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Columbia Cascade Co. v. City of Fernandina Beach

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 12, 2017

COLUMBIA CASCADE COMPANY, an Oregon corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
CITY OF FERNANDINA BEACH, a city in the State of Florida, Defendant-Respondent, and Todd B. KROHN, an individual; and Site Creations, LLC, a dissolved Florida limited liability company, Defendants.

          Argued and submitted March 1, 2016.

         Multnomah County Circuit Court 121013287 Thomas M. Christ, Judge pro tempore.

          John M. Berman argued the cause and fled the briefs for appellant.

          Candice R. Broock argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief were James P. Laurick and Kilmer, Voorhees & Laurick, P.C.

          Before Tookey, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Sercombe, Senior Judge.

         Case Summary:

         In this breach of contract case, plaintiff Columbia Cascade Company (Columbia) appeals a general judgment in favor of defendant City of Fernandina Beach (the city) that dismissed Columbia's claim against the city with prejudice and awarded the city attorney fees, costs, and disbursements. The case arose after both Columbia and Columbia's sales representative, Site Creations, LLC, sent the city invoices for the same playground equipment that Columbia had manufactured for and delivered to the city. Instead of paying the invoice from Columbia, the city paid Site Creations' invoice. Columbia never received [286 Or.App. 730] payment for the equipment and, ultimately, brought an action against the city for breach of contract. The parties fled cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court, concluding that Site Creations had actual or apparent authority to receive payment on Columbia's behalf, granted the city's motion for summary judgment and denied Columbia's motion. On appeal, Columbia assigns error to the trial court's summary judgment ruling.

         Held:

         To the extent that the trial court concluded that Site Creations had actual authority to invoice and receive payment from the city, that conclusion is incorrect as a matter of law. However, with respect to apparent authority, there is evidence from which a jury could fnd that Columbia apparently consented to Site Creations demanding and accepting payment for the playground equipment. There is also evidence from which a jury could fnd that Columbia did not appear to so consent. In other words, there are issues of fact that preclude summary judgment on the issue of apparent authority and, accordingly, the trial court correctly denied Columbia's motion for summary judgment and incorrectly granted the city's motion.

         Reversed and remanded.

         [286 Or.App. 731] SERCOMBE, S. J.

         In this breach of contract case, plaintiff Columbia Cascade Company (Columbia) appeals a general judgment in favor of defendant City of Fernandina Beach (the city) that dismissed Columbia's claim against the city with prejudice and awarded the city attorney fees, costs, and disbursements. The case arose after both Columbia and Columbia's sales representative, Site Creations, LLC, sent the city invoices for the same playground equipment that Columbia had manufactured for and delivered to the city. Instead of paying the invoice from Columbia, the city paid Site Creations' invoice. Columbia never received payment for the equipment and, ultimately, brought an action against the city for breach of contract.[1] The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court concluded that Site Creations had actual or apparent authority to receive payment on Columbia's behalf. Accordingly, it granted the city's motion for summary judgment and denied Columbia's motion. On appeal, Columbia assigns error to the trial court's summary judgment ruling. As explained below, we conclude that there are issues of fact with respect to apparent authority and, therefore, the trial court properly denied Columbia's motion for summary judgment and erred in granting the city's motion. Accordingly, we reverse and remand.

         "In appeals involving cross-motions for summary judgment, we review the record for each motion in the light most favorable to the party opposing it." Johnson v. State Board of Hisher Education. 272 Or.App. 710, 712, 358 P.3d 307, rev den, 358 Or. 527 (2015). In this case, on summary judgment, the following facts are undisputed.

         Columbia manufactures and sells playground equipment, including a line of equipment called TimberForm; TimberForm is a registered trademark of Columbia. Columbia sells its products through independent sales representatives and, at the time of the events giving rise to this [286 Or.App. 732] action, Site Creations was Columbia's exclusive sales representative in northern Florida.

         Columbia and Site Creations entered into a Sales Representative Agreement (SRA) that set forth the terms of the relationship. The services Site ...


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