PRZOOM - /newswire/ -
Birmingham, MI, United States, 2006/05/18 - According to a recently settled lawsuit, the real culprit for high prices may not stem from your local gas station but instead may come from the franchisor; in this case, ExxonMobil.
Wonder why we feel the pinch at the pump?
Through their attorneys, Norman Yatooma & Associates, P.C., a group of current and former ExxonMobil franchisees recently settled a class action lawsuit filed against ExxonMobil, its wholly owned subsidiary, ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, and the companies’ officers and directors.
The Class Action Complaint stemmed from methods employed by ExxonMobil to undermine the profitability of its franchisees including setting the wholesale prices paid by franchisees at or above the retail prices being charged by the Plaintiffs’ competitors. The suit alleged that ExxonMobil intentionally caused its franchisees to choose between two evils: either sell gas at a loss to keep pace with the competition, or try to sell gas at a reasonable profit and lose customers to the better priced competition.
According to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, ExxonMobil engaged in practices that were specifically designed to drive franchisees out of business and increase the number of company operated stations.
The lawsuit sought to recover damages to compensate franchisees for their losses as a result of ExxonMobil’s unlawful actions, as well as damages for ExxonMobil’s intentional and outrageous behavior towards its franchisees, including violations of the franchise and antitrust laws. The Complaint also sought rescission of the franchisees’ contracts.
“We’re quite happy with the settlement. My clients now have the freedom to build a future without regard to the repressive conduct of ExxonMobil”. stated attorney Norman Yatooma.
Prior to the litigation, Exxon dealer Plaintiffs were subject to outlandish liquidated damage provisions, approaching 1 million dollars per store for early termination, on top of personal requirements to pay Exxon’s attorney fees. “Those punitive measures are now just bad memories. Exxon is righting its wrong and compensating my dealers,” remarked Yatooma. “It makes sense for Exxon too. Now they’ll no longer have to require every prospective dealer nationally to disclaim their rights in their class action litigation,” Yatooma concluded.
Other NYA clients recently received final payment in a class action settlement against Ziebart Corporation.
Birmingham, Michigan-based Norman Yatooma & Associates, P.C. (normanyatooma.com) is a full-service law firm offering expertise in civil and criminal cases in its Oakland, Macomb and Emmett County offices. While the Firm has a wide range of practice groups and areas, it specializes in commercial litigation sounding in complex theories of contract and tort liability including franchise, class action, business and real estate law.