The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLACK
Gulf Oil Corp. leased space in the Sperry Rand Building in New York City for a ten year period with renewal options. It was represented in the negotiations for the lease by the brokerage firm of Cushman & Wakefield to whom the landlord has paid brokerage commissions.
The plaintiff in this case, a real estate brokerage firm, asserted that it was improperly deprived of a brokerage commission on the lease by the misconduct of Gulf Oil Corp. and brought suit against Gulf Oil Corp. for damages.
This case was submitted to a jury together with special questions and it rendered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $25,000. The defendant, Gulf Oil Corp. has moved to set the damage verdict aside and for judgment in its favor pursuant to Rule 50(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and it has renewed motions for a directed verdict made during the trial on which decision was reserved. No judgment has as yet been entered.
The motions were argued orally and the Court thereupon carefully reviewed the trial transcript and the trial exhibits.
The plaintiff's complaint asserted three separate claims against the defendant in connection with the lease which defendant entered into.
The first claim - for breach of contract - was that the defendant employed the plaintiff as its real estate agent to locate office space for it in New York City with the understanding that, if the plaintiff procured an acceptable lease for it, "defendant would enter into a lease * * * and * * * plaintiff would be the broker in the transaction", and thereby become eligible for payment of a commission by the owner of the property or the landlord.
The plaintiff alleged that the contract with it was made by one Burkhiser, the director of defendant's department of General Services stationed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The plaintiff further contended that if Burkhiser was not authorized either actually or apparently to commit the defendant to the alleged agreement made on its behalf, the defendant had ratified the agreement by accepting the services of the plaintiff with full knowledge of the alleged agreement.
The plaintiff contended that the defendant breached the agreement by failing to act in good faith and by failing to designate the plaintiff as broker upon entering into a lease with the landlord, Rock-Uris and by failing to advise Rock-Uris of the plaintiff's role in the transaction resulting in a lease of space in the Sperry Rand Building. The plaintiff claimed that it would have received a commission from Rock-Uris, but for Gulf's breach and sought as damages the amount of the compensation it would have earned.
The second claim alleging malicious interference by the defendant with a reasonable expectancy of economic gain and with the plaintiff's business relationship with Rock-Uris, the landlord, and the third claim, alleging a conspiracy, were rejected by the jury and therefore need not be considered on this motion by defendant.
With respect to the first claim the case was submitted to the jury on the following special questions:
1. "Did Gulf authorize Burkhiser to enter into an agreement with Studley binding it to represent to Rock-Uris that Studley was responsible for the lease to Gulf in the Sperry Rand Building? "
The jury's answer to this first question was "No".
2. " Did Gulf ratify with knowledge thereof any arrangements made by Burkhiser with Studley pertaining to the lease to Gulf in the Sperry Rand Building? "
3. "Did Gulf breach any agreement with Studley made with Gulf's authority or ratified by it with knowledge thereof?"
The jury answered each of the second and third questions "Yes".
6. "To what award, if any, is plaintiff ...