District Court Finds City of St. Paul Breached Management Agreement
Black Bear Crossings Decides to Close Doors
SAINT PAUL, June 2014 – The district court in Ramsey County ruled that the City of St. Paul breached a management agreement with Black Bear Crossings on the Lake by denying Black Bear’s request for an extension to continue operating the Como Lakeside Pavilion through 2018. In response to the City’s argument that it was not required to extend the agreement because of alleged breaches by Black Bear, the court found that the terms of the agreement were “clear and unambiguous” and that the City had “failed to come forward with evidence” that would justify its refusal to extend the agreement. In a previous ruling, the court found that statements the City made to the local media about Black Bear caused “irreparable harm” to Black Bear’s business. The court ruled May 15, 2014, that the City “is liable to [Black Bear] for any money damages caused by its breach of the agreement.” Citing the “bitter dispute” over the City’s breach of the agreement, however, the court did not require the parties to continue doing business together. While Black Bear has the right to appeal that aspect of the decision, given the damage to its business caused by the City’s conduct, Black Bear has decided that 2014 will be its last year operating the Como Lakeside Pavilion. Black Bear will fulfill each of its current wedding-and-event contracts for 2014. For events booked for 2015 or after, customers’ space reservations will be honored as booked. These customers, and any other customer who books a wedding or event before a new vendor is chosen, will have the option of using their own catering service. David and Pamela Glass, who have owned and operated Black Bear since 1997, indicated that while they are sad to see this chapter in their lives close, they feel vindicated by the court’s ruling. “For 17 years, Pam and I poured our heart and soul into Black Bear to make it a destination for the community worthy of Como Park’s rich heritage. We received countless awards and accolades for our service and now a court of law also recognized our contributions,” said David Glass. “The Glasses will pursue damage claims against the City to compensate them for the irreparable harm that the City caused to their business both in breaching the contract and making erroneous statements to the media that their breach was justified, which a court has now found to be without merit,” said Jan Conlin, Black Bear’s lawyer and chair of the Business Litigation Group at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.
Black Bear Crossings has operated the Pavilion since 2000 pursuant to a management agreement with the City. In 2009, the City asked Black Bear to renew the management agreement. The management agreement that resulted from that request contains an option for Black Bear to extend the agreement through 2018, which Black Bear exercised in June of 2013. When the City decided not to honor its commitment to extend the agreement, Black Bear sued the City in district court in Ramsey County. About Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P. (http://www.rkmc.com) is a litigation firm whose clients include blackbearcrossings.com numerous Fortune 500 corporations, emerging markets companies, entrepreneurs, and individuals as both plaintiffs and defendants. With more than 220 lawyers located in Atlanta,Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York and Naples (FL), the firm is frequently engaged in high-stakes, complex litigation with significant bottom-line implications for clients. Its business lawyers handle complex transactions in a variety of market segments and industries. Chambers USA 2014 ranked the firm in the first band nationally in the Antitrust: Plaintiff category, and regularly gives it top rankings for litigation. Corporate Counsel has named the firm a “Go-To Law Firm” and Multicultural Law has ranked the firm as one of the top national law firms for diversity. The American Lawyer ranked the firm seventh in the country in the 2013 Pro Bono Survey, and twice named the firm to the A-List.