Procedural Posture

Appellant Salmon Norway, Inc. sought review of a decision from the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) dismissing appellant’s claims pursuant to two escrows for the purchase and sale of certain property and entering a judgment quieting title in respondents to the property in dispute and to the money advanced by appellant as down payments in the respective escrows.

Overview

Appellant corporation filed a suit against respondents seeking a declaration of the rights and duties of the parties under an escrow, filed an action based on a quasi-contractual theory of recovery, and other causes of action related to a second escrow for the purchase and sale of certain unimproved property. The parties had signed two sets of escrow instructions with respect to the purchase of lots to be used to build homes. After appellant defaulted under the escrow, respondents terminated the contract, retained appellant’s deposit, and conveyed the property to a third party. The court affirmed the trial court’s judgment dismissing all of appellant’s causes of action except the first action seeking a declaration of the rights and duties of the parties under the first escrow. The court reversed with directions to retry only the issue of respondents’ damages under the first cause of action and determine what sum, if any, should be offset against appellant’s escrow deposit. The court concluded that the trial court erred in permitting respondents to retain the entire down payment rather than applying equitable principles to determine the actual damages.

Outcome

The court affirmed the trial court’s judgment dismissing all of appellant corporation’s causes of action except the first action under the first escrow seeking a declaration of the rights and duties of the parties. The court reversed with directions to retry only the issue of respondents’ damages under the first cause of action and determine what sum, if any, should be offset against appellant’s escrow deposit.

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