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Businesswoman sues SOL EC Ltd


Chateaubelair resident, Christiana Thompson has brought legal action against petroleum company SOL EC Ltd.{{more}}

In a court document filed on Monday, January 30, Thompson is claiming “compensation for the 5,736 gallons of gasoline which the defendant never delivered,” according to a claim application.

The claim, number 26 of 2012, also states that Thompson is suing SOL for “decision to cut off the supply of fuel to the claimant thus killing off her business and a continued pattern refusal to correct what it knew was an inaccurate system of measurement.”

The claimant is also suing for “punitive damages for SOL’s callous and bullying tactics towards her, as she provides a necessary and all important service in a rural community.”

According to the document obtained by SEARCHLIGHT, Thompson has been operating a gas station in Chateaubelair from August 2008 and has an arrangement with SOL to deliver and supply gasoline to the gas station on a weekly basis.

She is also claiming for “the immediate resumption of deliveries to the gas station in Chateaubelair.”

In SEARCHLIGHT’s edition of January 27, SOL’s manager, Steve Francis said the fuel supply to the service station in Chateaubelair had been discontinued because of the deteriorating condition of the Charles Village road in Spring Village.

“Our Engineering Manager of SOL Caribbean Ltd., Julian Jackson, inspected the road on January 6, 2012, and we received his report on Monday, January 23, 2012 and which was forwarded electronically to BRAGSA and the Chief Engineer the same day, Francis said.

“In essence, our Engineer categorized the condition of the road as a “Category 4”. That is, it is ‘moderately severe’ and recommended that the road be rehabilitated before we resume using it. This view is also shared by other engineers and safety advisors within the SOL Group,” Francis said.

The claim form filed on January 30 also indicates that Thompson has a storage facility, which is owned by SOL and holds a capacity of about 3,000 gallons.

The claim also states that SOL measures and gauges the amount of fuel it delivers to Thompson by what is called a dip or inch stick. Each inch on the stick supposedly denotes a certain number of gallons of gasoline poured into the storage tank.

According to the claim form, SOL in November 2010 changed the dip stick from gallons of inches, claiming that the new stick was more accurate.

“SOL’s means of measurement for gas delivered is woefully inadequate, notoriously inaccurate and is decades behind the industry standards,” the document alleges.

According to Thompson, 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.”

Thompson further claims that SOL has recalibrated its measurement at least two times. Since Thompson began operating the station, each recalibration brings a different measurement which points to the inaccuracy of SOL’s measuring system, the claim form states.

The document states that since Thompson began operating the station from August 2008 to November 2011, she received 5,736 gallons of gasoline less than what should have been delivered.

Thompson also claims that she frequently complained 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 the claimant to outrageous and illegal proportions. 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 is breach of the practice in the trade, industry standards and the delivery agreement,” the claim added.

SEARCHLIGHT contacted SOL for comment, but was told that manager Steve Francis was out of state.

Attorney Jomo Thomas appears on Thompson’s behalf.(KW)