Partner Marc D’Angiolillo was successful in securing the denial of Kean University’s second motion to dismiss in a case brought by our client Culinary Ventures Vending (“CVV”). In a complaint filed on December 7, 2017, CVV claimed that Kean University engaged in a fraudulent kick-back scheme when it terminated its vending contract with CVV and awarded a no-bid contract to rival vending company Canteen, a unit of Compass Group USA Inc. CVV alleges claims of fraud and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, accusing Kean University of accepting $4.3 million in self-forgiving loans from Compass subsidiary Gourmet Dining LLC in exchange for the vending services contract to Canteen.
Kean University’s Motion to Dismiss asserted that CVV had failed to file its tort claim notice within 90 days, as required by the New Jersey Tort Claims Act. Superior Court Judge Peter A. Bogaard denied the motion without prejudice, finding that the claims’ accrual date was the date CVV received a copy of the new contract between Kean University and Canteen, September 28, 2017, and not when Kean University provided 30-days’ notice to CVV that it would terminate their relationship, on May 19, 2017. In his written Opinion, Judge Bogaard held that “CVV did not have actual or constructive knowledge that its services and relationship with Kean were interfered with until September 28, 2017.”
Previously, in August of 2018, Kean University filed a motion to dismiss, and was successful in having claims for the violation of New Jersey’s State College Contracts Law thrown out. Superior Court Judge Frank J. DeAngelis also allowed CVV to amend its complaint to add a claim of fraud against Kean. However, Judge DeAngelis found sufficient evidence to support the claim of a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, as well as counts against Canteen and Gourmet Dining for tortious interference with contract and prospective economic advantage.
Discovery on the case will now proceed. Working with Marc for CVV is Riker Danzig Partner Curtis M. Plaza, Counsel Jonathan M. Sandler, and Associate Sarah Heba-Escobar.