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Friday, July 31, 2009

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 0 today (and 2 NFP)

For publication opinions today (0):

NFP civil opinions today (1):

In Babyback's International Inc. v. The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NFP), a 12-page opinion, Judge Bradford writes:

Appellant Babyback's International, Inc. (“Babyback's”) appeals the trial court's order granting Appellees', The Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. (“Coke Enterprises”) and Coca-Cola Company (“COKE”), motions for summary judgment. Babyback's claims that the trial court erroneously granted summary judgment in favor of Coke Enterprises because constructive fraud excused the parties' non-compliance with the writing requirement of the Statute of Frauds and that in turn, the trial court erroneously granted summary judgment in favor of COKE because a valid contract existed between Babyback's and Coke Enterprises. * * *

Babyback's contends that the trial court erroneously granted summary judgment in favor of Coke Enterprises. Specifically, Babyback's alleges that the trial court's order is erroneous because Coke Enterprises engaged in constructive fraud which in turn excused the parties' oral multi-year national agreement from the Statute of Frauds requirement that the agreement be in writing. Initially, we observe that although Babyback's dedicated a notable portion of its appellate brief to establishing that constructive fraud may, under some circumstances, excuse non-compliance with the writing requirement of the Statute of Frauds, Babyback's has failed to adequately demonstrate that Coke Enterprises engaged in constructive fraud. Nevertheless, we will review whether, as a matter of law, Coke Enterprises engaged in constructive fraud and, if so, whether such fraud would exclude the parties' agreement from the writing requirement of the Statute of Frauds. * * *

[I]nsomuch as the only possible basis for Coke Enterprises's duty to Babyback is the alleged contract, we can only conclude that Babyback's has failed, as a matter of law, to establish that it is entitled to relief on its constructive fraud claim. Consequently, we conclude that the trial court properly entered summary judgment in Coke Enterprises's favor on this claim.

Babyback's also contends that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of COKE. Specifically, Babyback's argues that, if the parties' noncompliance with the writing requirement of the Statute of Frauds was excused by constructive fraud, then summary judgment was inappropriate on its claim that COKE tortiously interfered with Babyback's contract with Coke Enterprises. * * *

It is undisputed that Babyback's claim against COKE for tortious interference can be successful only if a valid and enforceable contract exists between Babyback's and Coke Enterprises. In fact, Babyback's explicitly acknowledges that its tortious interference claim against COKE is viable “only if constructive fraud can take the National Contract out of the Statute of Frauds.” Therefore, having concluded above that there was no valid contract because, as a matter of law, it was clearly unreasonable for Babyback's to take any actions in reliance upon its belief that Coke Enterprises had promised to perform the alleged national agreement, we conclude that the trial court did not err in determining that COKE was entitled to summary judgment.

NFP criminal opinions today (1):

Nicholas James Knox v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 31, 2009 10:59 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions