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Midwest Energy, Inc. v. Orion Food Systems, Inc.

Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri
14 S.W.3d 154 (2000)


Facts

Midwest Energy, Inc. (Midwest) (plaintiff) inquired about a possible franchise for products from Orion Food Systems, Inc. (Orion) (defendant) for the new convenience store Midwest was building. Ted Ries (defendant), Orion’s district sales manager, gave Laura Younghouse, Midwest’s president and sole stockholder, a form document that warned against taking any action until there was a written franchise agreement in place. Ries told Younghouse that the other Orion franchisees in the area did not pose an issue to a franchise with Midwest and that they could move ahead with the franchise. Midwest changed its building plans to incorporate a larger store design provided by Orion, although Younghouse later acknowledged that Midwest probably would not have built a smaller building in any case. Orion sent Younghouse a franchise agreement, and Ries told Younghouse he would pick up the signed agreement from her. No contract was ever signed. Orion later informed Midwest that it would not issue the franchise to Midwest. Midwest sued Orion and Ries for breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and fraud. The trial court granted summary judgment on all three claims and entered judgment for Orion and Ries. Midwest appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Blackmar, C.J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Crahan, J.)

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