Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Maglica v. Maglica case brief

Maglica v. Maglica case brief summary
66 Cal. App. 4th 442 (1998)

Appellant, boyfriend of respondent, sought review of a jury verdict from the Superior Court of Orange County, California, that found respondent's services benefitted appellant's company, under the doctrine of quantum meruit, in the amount of $ 84 million.

Appellant boyfriend and respondent girlfriend held themselves out as a married couple, respondent used appellant's name, they lived together and worked together at appellant's company. The value of the company increased during the 20 years they worked together, in part due to respondent's efforts. Respondent filed suit upon the breakup and sued, alleging, among other things, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and quantum meruit. The trial court's instructions allowed the jury to award respondent $ 84 million, which the appellant contested.


  • The court reversed and remanded because the lower court had given instructions that led the jury to improperly value the benefit of respondent's services to the company rather than determine the value of the services under quantum meruit. 
  • Respondent had attempted to show the existence of an implied-in-fact contract that would have given her some equity in the company but the jury instructions did not accurately convey the law, the court held. 
  • Further, the court held that there could be no breach of fiduciary duty since the jury found there was no contract that appellant would share the business with respondent.
The court reversed and remanded because the trial court improperly instructed the jury as to the definition of quantum meruit as well as the elements of an implied-in-fact contract.

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