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TravelCenters of America Units Hit With $300 Million Franchisee Termination Lawsuit

Plaintiffs DG Gas, DG Cordelle and DG Real Estate Partners claim TA ended agreement without warning after bp acquisition
TravelCenter of America
Photograph: Shutterstock

TravelCenter of America companies TA Franchise Systems LLC and TA Operating LLC have been hit with a $300 million franchise termination lawsuit from plaintiffs DG Gas LLC, DG Cordelle LLC and DG Real Estate Partners LLC in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, according to court documents.

The plaintiffs claim they had planned to build and operate 25 TA Express locations across several states after becoming a franchisee in 2021. But “unbeknownst” to the plaintiffs, Westlake, Ohio-based TravelCenters of America (TA) had never had a franchisee develop a TA Express Center from the ground up, according to court documents.

The plaintiffs moved forward on its plans and “borrowed millions of dollars, hired consultants, conducted multiple studies, bought a truckstop and even started construction activity in Cordele, Georgia,” the filing said.

But in 2022, TA told the plaintiffs that it was going to be acquired by bp and “without warning” the plaintiffs received a letter from TA “purpoting to terminate” the plaintiffs’ franchise agreement.

The “sudden termination” and “refusal” to do business with the plaintiffs left them with “millions in unrecoverable development costs” and “harm,” including at the Cordele site, which has a “restrictive covenant in its deed” that does not allow the plaintiffs to sell the site, according to the filing.

When the plaintiffs reached out to TA,  a TA executive sent a “curt” email saying that TA was also “refusing to move forward with any of DG Gas’s planned projects,” the filing said.

“DG Gas will prove the precise amount of the damages caused by TA at trial,” the filing said, which are “in excess of $300 million.”

bp did not respond to a CSP request for comment.

  • bp is No. 7 on CSP’s 2024 Top 202 ranking of U.S. convenience-store chains by total number of company-owned stores.

 

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