Casner & Edwards

First Circuit Affirms a Jury Verdict in Favor of Client

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed a jury verdict in favor of a company that had been sued for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  Donna M. Brewer served as co-counsel with the Atlanta law firm of Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan on the brief.  The firm’s client was a valet parking service company that had entered into a non-binding agreement to obtain private equity funding to fund the purchase of a competing company. The company ultimately used seller financing to complete the purchase.  The jury entered a general verdict in favor of the firm’s client.  On appeal, the plaintiff private equity firm claimed that the jury instructions should have included an instruction on “lost opportunity” damages, based upon an SJC case from 1964, and that the judge should not have instructed the jury that the contract in question was ambiguous but instead interpreted the contract as a matter of law in its favor.  The First Circuit disagreed, finding the 1964 case inapposite and ruling that U.S. District Judge Young correctly concluded that the contract terms in question were ambiguous.  The unanimous panel that ruled in the client’s favor comprised Chief Judge Lynch, Associate Justice Souter (Ret.) of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Circuit Judge Stahl.  To read the First Circuit’s decision, click here.  Gemini Investors Inc. v. AmeriPark, Inc., No. 10-1312, ____ F.3d ____, 2011 WL 2476436 (June 23, 2011).

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