Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Plaintiff partnership sought review of a judgment from the Superior Court of Kern County (California), which found in favor of defendant corporation in plaintiff’s action for intentional interference with a prospective economic advantage brought after defendant closed its supermarket in a shopping center partly owned by plaintiff and then renewed its lease in the center’s anchor position but left the position vacant and without fixtures. The parties consulted with several counsel which included labor law attorney and business counsel.

Overview

Defendant corporation’s supermarket occupied the anchor position in a shopping center partly owned by plaintiff partnership. After defendant closed its supermarket and removed all the fixtures, defendant renewed its lease but left the anchor position vacant. Unable to attract a new tenant to the anchor position, plaintiff sold its interest in the property for a loss. Because of its loss, plaintiff brought an action against defendant for intentional interference with a prospective economic advantage. The trial court granted defendant a nonsuit, and plaintiff sought review. The court affirmed and found that at the time of defendant’s allegedly tortious acts, plaintiff had not been involved in a known economic relationship with which defendant could have intentionally interfered. Moreover, the court held plaintiff could not base this relationship on the class of possible but unidentified buyers of the property. The court also found that any future losses suffered by plaintiff were unduly speculative because it had not been shown with a reasonable certainty that the losses would have occurred and because plaintiff’s claim for damages had relied on the existence of a future market.

Outcome

The court affirmed a judgment favoring defendant corporation in plaintiff partnership’s action for intentional interference with a prospective economic advantage brought after defendant renewed its lease in a shopping center but left the anchor position vacant because plaintiff’s potential relationship with a class of future buyers of the shopping center had been too speculative of an expectancy on which to base the action.

Procedural Posture

Appellant, the Regents of the University of California, challenged a summary judgment entered by the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco, California, in favor of respondents, eight current or former university students, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated persons, in their action for injunctive and declaratory relief and for damages, which was brought after the university increased various fees.

Overview

The trial court certified three stipulated subclasses: the professional student subclass, the spring 2003 student subclass, and the summer 2003 student subclass. The trial court found that enforceable contracts existed between each of the students and the university and that the university breached those contracts by increasing the educational fees and the professional degree fee. The court held that implied contracts were formed between the university and respondents. An implied contract was created by the students’ conduct when they accepted the university’s offer of enrollment. The university breached its contracts with the professional students when it raised the professional educational fees for continuing students after promising on its website and in its catalogues that such fees would not be raised for the duration of the students’ enrollment in the professional program. The university also breached its contracts with the students attending the spring and summer session in 2003 by raising the educational fees for those terms after the students had received bills specifying the exact amount to be paid. The court rejected the university’s challenge to the damages award.

Outcome

The court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.