Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Cablevision of Breckenridge, Inc. v. Tannhauser Condominium Association case brief

Cablevision of Breckenridge, Inc. v. Tannhauser Condominium Association case brief summary
649 P.2d 1093 (1982)

Plaintiff cable service provider was granted a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Colorado Court of Appeals, which reversed a judgment awarding the provider damages for wrongful conversion of its subscription cable service by defendants, condominium association and condominium owners.

A condominium association helped to facilitate the wiring of condominium units for access to cable television by each unit. The provider was only aware of access by three of the unit owners and was charging accordingly. When the operator became aware of the extended access, it filed suit to recover damages. A judgment in favor of the provider was reversed based on a trial stipulation regarding a breach of contract because the appellate court found proof of no such breach.


  • On appeal the reviewing court ruled in favor of the provider. 
  • The court held that the doctrine of unjust enrichment applied. 
  • The court held that a benefit was conferred upon the association and owners (owners) by the provider and that the benefit was appreciated. 
  • The court also concluded that the owners retained service under such circumstances that it would be inequitable to allow its use without payment for its value. 
  • The court held that the owners were not innocent or unwilling recipients of a benefit, but actively facilitated its provision and that the provider had a legally protected interest in the reception, processing, and distribution system it had installed and in the service that the system enabled.

The judgment that reversed judgment in favor of a cable provider was reversed, and the cause was remanded for reinstatement of the original judgment.

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