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Seki v. Groupon, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 16, 2015

SEKI
v.
GROUPON, INC

Contract, etc. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Markle.

Mitchell & Shapiro, William R. Joiner, for appellant.

Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial, Alan M. Maxwell, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 777

McMillian, Judge.

Shiho Seki d/b/a Magical Adventures Balloon Rides (" Magical Adventures" )[1] appeals from the trial court's grant of summary judgment on her claims for breach of contract, tortious interference with contractual relations,[2] and invasion of privacy through misappropriation against Groupon, Inc. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the trial court's order as to the breach of contract and tortious interference with contractual relations claims, but reverse the grant of summary judgment on the claim of invasion of privacy through misappropriation.

Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issues of material fact remain

Page 778

and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. On appeal, we review the grant or denial of summary judgment de novo, construing the evidence and all inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party.

(Citation omitted.) LeCroy v. Bragg, 319 Ga.App. 884, 885 (1) (739 S.E.2d 1) (2013).

So viewed, the pertinent facts are as follows. Seki is a sole proprietor operating a hot air balloon ride business in the Temecula Valley region of California under the registered trade name, " Magical Adventures Balloon Rides." Groupon, Inc. is an online marketplace engaged in offering daily promotions whereby customers purchase discount price vouchers redeemable by Groupon's vendors. Magical Adventures and other providers of hot air balloon rides in the Temecula Valley entered into an oral agreement that they would not advertise with Groupon or similar online marketers. In addition, the written bylaws of the Temecula Valley Balloon Association prohibits its members, which includes Magical Adventures, from contracting with Groupon without preapproval.

[333 Ga.App. 320] In September 2012, Groupon had a business relationship with Sportations, a Georgia business that agreed to provide Groupon's customers with hot air balloon rides for the designated price of $139 per voucher. Groupon marketed and sold 25 vouchers for hot air balloon rides through its Internet campaign with Sportations. Several months later, however, Groupon ended its business relationship with Sportations. At that time, 18 of the 25 purchased Sportations vouchers had not yet been redeemed.

Groupon, which had made numerous unsuccessful vendor solicitations to Magical Adventures, requested that it honor the unredeemed Sportations vouchers in exchange for the payment of $150 per voucher. Magical Adventures agreed to do so and signed a " Declaration," the substance of which, although not technically accurate, provided:

I, [Shiho Seki, authorized representative of Magical Adventures,] contracted with Sportations to provide these services to customers who purchased Groupon vouchers at the price of $150.00... . I agree to provide the same services, at the ...

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