Articles Posted in Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court dismissing on demurrer Sweely Holdings, LLC’s suit against SunTrust Bank alleging breach of contract, fraud in the inducement, and constructive fraud, holding that an agreement between the parties defeated Sweely’s breach of contract claim and that Sweely failed to state a claim for fraud. SunTrust loaned Sweely $18.3 million and later sought to recover collateral when Sweely defaulted and threatened bankruptcy. SunTrust and Sweely negotiated an agreement that provided Sweely with another opportunity to pay its debt, but when Sweely failed to do so, SunTrust took action against the collateral. Thereafter, Sweely filed this lawsuit. The circuit court sustained SunTrust’s demurrer to the complaint and dismissed all counts with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) interpreting the agreement to preclude Sweely’s breach of contract claim, and (2) ruling that the fraud claims failed because Sweely had not alleged any justifiable reliance on SunTrust’s alleged misrepresentation. View "Sweely Holdings, LLC v. SunTrust Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment against Defendants as to Plaintiff’s claims for tortious interference and statutory business conspiracy, holding that the circuit court erred in ruling that Defendants were liable for tortiously interfering with their own contract and in therefore finding that their tortious interference could serve as the predicate unlawful act for statutory business conspiracy. Plaintiff, Read Properties, LLC, filed a complaint against Defendants, Francis Hospitality, Inc. and Delta Educational Systems, Inc., alleging breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, and statutory business conspiracy. The circuit court found in favor of Plaintiff on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed as to the breach of contract claim and otherwise reversed, holding (1) Defendants could not tortiously interfere with their own contract; and (2) because Plaintiff’s underlying claims of tortious interference with a contract against Defendants failed, its claims of statutory business conspiracy must also fail. View "Francis Hospitality, Inc. v. Read Properties, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the circuit court dismissing Plaintiff’s suit alleging breach of contract claims against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. pursuant to the applicable statute of limitations, holding that because Plaintiff did not file his suit within five years of the date of accrual, the statute of limitations barred his claims. After a foreclosure sale of the property at issue, Plaintiff filed this complaint alleging that Wells Fargo breached a mortgage loan agreement by failing to give him a contractually required opportunity to cure his default and by improperly accelerating the balance due after his default. The circuit court concluded that the debt acceleration had triggered the accrual of the breach of contract claims and that this breach had occurred more than five years before Plaintiff filed suit. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s breach of contract claims were barred by the statute of limitations. View "Kerns v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the circuit court abused its discretion when it dismissed a complaint with prejudice upon sustaining a plea in bar for failure to comply with a contractual condition precedent before filing suit. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant alleging breach of contract. Plaintiff had filed a similar breach of contract action against Defendant, which he nonsuited. In the current action, Plaintiff alleged that he entered into an employment agreement with Defendant that Defendant later breached. Defendant filed a plea in bar to the complaint alleging that a written request to mediate was a condition precedent to initiating legal action. The circuit court found that the mediation provision was a condition precedent to filing suit, that Plaintiff did not satisfy this condition, and that the appropriate remedy was dismissal of the complaint with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint due to Plaintiff’s failure to comply with a mandatory condition precedent to filing suit. View "Primov v. Serco, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court entering an order enforcing a merger agreement between two churches, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate this dispute. The two churches in this case entered into a merger agreement memorializing a merger between the churches. When one of the churches (Defendant) decided it wished to withdraw from the “proposed” merger, the other church (Plaintiff), instituted this action. The jury returned a special verdict in favor of Plaintiff, finding that the parties had reached a merger agreement and that Plaintiff had performed its obligations under the merger agreement. The trial court entered a final order in accord with the merger agreement and the jury’s verdict. Defendant sought to vacate the trial court’s order, arguing that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter it. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction either to adjudicate a breach of contract claim or to issue a declaratory judgment on the merger contract, and a pending bankruptcy did not foreclose the trial court’s adjudication of the merger contract. View "Pure Presbyterian Church v. Grace of God Presbyterian Church" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated in part and reversed in part the decision of the circuit court reducing the amount due on a deed of trust note (note) and entering a confessed judgment for the reduced amount without the agreement of Catjen, LLC. Hunter Mill West, L.C. (HMW) executed the note payable to the predecessor in interest to Catjen. HMW failed to repay the note in full by the date of maturity and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Catjen’s predecessor filed a claim for the amount it asserted was due on the note. The bankruptcy court sustained HMW’s objections to the claims and accepted HMW’s calculations. Catjen subsequently foreclosed on the property that was used as collateral for the note. The attorney in fact then confessed judgment against HMW in favor of Catjen. Citing Va. Code 8.01-433, HMW moved to set aside the confessed judgment. The trial court modified the confessed judgment, awarding Catjen the amount based on HMW’s calculations despite Catjen not agreeing to the amount due. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court vacated the confessed judgment and reversed the trial court’s judgment on the amount due, holding that the trial court erred by failing to place this case on the docket for a trial on the merits. View "Catjen, LLC v. Hunter Mill West, L.C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the the judgment of the circuit court setting aside the jury’s verdict awarding CGI Federal Inc. $12 million in damages for its fraudulent inducement and breach of contract claims against FCi Federal, Inc., holding that the circuit court did not commit reversible error in its judgment. This lawsuit related to a teaming agreement entered between the parties to obtain a federal government contract. After the jury rendered its verdict, the circuit court set it aside on the grounds that the teaming agreement did not obligate FCi to extend a subcontract to CGI and that CGI did not prove fraud damages. The court further granted FCi’s motion for summary judgment on CGI’s alternative claim for unjust enrichment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in (1) overturning the jury’s verdict on the breach of contract claim; (2) vacating the jury’s award of damages for the fraudulent inducement claim because CGI cannot recover any lost profits on this claim; and (3) entering summary judgment for FCi on the unjust enrichment claim because CGI may not recover on a quasi-contractual claim that is otherwise precluded by a contract which CGI has affirmed. View "CGI Federal Inc. v. FCi Federal, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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In this dispute over contractual provision in a real estate purchase agreement (agreement) allocating future development rights for properties located near a new Metro rail station, the circuit court did not err in dismissing RECP IV WG Land Investors LLC’s (WG Land) suit against Capital One Bank (USA), N.A. (Capital One). WG Land, an assignee of certain rights of the seller under the agreement, sued Capital One, the assignee of the purchaser, alleging that Capital One breached the agreement and certain related covenants by developing the property acquired under the agreement without conveying a portion of floor area ratio rights to WG Land. The circuit court ultimately all three counts in the complaint and awarded attorney’s fees and costs to Capital One. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in sustaining Capital One’s demurrer as to Count I, sustaining Capital One’s plea in bar and granting its motion for summary judgment as to Counts II and III, and awarding attorney’s fees and costs to Capital One. View "RECP IV WG Land Investors LLC v. Capital One Bank" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether, during the sale of JB&A, Inc., a government contracting firm, to MCR Federal, LLC, another government contractor, MCR’s false statement of that a representation and warranty in the contract remained true was a fraudulent act independent of the contractual relationship such that JB&A properly brought actions for both fraud and breach of contract. The trial court held MCR liable for breach of contract and constructive fraud and awarded $12 million in compensatory damages. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) JB&A did not bring proper claims for actual or constructive fraud; (2) the evidence presented at trial established that MCR’s breach of contract caused JB&A substantial damages; (3) the trial court properly granted compensatory damages of $12 million and pre-judgment interest of $3.5 million; and (4) the trial court erred in awarding JB&A attorney’s fees in the amount of $1.9 million for prevailing on its claim of constructive fraud. View "MCR Federal, LLC v. JB&A, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the trial court awarding a sales commission to a real estate broker (Broker) despite the fact that a contemplated sale ultimately never took place. The trial court concluded (1) the Broker was a third-party beneficiary of the sale agreement, (2) the parties to the agreement waived its time-is-of-the-essence provision, and (3) the Seller improperly prevented the closing. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the trial court erred as a matter of law by awarding the Broker a sales commission on the ground that the Seller improperly prevented the closing because the trial court misapplied the prevention doctrine. View "Rastek Construction & Development Corp. v. General Land Commercial Real Estate Co., LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts