Firm client wins commercial lease dispute with landlord
February 11, 2014 – In a Final Arbitration Award issued today by the Hon. V. Gene McDonald (Ret.), partner Nicholas Carlin obtained total victory for the firm's client, a local independent record label. The client's lease gave it the right to sublet the premises subject only to the landlord's consent, not to be unreasonably withheld, and to split with the landlord any excess rent that the sublessee might pay over and above the original rent. The client wanted to move out and sought to sublet the premises. Rents had gone up dramatically and the landlord, not wanting to share the excess rent, engaged in bad faith tactics to delay and ultimately deny consent. After the client moved out, the landlord immediately turned around and rented the space directly to the proposed subtenant on terms identical to the proposed sublease. After a three day trial, Judge McDonald found that the landlord unreasonably withheld consent and acted in bad faith. He awarded the firm's client damages on every element claimed as well as the right to share the future excess rent, a total value of approximately $250,000. Judge McDonald also ruled almost entirely in the client's favor on the landlord's $300,000 cross-complaint, finding in the landlord's favor on one item of damage for less than $900. The case settled shortly after the firm filed its motion for attorneys' fees and costs.