On January 22, 2013, a New Jersey federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of Blackwell Burke client ExxonMobil Oil Corporation. In JOC Inc. v. ExxonMobil Oil Corp., No. 2:08-cv-05344-SRC-CLW (D.N.J.), the plaintiff, a former franchisee, brought claims for price discrimination and breach of contract. The plaintiff claimed that ExxonMobil’s use of “zone pricing” constituted illegal price discrimination and that ExxonMobil had also violated several provisions of the parties’ franchise agreement. In a 53-page opinion, the court agreed with Blackwell Burke’s arguments that the plaintiff’s claims were either legally barred or lacked sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. The court also granted summary judgment in ExxonMobil’s favor on its counterclaim against the former franchisee for contract breach.
Partner Benjamin W. Hulse led the defense of ExxonMobil and authored the briefs. Mr. Hulse also currently serves as counsel for ExxonMobil in matters brought by former franchisees in New Jersey and Illinois courts. He represents corporate clients as national counsel in a diverse array of matters, including jury trials, class actions, antitrust litigation, and appeals in state and federal courts. He graduated Order of the Coif and with Honors from the University of Chicago Law School and magna cum laude from Harvard University. He clerked for the Honorable James B. Loken, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Before joining Blackwell Burke, Mr. Hulse was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Blackwell Burke P.A. represents various corporations, businesses, and individuals in connection with all types of commercial and business disputes. The firm’s broad commercial practice includes litigation in a variety of commercial matters including class action defense, antitrust issues, sales practice matters, licensing and registration issues, and breach of franchise, non-compete, and royalty agreements.