Articles Posted in Contracts

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for an insurer, in an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the insurer owed no coverage under a commercial property insurance policy. The insured then counterclaimed for declaratory judgment, breach of the insurance contract, and violations of the Texas Insurance Code. The court held that the insured failed to meet its burden to offer evidence that would allow a trier of fact to segregate covered losses from non-covered losses. Therefore, because the insured failed to meet its burden to show what portion, if any, of the claimed damage occurred during the coverage period, the insurer was entitled to summary judgment on its claim seeking declaratory judgment. The insured's counterclaims failed for the same reason. View "Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London v. Lowen Valley View, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of Delek's challenge to an arbitrator's award in an action alleging that the company violated a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which required that employees get first crack at new work unless certain exceptions apply. The court held that the arbitrator's exercise of his discretion did not conflict with the CBA, and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Delek's challenge was without justification and subject to a fee award. View "Delek Refining, Limited v. Local 202" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action arising from a property insurance policy that Lexington issued to LWL to insure construction equipment that LWL leased from Sierra. The court held that the equitable lien doctrine did not apply to Sierra, who was not a party to the insurance policy, and Sierra did not have standing to sue Lexington. In this case, the agreement between Sierra and LWL did not require that LWL obtain insurance with a loss payable clause to Sierra, and the Lexington policy did not contain such a clause. View "Sierra Equipment, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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This appeal stems from a long-running dispute between the parties over a contract regarding Akaushi cattle. The court held that sufficient evidence existed for the jury to find that HeartBrand suffered a cognizable injury from Bear Ranch's misrepresentation; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it exercised its "wide latitude in determining the admissibility" of a valuation expert's testimony; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it chose not to modify the injunction in April 2016 as there was no showing of a significant change in circumstances; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding $3.2 million to HeartBrand in attorney's fees. However, the court reversed the district court's award of $1,825,000 in exemplary damages to HeartBrand. Finally, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it set the Constructive Trust Threshold at $3,796 per head. View "Bear Ranch, LLC v. Heartbrand Beef, Inc." on Justia Law

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GE appealed the district court's partial grant of summary judgment and award of attorneys' fees in favor of its former employee and AmSpec in an action brought by GE against the employee and AmSpec, alleging that the employee concealed her intention to work for a competitor. The court held that the district court correctly held that there was no evidence that the non-solicitation agreement was breached. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to that claim. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the misappropriation of trade secrets claim, as well as the claims for illegal use of confidential information and breach of a common-law duty with respect to confidential information, which tracked the misappropriation claim. Furthermore, summary judgment was proper on the tortious-interference-with-prospective-business-relationships claim. However, the court held that the employer was not entitled to recover attorneys' fees where there was no evidence that when GE executed the non-solicitation agreement with her, GE knew the covenant was unreasonable, and she had not met the requirements of Texas Business and Commerce Code 15.51(c). Accordingly, the court vacated the award of attorneys' fees. View "GE Betz, Inc. v. Moffitt-Johnston" on Justia Law

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The Williams Parties brought suit against Fannie Mae and Wells Fargo, asserting claims against defendants for breach of contract premised on a violation of the notice terms in a Deed of Trust, violations of the Texas Property Code, and wrongful foreclosure. On appeal, the Williams Parties appealed the dismissal of their breach of contract claims against Fannie Mae and the grant of summary judgment in favor of Wells Fargo. The court held that the district court did not err in holding that Wells Fargo was not liable for breach of the Deed of Trust where the competent summary judgment evidence reflected that Wells Fargo was never a party to or an assignee of the Deed of Trust. Therefore, Wells Fargo had no liability and summary judgment for Wells Fargo was appropriate. The district court did not abuse its discretion by granting a motion for reconsideration and, on the merits, Fannie Mae's agreement in the deed of trust to give notice of foreclosure was independent of the Williams Parties' agreement under the note to pay monthly installments to satisfy the debt. Therefore, the court affirmed as to Wells Fargo, reversed as to the claim that Fannie Mae breached the deed of trust by failing to give notice, and remanded the claim against Fannie Mae for further proceedings. View "Williams v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Contracts

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FWP and its designees filed suit against Chesapeake and related entities to recover payment allegedly due under a provision of a Surface Use Agreement governing Chesapeake's use of FWP's land. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court determining that the payment provision was a covenant that ran with the surface of the land and that FWP accordingly forfeited the benefit of this covenant when it sold that land. Because FWP consequently forfeited its right to payment under this paragraph when it sold the surface of the land at issue to Chesapeake, the court did not address the district court's alternative holding. View "Fort Worth 4th Street Partners v. Chesapeake Energy Corp." on Justia Law

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Renasant Bank purchased a Financial Institution Bond (the Bond), which covers losses caused by employees only when certain criteria are met. A Mississippi statute, Miss. Code Ann. 81-5-15, requires bank employees to post fidelity bonds that protect against "acts of dishonesty." The Fifth Circuit held that, assuming arguendo that the Bond was governed by section 81-5-15, the Bond's terms were enforceable as written because they were consistent with the statute. The court agreed with the district court that the Bank failed to produce evidence necessary to support its breach-of-contract claim and thus was entitled to summary judgment. View "Renasant Bank v. St. Paul Mercury Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Banking, Contracts

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Cardtronics in a breach of contract action alleging that Cardtronics failed to correct certain account information, which resulted in approximately $250,000 of misdirected funds. The court held that the district court misread the contract and that Cardtronics was obligated to use correct account information after receiving updated Terminal Set-up Forms to ensure proper set up of Star Financial's ATMs. Accordingly, the court remanded for the district court to determine in the first instance whether Cardtronics breached its obligation under the contract and the appropriate damages, if any. View "Star Financial Services, Inc. v. Cardtronics USA, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Cardtronics in a breach of contract action alleging that Cardtronics failed to correct certain account information, which resulted in approximately $250,000 of misdirected funds. The court held that the district court misread the contract and that Cardtronics was obligated to use correct account information after receiving updated Terminal Set-up Forms to ensure proper set up of Star Financial's ATMs. Accordingly, the court remanded for the district court to determine in the first instance whether Cardtronics breached its obligation under the contract and the appropriate damages, if any. View "Star Financial Services, Inc. v. Cardtronics USA, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts