Tenant lacked the right to occupy leased hangar space where owner of airport terminated its agreement with the management company that originally leased the space to tenant and accordingly became the party with the right to modify the relationship, which it did by executing a new space use permit.
We reversed the court of appeal’s determination that the appeal was moot but affirm the ruling of the circuit court.
Defendant owned Grand Strand Airport, which it leased to Grand Strand Aviation, which operated under the name Ramp 66. Ramp 66 entered a lease agreement with plaintiff, allowing plaintiff to use a hangar to operate its skydiving business. The lease provided that the agreement would remain in effect through Grand Strand Aviation’s lease with defendant through 2020. However, defendant terminated its lease with Ramp 66 in August 2013 and began directly managing the airport.
Defendant entered a new “space use permit” agreement with plaintiff allowing plaintiff to continuing using the hangar while the parties negotiated a new long-term lease. The permit granted plaintiff the right to use a larger portion of the hangar space and to conduct night operations, which plaintiff could not do under its lease with Ramp 66. The permit stated that it would continue “in force and effect until January 31, 2014” and that either party could terminate the agreement with at least 30 days’ notice.
Plaintiff continued to use the hangar but never entered a new lease with defendant. Instead, the permit expired and defendant declined to offer plaintiff a long-term due to numerous safety-related concerns; instead, defendant merely offered a new space use permit through July 2014; plaintiff was required to sign the new permit within 72 hours or vacate the hangar
Plaintiff did not respond but instead filed suit alleging defendant’s agencies and employees conspired to remove plaintiff from the hangar and breached its original lease agreement with Ramp 66. While plaintiff’s action was pending, defendant filed the present ejectment action. The magistrates court ordered plaintiff removed from the hangar; the circuit court affirmed the order. Plaintiff appealed to the court of appeals, which dismissed the appeal as moot.
On appeal, we first rule that the court of appeals erred in dismissing plaintiff’s appeal as moot, since a reversal of the magistrates court’s ejectment order could have the effect of putting plaintiff back in possession of the hangar. The court further held that the appeal was not moot as plaintiff did not voluntarily vacate the hangar.
However, we affirm the original ejectment order, agreeing with the magistrates court that plaintiff’s original lease is no longer in effect, as the space use permit between plaintiff and defendant expressly provided that it superseded all previous agreements governing plaintiff’s use of the hangar. The court noted that by terminating its agreement with Ramp 66, defendant became the party with the right to change the relationship with plaintiff.
Skydive Myrtle Beach, Inc. v. Horry County (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-001-20, 7 pp.) (Few, J.) Appealed from Horry County Circuit Court (Larry B. Hyman, Jr., J.) Robert Bratton Varnado for petitioner; Michael Warner Battle for respondent. S.C. Sup. Ct.