Quarles Petroleum Incorporated

Repeated Violations of Environmental and Safety Laws in Unreported Oil Spills


Secret Payments to Victims Conceal the Facts


This Web site describes the wrongful business practices of Quarles Petroleum that have resulted in financial loss, property damage and personal injury to Quarles customers and others. Information is taken from public records of lawsuits, files of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, documents provided by Quarles Petroleum and other sources. Quarles Petroleum has attempted to suppress the publication of this information by threatening litigation against the owner of this site and by offering to pay $15,000 for its removal. Jack Runyon is solely responsible for this site. For more information, feel free to e-mail or call Jack at 703-791-0245.


April 23, 2002 Update on the Quarles Petroleum Drunk Driver Spill

The Fredericksburg Freelance-Star reports that the Quarles Petroleum drunk driver has been tried, found guilty and sentenced. Quarles has purchased the Culpeper home and torn it down. A short article on the incident also appeared in the Washington Post.

Link to the Freelance-Star article.

November 27, 2001, AP wire reports massive spill by Quarles in Culpeper, VA. Driver blows .14 on Breathalyzer.

--------------------
Fuel floods basement of home in Culpeper; driver charged
--------------------

By the Associated Press

November 27 2001

CULPEPER, Va. -- An oil company driver who made an emergency delivery on
Thanksgiving Day pumped about 550 gallons of heating oil into the wrong
house and flooded the basement with fuel.

State police charged the delivery driver from Fredericksburg-based Quarles
Petroleum with driving under the influence of alcohol.

The house's owner, Matt O'Saben, was called away from an out-of-town family
Thanksgiving dinner after his brother called to say police were looking for
him.

Workers were cleaning up the mess when O'Saben returned.

Copyright (c) 2001, Daily Press

James A. Hollar et al v. Quarles Petroleum Inc.

A negligent spill by Quarles Petroleum rendered the Hollar residence uninhabitable. The Hollars sought $2 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages. After extended denials of liability and attempts to shift blame to the customer, Quarles Petroleum paid a confidential settlement.

Jean Romeril and Jack Runyon v. Quarles Petroleum Inc.

In December 1997, Quarles spilled 100 to 200 gallons of fuel at our home. Quarles concealed the spill from us, and lied repeatedly in an attempt to avoid paying for the cleanup. We sued them and were awarded compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs. In awarding punitive damages, the jury found by clear and convincing evidence that Quarles Petroleum acted willfully, wantonly and/or maliciously with a conscious disregard of our rights. At trial and in deposition, executives of Quarles Petroleum falsely testified that Quarles had immediately accepted liability for the spill and that we had "prevented" Quarles from cleaning it up. There is no factual basis for these lies by which Quarles intended to avoid responsibility for the clean up costs.

William B. Brener et al v. Quarles Petroleum Inc.

The negligence of Quarles Petroleum caused the release of several hundred gallons of heating oil at a residence in Great Falls, Virginia. Property damage was estimated in excess of $747,000. During trial, Quarles settled this case for a confidential amount, reportedly in excess of $500,000 and additionally promised to fully remediate the contamination of the property at its own expense. Jean Romeril and Jack Runyon were supoenaed as punitive damages witnesses by the plaintiffs. The information that we provided greatly assisted the Breners in obtaining this settlement from Quarles.

Destruction of O'Saben Residence by Quarles Petroleum.

A grossly negligent spill by Quarles Petroleum on Thanksgiving Day, 2001, resulted in the total loss of the residence of Matt and Sara O'Saben of Culpeper, Virginia. The O'Saben's were not even customers of Quarles Petroleum, and did not heat their home with oil. This did not stop Quarles from pumping several hundred gallons of fuel oil into the basement of their home. The damage was so extensive that the home had to be torn down. In a criminal trial, the Quarles driver was convicted of DUI and later pled guilty to reckless driving. Quarles paid an undisclosed sum to the spill victims.


Homeowners' Worst Nightmare Comes True.

Quarles Petroleum Spills, then Drives Off Leaving Homeowners Stuck with Huge Losses.

In choosing an oil supplier, consider the actions of Quarles Petroleum Incorporated, of Fredericksburg, Virginia. We trusted Quarles Petroleum to deliver oil competently, and deal with us fairly after a spill occurred. It was a bad mistake. Quarles spilled oil onto our land and didn't report it. After the spill was discovered, Quarles tried to shift the blame and financial loss onto us.


Watch for these Quarles tactics:

The Garden that Quarles Ruined. Quarles spilled the oil in the garden we had built at the front of our house. The light colored area is the dead grass. The garden was dug up and the contaminated soil burned at a disposal facility.



Grass Killed by Quarles. Quarles spilled so much oil that it ran downhill into our neighbors' yard. Quarles claimed it could see no evidence of a spill, and then claimed a leaking tank caused this damage.


Excavation Pit. 45 tons of contaminated soil was excavated and burned. Removing the tank left our home without heat or air conditioning. The pit was about 30 by 10 feet and ranged from 2 to 7 feet deep. If Quarles had reported the spill instead of concealing it, we could have taken off just a few inches of soil and avoided tens of thousands of dollars in damage.


No Leaks in the Tank. The tank had no leaks and was found to have a capacity of only 290 gallons, not 550 as Quarles had falsely claimed. Quarles had pumped 367.4 gallons of oil, proving that at least 77 gallons was spilled if the tank was bone dry (unlikely). Quarles executives were present and reluctantly agreed that the tank had no leaks. Even after this conclusive proof that Quarles had spilled a lot of oil, the company just walked away and stuck us with the cost of the clean-up and property damage. The dark stains on the tank are from the spilled oil. One Quarles executive present at the site claimed that we had switched tanks, that we had secretly gotten rid of the leaky tank and brought in this good tank in order to cheat Quarles.


No Help From Quarles. The excavation and pile of contaminated soil had to be covered due to the threat of rain. Quarles Petroleum provided no assistance. Our neighbor fell into the pit, but fortunately was not injured.


Water Supply Threatened by Quarles's Gross Negligence. Our goal was to keep as much oil as possible out of Purcell Branch, a lovely stream located 300 feet downhill from the Quarles spill. One mile downstream, the creek enters the Occoquan Reservoir which is water supply for over one million people. Quarles had no concern at all. Quarles says it's okay to dump fuel oil into the environment and there is no need to clean it up since it is "not a carcinogen" and washes away or evaporates over time (Brener case testimony). According to Quarles, there is no need at all to report spills of less that 25 gallons (testimony and DEQ case file).


6 Months After Trial Quarles Admits Falsity of Testimony

At trial, Quarles claimed that it had refunded the full amount it had charged us for the botched delivery and that we were greedy people trying to collect twice for damages that Quarles had already paid. This was untrue, and after repeated demands from me, the President of Quarles Petroleum finally did send a check for $348.66 and admitted that Quarles's testimony had been false. Quarles refuses to retract the remainder of its false testimony and accept financial responsibility for the damages caused by its fraudulent denials of liability.


Compare our experience with the following statements made in Quarles junk mail solicitation signed by Douglas Quarles III.

 Quarles Energy Services Logo.
 Douglas Quarles III.

"Our Mission: To create a customer-driven company that employs dependable people to provide unparalleled response and quality products and services for our customers' comfort and security."


"It's easy to deal with Quarles. There are no hassles."


"This brochure will introduce our expanded heating and air conditioning Service Plans. They were designed to save you money, eliminate surprises, prevent problems and give you peace of mind."


"Who can afford costly surprises these days? Winter can bring hardship for many homeowners in the form of heating equipment breakdowns, frozen pipes and unexpected repair bills."


"Whatever you decide, know that our Plans are backed by more than words. Our family name has been on every truck, statemement, and uniform for three generations. We're committed to maintaining our service and excellence for many generations to come. "


"Lots of companies make promises. We're one of the only full-service heating and air conditioning companies to put our guarantees in writing! When you have a Service Plan with Quarles Energy Services, you can rest easy knowing that your family and home are well-protected."


"We will leave your home as clean as when we arrived. "


"If we don't live up to any of our guarantees, we'll credit your account $50. That's putting our money where our mouth is."



An unreported spill by Quarles Petroleum could totally destroy the value of your home and cost you your life savings. You might not discover the spill for months or years, in which case it would be very difficult if not impossible to prove that Quarles had spilled the oil.


Under questioning during our lawsuit, Quarles executives admitted that Quarles has spilled oil many times during home deliveries and has not always reported the spills. In these situations, Quarles charged the homeowners for the spilled oil, and did not bother to inform them that their property had been contaminated.


Quarles Petroleum Incorporated
P.O. Box 5249
Fredericksburg VA 22403

Quarles Petroleum Incorporated
271 Warrenton Road
Fredericksburg VA 22405

Corporate Offices 540-371-2400

Quarles Petroleum operates gas stations and convenience stores using the names Q-Card and Q-Stop and has a Web page.


The people of Quarles Petroleum:

My Letter to Quarles Petroleum Had No Effect


May 30, 2000

Mr. Douglas Quarles III, COO
Mr. Ben Wafle, President
Quarles Petroleum, Inc.
271 Warrenton Road
Fredericksburg, VA  22405

Via Facsimile: 540-899-2242
Via US Mail

RE:	Jean Romeril and Jack Runyon v. Quarles Petroleum, Law 47777
	Jury Finding of Gross Negligence by Quarles and Award of Punitive Damages


Dear Mr. Quarles and Mr. Wafle:

I am writing to be certain that you are personally aware of a most intolerable situation. On December 2, 1997, the gross negligence of Quarles Petroleum caused 100 plus gallons of heating oil to be spilled into the front garden of our home. The facts of this matter were confirmed by a recent jury trial in the Circuit Court of Prince William County, Virginia, that included the award of $20,000 in punitive damages against Quarles. In contracting with Quarles for the unsupervised delivery of oil, customers place a great deal of trust in Quarles that the deliveries will be competently made and if there is a problem they will be truthfully informed. Customers who are injured by Quarles's mistakes expect that Quarles will make it right, and indeed this is the company's stated policy. This did not occur in our case, calling into question the sincerity of the promises that Quarles makes to its customers. We have been told many times that it is Quarles's policy to clean up spills at no cost to the customer. On January 2, 1998, Quarles employees, Mr. Hiltner and Mr. Clemons, met with us at our home and promised that Quarles would clean up its spill and restore our property to its pre-spill condition at no cost to us. This company policy was reiterated many times by Quarles employees in sworn testimony during the recent lawsuit. And that is what we wanted, too, for Quarles to clean up the mess it made on our property. If Quarles had performed the clean-up that it promised, we would still be satisfied oil and service customers of Quarles Petroleum. However, after your insurer and attorney got involved, the Quarles policy was apparently put aside in an attempt to avoid financial responsibility for this spill. Quarles Petroleum's refusal to accept responsibility for its spill `forced us to spend our life savings to pursue and prevail in a lawsuit against Quarles, when Quarles was clearly liable, and absolutely no settlement was ever offered, just to get our property cleaned up. Quarles's actions were a severe intrusion into our lives that has caused us hardship. On the very same day we received your brochure with its high sounding promises, we have received from your attorney, Mr. Prior, a letter claiming that all issues have been resolved by the litigation of our lawsuit against Quarles and that Quarles will do nothing more to repair the harm it has caused us. We do not agree. Quarles remains honor bound to fulfill the promises made to us on January 2, 1998, and to uphold the guarantees of corporate integrity made in its brochures. These obligations are not diminished by the past litigation, but are intensified by the jury findings. As things presently stand, Quarles has violated the promises it made to us, and as a result we have suffered a horrendous financial loss and damage to our lives for which we hold Quarles accountable. Until this spill occurred, we would have given Quarles a testimonial like those in your brochure. We liked Quarles and were very pleased with the apparent quality of the service. After Mr. Clemons and Mr. Hiltner came to our home and promised that Quarles would clean up the spill, we remained satisfied with Quarles and the professionalism and courtesy of its people, even under the unfortunate circumstances of the accident. After this meeting, we fully cooperated with any effort that Quarles made to respond to its spill, but the sad fact is Quarles chose to do nothing and instead attempted to shift the blame and financial injury of its spill onto us in a manner that violates the company's promises and assurances of corporate integrity. In order to correct the injury Quarles has unfairly inflicted on us, it is imperative that the final outcome of this matter be adjusted to comply with Quarles's publicly stated policies. We suggest that a face to face meeting with you offers the best chance of resolving this matter without further costly litigation and public relations damage to Quarles's business reputation. In an effort to help you understand the basis of our dissatisfaction, we invite you to come look at our home yourselves and talk this over. Alternatively, we are agreeable to meeting with you at your offices or other location.

Very Truly Yours,



Jack Runyon

Quarles Brochure:	"Lot's of companies make promises."
			"We will leave your house as clean as when we arrived."
			"Our plans are backed by more than our words."
			"...a customer-driven company that employs dependable people..."


EPA Alleges Violations by Quarles Petroleum Incorporated.

A search of "Quarles Petroleum" on AltaVista produced the following information taken from http://www.epa.gov/Region3/r3press/pr9697.htm.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS

EPA has filed administrative complaints against the following parties:

QUARLES PETROLEUM TERMINAL, INC:

EPA alleges that Quarles Petroleum violated federal regulations at its Fredricksburg, Virginia oil storage facility by failing to implement and review the oil spill prevention, control, and countermeasures (SPCC) plan that Quarles had prepared for this facility. In particular, the complaint alleges that Quarles did not comply with its SPCC plan commitments to provide adequate secondary containment to limit oil spills, and to provide adequate security at the facility. Further, Quarles SPCC plan did not provide for required personnel training in oil spill prevention and control. EPA seeks a $114,257.83 penalty for these violations.


Media Coverage of Quarles Petroleum

Virginia Journal Newspaper Archives, Quarles fined for overloading trucks in violation of state law. Quarles driver Kim Harmantas fired after complaining of unsafe practices. This article makes Quarles operations sound like an episode of the Dukes of Hazzard with overloaded trucks taking the back roads and using their radios to avoid the Smokies.

Links