The Boston Herald: Shell tried to shutter indy pumps, lawyer says: “A long-awaited trial, expected to last about three weeks, began with plaintiffs' attorney Gary R. Greenberg arguing before a federal jury in opening statements that Shell was jacking up rents and wholesale gas prices in an attempt to take over dealers' stations.” (ShellNews.net) 16 Nov 04
By Jay Fitzgerald
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
The running battle between Shell Oil and its independent dealers spilled into the courts yesterday, with claims and denials that Shell was trying to put small-time operators out of business.
A long-awaited trial, expected to last about three weeks, began with plaintiffs' attorney Gary R. Greenberg arguing before a federal jury in opening statements that Shell was jacking up rents and wholesale gas prices in an attempt to take over dealers' stations.
``They're trying to shut them down,'' said Greenberg, representing eight independent Shell operators in Massachusetts.
But Shell's attorney, Paul D. Sanson, said there was no plot to ease out operators and take over the stations.
He said recent rent hikes by Shell were merely moves to eliminate long-standing ``subsidies'' for independent dealers. ``This was an effort by Shell to price at a reasonable'' return, he said after yesterday's session.
The wholesale prices charged by Shell are comparable with those of competitors, he said. ``Our prices were always in the range'' of other oil companies.
Greenberg may be representing eight plaintiffs, but the courtroom at the John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse was packed yesterday with other franchise dealers supporting the plaintiffs' cause.
The two sides have been squabbling for years, with dealers claiming Shell has jacked up rents by as much as 500 percent while charging exorbitant wholesale prices that make them less competitive.
After yesterday's opening-day statements, Mike Corbett, owner of City Square Shell in Charlestown, said it's been a ``long process'' to finally get the issue to trial. He said there was ``definitely a plan'' by Shell to put the squeeze on dealers.
The trial resumes today with local dealers expected to be called as witnesses in testimony for plaintiffs.
June 04 Boston Herald story about Shell.
The Boston Herald: Appeals court reinstates gas price-fixing lawsuit against Shell, ChevronTexaco: "SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated a lawsuit accusing ChevronTexaco Corp. and Shell Oil Co. of operating a price-fixing conspiracy" (ShellNews.net) 2 June 04