Company News

Exclusive: Ricker Oil v. BP

NACS chairman sues franchisor, alleges breach of contract, deception and fraud
ANDERSON, Ind. -- Claiming that BP Products North America Inc.'s programs are unnecessarily costing it "thousands of dollars per month," Ricker Oil Co. has filed a multiple-count lawsuit against its franchisor partner. The case involves 19 of Ricker's stores, which the company purchased from BP one year ago, and makes numerous claims of contract breaches and Indiana state law violations.

"Ricker is losing thousands of dollars per month," the lawsuit states. While filed Oct. 22 in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis, Ricker had apparently [image-nocss] threatened to file the lawsuit earlier. "BP continued to hold Ricker at bay from moving forward with this lawsuit by promising to remedy these issues, but to date, BP continues to fail to do so."

When contacted by CSP Daily News yesterday, both president Jay Ricker of Ricker Oil and a BP spokesperson offered no comment on the lawsuit, in Ricker's case "on the advice of legal counsel." The lawsuit was filed the same day Ricker was handed the gavel at the NACS Show in Las Vegas to begin his term as president of the industry association.

In the lawsuit, Ricker Oil states, "The ampm business model is broken beyond repair.... It is failing West of the Rockies, which BP did not disclose in its UFOC (Uniform Franchise Disclosure Circular)."

The lawsuit charges Houston-based BP on six counts: Breach of contract: For allegedly charging monthly royalty, advertising and promotion fees before the conversion of stores to ampm was complete, among other things;
Violation of the Indiana Franchise Act: For allegedfailure to "provide a potential franchisee with the 'actual records' of an existing store that the franchisee is interested in purchasing," among other things;
Violation of the Indiana Deceptive Franchise Practices Act: For allegedly tearing out and replacing cigarette displays without permission, among other things;
Fraud: For allegedly making "false material misrepresentations or omissions of past or existing facts with knowledge or reckless ignorance of the falsity;"
Breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing: For allegedly refusing "to deal with Ricker in a commercially reasonable manner, causing Ricker economic hardship;"
Economic duress: For allegedly forcing Ricker "to operate its ampm stores in such a way that it is crippling Ricker's economic stability," among other things. The only financial amount noted in the lawsuit refers to "over $75,000," but the suit requests BP Products North America compensate Ricker Oil for its damages, costs, expenses and attorney's fees, plus prejudgment interest. It also requests compensation for future costs, all other expenses related to the lawsuit and "all other just and proper relief."

The court issued a summons on the lawsuit to BP on Oct. 23. Ricker has requested a jury trial to settle the case.

Founded in 1979, Ricker Oil is a family-owned company based in Anderson, Ind. It owns and operates 49 convenience stores in Indiana, as well as a petroleum dealership and other enterprises.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a CSP member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


22nd Century Group Reduces Roles as It Explores Strategic Alternatives

Low-nicotine cigarette maker sells VLN product in some c-stores

Mergers & Acquisitions

Schierl Buys Back Intellectual Property of The Store From Mountain Express

While not re-acquiring the stores, retailer regains certain trademarks, rights and interests for $1 million


5 Insights Into Retail Media Networks

Trendy technology platform continues to gain traction


More from our partners