Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Contracts

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This appeal arose out of a dispute over a construction contract between Golden Nugget and Yates. On appeal, Yates challenged the dismissal of its claim for a statutory lien under the Louisiana Private Works Act (LPWA), La. Stat. Ann. 9:4822, which grants general contractors a privilege to secure payment for their work. However, the LPWA requires that the contractor must preserve their lien by filing a statement of claim or privilege in a timely manner. In this case, although Yates did not file a lien statement within the time required by statute, the court found that because Golden Nugget never filed a notice of substantial completion, Yates's lien statement was timely filed. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Golden Nugget Lake Charles v. W. G. Yates & Son" on Justia Law

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In this insurance coverage dispute, Liberty Mutual, OES's insurer, denied OES's claim for reimbursement of funds OES spent defending against, and ultimately settling, the underlying tort suit. On appeal, Liberty Mutual claimed that the district court erred by permitting OES and Anadarko to equitably reform their master services contract (MSC), and that the district court interpreted the OES-Liberty Mutual policy erroneously by concluding that the policy obligated Liberty Mutual to reimburse OES for all of the attorney's fees OES incurred in connection with the tort suit, rather than a pro-rata portion of those fees. The court affirmed as to the MSC issue. In this case, OES and Anadarko met the higher clear-and-convincing evidence burden of establishing mutual error in the contract's creation. However, the court concluded that the insurance policy only obligated Liberty Mutual to pay a pro-rata share of the attorney's fees, and modified the attorney's fees award, determining that the policy entitled OES to attorney's fees totaling $168,695.96. View "Richard v. Anadarko Petroleum" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from a dispute over a contract to perform flow-back services to improve the performance of an offshore natural-gas well when performance eventually required the use of a crane barge. At issue was the applicability of maritime or state law. The court agreed with the district court, applied the approach in Davis & Sons, Inc. v. Gulf Oil Corp., and concluded that the oral work order was the relevant contract and that it is a maritime contract. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Larry Doiron, Inc. v. Specialty Rental Tools & Supply" on Justia Law

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This case concerns BP's obligations under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Settlement Agreement. Appellant is a company that filed Business Economic Loss claims under the settlement agreement on behalf of five of its stores. The CSSP and the Appeal Panel determined that the stores were not tourism businesses and denied the claims for failure to satisfy the causation requirement. In this consolidated appeal, appellant challenged the district court's denial of discretionary review. The court concluded that there was no abuse in discretion in classifying the stores under North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code 441310 as automotive parts and accessories stores. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Claimant ID 100212278 v. BP Exploration & Production" on Justia Law

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Three publicly traded real estate companies (the Publics) and Pillar filed a declaratory judgment against Prime LLC, Prime Inc., and Hometown in state court, seeking a declaration that the Publics and Pillar were not the alter egos of Prime LLC and Prime Inc. Hometown removed to federal district court and filed the instant action against Prime LLC as well as Prime Inc., the Publics, Pillar, and individual defendants who served as officers or directors of Prime LLC, alleging, among other things, a claim for fraudulent transfer under the Texas Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (TUFTA), Tex. Bus. & Com. Code Ann. 24.001-.013. On appeal, Hometown argues that the district court should not have dismissed its TUFTA claims, and that finding Prime LLC's Advisory Agreements were not assets under TUFTA was error. Determining that it has subject matter jurisdiction, the court held that contractual payments due during a required sixty-day notice period prior to termination of contractual rights constitute "assets" under TUFTA. Accordingly, the court reversed the dismissal of the TUFTA claims and remanded for further proceedings. View "Hometown 2006-1 1925 Valley View v. Prime Income Asset Management" on Justia Law
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Love Field airport is owned by the City and leased in part to Southwest Airlines. The City sought a declaration determining whether it must order Southwest to accommodate Delta at Love Field under the Lease Agreement or otherwise. Delta, Southwest, and the City filed competing motions for preliminary injunctions. The district court denied Southwest's motion and entered a preliminary injunction in favor of Delta essentially permitting Delta to continue operating five flights daily until a final decision on the merits. On appeal, Southwest argues that Delta is not a third party beneficiary and that the Lease Agreement does not require the accommodation Delta seeks. The court agreed with the district court that Delta and the City have shown a substantial likelihood of success on the merits on the claim that the Lease Agreement requires Delta to be accommodated. In this case, the Lease Agreement plainly establishes a duty to accommodate by both Southwest and the City, and the scope of that duty is determined largely through the interpretation of language which the Lease Agreement itself leaves undefined. Interpreting such language, the district court found - and the court found persuasive - that Southwest owed the duty to accommodate Delta under these circumstances. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order terminating the City's motion as moot; rendered judgment granting the City's motion for a preliminary injunction and ordering the accommodation of Delta; and affirmed the district court's denial of a preliminary injunction for Southwest. View "City of Dallas v. Delta Air Lines" on Justia Law
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Centaurus and Grand View filed suit against Helix in Texas state court, alleging breach of contracts and requesting a declaratory judgment to determine rights under the Mutual Confidentiality Agreement (MCA). Helix then filed suit against Grand View and Centaurus in California federal court and removed the Texas suit to the federal court a quo. The district court granted Centaurus and Grand View's motion to remand to state court. The court affirmed, agreeing with the district court that it did not have jurisdiction because defendants had granted sole and exclusive jurisdiction to the state courts in the Forum Selection Clause of the MCA. View "Grand View PV Solar Two v. Helix Electric" on Justia Law
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Dallas Roadster, the borrower, sought damages and TCB, the lender, sought attorneys' fees after receiving full payment on loans through the borrower’s bankruptcy proceedings. The parties argue that the other breached the loan agreements. The district court issued take-nothing judgments on the borrower’s and lender’s claims. The court concluded that the claims of Dallas Roadster CEO, Bahman Hafezamini, of tortious interference with an existing contract and with prospective business relations, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, and malicious criminal prosecution, fail on the merits. The court need not reach the question of whether Hafezamini's release is valid in light of Zachry Construction Corp. v. Port of Houston Authority. In regard to Dallas Roadster's appeal, the court concluded that the district court did not err in entering a take-nothing judgment on Dallas Roadster’s breach of contract claim where the district court did not clearly err in finding that Dallas Roadster committed multiple material breaches. In regard to TCB's appeal, the court concluded that Zachry does not apply, under these circumstances, to the loan provisions in this case, and TCB can recover its attorneys’ fees according to the terms of the loan agreements. The court also concluded that the district court erred by denying TCB any recovery of its attorneys' fees by using its inherent power to sanction TCB because the district court failed to provide TCB with adequate due process. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Texas Capital Bank N.A. v. Dallas Roadster, Ltd." on Justia Law
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This appeal stems from a loan that Woodbridge Baric gave Jarrod Burrle. Woodbridge Baric and Burrle agreed that Burrle would not be required to repay the loan if his economic loss claims in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill fail unless he had misrepresented his claim to Woodbridge Baric, in which case Burrle agreed to indemnify Woodbridge Baric and hold it harmless. The settlement program eventually paid over $50,000 on one of Burrle’s claims, and Burrle’s attorneys paid Woodbridge Baric $20,000 of those funds in partial repayment of the loan. Louis Freeh was then appointed as special master and subsequently determined that Burrle’s claim was fraudulent and moved the court to order Burrle and others, including Woodbridge Baric, to make restitution for the funds paid in connection with that claim. The district court granted the motion as to Woodbridge Baric. The court reversed, concluding that, because Woodbridge Baric’s claim for the repayment of the loan was not purely contingent upon the success of Burrle’s claims for compensation, the failure of this contingency did not extinguish Woodbridge Baric’s claim and does not prevent Woodbridge Baric from asserting its valid interest in defense of its right to retain the funds as a bona fide payee. View "In Re: Deepwater Horizon" on Justia Law
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WBCMT challenges the district court's adverse judgment in a breach of contract suit to recover on a guaranty of financing for a commercial project. The district court held that the term “Borrower” in the guaranty refers collectively to all of the numerous borrowing entities, not to each of them individually. The court concluded that the only reasonable, textually supportable interpretation of “Borrower” is that it refers to the collective entities or to each individual borrowing entity, as the context may require. “Borrower” is unambiguous as a matter of law in the Guaranty. Therefore, NNN Realty’s interpretation of “Borrower” as limited to all borrowing entities collectively creates various absurdities throughout the Guaranty—so much so that the interpretation cannot be considered a reasonable alternative interpretation of “Borrower.” Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment for WBCMT. View "WBCMT 2007 C33 Office 9720 v. NNN Realty Advisors" on Justia Law
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