Pumped Dry

Gas station dealers find big oil blocking the way in their struggles against extinction

Add the pro-business, anti-plaintiff bias that Texas judges have been exhibiting the past few years, and it looks like Texas is a state for dealers to avoid. "It may be best to stay out of Texas," Rosen says, "but you can't always do it."

Attorney Robert Steinberg: "I want to get back our pound of flesh for these dealers."
Deron Neblett
Attorney Robert Steinberg: "I want to get back our pound of flesh for these dealers."

His firm has been focusing elsewhere of late. In addition to a suit in Ohio on behalf of Cleveland Shell dealers, Rosen & Co. are going to join a class-action suit against the Shell-Texaco marketing venture in California. That suit, brought by enterprising L.A. lawyer Tom Bleau, takes advantage of California's friendlier statutes. If successful, it could set an important precedent that would clear a path for dealer suits around the country. Even in Texas.

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