A South Beach sports medicine clinic got another chance to “step up to the plate” in its breach of contract lawsuit against a condominium association over the assignment of parking spaces in the condo’s garage. Since the tenant’s lawsuit could be amended to state potentially viable claims for breach of contract and tortuous interference, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that it was improper for the trial court to dismiss the case without giving the tenant the opportunity to amend and re-file its complaint.
The tenant was a training and sports medicine clinic founded by a former minor-league baseball pitcher. The tenant set up its business in a commercial condo building situated in South Beach. According to the owner of the clinic, the clinic and the condo association had an agreement, written down in a memorandum of understanding, which stated that the clinic was to receive seven reserved parking spaces in the condo building’s parking garage.
Allegedly, the clinic didn’t get the spaces it was promised, and the lack of reserved parking spaces did major damage to the clinic’s business. The clinic then sued the condo association (but not the landlord).
Based upon reporting in the Daily Business Review, it appears that the clinic arguably made some missteps along the way when it came to protecting its rights. The clinic didn’t retain an attorney at first, and it never demanded that the association take the terms of the memo of understanding and put them into a formal, written contract.
These missteps, while potentially hampering the clinic’s position, did not completely close the door on its case. On appeal, during which the clinic was represented by counsel, the appeals court concluded that the trial judge mis-stepped when she threw out the clinic’s lawsuit against the condo association. Dismissal only would have been proper if there was no way the clinic could have amended its complaint to state a valid case.
In this case, the clinic could have amended its complaint to set out a viable claim for breach of contract. That claim requires only the existence of a contract, a breach of that agreement, and damages that are caused by the breach. Under the facts it alleged, the clinic could construct an argument that it had an implied-in-fact contract for the use of the spaces, that the association breached this agreement when it assigned parking spaces in the garage, and that the breach caused damages to the clinic’s business.
Similarly, the court determined that the clinic could amend its complaint to make out a potentially viable tortious interference case, based upon the association’s alleged interference in the relationship between the clinic and the unit owner (the landlord).
No matter how great or small it may seem, any detail of your lease of commercial space can have the possibility to be a “big deal.” That’s why it is important to have experienced legal counsel by your side at every step of the process. The hardworking and determined South Florida commercial landlord-tenant attorneys at Stok Folk + Kon have been helping clients for many years in working through every aspect of their commercial leasing needs.
Contact us online or by calling (954) 237-1777 to schedule your consultation and find out how this firm can help you protect your interests.
More blog posts:
Stok Folk + Kon Client Settles With Landlord in South Florida Breach of Contract Case, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, April 13, 2017
Stok Folk + Kon Secures Appellate Win for Client in Miami Beach Nightclub Dispute, Florida Business Lawyers Blog, Sept. 16, 2016