Cook County Circuit Judge Sanjay Tailor has ruled in favor of BP Products North America Inc. in a lawsuit brought by two Chicago-area franchisees that claimed the oil giant had defrauded them, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Judge Tailor ruled Wednesday, following a 24-day trial, that the franchisees, RWJ Management Co. and Joliet Petroleum LLC, failed to prove all aspects of their fraud claims, which were brought in 2009.
But BP wasn’t completely off the hook. In Judge Tailor’s 46-page opinion, he found that the company intended to deceive the plaintiffs when it concealed the profit margins on fuel at the suburban stations it sold to the franchisees in 2006.
“BP’s decision to sell stores where it employed a pricing tactic to dramatically increase its fuel volumes at the expense of margin is strong evidence of BP’s fraudulent intent,” Tailor wrote.
However he still ruled in favor of BP, noting the plaintiffs didn’t establish that they had relied on BP’s concealment when deciding to buy the seven stations in separate sales.