Contract Law 57 IV Market Street Associates Limited Partnership v Frey | Summary and Q&A

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July 24, 2017
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Contract Law 57 IV Market Street Associates Limited Partnership v Frey

TL;DR

The case of Market Street Associates v. FRA discusses the duty of good faith in contracts and its implications in the context of a sale and leaseback agreement between JCPenney and General Electric pension trusts.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in contracts?

The implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is a mandatory rule requiring parties to deal with each other in good faith. It is an implied obligation in every contract and cannot be disclaimed. It is defined as honesty in fact and the observance of reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing in the trade.

Q: What did Market Street fail to disclose to the trust in the case of Market Street Associates v. FRA?

Market Street failed to disclose the provision in paragraph 34 of the lease, which granted them the option to repurchase the property at a formulaic price if negotiations for additional funding failed.

Q: How did Judge Posner characterize the duty of good faith in contracts?

Judge Posner characterized the duty of good faith as an implied default condition to a contract that approximates what the parties would have negotiated if they had complete knowledge of the future. He suggested that it is halfway between a fiduciary duty and the duty to refrain from active fraud.

Q: Why did Judge Posner rule that Market Street did not violate their duty of good faith?

Judge Posner ruled that Market Street did not violate their duty of good faith because the failure to disclose the repurchase option could be construed as a form of non-disclosure rather than intentional deception. He believed that good faith at the performance and enforcement stage of a contract is heightened due to changed circumstances and parties' reliance.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The case involves a sale and leaseback agreement between JCPenney and General Electric pension trusts, where JCPenney had the option to repurchase the property if negotiations for additional funding failed.

  • Market Street later acquired JCPenney's interest in the lease and requested financing from the trust without informing them of the repurchase option.

  • The case examines whether Market Street violated the duty of good faith by failing to disclose the repurchase option and whether the duty of good faith requires a party to be aware of the terms of a contract they have already agreed to.

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