Bloomgarden v. Coyer

479 F.2d 201 (D.C. Cir. 1973)

Facts

P was the president of Socio-Dynamics Industries, Inc. (SDI). Ds were real estate developers with a desire to develop a part of Washington, D.C. About half of SDI's capital stock was owned by Carley who was engaged in the development of public and private housing and the redevelopment of urban areas. Carley had requested P to remain alert to any potentially fruitful investment opportunities in the Washington area. P and Ds meet while arranging to lease office space in a building. D revealed to P the details of a plan for the assembly and development of a sizeable segment of the waterfront into a multipurpose business complex. P offered to put him in touch with Carley. Contacts were made but no suggestion was made by P that he expected to be paid for bringing them together. By P's arrangement the group attended another meeting in Chicago, with representatives of subsidiaries of Inland Steel Company. Again, P gave no indication that he anticipated a fee for introducing Ds to Carley and his Inland associates. P did state that he wanted SDI to get some work in implementing the plan. P had no further role in the transaction. An agreement for the project was reached April, 1970. It was formalized by a contract in June and a shareholders' agreement executed in August.  It was not until the end of March, 1970, that P asserted any monetary claim on behalf of SDI for bringing about the initial contact, and it was not until May that he asked for compensation for himself. P sued Ds. The court ruled that since P was not licensed as a real estate or business broker by the District of Columbia, he could not recover pay for his contribution to the Georgetown venture. It held that, as a matter of law, P was not entitled to relief because at the time he had no expectation of personal reward for his efforts. Ds got the summary judgment and P appealed under contracts implied in fact, and quasi-contract theories.