Contracts I, Pages 214–223

Bloomgarden v. Coyer

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, 1973

Facts:

Plaintiff introduced defendants to each other to bring forth a mutually beneficial business agreement. Aside from this, he he had no further role and said that his motivation was merely that he hoped he might garner some work in implementing the plan. After they signed the deal, plaintiff asked for a finder's fee which was denied. Although he claimed a $1 million finder's fee, there was no prior express agreement to plaintiff's compensation. Plaintiff sued that it was implied.

Procedural History:

The district court denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and granted defendants on two separate ground. The court held that because plaintiff did not hold the license required of real estate and business-chance brokers in district court, he was precluded from charging for what he did and also found that plaintiff had no enforceable claim because it appeared without dispute that he did not expect to be personally compensated at the time of introducing them.

Issue:

Does bringing parties together without discussing it give a quasi-contract to be compensated with a finder's fee?

Plaintiff's Arguments:

  • An agreement to pay was implied form the circumstances, especially an alleged custom to reward such people.

  • The parties came under a quasi-contract to compensate him for his services whether or not the elements of an enforceable contract were present.

  • District court's disposition was improper because there were important issues of fact, and defendants had not demonstrated the validity of the legal position which the court accepted.

Rule:

A quasi-contract requires that the services were:

  1. carried out under such circumstances as to give the recipient reason to understand that they were performed for him and not for some other person and that they were not gratuitous
  2. beneficial to the recipient

Reasoning:

Services are often rendered gratuitously, even in the business world. Plaintiff made no indication that this was anything but that.

Holding:

No, plaintiff made no indication for compensation and deserves none on any legal basis apart from that. Affirmed.


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