Thursday, March 24, 2011

Northern California Judges rule in Contract Cases

Here are a pair of summary judgment rulings I found from judges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Boon Rawd Trading International Co., Ltd (BRTI) v. Paleewong Trading Co., Inc. (PTC) is a contract dispute over the importation of Singha Beer presently before Judge William H. Alsup on the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. For many years PTI imported Singha Beer into the United States under an agreement with BRTI. BRTI cancelled the agreement and sought a declaratory judgment that it owed PTI nothing. Finding no agreement between the parties to the contrary Judge Alsup agreed.
PTC has not proffered one scintilla of admissible evidence that would enable a reasonable jury to infer that the parties had reached the mutual understanding that PTC alleges. Accordingly, BRTI’s motion for summary judgment on PTC’s first counterclaim is GRANTED.
Judge Alsup granted the motion for summary judgment.

Estrella v. Freedom Financial Network (FDR) is basically a consumer fraud case.  The plaintiff class claims that it paid FDR (and others) to reduce their debts, and that never happened.  Presently the parties have moved for summary judgment on the matter of whether FFN (and others) are entitled to an exemption from the Check Sellers, Bill Payers, and Proraters regulations. Cal. Fin. Code § 12101.5. So, why does anyone care about that?
[I]f FDR were found not to be aprorater, plaintiffs’ third UCL claim would be eviscerated, along with their negligence claim. By contrast, if FDR were found to be a prorater, plaintiffs would not only succeed in establishing the necessary grounds for their third UCL claim, but also the framework for making their other UCL claims and their negligence claim.
However, according to Judge Susan Illsont, both sides have a close enough case to send this to a jury.
The Court cannot say that these facts compel a finding that FDR is or is not a prorater. There is simply too much ambiguity and too much room for interpretation for these facts to support a decision at the summary judgment stage.
She denied summary judgment on this matter.

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