Tag Archives: Commercial Lease

Landlord/Tenant – Commercial Lease – Appeals – Preservation of Issues – Security Deposit (access required)

Atlantic Coast Builders & Contractors, LLC v. Lewis The master in equity found for the plaintiff-tenant on three causes of action – negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment – but the defendant-landlord appealed only the findings of liability for negligent misrepresentation and breach of contract and not the finding of liability for unjust enrichment.

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Contract – Real Property — Commercial Lease – Service Station – Fuel Purchase Agreement – Covenant Not to Compete (access required)

BP Products North America Inc. v. Stanley The 4th Circuit reverses summary judgment for defendant service-station operator in plaintiff fuel distributor’s suit to enforce a restrictive covenant that was part of a Purchase Sale Agreement and deed and prohibited the service-station operator from selling non-BP branded products or offering certain automotive services; in a 2-1 split, the panel majority says Virginia courts apply a different test to allow broader restrictions for noncompetes in purchase agreements, but a dissent says Virginia won’t allow “blue-penciling” the contract.

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Landlord/Tenant – Commercial Lease – Statute of Limitations – ‘Common Expenses’ – Evidence – Attorney’s Fees (access required)

Port City Ltd. Partnership v. City of Charleston The parties entered into lease agreements for two offices in 1994 and 1996, respectively, and each lease required the defendant-tenant to pay its share of “common expenses.” Where the plaintiff-landlord did not request payment for common expenses until 2005, the trial court correctly ruled that the landlord’s claim for monies due prior to 2002 was barred by the statute of limitations. We affirm the trial court’s ruling as to the statute of limitations but reverse on the issues of the meaning of the term “common expenses” and the denial of attorney’s fees.

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Simple lease dispute requires high court’s attention (access required)

A simple commercial lease involving a simple mistake led to a simple disagreement. That led all the way to the S.C. Supreme Court in Atlantic Coast Builders and Contractors v. Lewis, where the high court’s justices disagreed over simple appellate procedural rules that ended the case, for now. In a Sept. 26 opinion, the high court majority, applying the “two issue” and “law of the case” rules, upheld Beaufort County Circuit Court Judge Curtis L. Coltrane’s ruling in favor of Atlantic Coast Builders and Contractors in its dispute with landlord Laura Lewis. The issue in Atlantic came down to who – landlord or tenant – was responsible for checking applicable zoning regulations before entering into a lease agreement. Atlantic sued Lewis after a zoning officer told the company it needed zoning permits to use the property for a building and construction office. Columbia attorney Hemphill Pride II (pictured) represented Lewis.

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Contract – Commercial Lease – Unjust Enrichment – Security Deposit (access required)

Atlantic Coast Builders and Contractors, LLC v. Lewis Where the respondent sued after discovering the office space it contracted to lease was actually zoned rural and prohibited almost all commercial uses, the Court of Appeals properly found that: (1) the two-issue rule precluded addressing the merits of petitioner’s argument since she failed to challenge all three grounds on which the master’s judgment was based; and (2) the issue regarding the security deposit was not preserved for appeal since petitioner never argued until direct appeal that she should retain the security deposit.

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Landlord/Tenant – Commercial Lease — Civil Practice – Statute of Limitations – Contract – Real Property (access required)

Palmetto Co. v. McMahon Even though the plaintiff-landlord titled its action as one for distraint, its claim for rent arose out of a commercial lease with the defendant-tenant, not out of its title to real property. Because a lease is a contract, the three-year statute of limitations applies.

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