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Gas station contractor sues Royal Farms for alleged contract breaches

A service station contractor is suing Royal Farms for allegedly breaching a contract to construct two new car washes and failing to pay for past installation and maintenance work.

The lawsuit by Bel Air-based contractor Maryland Pump & Tank Inc. accuses a recently-promoted Royal Farms car wash executive of being romantically involved with an owner of Virginia-based Car Wash Solutions LLC. The two allegedly “conspired, colluded and collaborated to tortiously interfere with the business and contractual relations between MPT and Royal Farms” with the goal of transferring Royal Farms’ car wash contracts to CWS, according to the complaint, filed Sunday in Frederick County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit by Bel Air-based contractor Maryland Pump & Tank Inc. accuses a recently-promoted Royal Farms car wash executive of being romantically involved with an owner of Virginia-based Car Wash Solutions LLC. The two allegedly “conspired, colluded and collaborated to tortiously interfere with the business and contractual relations between MPT and Royal Farms” with the goal of transferring Royal Farms’ car wash contracts to CWS, according to the complaint, filed Sunday in Frederick County Circuit Court. (Submitted photo

In mid-2018, Royal Farms and MPT began discussing a proposal for car wash installations in Frederick, White March and Aberdeen, according to the complaint. (Submitted photo)

MPT specializes in the installation and maintenance of service station equipment, including car washes. The company has had a business relationship with Royal Farms since the 1970s and has provided services at locations throughout the region, but alleges last month Royal Farms indicated it was “phasing out” MPT from servicing its petroleum equipment, according to the complaint.

Alan A. Abramowitz, an attorney for Two Farms Inc., the corporation doing business as Royal Farms, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday. Abramowitz is with Bouland & Brush LLC in Baltimore.

In mid-2018, Royal Farms and MPT began discussing a proposal for car wash installations in Frederick, White March and Aberdeen, according to the complaint. MPT began purchasing material and planning in August after an agreement was reached and began construction at the Frederick location.

The project was “plagued with errors, deficiencies and associated delays” which other contractors were responsible for, but MPT alleges a Royal Farms employee was responsible for causing issues “in an effort to thwart the orderly progression of MPT’s work.” The employee is accused of withholding or misrepresenting information and slandering MPT to Royal Farms management.

Royal Farms allegedly breached the contracts for the other two sites by informing MPT last month that it would not be performing the work there, according to the complaint. As of March 21, Royal Farms has not paid more than $145,000 for routine maintenance and installation work and the cessation of regular payments began late last year when MPT alleges the obstruction by the co-defendants began.

On March 6, Royal Farms demanded the return of petroleum dispensers stored on MPT property for two years awaiting installation and refused to pay “reasonable costs of storage,” according to the complaint. Royal Farms filed a replevin action earlier this month seeking to recover seven dispensers, according to Abramowitz.

MPT’s complaint for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, tortious interference, civil conspiracy and unfair competition names Royal Farms and the alleged interfering employee as well as CWS and an unidentified executive. CWS did not return a call seeking comment.

MPT is represented by Bethesda solo-practitioner Joseph L. Katz, who declined to comment Monday.

The case is Maryland Pump & Tank Inc. v. Two Farms Inc. et al., C-10-CV-19-000306.


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