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Casserlie v. Shell Oil Company

121 Ohio St.3d 25, 902 N.E.2d 1 (2009)

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Casserlie v. Shell Oil Company

Ohio Supreme Court

121 Ohio St.3d 25, 902 N.E.2d 1 (2009)

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Facts

Donald Casserlie and others (dealers) (plaintiffs) leased gas stations from Shell Oil Company (Shell) (defendant) and operated them as franchisees. Shell sold gasoline to the dealers at a posted dealer-tank-wagon (DTW) price, which included the cost of delivery and was within the range set by Shell’s competitors. Shell also sold gasoline to jobbers directly from Shell’s terminal at a lower price that did not include delivery costs. Jobbers also performed additional functions for Shell as compared to dealers. The dealers sued Shell, arguing that Shell acted in bad faith in setting the DTW price. The dealers argued that Shell set the DTW price with the intent of driving the dealers out of business so that Shell could take over and directly profit from the dealers’ gas stations. The trial court granted summary judgment for Shell, finding that the dealers had failed to show that Shell set the DTW price in a commercially unreasonable manner. The court of appeals affirmed. The dealers appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Moyer, C.J.)

Dissent (Pfeifer, J.)

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