Chodos v. West Publishing Co. case brief summary
292 F.3d 992 (2002)
Appellant author sued appellee
publishing company for quantum meruit. The United States District
Court for the Central District of California granted summary judgment
for the publishing company, and denied the author's request to filed
an amended complaint. The author appealed.
CASE FACTS The author had entered into a contract
with the company's predecessor, requiring the author to write a book.
After the author finished the book, the publishing company decided
not to publish the book, citing solely sales and marketing reasons.
The appellate court held that the contract had given the publishing
company the right in its discretion to terminate the relationship if
it determined that the book was unacceptable.
However, the publishing
company had breached the contract.
Specifically, contract could not
have been construed to allow the publishing company to consider
solely the likelihood of the book's commercial success and other
similar economic factors.
The publishing company may have deemed the
book unacceptable only if it was deficient in form and content.
Moreover, under the contract, if the publishing company had
determined that the book was unacceptable, the author was to be given
a period of time to cure his failure in performance.
author was entitled to sue for restitution for the time and effort he
reasonably invested in writing the book.
The judgment of the district granting summary judgment was
reversed. The case was remanded to the district court with
instructions to enter summary judgment as to liability in the
author's favor, and for further proceedings consistent with the
appellate court's opinion. The denial of the request to file an
amended complaint was affirmed. Suggested law school study materials
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