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STV One Nineteen Senior Living, LLC ("STV"), appealed a circuit court order denying its motion to compel arbitration of certain counterclaims filed against it by Dixie Boyd, by and through her agent, Mary Alice Boyd-Kline, under a valid power of attorney. Dixie Boyd and Mary-Alice Boyd-Kline, as holder of Boyd's power of attorney, signed a "residency agreement" with STV, which operated an assisted-living facility. STV agreed to provide Dixie Boyd with a private apartment and other related services, including, among other things, utilities, housekeeping, laundry, meals, maintenance, planned activities, transportation, and security and protection. The residency agreement contained an arbitration clause. The Alabama Supreme Court determined the plain language of the arbitration clause encompassed Boyd's counterclaims, and the trial court erred, therefore, in denying STV's motion to compel arbitration. View "STV One Nineteen Senior Living, LLC v. Boyd" on Justia Law

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In this breach of contract action brought by a homeowner (Plaintiff) against the company that laid his asphalt driveway (Defendant), the Supreme Court affirmed in part and in part reversed the judgment of the district court that significantly reduced the reduction of the award given by the county court. After Plaintiff’s driveway began to deteriorate prematurely, Plaintiff sued Defendant. The county court entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff. The district court reversed the county court’s determination that Plaintiff’s damages included $26,189 for a two-inch overlay of the entire driveway and remanded the case with directions to enter judgment reflecting damages in the amount of $6,522. On appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the county court’s verdict should have been limited to plain error; (2) there was no plain error in the county court’s assessment of $26,189 in damages for the two-inch overlay; (3) there was sufficient evidence that it was reasonable and necessary for Plaintiff to contract for a stopgap repair of patchwork replacement of broken sections; and (4) there was no plain error in the county court’s award of discovery sanctions and repairs. View "Houser v. American Paving Asphalt" on Justia Law

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The gestational surrogacy contract in the instant case was legally enforceable in favor of the intended, biological father against a surrogate mother and her husband who were not the child’s genetic parents. Plaintiffs were a married couple who signed a contract with Defendants, the surrogate mother and her husband. The surrogate mother was impregnated with embryos fertilized with the plaintiff-father’s sperm and the eggs of an anonymous donor. After one surviving child was born, Defendants refused to honor the agreement. Plaintiffs sued to enforce the contract and gain custody of the child. The district court concluded that the contract was enforceable, terminated the presumptive parental rights of the surrogate mother and her husband, established paternity in the biological father, and awarded him permanent legal and physical custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly established paternity in the biological father based on the undisputed DNA evidence, terminated the presumptive parental rights of Defendants and awarded permanent custody to the biological, intended father. A contrary holding invaliding surrogacy contracts would deprive infertile couples of the opportunity to raise their own biological children and limit the personal autonomy of women willing to serve as surrogates. View "P.M. v. T.B." on Justia Law

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The gestational surrogacy contract in the instant case was legally enforceable in favor of the intended, biological father against a surrogate mother and her husband who were not the child’s genetic parents. Plaintiffs were a married couple who signed a contract with Defendants, the surrogate mother and her husband. The surrogate mother was impregnated with embryos fertilized with the plaintiff-father’s sperm and the eggs of an anonymous donor. After one surviving child was born, Defendants refused to honor the agreement. Plaintiffs sued to enforce the contract and gain custody of the child. The district court concluded that the contract was enforceable, terminated the presumptive parental rights of the surrogate mother and her husband, established paternity in the biological father, and awarded him permanent legal and physical custody. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court properly established paternity in the biological father based on the undisputed DNA evidence, terminated the presumptive parental rights of Defendants and awarded permanent custody to the biological, intended father. A contrary holding invaliding surrogacy contracts would deprive infertile couples of the opportunity to raise their own biological children and limit the personal autonomy of women willing to serve as surrogates. View "P.M. v. T.B." on Justia Law

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FWP and its designees filed suit against Chesapeake and related entities to recover payment allegedly due under a provision of a Surface Use Agreement governing Chesapeake's use of FWP's land. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that the payment provision was a covenant that ran with the surface of the land and that FWP accordingly forfeited the benefit of this covenant when it sold that land. Because FWP consequently forfeited its right to payment under this paragraph when it sold the surface of the land at issue to Chesapeake, the court did not address the district court's alternative holding. View "Fort Worth 4th Street Partners v. Chesapeake Energy Corp." on Justia Law

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FWP and its designees filed suit against Chesapeake and related entities to recover payment allegedly due under a provision of a Surface Use Agreement governing Chesapeake's use of FWP's land. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that the payment provision was a covenant that ran with the surface of the land and that FWP accordingly forfeited the benefit of this covenant when it sold that land. Because FWP consequently forfeited its right to payment under this paragraph when it sold the surface of the land at issue to Chesapeake, the court did not address the district court's alternative holding. View "Fort Worth 4th Street Partners v. Chesapeake Energy Corp." on Justia Law

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Turtle Creek Crossing, LLC, a minority interest holder in Kimco Hattiesburg, L.P., filed an action in circuit court after it learned it would receive no distribution from the sale of the partnership’s only asset, a multimillion-dollar shopping center. In its complaint, Turtle Creek alleged its fellow partners breached their fiduciary duties and conspired with each other, the partnership, and a sister partnership to market and sell the asset in such a way as to keep Turtle Creek from profiting. According to the defendants, the predominant claim was for an accounting - an equitable claim that belonges in chancery court; had this case been filed in chancery court, there would be a strong argument for the chancery court’s original jurisdiction over the accounting claim, as well as pendant jurisdiction over the legal claims. Turtle Creek did not file this action in chancery court. It filed it in circuit court. And the circuit court also had original jurisdiction, not only over the accounting claim, but also Turtle Creek’s other legal claims. Because Turtle Creek chose a forum with proper subject-matter jurisdiction, the Mississippi Supreme Court determined that choice must be respected. The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of the motion to transfer and remanded for further proceedings. View "KD Hattiesburg 1128, Inc. v. Turtle Creek Crossing, LLC" on Justia Law

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CNH, which manufactures “New Holland” brand farming and construction machinery, hired the real estate services firm, JLL, to manage a corporate re-branding program that involved the replacement of signage more than 1,400 North American dealerships. The vinyl used in the new signs was defective, necessitating the re-manufacture and replacement of virtually all of the installed signs. After the vinyl manufacturer repudiated its commitment to replace, at its own cost, the defective signs, CNH sued, alleging that JLL had failed to perform adequate quality control in the manufacturing of the signs, failed to negotiate the best possible warranty on the vinyl and the signs, and failed to properly document and manage the warranties. The district court found that CNH had suffered damages of $5,482,735 but reduced JLL’s liability to $3,026.361.60—the sum CNH paid to JLL in project management fees—plus such other amounts JLL might recover from third parties (the vinyl manufacturer and the sign fabricators) in the future. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court’s findings were supported by the evidence and make clear that JLL’s own failures with respect to quality control in the manufacturing process and with respect to the vinyl warranty made the defective-sign problem much worse for CNH than it otherwise would have been. View "CNH Industrial America LLC v. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc." on Justia Law

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Enduro Operating, LLC and Echo Production, Inc. were two of several parties to a joint operating agreement (JOA). Under the JOA, Echo, as a party wishing to undertake a new drilling project, had to provide notice of the proposed project to the other parties to the JOA, who then had thirty days to decide whether to opt in or out of the project. By opting in, a party agreed to share in the cost and risk of the project. If a party opted out of the project (as Enduro did in this case), then the party was deemed “non-consenting,” and exempt from any of the cost or risk associated with the new project, but could not share in any of the profits from the new project until the consenting parties recovered four-hundred percent of the labor and equipment costs invested in the new project. The question before us is what activities are adequate as a matter of law to 6 satisfy the contractual requirement that a consenting party actually commence the 7 drilling operation. The Court of Appeals concluded that the language in Johnson v. Yates Petroleum Corp., 981 P.2d 288, indicating that “any” preparatory activities would be sufficient was too permissive. The Court of Appeals was persuaded that Echo’s lack of on-site activity at the proposed well site, other than surveying and staking, and lack of a permit to commence drilling was evidence as a matter of law that Echo had not actually commenced drilling operations. The Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Echo and remanded for an entry of summary judgment in favor of Enduro. The New Mexico Supreme Court reversed, holding that the failure to obtain an approved drilling permit within the relevant commencement period was not dispositive; “[a] party may prove that it has actually commenced drilling operations with evidence that it committed resources, whether on-site or off-site, that demonstrate its present good-faith intent to diligently carry on drilling activities until completion. “ View "Enduro Operating LLC v. Echo Prod., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed and remanded a jury award of $260,464 after the jury found in favor of Plaintiff on its breach of contract and fraud claims against Defendant. In Stern Oil I, Defendant appealed a judgment awarding Plaintiff over eight years of lost profits in excess of $900,000. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, ruling that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of Plaintiff on its breach of contract claims against Defendant and by denying Defendant’s fraud claims against Plaintiff.On remand, a jury found in favor of Plaintiff on both claims. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding that the circuit court erred by (1) instructing the jury on consequential damages and the foreseeability of Plaintiff’s lost profits to Defendant at the time of contracting; and (2) excluding Plaintiff’s evidence on four damage scenarios. View "Stern Oil Co. v. Brown" on Justia Law