Procedural Posture

Procedural Posture

Plaintiff, a dealer in photographic processing equipment, appealed from a post-judgment order of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County (California), which awarded defendant manufacturer damages, costs and attorney fees on a cross-complaint for unpaid invoices.

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Overview

Plaintiff claimed that defendant had intentionally interfered with its customers and had breached a dealership agreement by repudiating it. Defendant filed a cross-complaint for unpaid invoices. The parties sought judicial arbitration. The arbitrator awarded damages to both parties. Rejecting that result, both parties requested trial de novo. The jury returned a verdict for defendant and awarded damages for the unpaid invoices, less labor and parts. Attorney fees and costs were awarded to defendant in a post-judgment order, from which plaintiff appealed. The appellate court affirmed the award of attorney fees, finding that the attorney fee provision on the manufacturer’s invoices added such provision to the parties’ original agreement absent any objections by plaintiff. The court modified the amount of costs.

Outcome

The court affirmed the award of attorney fees; however, the court modified the amount of costs.

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