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Energy Industry Group

LEADERSHIP: Thomas P. Dwyer and Marc D. Machlin

Energy Litigation

Pepper lawyers have handled downstream commercial marketing litigation and provided a wide range of counseling on marketing strategies, business practices and franchise law compliance for more than 20 years. We have handled every kind of commercial dispute with petroleum dealers and jobbers, including termination disputes arising under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Sections 2801, et seq., disputes involving assignments of franchises, antitrust claims brought under Sections1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination claims, bad-faith pricing claims brought under various states’ commercial codes (UCC 2-305), a class action claim for bad-faith pricing under UCC 2-305, intellectual property claims brought under the Lanham Act against holdover dealers, breach of contract claims seeking the recovery of unamortized consideration, and fraud.

Our work has been geographically broad. We have handled claims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio and Michigan. We have done so through a combination of our lawyers who are licensed in the various jurisdictions and local counsel in jurisdictions where we do not have offices.

We also have handled disputes between petroleum marketers and consumers and governmental entities seeking to protect consumer rights. We defended a refiner/marketer against predatory pricing claims brought by the attorney general of New Jersey in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and false advertising class action claims brought in Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenging its marketing of its gasoline. We defended the same refiner/marketer in federal court in New York against claims of breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation and fraud by one of its fleet card customers.

We also have handled disputes between refiner/marketers and their competitors. We brought an injunction action on behalf of a refiner/marketer against a petroleum distributor in federal court in Maryland seeking to prevent the distributor from interfering with supply contracts with franchisees in the aftermath of the assignment of Mobil-branded retail locations in Maryland. We brought an action in North Carolina federal court seeking to enjoin a branded distributor from rebranding its retail locations to a competing brand.

In addition, we counsel in-house marketing lawyers and their business clients regarding dealer terminations and obligations under the PMPA, unfair competition, trademark protection, antitrust and pricing advice, and obligations to their dealers and distributors in the sale of real property.

We have represented other clients in dealer termination cases, Robinson-Patman Act price discrimination cases, claims under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, bad-faith pricing claims arising under UCC 2 305, common-law fraud and breach of contract actions, and federal trademark infringement arising under the Lanham Act. In addition to litigation, we regularly counsel clients on dealer terminations, antitrust concerns, establishment of dealer networks, drafting distribution agreements and plans, and compliance reviews.

Recently, Pepper has represented a series of clients in disputes relating to oil and gas production rights. Additionally, Pepper lawyers have represented a pipeline company in litigation to recover costs of remediation and damages arising out of breaches of underground high-pressure gasoline pipelines caused by the negligence of third parties. We have represented clients in litigation relating to failed power plant projects. We also have represented contractors in disputes with natural gas pipeline owners over construction defects and delay claims. Pepper has the capability to handle virtually any type of litigation involving the energy sector.