by
In this construction dispute, the Court of Chancery granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ complaint seeking to vacate or modify an arbitration award for failure to state a claim and denying Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, holding that the arbitrator did not exceed the scope of his authority or act in manifest disregard of the law when he awarded Defendant damages. In their first claim, Plaintiffs argued that the arbitrator’s interpretation of the provisions in the contract between the parties regarding the total cost of the construction project evidences a manifest disregard for the law. In their second claim, Plaintiffs argued that the arbitrator exceeded his authority and acted in manifest disregard of the law when he issued an award for fees and expenses to Defendant. The Court of Chancery disagreed, holding that the arbitrator did not act in manifest disregard of the law in either respect. View "Stempien v. Marnie Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

by
This case arose out of disputes between the parties involving a twelve year commercial lease of office space in Baltimore, Maryland. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court misconstrued the lease agreement and misapplied Maryland law in concluding that Montgomery Park had a duty to endeavor to relet the premises and minimize its damages as a condition precedent to recovering against NCO. The panel held that the lease agreement's language incorporated the common law mitigation-of-damages doctrine, which holds that a plaintiff cannot recover damages which it could have reasonably avoided. Therefore, Montgomery Park's recovery should only have been reduced by the amount of rent that NCO could demonstrate would have been recovered by reasonable efforts to re-let the space. The court also held that the district court, in evaluating the commercial reasonableness of Montgomery Park's mitigation efforts, applied the wrong standard. The court held that reasonable commercial efforts to mitigate damages did not require Montgomery Park to favor NCO’s space over other vacant space in the building, but rather, commercial reasonableness only required Montgomery Park to reasonably market NCO's space on an equal footing with the other spaces that it was seeking to rent. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for further proceedings. View "NCO Financial Systems, Inc. v. Montgomery Park, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court certifying as final the prior orders that granted summary judgment to Respondents in this civil action arising out of the modification of covenants pertaining to a residential subdivision developed by RJM Holdings, LLC, holding that the genuine issues of material fact precluded summary judgment. On appeal, Petitioners argued that the circuit court erred by granting summary judgment because genuine issues of material fact existed regarding whether Respondents were engaged in a joint venture with RJM to develop the subdivision and whether the corporate veils of the respondent businesses should be pierced to hold certain individuals personally liable. The Supreme Court agreed and reversed, holding that genuine issues of material fact existed with respect to the conduct of Respondents and the use of the various business entities to develop the subdivision. View "Dailey v. RJM Holdings, LLC" on Justia Law

by
PetroChina Canada bought ten large heat-exchanger units from Kelvion’s Oklahoma plant for use in PetroChina’s oil and gas operations. Their contract included a mandatory forum-selection clause subjecting the parties to Canadian jurisdiction. After a dispute over unanticipated delivery costs that PetroChina refused to pay, Kelvion brought suit in Oklahoma. It asserted quantum meruit and unjust enrichment claims, arguing the forum-selection clause did not apply to its equitable claims. The district court disagreed, concluding the forum-selection clause applied, and dismissed the suit under the doctrine of forum non conveniens. Finding no error in judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal for forum non conveniens. View "Kelvion, Inc. v. PetroChina Canada Ltd." on Justia Law

by
The issue this case presented for the Alabama Supreme Court’s review was who had the power to determine the location of an arbitration proceeding: an arbitrator or Circuit Court. The Court concluded that, under the facts of this case, the arbitrator had that power; thus, reversed and remanded. View "Alliance Investment Company, LLC v. Omni Construction Company, Inc., a/k/a OCC, Inc" on Justia Law

by
In this case involving a contract to purchase a business-management software system, the Supreme Court held that contractual disclaimers barred Buyer from recovering in tort for misrepresentations Seller made both to induce Buyer to enter into the contract and to induce Buyer later to agree to amend the contract but that Seller’s breach of contract caused Buyer to suffer damages. Buyer sued Seller for, inter alia, common law fraud, fraudulent inducement, and breach of contract. The jury found Seller liable on all claims. The jury awarded damages for fraudulent inducement and common law fraud but awarded zero damages for breach of contract. The court of appeals affirmed liability for fraudulent inducement but reversed the fraud award, concluding that the claim was based on the same misrepresentations as the fraudulent-inducement claim. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) Buyer could not recover from recover for fraudulent inducement or common law fraud because Buyer expressly disclaimed any reliance on Seller’s misrepresentations; and (2) Buyer was entitled to a new trial on its claim for breach of contract because the evidence conclusively established that Buyer suffered some amount of damages as a result of Seller’s breach. View "International Business Machines Corp. v. Lufkin Industries, Inc." on Justia Law

by
In this interlocutory appeal from an order denying a city’s plea to the jurisdiction and alternative motion for summary judgment, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment sustaining the city’s jurisdictional plea, holding that Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code 271.152, which waives a city’s immunity from suit on certain contracts, did not apply to the underlying claims. Section 271.152 provides that a governmental entity that is authorized to contract and that enters into a contract waives its immunity to suit for purposes of adjudicating a claim under the contract. In the instant case, Plaintiffs, employees of the City of Denton, sued the City for breach of contract, alleging that the City’s policies and procedures manual (the policy) constituted a unilateral contract that the City breached. The trial court denied the City’s jurisdictional plea. The court of appeals affirmed, ruling that the policy created a unilateral contract that certain employees could enforce under the statutory waiver. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the policy did not create an enforceable, written contract, a requirement for governmental to be waived under section 271.152. View "City of Denton v. Rushing" on Justia Law

by
In this breach of contract case, the Supreme Court held that the waiver of governmental immunity for certain claims provided by the Local Government Contract Claims Act (Act), Tex. Loc. Gov’t Code 271.151-.160, at the time this case arose applies when the remedy sought is specific performance rather than money damages. The Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group sued the City of Antonio alleging that the City failed to comply with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the parties with respect to certain property. For its breach of contract claim, the Restoration Group sought only specific performance. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the Restoration Group. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that the City was immune from suit and that the Act did not waive the City’s immunity from suit for specific performance of a contract. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the City acted in its government capacity when it entered the MOU and, therefore, enjoyed immunity from suit “in the first instance”; but (2) the Act waived the City’s immunity from suit on the Restoration Group’s claim for specific performance. View "Hays Street Bridge Restoration Group v. City of San Antonio" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of Greater Omaha Packing Company, Inc. (GOP) as to Meyer Natural Foods LLC’s breach of contract action following a purported E. coli contamination of beef owned by Meyer and processed by GOP, holding that although the district court incorrectly applied the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) in regard to Meyer’s acceptance of adulterated meat under the parties’ processing agreement, the court nevertheless arrived at the correct result. Under the agreement, GOP would slaughter Meyer’s cattle, process the beef, and fabricate the beef into various beef productions. After testing resulted in a very high percentage of presumptive positive findings for E. coli, Meyer filed suit against GOP. The district court granted summary judgment for GOP. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court erred in finding that Meyer had accepted the contaminated beef under the agreement or under the UCC, but the court’s ultimate conclusion was correct, as Meyer failed to adhere to the terms to properly reject products under the agreement. View "Meyer Natural Foods v. Greater Omaha Packing Co." on Justia Law

by
The Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act governs public works projects, requires a prime contractor to obtain the awarding authority's consent before replacing a subcontractor listed in the original bid (Pub. Contract Code 4107(a)), and limits the awarding authority’s ability to consent. If the original subcontractor objects to being replaced, the awarding authority must hold a hearing. San Francisco entered a contract with prime contractor Ghilotti for a major renovation of Haight Street. Consistent with its accepted bid, Ghilotti entered a contract with subcontractor Synergy for excavation and utilities work. After Synergy broke five gas lines and engaged in other unsafe behavior, the city invoked a provision of its contract with Ghilotti to direct Ghilotti to remove Synergy and substitute a new subcontractor. Under protest, Ghilotti terminated Synergy and identified two potential replacement contractors. Synergy objected. A hearing officer determined that Synergy’s poor performance established a statutory ground for substitution. Synergy and Ghilotti argued that the hearing officer lacked jurisdiction because Ghilotti had not made a “request” for substitution. The trial court agreed. The court of appeal reversed. Although the statute contemplates that the prime contractor will normally be the party to seek substitution, the procedure followed here “complied in substance with every reasonable objective of the statute.” View "Synergy Project Management, Inc. v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law