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Home / Case Digests / 01-2186 Hoey Outdoor Advertising Inc. v. Ricci

01-2186 Hoey Outdoor Advertising Inc. v. Ricci

Ted Ricci appeals from a judgment in favor of Hoey Outdoor Advertising, Inc., that determined Hoey’s lease of a billboard on Ricci’s property is valid and enforceable. The judgment also requires Ricci to pay Hoey damages for cutting down the billboard and interfering with Hoey’s relationship with the company that advertises on the billboard. Finally, the judgment requires Ricci to pay Hoey’s costs and reasonable attorney fees because Ricci maintained a frivolous defense.

We affirm the trial court’s conclusion that the lease is enforceable and that Ricci is liable for intentional interference with a contractual relationship. We also affirm the court’s finding that Ricci offered frivolous defenses to Hoey’s claims for declaratory judgment and intentional interference with a contractual relationship. However, we conclude that Ricci’s defenses of both the breach of contract claim and Hoey’s request for compensatory and punitive damages were not frivolous. We reverse that portion of the judgment requiring Ricci to pay all of Hoey’s attorney fees and remand for a determination of the amount of fees solely attributable to Ricci’s frivolous defenses.

Because we affirm in part and reverse in part, we conclude that Ricci’s appeal was not frivolous and therefore deny Hoey’s motion for costs and attorney fees associated with this appeal.

Not recommended for publication in the official reports.

Dist III, Burnett County, Taylor, J., Cane, C.J.

Attorneys:

For Appellant: Jason W. Whitley, Amery

For Respondent: Thomas S. Hornig, Janesville; Marc T. McCrory, Janesville; Christine M. Witherill, Madison


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