US Court of Appeals Upholds Jury Verdict Against Shell

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US Court of Appeals Upholds Jury Verdict Against Shell

BOSTON -- A 2004 jury verdict awarding $4.5 million in damages and fees to eight Shell gasoline station franchise operators was upheld by The First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Shell Oil External Affairs spokesperson Karyn Leonardi-Cattolica told CSNew Online, "Motiva is considering its options to seek further review of the court of appeals' decision to correct errors that led the court to affirm, in part, the jury verdict."

The dealers lawsuit claimed that Shell, and Motiva Enterprises, a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining Inc., charged stiff wholesale prices and rents that stymied their respective ability to compete in the marketplace. On April 18, 2008, the Court of Appeals affirmed all but one of the dealers' claims and confirmed the jury's determinations.

Greenberg Traurig LLP, representing 60 Shell-branded franchise operators in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, argued the case on behalf of the eight dealers.

"We are very pleased that the Court of Appeals upheld the overwhelming portions of the jury's verdict," Gary Greenberg, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig Boston and one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said in a released statement.

Jay Farraher, a member of the legal team, said in a statement "This is a precedent-setting decision. The First Circuit Court of Appeals is one of the only appellate courts in the country to have held that dealers have the right to challenge the wholesale price where dealers feel there is evidence that the oil company may not be acting in good faith."