Articles Posted in Business Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action brought by four taxicab drivers against Uber, alleging that Uber tortiously interfered with a valid business expectancy. The court held that it need not decide whether there was a valid business expectancy because plaintiffs failed to allege the absence of justification under Missouri law. In this case, there was no evidence that the legislature intended to create a private cause of action based on violation of the Missouri Taxicab Commission's code and requirements. View "Vilcek v. Uber Technologies, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought a putative class action against Air EVAC asserting three claims for relief under Arkansas law. The district court dismissed all claims as preempted by the express preemption provision in the Airline Deregulation Act (ADA). The Eighth Circuit affirmed on a narrower basis and held that the fairness of plaintiff's transaction with Air EVAC and the reasonableness of Air EVAC's price were governed by federal law. Likewise, the court held that the ADA preempted plaintiff's claim that Air EVAC may not seek restitution against class members because it lacked clean hands. Finally, the court held that plaintiff's declaratory judgment claims, like his fraud claims, were ADA-preempted. The court noted that plaintiff's may bring contract defenses and unpreempted judicial remedies were also available. View "Ferrell v. Air EVAC EMS, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit vacated the tax court's valuation of Medtronic's true income for the 2005 and 2006 tax years. The Commissioner claimed that Medtronic shifted income from its highly profitable U.S. operations and intangibles to an offshore subsidiary operating in a tax haven in Puerto Rico by charging an artificially low rate for the intangibles. The court held that the tax court's factual findings were insufficient to enable the court to conduct an evaluation of the tax court's determination that the Pacesetter agreement was an appropriate comparable uncontrolled transaction (CUT) because it involved similar intangible property and had similar circumstances regarding licensing. In this case, the tax court did not address in sufficient detail whether the circumstances of the settlement between Pacesetter and Medtronic US were comparable to the licensing agreement between Medtronic and Medtronic Puerto Rico; did not analyze the degree of comparability of the Pacesetter agreement's contractual terms and those of the Medtronic Puerto Rico licensing agreement; did not evaluate how the different treatment of intangibles affected the comparability of the Pacesetter agreement and the Medtronic Puerto Rico licensing agreement; and did not decide the amount of risk and product liability expense that should be allocated between Medtronic US and Medtronic Puerto Rico. View "Medtronic, Inc. & Consolidated Subsidiaries v. Comissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Tax Law

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Hildene filed suit against Bannister and Arvest, alleging that the asset purchase transaction between Bannister and Arvest breached the "successor obligor" term of an indenture agreement between Bannister and U.S. Bank National Association as trustee and that Arvest tortiously interfered with the Indenture. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that the asset purchase transaction did not violate the Indenture. The court held that the plain meaning of the word "property" in this context was property directly owned by Bannister, the "company" that signed the Indenture; and Bannister's "property and capital stock" did not include assets of Bannister subsidiaries. The court also held that the district court did not err in dismissing plaintiff's tortious interference claim against Arvest because Bannister did not breach the Indenture's successor obligor provision. View "Hildene Opportunities Master Fund, Ltd. v. Arvest Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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In 2007-2010, the Hargises bought and operated nursing homes. Bobby was the sole owner of corporations that operated the homes (Operating Corporations), which were S corporations. Brenda owned interests in companies that bought and leased the homes to the Operating Corporations (Nursing Home LLCs). The Nursing Home LLCs were partnerships under 26 C.F.R. 301.7701-3(a). All the entities had net operating losses, which the Hargises deducted on their joint tax returns for 2009 and 2010. The Commissioner issued the Hargises a notice of deficiency, disallowing their deduction of most of the nursing home losses, due to the Hargises’ insufficient basis in their companies. The Hargises owed $281,766. The Tax Court ruled for the Commissioner. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The Tax Court correctly denied Bobby any basis in the indebtedness of the Operating Corporations, finding “no convincing evidence that any of the lenders looked to [Bobby] as the primary obligor on the loans.” The Commissioner properly calculated Brenda’s basis from the Nursing Home LLCs’ tax returns (Schedule K-1). Her deduction of their losses is limited to “the adjusted basis of [her] interest in the partnership.” View "Hargis v. Koskinen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Tax Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant in an action alleging claims of negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and denial of equitable relief. The court held that the district court did not err in granting defendant's summary judgment motion on the negligent misrepresentation claim because Lonesome Dove had not alleged any specific damage from the misrepresentation; the district court did not err by granting summary judgment as to the unjust enrichment claim because Lonesome Dove failed to present specific facts to illustrate any benefit to defendant other than the list of things in the contract; the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying Lonesome Dove equitable relief where Lonesome Dove had an adequate remedy at law in this case; and the district court did not err by denying Lonesome Dove's motion for a new trial where the verdict was not against the clear weight of the evidence. View "Lonesome Dove Petroleum, Inc. v. Holt" on Justia Law

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Leonetti's filed suit against Crew for negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and trade libel. Leonetti's alleged that an email sent by the president of Crew caused Sam's Club to decline to purchase Leonetti's stromboli products. The district court granted summary judgment for Crew on each count except the breach of contract count, which was later dismissed with prejudice. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to the causation of the project termination. In this case, the district court failed to consider Leonetti's evidence offered to rebut an email explaining that Sam's Club was terminating the project for product quality concerns. View "Leonetti's Frozen Foods,Inc. v. Crew, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the City and ImOn in an action brought by Mediacom, seeking declarations that certain resolutions were void and that the City could not permit a potential cable provider to construct a "cable system" without acquiring a cable franchise. Mediacom also alleged contract violations, tortious interference, civil conspiracy, and Equal Protection violations, all depending on whether ImOn could lawfully build a fiber-optic network without a franchise. The court held that ImOn's fiber-optic network was not a "cable system," because ImOn has not provided or proposed to provide cable services. Therefore, the agreements at issue authorizing ImOn's construction of a fiber-optic network were not a de facto cable franchise. In regard to Mediacom's equal protection claim, the court also held that the district court properly concluded that ImOn and Mediacom were not similarly situated because only Mediacom was a cable provider in the City, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Mediacom's motion for discovery. View "MCC Iowa v. Iowa City" on Justia Law

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Qwinstar and Pro Logistics entered into an agreement wherein Qwinstar would purchase Pro Logistics and employ its owner for a term of five years. Qwinstar fired the owner a few months after the sale and filed suit alleging that it did not receive the inventory it bargained for in the sale. The owner counterclaimed, alleging breach of the employment contract by not paying him for the full five-year term. The Eighth Circuit held that Qwinstar was unable to prove that the owner breached the contract and thus affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the owner and Pro Logistics. The court held that summary judgment was inappropriate on the owner's counterclaim because the contract provisions were ambiguous and reasonably susceptible to more than one interpretation. Therefore, interpretation becomes a question of fact precluding summary judgment. View "Qwinstar Corp. v. Anthony" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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After ten individuals resigned from West Plains to join a start-up freight brokerage operation founded by the former owner of West Plains, West Plains filed suit. The jury found defendants liable for tortious interference with business relationships and breach of the duty of loyalty. The Eighth Circuit affirmed, holding that, based on the nature and intent of their actions, a jury could reasonably find the employee defendants committed unjust acts of interference; the evidence was sufficient to show defendants' actions caused a loss of profits to West Plains, and that the loss continued after the expiration of the temporary injunction; there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find the employee defendants breached their duty of loyalty; given the extent to which each employee defendant was involved in the planning of the start up and the time in which they were so committed, there was adequate support for each forfeiture award; and there was abundant evidence showing defendants entered into an agreement tortiously to interfere with West Plains' business or to breach their duty of loyalty. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motion for a new trial or altered or amended judgment. View "West Plains, LLC v. Retzlaff Grain Co. Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law