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MCC-Marble Ceramic Center, Inc. v. Ceramica Nuova D'Agostino, S.P.A.

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
144 F.3d 1384 (1998)


Facts

MCC-Marble Ceramic Center, Inc. (MCC) (plaintiff) was a Florida corporation engaged in the retail sale of tiles, and Ceramica Nuova d'Agostino, S.P.A. (D’Agostino) (defendant) was an Italian corporation engaged in the manufacture of ceramic tiles. In 1990 MCC's president Monzon examined samples of D'Agostino’s tiles at a trade fair and agreed to purchase a certain quantity. Monzon spoke no Italian and communicated through a translator, an agent of D'Agostino. The parties stated that they had orally agreed on the price, quality, quantity, delivery, and payment and recorded the terms on one of D'Agostino's standard order forms, which Monzon signed. In 1991, according to MCC, they also entered into a requirements contract in which D'Agostino agreed to supply MCC with tile at a discount if MCC agreed to purchase a certain quantity, and MCC completed several order forms requesting tile deliveries pursuant to that agreement. When D'Agostino failed to deliver, MCC brought suit for breach of the 1991 contract. D'Agostino responded that it was under no obligation to fill MCC's orders because MCC had defaulted on payment for previous shipments, citing a provision in Italian on the back of the order form that “default or delay in payment within the time agreed upon gives D'Agostino the right to . . . suspend or cancel the contract itself and to cancel possible other pending contracts.” MCC appealed the grant of summary judgment to D’Agostino.

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Holding and Reasoning (Birch, J.)

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