South Carolina Supreme Court VICTORY!
At issue is whether an oil refiner and a distributor can be held liable for the allegedly negligent conduct of an independently owned and operated mini mart retailer. The trial court held that Texaco and Anderson Oil were liable for the actions of Morris mini Mart on a theory of actual agency. NFIB argued that refiners should not be liable for the conduct of an independently owned retail outlet. The suppliers of fuels do not control retailers' operations any more than the suppliers of snacks or soft drinks control such operations.
Status: DECIDED. Amicus brief filed in support of Texaco on 12/7/07. On 9/21/09 the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed a $30 million verdict against the franchisor (Texaco), a gasoline wholesaler (Anderson Oil), and the independently-owned mini-mart (Jamison).