Appellate Court Upholds Beck Redden Trial Win, Finds Retailer Levied Unenforceable Penalty

  • April 12, 2013

The Firm won an appeal in Houston’s Fourteenth Court of Appeals arising from a breach-of-contract dispute between a major retail chain and the Firm’s client, an importer of seasonal decorations. The Firm defended against multiple claims during a three-day trial and also asserted a counterclaim for breach of contract. The jury returned a complete defense verdict for Beck Redden's client and also awarded damages to the client after finding on the counterclaim that the retailer had breached three separate contracts. Beck Redden prevailed in securing a judgment on the verdict. 

The retail chain appealed the judgment. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment with a significant holding about liquidated damages provisions under the Uniform Commercial Code. The court held that the liquidated damages provisions in the retail chain’s standard vendor contracts are unenforceable penalties.

Beck Redden partner Connie Pfeiffer served as lead appellate counsel, handling the jury charge, authoring the appellate brief and presenting the oral argument. Beck Redden partner Geoff Gannaway served as lead trial counsel and co-authored the appellate brief. The case is styled Garden Ridge, L.P. v. Advance International, Inc., No. 14-11-00624-CV.