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Need to format as a legal memo using Issue, Rule , Analysis,...

Need to format as a legal memo using Issue, Rule , Analysis, Conclusion....


ASSIGNMENT: John Doyle requested that our office represent Doyle's Tavern in a detrimental reliance / quasi breach of contract action based upon government assurances that his business, and many others, claim they were misled by State's Governor who, after three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, assured and publicly declared that bars and restaurants could partially reopen on July 1, 2020. 

Please review the following facts of the case, as well as the legal authority that I have provided, to determine the strengths and weaknesses of Mr. Doyle's case. Discuss whether you think we have a good case against the State and discuss whether there are any defenses to the claim.  

In preparing your memorandum, please consult the sample Legal Memorandums in PCD and Statsky. Please note, this is a closed memo. Therefore, it is important that you do not conduct any outside research or apply any outside law in your analysis/conclusions. Apply the law as provided below.

 

FACTS:  

In early March 2020, Olympus, a small country in the South Pacific, was bracing for an unprecedented dilemma in response to a global pandemic. Regions literally shut down across the country. This was mandated at the state and federal levels. All state governors were forced to order the shutdown of bars and restaurants.

As summer approached, the national and state levels of infected citizens decreased, and on June 15, 2020, State Governor, Jane Kennedy, publicly announced that bars and restaurants in State could open on July 1, 2020 for partial indoor dining with restrictions on occupancy and "social distancing." 

Doyle's Tavern is located just off the beach in a summer-seasonal town on the coast of State. Doyle's can hold 200 patrons in the indoor restaurant, another 150 in the Banquet Room and another 100 in outdoor dining. It has catering capabilities for private parties and weddings. Before the announcement, Doyle's strictly followed State guidelines for outdoor dining, as they did minimal takeout. Outdoors, in good weather, they could, at capacity, seat around forty (40) patrons in the outdoor tables. Since early March, they continued operating while barely breaking even. John Doyle was content employing his staff on a part time basis.

Once Governor Kennedy announced the indoor lift, Doyle's, like many similar establishments, received numerous calls for reservations indoor, booked three weddings, and ordered $15,000.00 worth of fresh vegetables, lobsters, meats, kegs of craft draft beer, liquors, champagne, and fine French wines to accommodate the reservations and influx of indoor patrons.

On June 27, 2020, in the wake of increasing cases of COVID-19, Governor Kennedy decided that it was necessary to rescind the prior order and thus, cancelled the opening of all indoor activities, including indoor dining in all bars and restaurants. Nearly all of the items purchased by John Doyle in anticipation of the reopen went to waste when Doyle's Tavern was unable to resume indoor service.

LEGAL AUTHORITY:

State Code Art. 2 § 1423.   Cause defined; detrimental reliance

A party may be obligated by a promise when he knew or should have known that the promise would induce the other party to rely on it to his detriment and the other party was reasonable in so relying. Recovery may be limited to the expenses incurred or the damages suffered as a result of the promisee's reliance on the promise. Reliance on a gratuitous promise made without required formalities is not reasonable. (Note, Doyle's is the promisee)


In Gold Finger's Casino, Inc. v. State Department of Taxes, 123 State 2d 456 (2000), the plaintiffs, Gold Finger's, paid sales taxes under a newly enacted Casino law that was, in their accountant's opinion, vague and conflicting. Gold Finger's general manager contacted the Department of Taxes where an employee assured them that no taxes were due for that year. Two years later, the Department claimed that Gold Finger's owed $30,000.00 in back taxes and penalties for the year in question. The trial court and State Court of Appeal found that although the taxes were due, the state was precluded from collecting them because of the doctrines of detrimental reliance and equitable estoppel. On further appeal, State Supreme Court disagreed finding that "detriment resulting from reliance simply has not been proved." 

In considering Gold Finger's, the Supreme Court noted four factors required to invoke detrimental reliance against a governmental agency. The additional factors include: "(1) unequivocal advice from an unusually authoritative source, (2) reasonable reliance on that advice by an individual, (3) extreme harm resulting from that reliance, and (4) gross injustice to the individual." Here, Gold Finger's had to pay the tax because the same tax was enforced against numerous other casinos, who also made a lot of money, and that Gold Finger's failure to pay taxes was based on a misrepresentation by a rather high ranking state official who thought she had the authority to act accordingly.   

Under section 470 of the Public Health Service Act (64 Olympus Code § 541), the Olympus Secretary of Health and Human Services is authorized to take measures to prevent the entry and spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into Olympus and between states. Further, the states shall have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders. To control the spread of disease within their borders, states may enact laws to enforce the use of isolation and quarantine.

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