Articles Posted in Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Peak Powder River Resources, LLC (Peak) and against Bear Peak Resources, LLC (Bear) in this action alleging breach of contract, among other claims. Bear and Peak had agreed to work together in acquiring mineral interests for development, but Peak later obtained some mineral interests without compensating Bear and terminated the parties’ agreement. Bear filed suit. The district court determined that Peak was entitled to summary judgment on all of Bear’s claims. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the district court (1) properly granted Peak’s motion for summary judgment on Bear’s breach of the implied covenant, breach of fiduciary duty, and accounting claims; (2) properly concluded that the parties’ contract was unambiguous; and (3) did not err in determining that Peak was entitled to summary judgment on several of the individual breach of contract claims, but genuine issues of material fact existed on the remaining claims. View "Bear Peak Resources, LLC v. Peak Powder River Resources, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court reversed the district court’s order denying Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation - Wind River’s motion to compel arbitration in this wrongful death action. Aletha Boyd died following her discharge from Kindred. Aletha’s daughter, Susan Boyd, filed this action alleging that Kindred’s negligence in caring for Aletha caused her death. Kindred moved to compel arbitration pursuant to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) agreement signed by Leanna Putman, Aletha’s other daughter and representative under a power of attorney at the time of Aletha’s admission into the nursing home. The district court denied the motion without providing reasons for doing so. The Supreme Court remanded with instructions to order arbitration as required by the ADR agreement, holding (1) Putnam had the authority to sign the ADR agreement on Aletha’s behalf; and (2) the ADR was neither unconscionable nor lacked mutuality of assent or sufficient consideration. View "Kindred Heathcare Operating, Inc. v. Boyd" on Justia Law

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Due to deficiencies in this pro se appeal filed by Appellant, the Supreme Court summarily affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Appellant’s complaint. Appellant, a former project engineer at Sinclair Wyoming Refining Company, filed a complaint against certain Sinclair defendants, asserting fraud in the inducement and execution, breach of contract, and malicious destruction of property. The Sinclair defendants filed a motion to dismiss. Appellant filed timely to respond to the motion. The district court granted the motion to dismiss without a hearing. The Supreme Court summarily affirmed, holding that Appellant did not adequately comply with the Wyoming Rules of Appellate Procedure. View "Cor v. Sinclair Services Co." on Justia Law

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Appellant entered into a lease with a Mall to operate a restaurant. The lease required Mall to pay Appellant a finish allowance when certain provisions had been satisfied. The condition at the heart of this dispute required Appellant to provide the Mall evidence that any liens had been satisfied or waived and that “all work has been paid for” before the finish allowance became due. Appellant hired a general contractor to renovate the space. Appellant paid the general contractor in full, but the general contractor did not pay all of the subcontractors. When the Mall did not pay the finish allowance, Appellant filed this lawsuit alleging, inter alia, breach of contract. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Mall. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the unambiguous terms of the lease required evidence that the general contractor and subcontractors had been paid in full before the Mall was obligated to pay the finish allowance. View "P & N Investments, LLC v. Frontier Mall Associates, LP" on Justia Law

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This action stemmed from Defendants’ financing of Plaintiffs’ real property located in Wyoming and California. Plaintiffs filed this action in Wyoming against Defendants alleging breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and violation of a California law governing fraudulent business practices. Plaintiffs sought monetary and punitive damages, rescission and restitution, and an order declaring all encumbrances recorded against their Wyoming property void and expunged. After applying Wyoming law, the district court granted Defendants’ motions to dismiss and for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claims were barred by the statute of frauds and that Plaintiffs failed to plead their fraud and fraud-based claims with the particularity required by Wyo. R. Crim. P. 9(b). View "Elworthy v. First Tennessee Bank" on Justia Law

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Prior to his death, Timothy Trefren owned Trefren Construction and operated it as a sole proprietorship. Trefren Construction filed a complaint against V&R Construction, LLC and Cocca Development, Ltd. (collectively, Defendants) for breach of contract. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that all corporations associated with the name Trefren Construction were inactive or had been dissolved. Thereafter, Trefren filed a motion for substitution of party seeking to substitute the Estate of Timothy Trefren in the stead of Trefren. The district court denied the motion for substitution of party and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the named plaintiff was not the real party in interest. The court then made an additional ruling that Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because the parties’ contracts were voidable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the real party in interest requirement is not jurisdictional, and therefore, dismissal of Trefren Construction’s complaint was not mandated; (2) the district court abused its discretion when it denied Trefren Construction’s motion to substitute the Estate as the real party in interest; and (3) the district court’s summary judgment ruling was procedurally infirm and unsupported by a showing of undisputed facts. View "Trefren Construction Co. v. V&R Construction, LLC" on Justia Law

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Jackman Construction, Inc. (Jackman) was the successful bidder on a project to install new water lines and a pump station for the City of Green River. Rock Springs Winnelson Co. (Winnelson) supplied materials for the project. Jackman eventually stopped paying Winnelson’s invoices, and Winnelson refused to provide any more materials. Winnelson filed suit against Jackman for its failure to pay invoices totaling $21,705, which included principal and service charges. Jackman counterclaimed for, inter alia, breach of contract and promissory estoppel. The district court granted judgment in favor of Winnelson on the outstanding principal, denied Winnelson’s claim for unpaid service charges, and denied Jackman’s counterclaims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court erred in refusing to accept the parties’ stipulation as to the amount Jackman paid Winnelson, but the error was harmless; (2) the district court did not err in the remainder of its judgment; and (3) sanctions were not warranted. View "Jackman Construction, Inc. v. Rock Springs Winnelson Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Plaintiffs, the purchasers of a health claims administration company, brought a breach of contract action against Defendant, the seller. After learning that they had not acquired all of the assets that contracted to purchase, Plaintiffs continued to operate the business for the next eighteen months. Only then did they stop making payments on the promissory note and then file this action. Defendant counterclaimed for breach of contract. Plaintiffs raised the affirmative defense that Defendant was first to breach the contract and that Plaintiffs were therefore excused from performing their contractual duties. The district court entered judgment in favor of Defendant. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiffs’ conduct after learning of Defendant’s alleged breach precluded it from asserting a prior breach as a defense to Plaintiffs’ breach-of-contract claim. View "Maverick Benefit Advisors, LLC v. Bostrom" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Jason Thornock requested that PacifiCorp provide electric service to an irrigation pivot on his property using a particular easement. PacifiCorp did not utilize the easement that Thornock suggested but did provide electric service to the pivot using a different route under the terms of a second contract the parties entered into after the original contract. When PacifiCorp did not provide power under the easement provided for in the first contract, Thornock filed a complaint against PacifiCorp based on the alleged breach of the first contract. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of PacifiCorp. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the first contract between the parties had been superseded and that PacifiCorp was not required to perform under the provisions of that agreement. View "Thornock v. PacifiCorp" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Appellants, the owners of a tract of land in the Riva Ridge subdivision, submitted their plans to build a home and writer’s studio to the Riva Ridge Owners Association’s Site Committee. The Site Committee rejected the plans on the basis that some of Appellants’ home would be visible from some locations in other homes. Appellants filed a complaint against the Association and others (collectively, Appellees) alleging several causes of action. Appellants filed a separate complaint requesting a determination of the term “principal residence site” in the covenants. The district court granted summary judgment for Appellees on several issues. After a trial, the district court interpreted the phrase “principal residence site” in a way that required complete invisibility between the homes in the subdivision. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the district court (1) erred in its interpretation of the phrase “principal residence,” as the covenants only require that a principal residence be invisible only from a precise area of land on each tract; (2) erred in granting summary judgment on Appellants’ breach of contract and bad faith claims; and (3) properly determined that Appellants must seek permission from the Site Committee before planting any trees on their tract. View "Felix Felicis, LLC v. Riva Ridge Owners Ass’n" on Justia Law