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Yonaty v. Amerada Hess Corp.

August 31, 2009

MARK B. YONATY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERADA HESS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Scullin, Senior Judge

MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On August 14, 1998, Plaintiff, having bought out his father's interest, entered into a "Dealer Agreement Gasoline Station" ("1998 Agreement") to run the gas station ("Station") his father had operated since 1983 as an independent Hess franchise dealer in Binghamton, New York. Plaintiff's father rented the Station premises from Hess and purchased fuel from Hess for sale. On March 30, 2001, Plaintiff executed another Dealer Agreement ("2001 Agreement"). On August 23, 2001, Plaintiff stopped selling gasoline and closed the Station.*fn1

In his complaint, Plaintiff asserted three causes of action against Defendant related to the parties' business relationship prior to Plaintiff closing the Station: (1) breach of the contractual duty of good faith; (2) constructive termination of his franchise without just cause, in violation of New York General Business Law § 199-c(1); and (3) constructive termination of his franchise without just cause in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 2802, the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act ("PMPA").

Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which this Court granted in part and denied in part. See, generally, Memorandum-Decision and Order dated June 20, 2005. Specifically, the Court granted summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's General Business Law claim and with respect to his breach-of-contract claim insofar as that claim was based on Plaintiff's allegations that Defendant set prices in bad faith, undersold him at nearby company stores, and limited his product line. The Court denied summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's PMPA claim and with respect to his breach-of-contract claim insofar as that claim was based on Plaintiff's allegations that Defendant failed to maintain his station, acted in bad faith regarding the extension of credit, failed to deliver gasoline at reasonable times, and provided services to company stores but not to franchises. See id. at 24-25.

Currently before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment on the merits of all of Plaintiff's remaining claims and on statute-of-limitations grounds with respect to Plaintiff's PMPA claim.*fn2

II. DISCUSSION

A. Preliminary matter

In his preliminary statement, although he does not make a second motion for reconsideration, Plaintiff suggests that the Court should revisit its dismissal of the "gasoline pricing" claims in light of the discovery that the parties have conducted. See Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law at 1-2.

In its June 20, 2005 Memorandum-Decision and Order, the Court, after a thorough discussion of the issue, found that Plaintiff had failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact with respect to Defendant's price setting practices and, therefore, dismissed Plaintiff's claims to the extent that they were based on pricing and underselling. See Memorandum-Decision and Order dated June 20, 2005, at 8-14. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration of that decision, asserting that Defendant's motion was premature prior to discovery. The Court rejected this argument, finding that Defendant was entitled to move for summary judgment at any time and that Rule 56(f) provided a means for Plaintiff to request discovery. See Order dated August 16, 2005, at 2. Furthermore, the Court found that Plaintiff's failure to file an affidavit pursuant to Rule 56(f) was sufficient grounds to reject a claim that his opportunity for discovery was inadequate. See id. at 3.*fn3

Based on the prior orders in this case, as well as Plaintiff's failure to set forth any facts to support his "suggestion" to revisit this issue, the Court declines Plaintiff's invitation to revisit this issue a third time.

B. Standard of Review

"Summary judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Holcomb v. Iona Coll., 521 F.3d 130, 137 (2d Cir. 2008) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). First, the moving party must demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact; then, the opposing party must present evidence, beyond the pleadings, to satisfy every element of the claim and to show a genuine issue for trial. See id. (citations omitted). When considering a motion for summary ...


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