Articles Posted in Contracts

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In 2000, doctors Strohmyer, Naegele, and Mantler formed Papillion Family Medicine, P.C. (PFM). In 2013, Strohmyer provided notice that he was leaving PFM to start his own medical practice. Strohmyer then sued PFM, Naegele, and Mantler (collectively, Defendants), alleging that Defendants failed to “buy out” Strohmyer and pay associated director fees following his departure and improperly calculated the value of PFM’s stock, assets, and goodwill. Defendants counterclaimed. The district court found (1) PFM was not a corporation under the laws of Nebraska; (2) the buyout clause was so ambiguous as to be unenforceable; (3) the value of Strohmyer’s stock was $104,200; (4) Strohmyer was due $9,389 in unpaid compensation; and (5) Strohmyer damaged PFM in the amount of $30,673. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the district court (1) did not err in its valuation of Strohmyer’s shares, finding that PFM had no goodwill for which Strohmyer was entitled to compensation, and failing to award compensation for director fees and salary; but (2) erred in finding that Strohmyer breached a fiduciary duty by continuing to accept Medicaid patients, in holding Strohmyer liable for a physical assistant’s continuing treatment of Medicaid patients, and in its calculation of damages based on those claims. View "Strohmyer v. Papillion Family Medicine" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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In this dispute arising from a party’s failure to perform on a promissory note Steven Anderson filed a complaint against Steve Finkle alleging breach of contract and quantum meruit or unjust enrichment. After trial but before the trial court issued its order, Anderson died. Thereafter, the district court issued an order awarding Anderson the amount of the promissory note plus interest. Finkle filed a motion for new trial and then the estate filed a motion for revivor. The district court overruled Finkle’s motion and granted the estate’s motion reviving the matter in the name of the personal representative of the estate. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals in both cases, holding (1) because of Anderson’s death, the district court lacked jurisdiction to enter judgment and deny Finkle’s motion for new trial, and therefore these orders were void, and Finkle’s first appeal did not divest the district court of its jurisdiction; and (2) this court was without jurisdiction to entertain Finkle’s appeal of the order of revivor because it was not a final order. View "Anderson v. Finkle" on Justia Law

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Janice M. Hinrichsen, Inc. (JMH) had a judgment against Risk Assessment and Management, Inc. (RAM) in a previous action. In the instant action brought under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (UFTA), JMH alleged that RAM had fraudulently transferred certain assets to Messersmith Ventures, LLC. The district court entered judgment in favor of JMH in the amount of $250. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the district court did not err when it implicitly found that, under the UFTA, a fraudulent transfer of assets had occurred; and (2) the monetary judgment awarded by the district court was not appropriate relief under the UFTA in this case, as the court instead should have ordered that MJH may levy execution on the assets that were transferred to Messersmith Ventures or the proceeds of such assets. View "Janice M. Hinrichsen Inc. v. Messersmith Ventures, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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Seller agreed to sell an aerial spraying company to Buyer pursuant to a purchase agreement that contained a covenant not to compete. Seller, his son, and the company (collectively, Seller) subsequently filed this action seeking a declaratory judgment that the covenant not to compete was overbroad and unenforceable. Buyer counterclaimed. After a trial, the district court found that the noncompete agreement was void and unenforceable. The court did not address Buyer’s counterclaims. Buyer appealed. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. After the cause was remanded, the parties filed a stipulated motion to dismiss without prejudice, jointly requesting dismissal of Buyer’s breach-of-contract counterclaims and Seller’s motion for damages and attorney fees. The district court entered an order of dismissal without prejudice that largely mirrored the language of the parties’ stipulated motion. Buyer then appealed the declaratory judgment ruling. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the order appealed from was not a final order, and the Court therefore lacked jurisdiction to consider the appeal. View "Last Pass Aviation, Inc. v. Western Cooperative Co." on Justia Law

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Landlord leased commercial real estate to Tenant, a third party. The lease agreement provided on option to purchase with a condition precedent. At the time Tenant assigned this purchase option to Assignees, Tenant had fully performed all obligations under the lease. When Assignees attempted to exercise the purchase option, Landlord denied the attempt, arguing that because of certain rental underpayments, which were later paid in full, Tenant had failed to satisfy the condition precedent. Assignees filed a complaint seeking specific performance of the purchase option. Landlord later moved for specific performance of the terms and provisions of the purchase option. The district court sustained Landlord’s motion, and Assignees purchased the property. The district court then entered judgment in Assignees’ favor and awarded equitable monetary relief for lost rentals. Landlord appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) Landlord was judicially estopped from asserting the condition precedent in avoidance of equitable monetary relief; and (2) Landlord was entitled to offset the monetary award with the interest on the unpaid purchase price. View "O'Connor v. Kearny Junction, LLC" on Justia Law

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Homeowners obtained loans from Bank for the construction of a new home and entered into an agreement with Contractor to complete the new home construction. When Homeowners defaulted on payments owed to Contractor and on both loans, the house was sold at foreclosure, and Homeowners filed for bankruptcy. Contractor filed a fourth amended complaint against Homeowners, who were later dismissed as parties, and Bank. Following a trial the court granted summary judgment for Bank on Contractor’s claims of fraud and civil conspiracy. The Supreme Court reversed. After remand, Contractor filed a fifth amended complaint, which differed from the fourth amended complaint in several respects. The district court determined that the election of remedies doctrine and judicial estoppel required a dismissal of Contractor’s claims. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Contractor’s claims were consistently premised on the existence of a contract, and therefore, no election was required; and (2) Contractor’s claims were based on different facts and obligations, and therefore, both could be pursued. View "deNourie & Yost Homes, LLC v. Frost" on Justia Law

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Bank foreclosed its loan on residential real estate and resold the property to Buyers. The purchase agreement for the transaction contained an arbitration clause. After Buyers learned that another bank had a superior lien against the real estate they sued Bank for damages. Bank filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the purchase agreement. The district court sustained the motion. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the purchase agreement was governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, and Buyers’ claims were subject to the arbitration clause; and (2) there was no merit to Buyers’ other arguments. View "Wilczewski v. Charter West National Bank" on Justia Law

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A holdover franchisee is a franchisee who receives the benefits of an expired franchise agreement but fails to make payments to the franchisor per the agreement. Donut Holdings, Inc. (DHI) was the Nebraska parent corporation of LaMar’s Donuts International, Inc. (LaMar’s). LaMar’s was a franchise company with nine franchisees, including one in Springfield Missouri that was purchased by Risberg Stores, LLC, a Missouri entity, in 2002. At the time of the purchase, the store was operating under the terms of a 1994 franchise agreement entered into by Risberg Store’s predecessor. DHI filed a claim against Risberg Stores for royalty and marketing fees accruing after June 2009. Risberg Stores argued that it did not owe DHI fees because the parties’ written agreement ended in 2004. The district court ruled in favor of Risberg Stores, concluding that the franchise agreement ended in June 2009 and that DHI was not entitled to any payments thereafter. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) DHI, the franchisor, did not have a breach of contract claim against Risberg Stores, the holdover franchisee; and (2) therefore, DHI was not entitled to fees under the contract. View "Donut Holdings, Inc. v. Risberg" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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At the center of this dispute was defective rebar that was incorporated into the construction of concrete pile caps that would form support for the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Some of the pile caps had to be modified in order to provide the necessary structural support for the Arena. The general contractor paid the costs of the correction and sought reimbursement from Drake-Williams Steel, Inc. (DWS), which fabricated the rebar. DWS reimbursed the general contractor and sought coverage from its insurers. The insurers denied the claim and commenced this action to determine their obligations under the policies of insurance. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the insurers. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was no coverage under the policies. View "Drake-Williams Steel, Inc. v. Continental Cas. Co." on Justia Law

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RM Campbell Industrial, Inc. entered into a contract with Randall Kramer for construction work on an ethanol plant. The terms of the contract indicated that the contract was between Campbell and KL Process Design Group, LLC. Midwest Renewable Energy, LLC, paid the invoices. When Midwest stopped making payments and KL Process ceased work on the project, Campbell filed suit against Midwest for breach of contract. After a trial, the jury found for Campbell in the amount of $154,510.98. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in (1) concluding that there was sufficient evidence for a jury question in whether KL Process acted as an agent of Midwest in entering into the subcontract with Campbell and whether there was an enforceable contract between Midwest and Campbell; and (2) not finding that Campbell had to prove substantial compliance with the subcontract and not instructing the jury on this. View "RM Campbell Indus. v. Midwest Renewable Energy, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts