Hot Rods v. Northrop Grumman Systems Corp.Annotate this Case
Defendant-appellant Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation appealed a judgment of approximately $1.1 million plus interest, costs, and attorney fees of approximately $1.8 million in favor of plaintiff-respondent Hot Rods, LLC. This case involved an environmentally compromised property Hot Rods purchased from Northrop and the alleged damages stemming from environmental cleanup and related issues. The matter was tried by a referee pursuant to stipulation, and judgment was entered by the trial court, adopting the referee’s recommendations. Northrop alleged numerous errors. Upon review, the Court of Appeal found that there was language in the referee’s statement of decision indicating Northrop had negligently misrepresented certain facts, but did not find any damages were proximately caused, nor did the referee award any damages on that cause of action. The Court concluded the referee erred in admitting certain evidence, and that a finding of negligent misrepresentation was therefore improper, and not sufficiently supported by substantial evidence. The Court reversed the bulk of the damages award, and remanded for a reconsideration of which party was the prevailing party, and therefore entitled to attorney fees.