Greenbaum Rowe Attorneys Help Keep BP Gas Station Operators in Business
Woodbridge, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) September 29, 2011 - In a landmark decision construing the New Jersey Franchise Practices Act (“NJFPA”), a federal judge ruled Wednesday that a franchisee in good standing enjoys an absolute right to renew his franchise agreement at the end of its term.
This issue arose when BP Products of North America (“BP”) announced that it would not renew its franchise agreements with a group of New Jersey service station operators when their terms ended. Faced with the loss of their livelihoods, those operators (“Franchisees”) filed suit against BP asserting that New Jersey law, in particular, the NJFPA, obligates BP to maintain their franchise relationships so long as the Franchisees complied with the terms of their agreements. On September 14, 2011, the New Jersey District Court agreed.
In what appears to be a case of first impression, United States District Judge William J. Martini granted summary judgment to the Franchisee plaintiffs, confirming that the NJFPA protects franchisees from termination by way of non-renewal. The Court rejected BP’s argument that it need not renew the subject agreements because they did not expressly provide for renewal. Judge Martini’s decision firmly establishes that absent a prior breach by the franchisee, every New Jersey franchisee is entitled to a renewal, as a matter of law.
The Franchisees were represented by lead counsel Marc J. Gross, together with Richard L. Hertzberg, both partners in the Litigation Department of Greenbaum Rowe Smith & Davis. They were assisted by counsel Christine F. Marks.
Mr. Gross has developed a statewide reputation as an accomplished litigator, having appeared in significant matters in the Federal Courts throughout New Jersey and New York and in the Superior Courts of New Jersey in nearly every county. He was the president of the Essex County Bar Association for the 2007-8 term, is an officer of the Federal Practice Section of the NJ State Bar Association and is selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers - New Jersey Edition in the Business Litigation category since 2006.
Mr. Hertzberg focuses on commercial and franchise litigation. He also handles matters involving lender liability, partnership law, insurance law, environmental law, securities law and chancery practice. He has been selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers--New Jersey Edition in the Business Litigation category since 2009 and Super Lawyers--Corporate Counsel Edition (2010). Mr. Hertzberg is a subject of biographical record in Who’s Who in America (63rd Edition) and Who’s Who in American Law (7th Edition).
Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis LLP has over 100 attorneys in four main practice departments, Litigation, Real Estate, Corporate, and Tax, Trusts and Estates, and 19 practice areas offering comprehensive legal services. The firm has offices located in Woodbridge and Roseland, New Jersey. For more information, visit the firm's web site at http://www.greenbaumlaw.com.
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