Nine One One ordered to vacate 32 Esso service stations

High Court judge rules in favour of service station owner, on the grounds that food services provider Nine One One's "fixed term" contract has expired



18 November 2013

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Food services company Nine One One is no longer entitled to remain in 32 Esso forecourts across the country, the High Court has ruled.

Nine One One first entered into an agreement with Esso in 2001. Under a concession agreement, the company began providing hot and cold food facilities at the Esso service station at Sandford Road, Ranelagh, Dublin. Then, under an operating agreement in June 2002, a similar arrangement was put in place in 31 other Esso forecourt stores. The group operated these food facilities under the On The Run banner.

There were negotiations surrounding a further operating agreement for Nine One One last year. Service station owners and operators, Esso Ireland Ltd and Ireland Roc Ltd claimed that as a result, the operating agreement was extended for a further year in May 2012 and was set to end in June 2013. Esso subsequently issued a notice of termination to Nine One One in May 2013.

However the food provider argued its operating agreement had not been validly terminated and refused to stop operating the On The Run food services.

Esso began legal proceedings alleging Nine One One was in unlawful occupation of the premises. Nine One One counterclaimed for damages based on issues including an alleged breach of contract.

Mr Justice McGovern ruled in favour of Esso on the grounds that the agreement was set for a fixed term. He said the defendant would have to vacate the premises, now that the term had expired.

The judge also found Nine One One was not entitled to damages on several grounds. He rejected claims by the food services operator that Esso had an enforceable duty to negotiate in good faith and also found Nine One One had failed to demonstrate any want of good faith by Esso and Ireland Roc.

Mr Justice McGovern also rejected claims by Nine One One that it was entitled to damages based on an alleged breach of contract. This claim related to Esso allegedly failing to invest certain fees received by Nine One One in advertising.

He likewise found Esso had offered to pay €250,000 to Nine One One to settle its claims for losses from 2004-2009, which included the latter’s claims on advertising and loss-making stores. However that offer was rejected on the terms offered.



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