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02/21/2014

Gordon & Rees’s Molly Machold Wins Defense Verdict for Charter School in Breach of Contract and Libel Case

Gordon & Rees Phoenix senior counsel Molly Machold won a complete defense verdict on behalf of a local charter school after a one-day bench trial in Maricopa County Justice Court. 

A vendor sued the school and its principal alleging breach of contract for nonpayment and libel for posting a bad review regarding the vendor on Yelp.  The vendor had provided equipment for an end-of-school-year celebration, but it malfunctioned during the event.  The vendor did not adjust the bill and subsequently added fees for alleged damage to the equipment.  The school refused to pay the inflated invoice.

At trial, Machold successfully argued that the vendor’s witnesses should be excluded due to late disclosure.  Machold presented convincing evidence demonstrating that the school did not receive the benefit of the bargain it had contracted for and that the vendor had failed to negotiate with the school or make any adjustments to its bill, instead choosing to tack on extra, unwarranted fees. Machold argued that, for these reasons, the school’s nonpayment was justified. Further, Machold argued that the school principal’s review on Yelp was accurate and protected by the First Amendment. 

On Feb. 11, the judge agreed and dismissed the suit in its entirety. 


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