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Austin Hill Country Realty, Inc. v. Palisades Plaza, Inc.

Supreme Court of Texas
948 S.W.2d 293 (1997)


Facts

Palisades Plaza, Inc. (Palisades) (plaintiff) owned an office complex in Austin, Texas. On September 15, 1992, Palisades entered a five-year commercial office lease with Austin Hill Country Realty, Inc. (Hill Country) (defendant). Hill Country was a real estate brokerage franchise run by Barbara Hill, Annette Smith, and David Jones. The anticipated start date was November 15, 1992. One provision of the lease required Palisades to make improvements on the office. In October 1992, Palisades received conflicting instructions on how to proceed with improvements. Palisades informed Hill, Smith, and Jones that it was suspending improvements until they designated a representative to communicate decisions to Palisades. Hill, Smith, and Jones did not reply. On November 19, 1992, Palisades wrote to inform Hill Country that it considered their failure to select a representative an anticipatory breach of contract. Palisades subsequently brought suit for anticipatory breach. At trial, Hill Country sought an instruction that told the jury to reduce any damages by the amount that Palisades could have avoided by exercising reasonable care. The trial judge refused to allow the instruction. The jury found in favor of Palisades and granted damages in the amount of $29,716. The court of appeals affirmed.

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Holding and Reasoning (Spector, J.)

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