Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Tension Envelope filed suit against JBM, its former supplier, for selling directly to its customers after promising not to do so. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to JBM on the breach of contract claim because no enforceable requirements contract existed between the companies; on the promissory estoppel claim based on the statute of frauds; on the fraudulent misrepresentation claims; on the fraudulent nondisclosure claim where JBM had no duty to disclose its plans to market envelopes; on the tortious interference claim where there was no evidence Tension used improper means to sell to plaintiff's customers; the unfair competition claim; and the misappropriation of trade secrets claim under Missouri law. View "Tension Envelope Corp. v. JBM Envelope Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and Byron Financial filed suit against each other for breach of contract. The jury found that plaintiff had violated an agreement between the parties and owed Byron Financial $500,000.00. The district court then granted a remittitur, reducing the jury's verdict to $245,510.93 without offering Byron Financial the alternative of a new trial. The Eighth Circuit held that plaintiff failed to preserve for review his claim that defendant was seeking to recover damages for services that fell beyond the scope of the breach-of-contract claim; plaintiff did not object at trial that Byron Financial's evidence concerned matters beyond the scope of its pleadings; the jury's verdict was not motivated by passion and prejudice; the size of the verdict was not so monstrous, shocking, or plainly unjust as to require a new trial; but the district court erred when it ordered remittitur in the amount of $245,510.93. The court held that, under the maximum recovery rule, plaintiff owed Byron Financial $206,395.78 in base commissions, $5,209.80 in renewal commissions, and $39,115.18 in expenses, totaling $250,720.76. View "Wright v. Byron Financial, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Allstate after the insurance company denied their homeowner's insurance claim. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Allstate's motion for judgment as a matter of law. In regard to the breach of contract claim, the court held that plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence of the home's value and the personal property's value before or after the fire. Furthermore, a bankruptcy filing was insufficient to establish value. In this case, plaintiffs could have submitted an estimate of the personal property's value immediately before the fire, but they did not. Values on their proof-of-loss list were estimates of original purchase prices and it did not account for deterioration, obsolescence, or other depreciation as required by the policy and under Missouri law. Because plaintiff's vexatious refusal claim was derivative of their breach of contract claim, the court affirmed as to that claim. View "Aziz v. Allstate Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for leave to amend and granted summary judgment dismissing plaintiff's sole claim remaining on remand -- that American Century breached the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing by taking discretionary action to retaliate in violation of public policy. The court held that the Supreme Court of Missouri's decision in Bishop & Assocs., LLC, v. Ameren Corp., 520 S.W.3d 463 (Mo. banc. 2017), limits plaintiff's claim for breach of American Century's implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing to the "reasonable expectation" ground that was dismissed with prejudice in Kmak I. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that plaintiff failed to show good cause to amend. View "Kmak v. American Century Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for tenant in a suit filed by landlord for breach of a terminated lease agreement and waste under Iowa law. The court held that, under section 26.01 of the lease agreement, the sole remedy was lease termination. Therefore, landlord could not recover the alleged contract damages. Furthermore, landlord's claim for waste failed because the parties expressly contracted for that liability in sections 6.06 and 26.01 of the lease. View "Davenport Chester, LLC v. Abrams Properties, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in an action filed by LNV against OSM to recover its share of sales proceeds from a promissory note. The court held that the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA), 12 U.S.C. 1821, barred the district court from exercising jurisdiction over OSM's counterclaim; post-receivership claims and claims arising after the claims-bar date were subject to exhaustion; OSM's alleged common-law defense for not paying LNV the net proceeds was ineffective because the contract addressed LNV's alleged prior material breach and OSM must comply with the contract; there was no right of setoff and thus BF-Negev breached the Bahia Agreement by withholding LNV's share of collections; and the court declined to exercise its discretion by reversing the district court's attorney fee award. View "LNV Corp. v. Outsource Services Management, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging claims of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and negligence. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's motion to dismiss the breach of contract and negligence claims because plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to state a plausible claim for breach of contract or negligence. In this case, the language of the policy was unambiguous in describing what the parties intended their contract to be—the policy itself and the written application for the policy. Because the loan forms plaintiff relied on to support the breach of contract claim were not part of the insurance policy, the claim failed. Likewise, the negligence claim failed because it relied on the loan forms being part of the insurance contract. View "Torti v. John Hancock Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for CIC on the Trust's claims for breach of contract, vexatious refusal, and declaratory judgment. The court held that the district court properly afforded the appraisal provision its plain meaning in determining it was unambiguous, enforceable, and did not abridge the Trust's rights under Missouri's vexatious refusal statute; the district court properly concluded CIC did not waive the appraisal provision; the Trust's contention that there was no basis for the district court to order appraisal of all covered damages, including replacement cost, was unfounded; the district court committed no error in finding the Trust's breach of contract claim failed as a matter of law; and the district court properly granted CIC summary judgment on the Trust's vexatious refusal claim. View "Olga Despotis Trust v. Cincinnati Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to JRMC in this breach of contract suit and the district court's subsequent award of $64,931.81 to JRMC. The court held that the documents executed in connection with defendant's employment at JRMC should be considered separately: the Recruitment Agreement and the Employment Agreement; defendant's obligation to pay the remaining debt under a promissory note was not excused by his allegations of fraud or breach of the duty of good faith, as well as breach of contract and personal injury; the terms of the note control and the note provided that defendant agreed to pay all costs and expenses incurred by JRMC in connection with the collection and enforcement of the note; and the district court did not abuse its discretion with respect to the award of attorney's fees. View "Johnson Regional Medical Center v. Halterman" on Justia Law

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Bank of America filed suit against the Hanna Parties for breach of contract after they failed to pay a loan. The jury found that the Hanna Parties did not breach the contract and the district court entered judgment for them. On remand, the Hanna Parties advanced defenses of fraudulent inducement and fraudulent failure to disclose. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Bank's motion for summary judgment on those defenses because JB Hanna could not have reasonably relied on the Bank's allegedly fraudulent representations. In this case, the district court correctly rejected the defenses of fraudulent inducement and fraudulent failure to disclose as a matter of law. Furthermore, because there was insufficient evidence to support the fraud defenses, the setoff defense also failed. View "Bank of America v. JB Hanna, LLC" on Justia Law