Breach of Oral Contract, Defamation – Published Settlement

February 27, 1998
Breach of Oral Contract
$32,500 for Plaintiff. Defendant agreed to dismiss its bad faith claim against its insurance carrier in exchange for dismissal of the declaratory relief action.
Case I.D. Confidential.
Los Angeles Superior Central / January 19, 1998.
Deborah Rothman of AAA.
Plaintiff – John G. Burgee (Burgee & Abramoff, Encino).
Defendant – Barry Weisz (Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro, Los Angeles); Anthony R. Milani (Milani & Rosenthal, Irvine); Dennis L Althouse (Wolfe & Wyman, Long Beach); George D. Yaron (Davidovitz & Yaron, San Francisco).
Plaintiff performed construction work for defendant’s construction company. A dispute arose regarding payment for services so plaintiff stopped working for defendant and sought payment for services rendered. Defendant declined to pay plaintiff, whereupon plaintiff sued for breach of oral contract, quantum meruit and defamation in conjunction with defendant’s oral statement impugning plaintiff’s workmanship and honesty. Defendant tendered the defense of the defamation action to the two insurance carriers providing coverage in the relevant time frame. Both agreed to provide a defense, with a reservation of rights. Only one carrier provided defendant with Cumis counsel. The other brought a declaratory relief action seeking a declaration of its, and its insured’s, rights and obligations under the policy. Defendant filed a cross-complaint for bad faith against the carrier that failed to provide Cumis counsel.
The plaintiff contended that the defendant owed him $150,000 for services performed on six or seven different construction projects and $200,000 for damages as to the alleged defamation.
A mediation was held on January 19, 1998, before Deborah Rothman of the American Arbitration Association, resulting in the reported settlement.
Copyright 1998 Daily Journal Corp. Reprinted with Permission.