Slowinski Atkins, LLP wins big for Chevron and Texaco in federal court breach of contract action
Slowinski Atkins, LLP obtained summary judgment on behalf of Chevron Corporation and Texaco Inc. defeating a $2.6 million breach of contract claim. The action was filed by a former jobber and owner of property on Route 73 in Berlin, New Jersey leased to Texaco Inc. for operation of a gasoline service station. The plaintiff claimed that after the service station was destroyed by a fire the lease required Texaco Inc. to rebuild the station at Texaco’s expense. Due to contamination discovered on the property the station could not be rebuilt until the remediation was completed, however upon completion of the remediation Texaco breached the lease by failing to rebuild the station, according to plaintiff. The plaintiff claimed that the cost of rebuilding the station would be upwards of $2.6 million. Plaintiff also asserted a count based on promissory estoppel and supplied an affidavit from a former Texaco employee stating that he represented to plaintiff that a service station would be rebuilt at Texaco’s expense once the cleanup was done. On cross-motions for summary judgment the Court accepted Chevron’s and Texaco’s argument that the lease agreement did not require the defendants to return a fully operational gasoline service station to plaintiff subsequent to the fire or upon termination of the lease agreement. Thus, summary judgment was entered in favor of defendants. The case was heard before the Honorable Noel L. Hillman, U.S.D.J. in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. Frederick W. Forte v. Chevron Corp., 2016 WL 756557 (D.N.J. Feb. 25, 2016).