Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Nelson v. Elway case brief

Nelson v. Elway case brief summary
908 P.2d 102 (1995)

Petitioners, car dealerships and owner, sought certiorari review of an order of the Colorado Court of Appeals affirming in part and reversing in part the trial court's order granting respondents summary judgment in petitioners' action sounding in breach of contract, fraud, promissory estoppel, and civil conspiracy.

Petitioners, car dealerships and owner, brought suit against respondents, alleging that respondents did not honor the terms of a service agreement, which was never signed, and was never incorporated into the final agreement between the parties.

The trial court granted summary judgment for respondents on all counts. The appellate court reversed in part, finding factual disputes regarding the promissory estoppel claim.


  • The court reversed the appellate court's decision. 
  • The court ruled that respondents were entitled to summary judgment on the civil conspiracy claim because petitioners failed to allege an unlawful overt act. 
  • The court also ruled that summary judgment on the contract claim was proper because the integration clause in the final agreement demonstrated the parties intent to be bound solely by that agreement, and not by the unsigned service agreement. 
  • As for the promissory estoppel claim, the court ruled that it was unreasonable for petitioners to rely on the promises in the service agreement because they were conditioned upon the approval of the financing company, which never occurred.

The court reversed the portion of the appellate court's order reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment for respondents on petitioners', car dealerships and owner, promissory estoppel claim because it was unreasonable for petitioners to rely on a contract containing an unfulfilled condition precedent. The court affirmed the remainder of the appellate court's order, and remanded for the entry of judgment for respondents.

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