Moallem v. Coldwell Banker Commercial Group, Inc.

25 Cal. App. 4th 1827, 31 Cal. Rptr. 2d 253 (1994)

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Moallem v. Coldwell Banker Commercial Group, Inc.

California Court of Appeal
25 Cal. App. 4th 1827, 31 Cal. Rptr. 2d 253 (1994)

Facts

Moallem and others (plaintiffs) sued Coldwell Banker Commercial Group, Inc., and other real estate agents (Coldwell) (defendants) for negligence, breach of contract, and breach of duty in relation to Moallem’s forfeiture of property on which it held a lease and option to buy after Coldwell sublet the property in violation of the lease. The brokerage agreement between Moallem and Coldwell included a provision for reasonable attorney fees and costs for Coldwell if Coldwell was required to institute legal action against Moallem. The jury returned a verdict for Moallem on its negligence and breach-of-fiduciary-duty claims and for Coldwell on Moallem’s breach-of-contract claim. Both sides moved for and were denied attorney fees because the court ruled that no party had prevailed on the contract. Moallem appealed and argued that the language in the broker agreement providing for attorney fees should be read broadly enough to cover non-contract claims and that fairness required it be reciprocally applied to it.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fukuto, J.)

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