WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan has filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil Oil Corporation and its gasoline distributors in the District, in an effort to stop enforcement of exclusive-supply agreements.

Nathan said Tuesday the agreements make one group of affiliated distributors the only suppliers of Exxon-branded gasoline in the District.

The attorney general's 11-page complaint, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, alleges that the exclusive-supply agreements violate the District's Retail Service Station Act.

The affiliated distributors -- Capitol Petroleum Group LLC, Anacostia Realty LLC and Springfield Petroleum Realty LLC -- are the exclusive gasoline suppliers for about 60 percent of the 107 gasoline stations in the District, including all 31 Exxon stations, 19 of 20 Shell stations, all 12 Valero stations and three unbranded stations.

Nathan's lawsuit challenges the agreements that make these affiliated distributors the exclusive suppliers of Exxon-branded gasoline for the 27 independently-operated Exxon stations in the District, or about 25 percent of the gasoline stations in the city.

The attorney general, in his complaint, alleges that the exclusive-supply agreements allow the affiliated distributors to "set the wholesale prices paid for Exxon-branded gasoline in D.C., depriving D.C. residents... of the benefits of competition in the wholesale supply of Exxon-branded gasoline."

"Under the District's gasoline marketing law, a retail gasoline dealer is free to purchase a brand of gasoline from any supplier of the brand," Nathan said in a statement.

"Our suit seeks to end these unlawful supply restrictions, increase wholesale competition and bring down retail prices at the pump."

Joe Mamo, owner of the affiliated distributors named in the lawsuit, said in a statement late Friday:

"The District of Columbia is targeting distributors for legitimate operating agreements that have been in place for years and are lawful under the District's Retail Service Station Act.

"These agreements are not the type of exclusive agreements that are prohibited by D.C. law. We will defend against these allegations and look forward to finally bringing this matter to an end."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

More News