Contracts Keyed to Calamari
Trident Center v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Company
The Plaintiff, Trident Center (the "Plaintiff"), was a partnership formulated to construct an office building. The Defendant, Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. (the "Defendant") was an insurance company that loaned the Plaintiff $56 million to build the office building. The Defendant charged 12 ¼ % interest for a period of 15 years on the loan. The loan was secured by a deed of trust on the project. The note specifically provided that within the first twelve years, until January 1996, the Plaintiff could not repay the principal amount in part or in full. Between the 13th and 15th years, the loan could be repaid pursuant to a sliding prepayment fee. If the Plaintiff defaulted, the Defendant could accelerate the payment of the note, and add a 10% prepayment fee. Interest rates began to fall in the years after the contract was signed, and the Plaintiff sought to restructure the loan to obtain a more favorable interest rate. The Defendant refused to grant the Plaintiff's request to prepay the loan. The Plaintiff sued in state court seeking a declaration that it could repay the loan subject only to the 10% repayment fee. The case was removed to federal court and the District Court dismissed the Plaintiff's claim and found that the documents were clear and unambiguous on the issue.
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