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Cosgrove v. Bartolotta

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
150 F.3d 729 (1998)


Facts

Joseph Bartolotta (defendant) asked Barry Cosgrove (plaintiff), a friend who worked as a corporate lawyer, to assist him with opening a restaurant. Bartolotta asked Cosgrove for a $100,000 loan as well as financial and legal advice. He promised to repay the loan with interest within three years and to give Cosgrove a 19 percent ownership stake in the venture. Bartolotta received Cosgrove’s legal assistance and obtained bank financing with the help of Cosgrove’s financial pledge. Cosgrove never provided the loan, however, because Bartolotta used an alternative source of financing. Bartolotta did not give Cosgrove an ownership interest in the business. After the restaurant proved successful, Cosgrove filed suit against Bartolotta. A jury awarded Cosgrove $117,000 for promissory estoppel, $17,000 for unjust enrichment, and $1,000 for misrepresentation. On Bartolotta’s motion, the court ruled in his favor on the promissory estoppel claim, taking away the jury verdict on that issue. The verdicts regarding misrepresentation and unjust enrichment were allowed to stand. Cosgrove appealed the judgment regarding promissory estoppel. Bartolotta appealed the judgments regarding misrepresentation and unjust enrichment but did not take specific issue with any of the amounts awarded.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Posner, C.J.)

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