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General Electric Capital Corp. v. Nichols

United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
2011 WL 1638048 (2011)


Facts

General Electric Capital Corporation (GE) (plaintiff) agreed to finance the purchase of six Mack concrete-pumps trucks by Nichols Equipment (Nichols) (defendant). The finance agreement was secured by the trucks as collateral, totaling approximately $3.3 million. Nichols also signed a Guaranty, agreeing to make all payments under the agreement. Nichols defaulted on the payments. GE filed suit against Nichols to recover the payments. Shortly thereafter, Nichols surrendered the trucks to Value Centers, Inc. (VC), which was directed by GE to make efforts to sell the trucks. VC advertised the trucks on its website, as well as on two paper and internet platforms. VC also placed calls to several of its construction contacts to locate potential buyers for the trucks. After negotiations with numerous individuals and companies, GE sold the six trucks, netting a total of approximately $1.2 million. GE contended that Nichols still owed at least approximately $2.5 million, the remaining balance after subtracting the sale profits from the contract price. Nichols argued that GE did not act in a commercially reasonable manner as required by Connecticut law. As evidence, Nichols offered testimony from James Bodeker, the vice president of sales and marketing at a concrete-pumping service company that had sold or supervised the sale of more than 1,000 concrete pumps. Bodeker testified that GE had not valued, marketed, or sold the trucks in a commercially reasonable manner because GE (1) significantly and improperly undervalued the trucks based on incorrect calculations and (2) employed insufficient marketing efforts to sell the trucks. GE filed a motion to preclude Bodeker’s testimony, as well as a motion for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Hall, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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