KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Christiana Thompson, the operator of the service station in Chateaubelair, is suing fuel company SOL for, among other things, “damages for [SOL’s] decision to cut off the supply of fuel to [her service station] thus killing off her business”, according to court documents filed on Monday.
Thompson is also claiming “compensation for the 5,736 gallons of gasoline which [SOL] never delivered” and “damages for [SOL’s] continued pattern [of] refusal to correct what it knew was an inaccurate system of measurement”.
She also wants the court to award punitive damages for SOL’s “callous and bullying tactics” towards her even as she “provides a necessary and all important service in a rural community”.
Thompson is also claiming for the “immediate resumption of deliveries to the gas station in Chateaubelair”.
According to the claim form, Thompson has been operating a gas station in the Chateaubelair since August 2008 and has an arrangement with SOL who delivers and supplies gasoline to the gas station on a weekly basis.
Thompson’s gas station has a storage facility, which is own by SOL, that has a holding capacity of about 3,000 gallons.
SOL measures and gauges the amount of fuel it delivers to Thompson by a dip or inch stick. Each inch on the stick supposedly denotes a certain number of gallons of gasoline poured into the storage tank.
The court document further said that SOL in November 2010 changed the dip or inch stick claiming that the new stick was more accurate.
Thompson claims that SOL’s means of measurement for gas delivered “is woefully inadequate, notoriously inaccurate and is decades behind the industry standards”.
The gasoline SOL claims it delivers “never adds up to sales at the pump. Sales at the pump are always short and the shortage cannot be explained by evaporation. [SOL] has recalibrated its measurement at least two times. Since [Thompson] began operating this station each recalibration brings a different measurement, which points to the inaccuracy of [SOL’s] measuring system,” according to the suit.
“[SOL] has steadfastly refused to install the more scientifically accurate ‘sensing meters’ used in other parts of the region and the world even [though] the cost of the sensing meters are reasonably priced,” the court document further said.
According to Thompson’s calculation, she has received 5,736 gallons of gasoline less than what should have been delivered from August 2008 to November 2011.
“[Thompson] complains to [SOL] from the time she took over operation of the gas station and her complaints have gone on deaf ears. [SOL] has now taken vindictive and non-cooperative action towards [Thompson] to outrageous and illegal proportions,” the suit says.
“[Sol], from the beginning of December 2011, took the unilateral decision to cut off the supply of fuel to [Thompson’s] station thus effectively destroying the business. [SOL’s] action is reckless and totally unjustified and in breach of the practice in the trade, industry standards and the delivery agreement,” the document further states.
Steve Francis, manager of SOL, told I-Witness News yesterday that he was overseas and was not aware of any legal action against the company.
Francis, however, told I-Witness News last week that fuel supply to the service station in Chateaubelair has been discontinued because of the “deteriorating condition” of the Charles Village road in Spring Village.
Lawyer Jomo Thomas is representing Thompson.