Contracts Keyed to George
Carmichael v. Adirondack Bottled Gas Corp.
Adirondack Bottled Gas Corporation (Adirondack) (defendant) provided Philip and Janet Carmichael's (plaintiff) oil gas distributorship with propane and other fuel that was then sold to the Carmichaels' clients. Incorporated into the agreement amongst Adirondack and the Carmichaels was a "key man" condition which gave that the supply contract ended naturally upon the demise of Philip or any adjustment in the administration or responsibility for Carmichaels' business. Several years later, Philip died, triggering the key man provision. From that point, Adirondack kept on providing Janet's business with fuel while making a few offers to buy the Carmichaels' business for approximately half its value. Each time an offer was made, Janet refused. Subsequently, a lawyer for Adirondack educated Janet that it would never again supply the fuel items. Therefore, Janet was compelled to lay off her representatives, sell most of the company’s assets, and her clients went without propane. After the parties wrapped up the execution of specific commitments required under the agreement, Janet recorded suit against Adirondack for breach of bad faith and fair dealing among other claims. After a trial, a jury held for Janet and granted her $60,000 in compensatory harms and $100,000 in punitive damages. Adirondack appealed.
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