Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Chodos v. West Publishing Co. case brief

Chodos v. West Publishing Co. case brief summary
292 F.3d 992 (2002)

CASE SYNOPSIS
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.

DISCUSSION

  • 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. 
  • Finally, the author was entitled to sue for restitution for the time and effort he reasonably invested in writing the book.

CONCLUSION
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.

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