783 F.2d 300 (2nd Cir. 1986), 312, Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp.

Docket Nº:312, 389, Dockets 85-7489, 85-7527.
Citation:783 F.2d 300
Party Name:Harold J. BELLMORE, Michael J. Fox, and James M. Montesanto, Plaintiffs, Harold J. Bellmore, Plaintiff-Appellee, Cross-Appellant, v. MOBIL OIL CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant, Cross-Appellee.
Case Date:February 06, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Page 300

783 F.2d 300 (2nd Cir. 1986)

Harold J. BELLMORE, Michael J. Fox, and James M. Montesanto,

Plaintiffs,

Harold J. Bellmore, Plaintiff-Appellee, Cross-Appellant,

v.

MOBIL OIL CORPORATION, Defendant-Appellant, Cross-Appellee.

Nos. 312, 389, Dockets 85-7489, 85-7527.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

February 6, 1986

Argued Oct. 21, 1985.

Page 301

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 302

Scott P. Moser, Hartford, Conn. (James Sicilian and Paul D. Williams, Day, Berry & Howard, of counsel), for defendant-appellant, cross-appellee.

Richard W. Farrell, Stamford, Conn. (Albert J. Barr, Farrell & Barr, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellee, cross-appellant.

Before PIERCE, MINER and DAVIS, [*] Circuit Judges.

DAVIS, Circuit Judge:

The major matters before us on this appeal are (1) whether the provision of the Connecticut Gasoline Dealer's Act requiring payment of good will under certain circumstances to franchisees, Connecticut Gasoline Dealer's Act, Conn.Gen.Stat. Sec. 42-133l (b) (Connecticut Act), is preempted by the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. Secs. 2801-2841 (1982) (PMPA or Act), and (2) whether cross-appellant Harold J. Bellmore waived his right to trial by jury on the first count of his amended complaint. We hold that Sec. 42-133l (b) of the Connecticut Act is not preempted by the PMPA, and that cross-appellant did waive his right to a jury trial on the first count. We therefore affirm the district court's judgment.

I.

Harold J. Bellmore (Bellmore) leased and operated a Mobil Service Station in Hamden, Connecticut, for approximately 25 years. Mobil Oil Corporation (Mobil) is a refiner of petroleum products engaged in the sale and distribution of oil, gasoline, and gasoline-related products to franchise retailers. Mobil is also a franchisor under the provisions of the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act. Bellmore's last written franchise agreement with Mobil covered the period from June 1, 1978 through May 31, 1981. In October 1980 Mobil prepared for the expiration of Bellmore's franchise agreement by evaluating the current arrangement and arriving at a new lease

Page 303

proposal. That new franchise renewal proposal contained a rent increase from $584 per month to $1086 per month for the first year of the new term. Bellmore rejected this proposal. By letter dated November 24, 1980 Mobil stated that the franchise agreement would not be renewed because Bellmore failed to agree to the proposed rent increase as well as to other changes to the franchise agreement.

Bellmore then brought this district court suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent Mobil from effecting its intended non-renewal. At that time Bellmore wanted to enjoin non-renewal of the franchise on the ground that Mobil's lease proposal was neither made in good faith nor in the ordinary course of business (as required by the PMPA). On June 15, 1981 the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut denied Bellmore's motion for such relief. 1 This court subsequently affirmed that ruling.

On January 11, 1982 Bellmore amended his complaint by adding a second count claiming that he was entitled to monetary compensation for the fair market value of his franchise, including good will, under the Connecticut Gasoline Dealer's Act. Contemporaneously, Bellmore filed a demand for a jury trial for the first time. Mobil then filed a Motion to Strike which in part challenged Bellmore's right to a jury trial. The district court permitted the claim alleging a violation of the Connecticut Act to go to the jury but reserved decision on the PMPA claim (now the first count of Bellmore's amended complaint) for itself.

On February 1, 1985 the jury rendered a verdict for $43,000 on Bellmore's claim for good will under the Connecticut Act. Mobil's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict, or in the alternative for a new trial, was denied by the district court on March 7, 1985. By memorandum of decision, the district court ruled that Mobil's non-renewal of Bellmore's franchise was proper under the PMPA.

On appeal, Mobil contends that the PMPA preempts the Connecticut Act on all issues related to the termination or non-renewal of petroleum franchises. Mobil also argues that, even if the Connecticut Act is not preempted by the PMPA, it is inapplicable as a matter of law because Bellmore voluntarily relinquished his franchise. Bellmore's cross-appeal asserts that the district court erred in refusing to submit the first count of his amended complaint to the jury. We first consider Mobil's appeal and then turn to Bellmore's.

II.

It is now hornbook law that, in general, state authority to legislate in a particular field can be preempted by federal law in two ways. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co. v. State Energy Resources Conservation & Dev. Comm'n, 461 U.S. 190, 203-04, 103 S.Ct. 1713, 1721-22, 75 L.Ed.2d 752 (1983); Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 464 U.S. 238, 248, 104 S.Ct. 615, 621, 78 L.Ed.2d 443 (1984). Congress can intend to supersede state law in a given field, Jones v. Rath Packing Co., 430 U.S. 519, 525, 97 S.Ct. 1305, 1309, 51 L.Ed.2d 604 (1977), or state law may actually conflict with federal law. Fidelity Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n v. De La Cuesta, 458 U.S. 141, 152-53, 102 S.Ct. 3014, 3022, 73 L.Ed.2d 664 (1982). The application of the preemption doctrine to a particular case is often a matter of statutory construction and may well require a judicial determination of the legislative intent behind a specific federal statute. Congressional purpose to preempt state law can be either express or implied. Absent express preemptive language, Congressional intent to occupy a given field may be found from either a " 'scheme of federal regulation ... so pervasive as to make reasonable the inference that...

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62 practice notes
  • Ms & BP, LLC v. Big Apple Petroleum, LLC, 050815 NYEDC, 14-CV-5675 (RRM) (RER)
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Eastern District of New York
    • May 8, 2015
    ...for, and notification requirements with respect to termination or non-renewal" of such contracts. Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 304 (2d Cir. 1986) (declining to hold that the PMPA preempted a Connecticut law requiring fair compensation for "good will" of the fran......
  • 29 F.3d 1050 (6th Cir. 1994), 92-2129, Geib v. Amoco Oil Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • July 19, 1994
    ..."in areas that Congress left to the control of the states" would frustrate the will of Congress. Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 305 (2d Finally, we fail to see how the PMPA is undermined by a requirement that Amoco repurchase equipment acquired by Geib to operate the C......
  • 581 F.Supp.2d 413 (E.D.N.Y. 2008), 08-CV-00984, Kudlek v. Sunoco, Inc. (R & M)
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Eastern District of New York
    • October 3, 2008
    ...for franchisees from arbitrary or discriminatory termination or non-renewal of their franchises." Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 305 (2d Cir.1986) ( quoting S.Rep. No. 731, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 15, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 873, 874). The statute explicitly prohibits t......
  • 610 F.Supp.2d 218 (E.D.N.Y. 2009), 08-CV-984 (NGG)(WDW), Kudlek v. Sunoco, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Eastern District of New York
    • April 16, 2009
    ...requirements with respect to termination or non-renewal." Kudlek I, 581 F.Supp.2d at 416-17 ( quoting Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 305 (2d Cir.1986) (emphasis added))....
  • Free signup to view additional results
61 cases
  • Ms & BP, LLC v. Big Apple Petroleum, LLC, 050815 NYEDC, 14-CV-5675 (RRM) (RER)
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Eastern District of New York
    • May 8, 2015
    ...for, and notification requirements with respect to termination or non-renewal" of such contracts. Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 304 (2d Cir. 1986) (declining to hold that the PMPA preempted a Connecticut law requiring fair compensation for "good will" of the fran......
  • 29 F.3d 1050 (6th Cir. 1994), 92-2129, Geib v. Amoco Oil Co.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • July 19, 1994
    ..."in areas that Congress left to the control of the states" would frustrate the will of Congress. Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 305 (2d Finally, we fail to see how the PMPA is undermined by a requirement that Amoco repurchase equipment acquired by Geib to operate the C......
  • 581 F.Supp.2d 413 (E.D.N.Y. 2008), 08-CV-00984, Kudlek v. Sunoco, Inc. (R & M)
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Eastern District of New York
    • October 3, 2008
    ...for franchisees from arbitrary or discriminatory termination or non-renewal of their franchises." Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 305 (2d Cir.1986) ( quoting S.Rep. No. 731, 95th Cong., 2d Sess. 15, reprinted in 1978 U.S.C.C.A.N. 873, 874). The statute explicitly prohibits t......
  • 610 F.Supp.2d 218 (E.D.N.Y. 2009), 08-CV-984 (NGG)(WDW), Kudlek v. Sunoco, Inc.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 2nd Circuit Eastern District of New York
    • April 16, 2009
    ...requirements with respect to termination or non-renewal." Kudlek I, 581 F.Supp.2d at 416-17 ( quoting Bellmore v. Mobil Oil Corp., 783 F.2d 300, 305 (2d Cir.1986) (emphasis added))....
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