San Francisco partner Mark Posard obtained a favorable arbitration award on behalf of a national cemetery and funeral home company, in a breach of contract and fraud case. The claimant alleged that the client caused severe emotional distress and breached their contract when he learned the burial plot he purchased for his aunt had been sold to another occupant. When the claimant’s aunt passed away and he sought to use the burial plot, it was already occupied and unavailable for his use. Ultimately, the claimant selected another burial plot location and signed a Quitclaim and Release form to move forward with interment plans for his aunt.
The claimant alleged the client had a pattern and practice of intentionally “double-selling” burial plots and sought in excess of $1 million pre-arbitration. Gordon & Rees argued that the Quitclaim and Release forms signed by the claimant limited the claimant’s damages to those provided by the liquidated damages clause in the original contract. The arbitrator agreed and awarded the claimant only liquidated damages which amounted to less than $10,000.