Articles Posted in Contracts

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Petitioners filed a tort action alleging that Beats Electronics had engaged in a fraudulent scheme to deprive them of their interest in the company. The trial court granted summary judgment for Beats and subsequently entered an order directing that the amount of Beats' attorney's fees be resolved through a notice motion. Petitionerss filed a petition for writ of mandate seeking an order directing the trial court to vacate its order, and enter a new order granting them a jury trial on the issue of attorney's fees. After issuing an order to show cause, the Court of Appeal granted the petition. The court held that the trial court erred in denying petitioners' requests for a jury trial on Beats' contract damages. In this case, Monster had a right to have a jury determine the amount of attorney's fees resulting from its alleged breach of the Termination Agreement and the 2013 Unit Repurchase Agreement. View "Monster, LLC v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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SJJC Aviation is a fixed base operator (FBO) that operates a full-service facility at the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, which is owned by the city. In 2012 the city addressed a plan to add a second FBO on the west side of the airport and issued a request for proposals “for the development and operation of aeronautical services facilities to serve general aviation activities at the [airport].” The city awarded the lease and operating agreement to Signature and its prospective subtenant, BCH, rejecting SJJC's bid as nonresponsive. SJJC filed suit, contending that the “flawed” process of soliciting bids for the lease should be set aside. The court of appeal affirmed dismissal of the suit. SJJC lost its own opportunity to compete for the new airport FBO by submitting a manifestly nonresponsive bid. SJJC is in reality complaining of past acts by the city and is seeking a remedy that will allow it another opportunity to submit a responsive proposal. View "SJJC Aviation Services v. City of San Jose" on Justia Law

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Phoenix Pipeline filed a second amended complaint (SAC) alleging breach of contract claims related to SpaceX's failure to pay for its services from 2010 to October 2013. The trial court subsequently granted SpaceX's demurrer, which argued that the license issued to Phoenix Plumbing was not sufficient to satisfy the requirements of Business Code section 7031. The Court of Appeal held that Phoenix Pipeline's SAC failed to state a claim for construction related services because it did not allege that Phoenix Pipeline was a licensed contractor. The court explained that Phoenix Pipeline may not rely upon a license issued to another and that section 7031 was not limited to contracts with unsophisticated persons or homeowners. The court held, however, that Phoenix Pipeline adequately alleged that it provided some services for which no contractor license was necessary. Finally, the trial court acted within its discretion in declining to permit an amendment alleging that Phoenix Pipeline was an employee. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Phoenix Mechanical Pipeline, Inc. v. Space Exploration Technologies Corp." on Justia Law

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The trial court found that plaintiff failed to prevail on any of his breach of contract claims because, while his evidence in support of those claims was "considerable," it was nonetheless "insufficient." The trial court awarded damages to plaintiff under Civil Code section 1692, nonetheless, because there was evidence showing that defendant had breached the parties' contract. The court of appeal held that the trial court's interpretation of section 1692 was flawed; the court reversed and directed that judgment be entered in favor of defendant; and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's posttrial motion to conform his pleadings to the proof presented at trial. View "Li Guan v. Yongmei Hu" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Pacific Bay treated an individual who was a subscriber to a Blue Shield health plan. It submitted invoices to Blue Shield for payment for the services rendered to the subscriber. Pacific Bay contends it was underpaid and brought suit against Blue Shield to recover the additional amount it claimed to be owed. The court sustained Blue Shield's demurrer to the first amended complaint (FAC) without leave to amend, finding that Pacific Bay had not shown that it was entitled to any payment from Blue Shield. As an out-of-network, nonemergency service provider, Pacific Bay was entitled to payment for treating Blue Shield's subscriber under the terms of the applicable evidence of coverage (EOC). Pacific Bay did not allege Blue Shield paid it improperly under the EOC, nor did it argue that it could allege additional facts to support such a claim. Pacific Bay claimed it was underpaid. Against this backdrop, Pacific Bay's other allegations did not give rise to any valid cause of action. View "Pacific Bay Recovery v. Cal. Physicians' Services" on Justia Law

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Whether a contract provision is an illegal penalty or enforceable liquidated damage clause is a question for the trial court; on review, appellate deference to that court’s factual findings is required. In 2005, Brother and Sister entered a contract under which Brother, a licensed real estate agent, would develop Sister’s Pebble Beach property through funding from investors and then sell the developed property, with Brother and Sister to split the profits after paying $1.5 million to Sister, reflecting her equity, and $30,000 to Brother as a fee. Brother obtained investors. Sister obtained loans totaling $1,008,000.00, secured by first and second deeds of trust. Brother did not use the money for its intended purposes. The property was sold at foreclosure. The investors and Sister sued Brother. Brother filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court granted relief from the automatic stay for Sister’s state claims for “Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, Fraud, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.” In 2014, after mediation, Brother and Sister signed a settlement, under which Sister was awarded a stipulated judgment of $850,000. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting Brother’s “fact-based” argument that the amount included an unenforceable liquidated damages penalty of $250,000.00 (Civil Code 1671), which he had not raised in the trial court. View "Krechuniak v. Noorzoy" on Justia Law

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The Warrens owned and operated a Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealership in Salinas for approximately 38 years. Intending to retire, the Warrens contacted a potential buyer, Dabney, who owned a Harley-Davidson dealership in Riverside. The Warrens’ corporation and Dabney executed various agreements, including a master “Asset Purchase Agreement” that incorporated a Guaranty signed by Dabney, under which he “agree[d] . . . to guarantee . . . the collection and receipt of all amounts” required under section 2 of the Agreement, under the promissory note(s), and under the lease. The Agreement allowed Dabney to assign his rights and obligations as buyer to a corporation that he controlled, with the assignment to relieve Dabney of all obligations under the Agreement. Dabney assigned his rights under the Agreement to Monterey Motorcycles, Inc., which defaulted on its obligations under the Agreement. The dealership was sold to a third party. The Warrens sued and won a judgment of $2,746,318 against Dabney. The court of appeal reversed, agreeing that the Guaranty did not apply to a covenant not to compete agreement and two consulting agreements. View "G & W Warren's, Inc. v. Dabney" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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In Marina Pacifica Homeowners Assn. v. Southern California Financial Corp., this court determined that a monthly "assignment fee," payable by individual condominium unit owners to the developers of the condominium project, was properly collectible under those statutory provisions. On appeal, the Association challenged the trial court's judgment determining the amended amounts owing from unit owners to the developers' successor in interest, Southern California, for the assignment fee. The court need not decide whether it could properly reconsider its decision in Marina Pacifica I, because the amended statute and its legislative history demonstrate that the Legislature intended in any event to permit the Marina Pacifica I assignment fees to remain in place. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Marina Pacifica Homeowners Assoc. v. Southern California Financial Corp." on Justia Law

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After Thomas, a member of the Board of Directors of Applied Medical Corporation, was removed from the Board in January 2012, Applied exercised its right to repurchase shares of its stock issued to Thomas as part of stock incentive plans. Thomas objected to the repurchase price, and in August 2012 Applied filed suit. In June, 2015, the trial court granted summary judgment against Applied. The court of appeal affirmed as to Applied’s fraud-based claims, but reversed as to Applied’s claims based on breach of contract and conversion. A conversion claim may be based on either ownership or the right to possession at the time of conversion. Applied’s fraud claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations; the court rejected Applied’s argument that those claims, first alleged in 2014, were timely under either the discovery rule or the relation back doctrine. View "Applied Medical Corp. v. Thomas" on Justia Law

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Escobar was an employee of O’Donnell, a sub-subcontractor of Bayside, which was a subcontractor of Oltmans, the general contractor on a Menlo Park construction project. Escobar sued Oltmans and the property owner, alleging that Oltmans negligently cut and left unsecured a skylight opening in the building under construction, through which Escobar fell while installing scaffolding that O’Donnell was erecting for Bayside. Oltmans filed a cross-complaint against the subcontractors, alleging a right to contractual indemnity and breach of Bayside’s contractual obligation to provide certificates of insurance certifying that Oltmans was covered as an additional insured under liability policies the subcontractors were obligated to obtain. The subcontract provided indemnity to Oltmans for injury claims arising out of the scope of the subcontractor’s work “except to the extent the claims arise out of, pertain to, or relate to the active negligence or willful misconduct” of Oltmans. Reversing the trial court, the court of appeal ruled in favor of Oltmans. Under such a provision the general contractor is precluded from recovering indemnity for liability incurred as a result of its own active negligence but may be indemnified for the portion of liability attributable to the fault of others. The court noted the same question arises as to the meaning of Civil Code section 2782.05, which renders unenforceable an indemnity provision “to the extent the claims arise out of, pertain to, or relate to the active negligence or willful misconduct of that general contractor.” View "Oltmans Construction Co. v. Bayside Interiors, Inc." on Justia Law