Logourl black

Hoover v. Sun Oil Company

Superior Court of Delaware
212 A.2d 214 (1965)


The Hoovers (plaintiffs) were injured in a fire caused by the negligence of an employee of a service station owned by Sun Oil Company (Sun) and operated by Barone (defendants). Barone’s business relationship with Sun was based on a lease and dealer’s agreement that the parties executed when Barone commenced the service station’s operation. The lease, terminable by either party upon notice, provided for rental fees based on the amount of gasoline sold. The dealer’s agreement stated that Barone would purchase petroleum products from Sun and that Sun was to loan equipment and advertisements to Barone. The dealer’s agreement allowed Barone to sell products from competing oil companies, but required him to sell the Sun products under the Sun label. The dealer’s agreement prohibited Barone from mingling Sun products with competitors’ products. The service station had large signs advertising Sun products, but Barone’s name was posted as proprietor. A Sun representative, Peterson, made weekly sales calls to the service station. In addition to selling Sun products, Peterson would discuss various business issues with Barone and advise him on station operations. But, Barone was not required to follow Peterson’s advice. Barone set his own hours of operations, assumed the risk of loss in his business, and had sole authority over his employees. The Hoovers allege that Barone was acting as Sun’s agent at the time of the fire and consequently Sun is liable for their injuries. Sun moved for summary judgment, contending that Barone was an independent contractor and as such, Sun is not liable for the Hoovers’ injuries.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (Christie, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Here's why 91,000 law students rely on our case briefs:

  • Reliable - written by law professors and practitioners not other law students.
  • The right length and amount of information - includes the facts, issue, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your class - works on your mobile and tablet.
  • 12,498 briefs - keyed to 168 casebooks.
  • Uniform format for every case brief.
  • Written in plain English - not in legalese and not just repeating the court's language.
  • Massive library of related video lessons - and practice questions.
  • Ability to tag case briefs in an outlining tool.
  • Top-notch customer support.
Start Your Free Trial Now