Arnold & Porter Secures Trial Victory for BP West Coast Products LLC in California Superior Court Franchisee Dispute
LOS ANGELES, August 24, 2015 -- Arnold & Porter LLP was one of the firms that recently secured a favorable jury verdict on behalf of BP West Coast Products LLC in the Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles. The plaintiffs were four of BPWCP's franchisees that own and operate ARCO gas stations and ampm Mini Markets in California. The trial of these initial four plaintiffs constituted the initial case for approximately 600 ARCO/ampm franchisees that have brought identical contract-based claims against BPWCP. The heart of their cases is the claim that BP breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and the "open price term" provision of the UCC by selling them wholesale gasoline at prices that were commercially unreasonable and set in bad faith. The plaintiffs also claim that BPWCP sold them a defective point-of-sale and back office system.
On August 14, after a five week trial and three days of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in BPWCP's favor on the plaintiffs' pricing claim, finding that BPWCP's prices were commercially reasonable and not set in bad faith. The jury found in favor of the plaintiffs on one of their three claims related to the point-of-sale and back office system, and awarded the plaintiffs a total of $64,490 – less than 20% of the damages they were seeking on that claim, and just 3 % of the total $2 million they were seeking in this initial test trial.
The Arnold & Porter team was led by James Speyer and included John Lombardo, Keri Arnold, Elizabeth St. John, Ryan Light, Stephanie Roberts, Jacob Poorman, Emilia Morris, Matthew Heartney, and Ronald Redcay.