Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries
Dodson International Parts v. Williams International Company
Williams International Company LLC designed, manufactured, and serviced small jet engines. Dodson International Parts, Inc., sold new and used aircraft and aircraft parts. After purchasing two used jet engines that had been manufactured by Williams, Dodson contracted with Williams to inspect the engines and prepare an estimate of repair costs, intending to resell the repaired engines. Williams determined that the engines were so badly damaged that they could not be rendered fit for flying, but it refused to return one of the engines because Dodson had not paid its bill in full. Dodson sued Williams in federal court alleging federal antitrust and state-law tort claims. Williams moved to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), relying on an arbitration clause on the original invoices. The district court granted the motion, and the arbitrator resolved all of Dodson’s claims in favor of Williams. Dodson then moved to reconsider the order compelling arbitration and to vacate the arbitrator’s award. The court denied both motions and, construing Williams’s opposition to the motion for vacatur as a request to confirm the award, confirmed the award. Dodson appealed, challenging the district court’s order compelling arbitration and its order confirming the award and denying the motions for reconsideration and vacatur. After review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed, holding: (1) the claims in Dodson’s federal-court complaint were encompassed by the arbitration clause; (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Dodson’s untimely motion to reconsider; and (3) that Dodson failed to establish any grounds for vacatur of the arbitrator’s award or for denial of confirmation of the award. View "Dodson International Parts v. Williams International Company" on Justia Law
Loreley Financing (Jersey) No. 3 Ltd. v. Wells Fargo
Plaintiffs filed suit for fraud, rescission, conspiracy, aiding and abetting, fraudulent conveyance, and unjust enrichment alleging that defendants had misrepresented that collateral managers would exercise independence in selecting assets for collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). The district court granted summary judgment in favor of defendants.The Second Circuit affirmed and held that plaintiffs have failed to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, reliance on defendants' representations. In this case, plaintiffs based their investment decisions solely on the investment proposals their investment advisor developed; the advisor developed these detailed investment proposals based on offering materials defendants provided and on the advisor's own due diligence; plaintiffs premised their fraud claims on the advisor's reliance on defendants' representations; but New York law does not support this theory of third-party representations. The court also held that plaintiffs have failed to establish that defendants misrepresented or omitted material information for two of the three CDO deals at issue—the Octans II CDO and the Sagittarius CDO I. The court explained that defendants' representations that the collateral managers would exercise independence in selecting assets were not misrepresentations at all, and defendants did not have a duty to disclose their knowledge of the hedge fund's investment strategy because this information could have been discovered through the exercise of due care. View "Loreley Financing (Jersey) No. 3 Ltd. v. Wells Fargo" on Justia Law
623 Partners, LLC v. Bowers et al.
In an earlier action, 623 Partners, LLC, obtained a default judgment against Bart Bowers. But 623 Partners never collected on that judgment. About nine years after obtaining the judgment, 623 Partners filed this case, alleging that Bart and members of his family had orchestrated the fraudulent conveyance of a property that should have been used to pay the judgment. While this case was pending, the judgment in the earlier action reached the 10-year mark, meaning the judgment was presumed satisfied. 623 Partners tried but failed to revive the judgment. The defendants in this case then moved for summary judgment on the sole basis that 623 Partners could not enforce the judgment -- effectively arguing that the 623 Partners' fraudulent-conveyance claims were moot. The trial court granted that motion. Because the Alabama Supreme Court presumed the judgment against Bart and its underlying debt were satisfied, the Court affirmed. View "623 Partners, LLC v. Bowers et al." on Justia Law
CCM Condominium Association, Inc. v. Petri Positive Pest Control, Inc.
The Supreme Court held that, for purposes of calculating whether a plaintiff has met the threshold amount of difference between an offer of judgment and the judgment entered for purposes of Fla. Stat. 768.79, post-offer prejudgment interest must be excluded from the amount of the "judgment entered."The Fourth District held that caselaw required the exclusion of post-offer prejudgment interest from the "judgment obtained" when determining entitlement to attorney's fees under section 768.79. Because this conclusion conflicted with the Third District's decision in Perez v. Circuit City Stores, Inc., 721 So. 2d 409 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998), and the First District Court of Appeal’s decision in Phillips v. Parrish, 585 So. 2d 1038 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991), the Fourth District certified conflict. The Supreme Court approved the Fourth District decision and disapproved the decisions in Perez and Phillips to the extent they were inconsistent with the decision today, holding that the Fourth district's interpretation of section 768.79 was not erroneous. View "CCM Condominium Association, Inc. v. Petri Positive Pest Control, Inc." on Justia Law
Seward v. Richards et al.
Three defendants, Charles Richards, Chairman’s View, Inc. (Chairman’s View), and CoreValue Holdings, LLC (CoreValue), appealed a superior court order denying their motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, this action brought by plaintiff, Christine Seward. Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for claims related to the transfer of a patent. Plaintiff was a New Hampshire resident and was a former employee of Chairman's View; Chairman’s View was a Delaware corporation registered with the New Hampshire Secretary of State to do business in New Hampshire as a foreign corporation. Its principal office was located in White River Junction, Vermont. CoreValue was a Nevada limited liability company registered to do business in Vermont and has the same principal office address in White River Junction as Chairman’s View. Richards resided in Norwich, Vermont, and was the president, sole director, and majority shareholder of Chairman’s View and was the managing member, and either the sole or majority member, of CoreValue. In 2014, plaintiff loaned Chairman’s View $312,500 and an additional $58,000 at Richard’s request. In 2016, plaintiff made a formal demand for payment on both notes. Chairman’s View failed to honor the demands, constituting an event of default on both notes. To secure the payment of both notes, the parties entered into a Security Agreement which pledged all of Chairman’s View’s assets. The pledged assets included U.S. Patent No 960727842 for proprietary software (the Patent), which, the complaint alleged, on “knowledge and belief, . . . constitutes Chairman’s View’s nearly only—but significantly valuable—asset.” Due to continued nonpayment, plaintiff filed suit in superior court to collect on the notes. After a judgment in this suit was issued and became final, and without plaintiff’s knowledge or consent, Chairman’s View recorded an assignment of the Patent to CoreValue at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2018, the superior court granted plaintiff permission to attach the Patent, but it had already been assigned. Plaintiff contended defendants continued to receive license fees, and they continued to receive revenue from marketing the software covered by the Patent. The New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded the superior court did not err in denying defendants' motion to dismiss. View "Seward v. Richards et al." on Justia Law
Jacobson Warehouse Co., Inc. v. Schnuck Markets, Inc.
SMI, a supermarket retailer, and XPO, a logistics company, both appeal the district court's orders and judgment in a breach of contract and tort dispute arising out of the parties' business relationship.The Eighth Circuit concluded that the parties' agreement bars SMI from recovering non-direct damages from XPO; the Limitation of Liability Provision contractually limits both parties' liability to each other, but does not exonerate them, and is therefore not contrary to Missouri public policy; the Limitation of Liability Provision does not violate Missouri public policy simply because it prevents SMI from recovering its mitigation damages; there was no error in the district court's determination at summary judgment that three categories of SMI's claimed damages were consequential damages; there was no error in granting judgment as a matter of law on SMI's negligence counterclaim where SMI has not provided sufficient evidence to show that XPO breached a duty of care other than its contractual duty under the agreement; there was no error in the district court's determination that two emails SMI sought to exclude were protected by the attorney-client privilege; and there was no error in awarding statutory prejudgment interest to XPO.In regard to XPO's arguments on appeal, the court concluded that there was no error in the district court's denial of judgment as a matter of law on SMI's breach of contract counterclaim, and there was no error in the district court's determination that XPO was not entitled to attorney's fees under the agreement. View "Jacobson Warehouse Co., Inc. v. Schnuck Markets, Inc." on Justia Law
Suburban Home Health Care, Inc. v. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicaid
The Supreme Judicial Court held that the six-year statute of limitations for contract actions governed this case and that the efforts of Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicaid (MassHealth) to collect overpayments made to providers in the State Medicaid program were time barred.In 2005, MassHealth sent an audit notice to a provider, Suburban Home Health Care, Inc., but took no further action until 2016, when it initiated recovery proceedings. Suburban sought declaratory relief, arguing that the proceedings were barred under the statute of limitations for "actions of contract" in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, 2. The superior court denied relief, concluding that the administrative proceedings to collect the overpayments could not be considered civil actions, and therefore, no statute of limitations applied. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the six-year statute of limitations for contract actions applied and that MassHealth's action was time barred. View "Suburban Home Health Care, Inc. v. Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Office of Medicaid" on Justia Law
Ex parte Hillard and Warr.
Deborah Hillard and Holland Hillard Warr jointly petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, raising numerous issues. The Court ordered answers and briefs on one issue raised by Warr: whether the circuit court erred in denying her summary-judgment motion on the counterclaim brought against her by her former husband, Rik Tozzi, which Warr claimed was barred by principles of res judicata. Warr specifically requested that the Supreme Court issue the writ of mandamus directing the circuit court to grant her summary-judgment motion. The Court denied the petition as to that issue. "Warr does not provide meaningful discussion of the precedent she cites or the other relevant precedent ... She has not established that the instant case is controlled by opinions holding that a former spouse was barred from pursuing a tort claim against the other former spouse based on conduct that occurred before a divorce. For example, she has not shown that the allegedly tortious acts and omissions surrounding the execution and delivery of the promissory note were fully litigated in the divorce action or that Tozzi's tort allegations were resolved by a settlement agreement entered in the divorce action or by the final divorce judgment." Because Warr did not demonstrate a clear legal right to a judgment in her favor on Tozzi's counterclaim based on principles of res judicata, the Supreme Court denied the petition. View "Ex parte Hillard and Warr." on Justia Law
Childs et al. v. Pommer
In case number 1190525, Paul Childs and Granger Construction Company, LLC ("Granger Construction"), appealed a circuit court judgment entered in favor of Harry ("Bud") and Brenda Pommer. In their cross-appeal, case number 1190580, the Pommers appealed the trial court's judgment entered in favor of Melissa Granger ("Melissa"), as the administratrix of the estate of Daniel Granger ("Granger"), deceased. In 2014, the Pommers decided to build a garage on property that they owned in Fairhope, Alabama. Childs was referred to Bud for the work. Childs brought Granger into the project as the licensed contractor for the work. The evidence presented at trial indicated that the project experienced significant delays. Evidence was presented indicating that Granger and Childs performed some of the physical labor on the project. In March 2015, when an invoice was presented to the Pommers, Bud and Brenda told the Childs and Granger that they did not want to give them another check based on how things had been going. A "heated" meeting between the parties resulted in the Pommers hiring an attorney. Bud requested the City conduct an inspection; the garage did not pass. The Pommers subsequently hired another contractor and other companies to repair work done by Granger Construction and to complete unfinished work on the project. The Pommers ultimately sued Childs and Granger Construction for breach of contract. Childs and Granger Construction filed their answer to the amended complaint and a counterclaim, asserting breach of contract/unjust enrichment against the Pommers. After review, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the trial court as to Granger Construction in case number 1190525. The Court reversed the trial court as to Childs, and rendered judgment in favor of Childs. In case number 1190580, the Court affirmed the trial court. View "Childs et al. v. Pommer" on Justia Law
Drew v. Pacific Life Insurance Co.
The Supreme Court vacated the determination of the court of appeals that R. Scott National, Inc. (RSN) was an "agent" of Pacific Life Insurance Company (Pacific Life) based on Utah Code 31A-1-301(88)(b), and therefore granting partial summary judgment to Plaintiffs on their claim that Pacific Life should be held liable for RSN's alleged misdeeds, holding that remand was required.The district court granted summary judgment to Pacific Life, concluding that nothing RSN did was within the actual or apparent authority Pacific Life granted RSN. The court of appeals reversed and granted partial summary judgment for Plaintiffs, holding that RSN was Pacific Life's agent and that RSN's actions fell within the scope of authority Pacific Life had granted RSN. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment below, holding that the court of appeals (1) erred in ruling that section 31A-1-301(88)(b) made RSN an agent of Pacific Life and in injecting respondeat superior principles into Utah Code 31A-23a-405(2); and (2) Plaintiffs were entitled to the entry of partial summary judgment on the issue of RSN's apparent authority from Pacific Life. View "Drew v. Pacific Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law