July 15, 2024
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Defendant developer sought review of the judgment from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), that awarded plaintiff agent damages in a breach of contract dispute. Plaintiff cross-appealed from the portion of the revised judgment that reduced the award of damages. Defendant argued that he was under no duty to make any counteroffer to the proposed form of lease submitted by plaintiff.

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Overview

Defendant developer appealed the judgment that found that defendant acted in bad faith with regard to certain contracts with plaintiff agent and awarded plaintiff damages. Plaintiff cross-appealed the portion of the judgment that reduced its award of damages. Defendant contended that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that he acted in bad faith. The court affirmed, holding that there was ample evidence to support the challenged findings. The court reasoned that the finding that defendant acted in bad faith was established by the fact that defendant failed to inform plaintiff of any changes in the form of the lease. Further the court held that such action prevented plaintiff from performing its duties under the contract and thereby defendant breached the contract. Defendant also argued that the measure of damages used by the trial court was erroneous. The court found that as plaintiff was the procuring cause of the lease, it was entitled to compensation therein provided for the broker. Additionally, the court held in regard to plaintiff’s cross-appeal that the trial court had wide discretion in ruling on a motion to set aside a stipulation.

Outcome

The judgment that awarded plaintiff agent damages in a breach of contract dispute was affirmed because there was ample evidence to support a finding that defendant developer acted in bad faith. The court reasoned that defendant’s failure to inform plaintiff of any changes in the form of the lease prevented plaintiff from performing the written agency contract. The court concluded that such constituted a breach of contract by defendant.