Tri-Town Construction Co. v. Commerce Park Associates 12

139 A.3d 467 (2016)

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Tri-Town Construction Co. v. Commerce Park Associates 12

Rhode Island Supreme Court
139 A.3d 467 (2016)

RW

Facts

Both Tri-Town Construction Company, Inc. (Tri-Town) (plaintiff) and Commerce Park Associates 12, LLC (Commerce Park) (defendant) were sophisticated and experienced real estate developers. In 2006, Commerce Park executed a 10-year, mortgage-secured promissory note to buy a tract of land from Tri-Town on which Commerce Park planned to build a large, residential condominium. The contract permitted Commerce Park to defer principal payments and make only interest payments on the loan until condominium units began selling. In 2008, a severe recession hit the nation’s economy. Commerce Park’s financing dried up, and Commerce Park defaulted on the Tri-Town loan. Tri-Town sued to enforce Commerce Park’s promissory note. The trial court rejected Commerce Park’s argument that Commerce Park and Tri-Town were partners in a joint venture, with both partners assuming the risk that changing economic conditions would frustrate their ability to complete the condominium project. The trial court granted summary judgment for Tri-Town, and Commerce Park appealed to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Flaherty, J.)

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