Procedural Posture - Pinnacle Marketing
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Procedural Posture

Appellants, a manufacturer and its owners, challenged an Orange County Superior Court (California) judgment in favor of respondent sales representative in his action for, inter alia, violation of the Independent Wholesale Sales Representatives Contractual Relations Act of 1990, Civ. Code, § 1738.10 et seq. The jury awarded the representative damages for owed commissions, which the trial court trebled pursuant to the Act’s penalty provisions.

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The court found that the trial court properly granted the representative’s motion for summary adjudication regarding whether the manufacturer had a duty under the Act to enter a written contract with him. The representative was a wholesale sales representative, and the manufacturer was a manufacturer subject to the Act. The court held that the phrase “intended for resale to, or use by the consumers of this state” in Civ. Code, § 1738.12, subd. (a), did not require the manufacturer to harbor both an intention and ability to directly sell to consumers in California. Accordingly, the Act applied to the manufacturer’s use of a wholesale sales representative to solicit orders of large quantities of electric parts and components from a buyer who was not the ultimate consumer. The manufacturer waived its right to challenge the summary adjudication ruling by adhering to a trial strategy that accepted application of the Act. The jury’s interpretation of the parties’ contract did not give the representative a lifetime of commission checks. The jury’s award of damages was well supported by the record, that sufficient evidence supported its finding that the manufacturer breached the contract.


The court affirmed the judgment.