) a distributor and a retailer under which a refiner or distributor allows a retailer or distributor to use a trademark owned or controlled by the refiner or distributor in connection with the sale, distribution, or consignment of gasoline or another motor fuel. Under the act’s definition, a refiner, distributor, jobber, or subjobber may be the “franchisor” and a jobber, subjobber, or retailer may be the “franchisee.” Franchisors are commonly characterized as suppliers.
In general, the act applies to franchises with terms of three years or longer. It does not apply to trial franchises.