RCS and the Silvestres have lost a portion of their case against Shell Guam Inc. and plan to appeal. A jury has ruled in favor of Shell Guam Inc. in its trial with RCS Enterprises Inc. and its owners Renato C. Silvestre and Stephanie L. Silvestre (See "Fuel fights" in the July 11 2005 edition of the Journal.). Richard A. Pipes attorney for RCS and the Silvestres told the Journal the jury ruled that Shell did not violate the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA). Pipes said "That was just part of the trial. Now we are waiting for the judge to render his verdict on whether or not Shell had failed to renew its ground lease." He said once the judge renders a verdict RCS and the Silvestres may file an appeal and they are considering it.
The Silvestres and RCS alleged in their complaint that the Shell Fleet Charge Account program was supposed to bring more business to Shell service stations but it was administered in a discriminatory manner and with the intent to harm dealers and force them out of business; after Shell increased commissions it increased wholesale fuel costs to dealers as a means to decrease sales damage RCS and force RCS out of business; Shell sold fuel directly to customers that were not part of the fleet charge account program at lower prices than to RCS.
According to court documents RCS also alleged the franchise agreement it held with Shell was unlawfully terminated. "RCS is informed and therefore believes and on that basis alleges that defendants’ attempted unlawful termination of RCS’ franchise as described above as willful in that the grounds given for termination are a mere pretext and part of a plan by the defendants to obtain the premises occupied by RCS for their own use and benefit."
Pipes also represented Anthony J. "Tony" Ada who operated the Shell Mangilao and Shell Barrigada service stations in his complaint filed against Shell. Ada whose complaint was filed in the Superior Court of Guam and the counterclaim filed by Shell in the U.S. District Court of Guam was settled on Nov. 7 2005 (See Briefcase article "Shell and Ada put out fuel fight fire Silvestre case continues to smolder" in the March 6 issue of the Journal.).
Ada alleged unlawful termination of a petroleum franchise damages exemplary damages fraudulent inducement intentional misrepresentation breach or duty of good faith and fair dealing and violation of deceptive trade practices an outbound in the Consumer Protection Act.
According to the order by Judge Robert Clive Jones of the U.S. District Court the action was dismissed with prejudice. "The court retains jurisdiction of this matter for the purposes of taking any action needed to enforce the terms of the settlement agreed upon by the parties and made a part of the record herein which shall remain confidential unless enforcement becomes necessary by either party; and each party is to bear their own costs and attorney’s fees as provided for in the settlement." MBJ