Miller’s Service Station in Ossining is refusing to pay $1 million in alleged lost profits demanded by a former fuel supplier.
Tecmac Inc., owned by Edward C. Miller and doing business as Miller’s on Campwoods Road, sued SEI Fuel Services Inc. on April 30 in U.S. District Court in White Plains.
Miller’s seeks to redress SEI’s “stubborn refusal to acknowledge the plain and unambiguous terms of a written agreement for supply of fuel,” the complaint states.
Edward Miller bought the Ossining gas station in 1991. His business includes car repair and inspection services and a convenience store.
SEI, of Houston, is a subsidiary of 7-Eleven Inc. It sells a billion gallons of fuel annually, according to its website, to 1,400 dealers in 22 states. It offers fuels from more than a dozen brands, from BP to Valero.
The dispute concerns a contract originally negotiated with Apache Oil Co. in 2012, requiring Miller’s to buy Gulf Oil products for 8 years OR 7.5 million gallons, whichever occurred first.
The “or” was capitalized, according to the complaint, to emphasize the importance of flexible terms.
Miller’s also received a $75,000 no-interest loan that would be repaid at 1-cent per gallon of gas sold, and allowed Apache to process credit card transactions for fuel, auto maintenance services and the convenience store.
Last year, Apache sold its business to SEI.
Miller’s decided to get a new fuel supplier, according to the complaint, and notified SEI that it would not renew when the contract expired on Jan. 31. By then, the Ossining gas station had sold more than 4 million gallons of Gulf gas.
SEI allegedly responded that the contract was not terminated and Miller’s had to buy more than 3 million gallons of Gulf gasoline or pay $1 million for lost profits. SEI also withheld more than $80,000 from credit card transactions, Miller’s claims, for gas, car repairs and convenience store sales.
The new supply agreement began on Feb. 1, according to the complaint, and Miller’s removed the Gulf signs. Miller’s acknowledges that it still owes SEI a portion of the $75,000 loan, but claims that SEI has not provided a final settlement statement.
Miller’s accuses SEI of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. It is asking the court to declare that the supply agreement is terminated, that Miller’s is not obligated to buy more fuel from SEI and that SEI is not entitled to collect any payments.
SEI responded in an email that Miller’s improperly terminated the dealer agreement by failing to buy an agreed upon minimum amount of gasoline.
“The Branded Open Dealer Agreement specifically authorizes SEI to withhold Miller’s Service funds until satisfying its obligations to SEI.
“SEI looks forward to having its claims heard in court.”
Miller’s is represented by White Plains attorneys Jeffrey I. Carton and Amber T. Wallace.