CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Burgess IGA, based in Daniels, W.Va., has won the right to a jury trial to settle a dispute with Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City.
urgess, who now owns and operates two stores, filed a civil suit against Fleming in 1990, seeking more than $25 million in damages.
According to the suit, Fleming breached Burgess' lease agreement by not allowing him to exercise his renewal option and by building a competing store down the street.
Burgess opened a store in 1985 in a former A&P unit in Beckley, W.Va., under a sublease from his supplier, Malone & Hyde, according to the suit. Under that agreement, which included a 10-mile noncompetition clause, Burgess was granted the right to exercise four successive five-year optional lease extensions, the suit claims.
When Malone & Hyde was acquired by Fleming in 1986, Fleming became the leaseholder on Burgess' store.
Shortly after Burgess switched suppliers in 1987 -- changing from Fleming to Virginia Foods -- construction began on a Fleming-affiliated Food 4 Less store within sight of Burgess' store.
At the same time, the suit claims, Fleming canceled Burgess' lease. In January 1993 the circuit court granted summary judgment to Fleming, prompting Burgess to appeal.