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Del Lago Ventures, Inc. v. QuikTrip Corp.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

October 30, 2014

DEL LAGO VENTURES, INC.
v.
QUIKTRIP CORPORATION

Reconsideration denied November 24, 2014.

Contract. Cobb Superior Court. Before Judge Schuster.

Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial, David I. Matthews, Robert P. Marcovitch, Greenberg Traurig, Ernest L. Greer, Michael J. King, Andrew N. Capezzuto, for appellant.

Burr & Forman, John O'Shea Sullivan, Bret A. Beldt, for appellee.

MILLER, Judge. Doyle, P. J., and Dillard, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 596

Miller, Judge.

Ofer Bar Lev and Kofer Properties, Inc. (collectively " the Sellers" ) and QuikTrip Corporation (" QuikTrip" ) entered into a real [330 Ga.App. 139] estate purchase agreement for a piece of land in Cobb County. QuikTrip wanted to purchase the property in order to build a gas station there. Thereafter, the Sellers entered into a " backup contract" to sell the same property to Del Lago Ventures, Inc. (" Del Lago" ), a subsidiary of QuikTrip's competitor, RaceTrac Petroleum, Inc. After the Sellers sold the property to QuikTrip, Del Lago sued the Sellers and QuikTrip for specific performance, breach of contract, injunctive and declaratory relief, and attorney fees, asserting that the contract between the Sellers and QuikTrip had terminated, giving effect to the backup contract between the Sellers and Del Lago. QuikTrip counterclaimed for declaratory judgment, defamation of title, and attorney fees.

QuikTrip filed a motion for summary judgment, and Del Lago filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment. The trial court denied Del Lago's motion for summary judgment and awarded summary judgment to QuikTrip on all claims asserted by Del Lago. The trial court also declared QuikTrip the owner of the property.

Del Lago appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment to QuikTrip, contending that genuine issues of material fact remain as to whether QuikTrip terminated its contract with the Sellers and whether forged signatures

Page 597

invalidated the QuikTrip contract.[1] For the reasons that follow, we affirm in part and reverse in part.

On appeal from the grant of summary judgment this Court conducts a de novo review of the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact and whether the undisputed facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, warrant judgment as a matter of law.

( Citations and punctuation omitted.) Campbell v. The Landings Assn., 289 Ga. 617, 618 (713 S.E.2d 860) (2011).

So viewed, the record shows that QuikTrip was interested in buying several adjoining parcels of land located at the corner of Windy Hill and Austell Roads, some of which were owned by Bar Lev individually and some of which were owned by Kofer Properties. Bar Lev is the sole owner of Kofer Properties. On January 11, 2010, Bar Lev entered into a real estate contract with QuikTrip. The contract provided for a 270-day inspection period, beginning on the effective date of the contract, and for closing to take place within 15 days after the expiration of the inspection period.

[330 Ga.App. 140] The termination provision of the contract between Bar Lev and QuikTrip stated:

In the event [QuikTrip] determines in its sole and absolute discretion that the Property is not suitable for [QuikTrip's] intended use within the Inspection Period, [QuikTrip] may elect to terminate this Contract by written notice to [the Sellers] and Escrow Agent. If this Contract is ...

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