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Kazlauskas v. Emmert

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 03-14-2012
Case #: A141575
Brewer, C.J., for the Court; Schuman, P.J.; & Armstrong, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/sites/Publications/A141575.pdf

Contract Law: In contracts cases, specific performance as a remedy should only be available when other remedies are insufficient to compensate the non-breaching party.

In consolidated appeals, both Emmert and Kazlauskas appealed judgments in favor of the other party. In the first case, Emmert alleged that Kazlauskas had committed fraud concerning a property loan given by Emmert. The jury found that Kazlauskas had committed fraud and the Court of Appeals affirmed without discussion. In the second case, Kazlauskas alleged fraud and contract claims against Emmert. The jury found that Emmert breached the contracts and Kazlauskas elected for specific performance of the contract rather than money damages. Emmert appealed, arguing that the trial court should have granted his motion for a directed verdict, and also that the court erred in granting specific performance. Kazlauskas cross-appealed, arguing erroneous evidentiary rulings, and that the trial court erred when it resubmitted both cases to the jury after an erroneous verdict. The Court dismissed Kazlauskas' evidentiary arguments and his second argument, holding that Kazlauskas waived his rights by failing to request that the trial court accept the jury's verdict in the second case and that he failed to preserve the argument on appeal. As to Emmert's appeal, the Court found that the denial of his motion for directed verdict was properly denied because there was a sufficient factual question; but the Court also found that the trial court erred in awarding specific performance, because specific performance should only be available when other remedies would be inadequate to compensate the non-breaching party. In this case, monetary damages would be sufficient to compensate Kazlauskas. Reversed and remanded.