Articles Posted in Utah Supreme Court

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In 2010, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) condemned an access point from Bangerter Highway to the West Point Shopping Center. At the time of the condemnation, the shopping center was owned by FPA West Point, LLC. FPA leased buildings in the shopping center to a number of businesses, including K MART Corporation (Kmart). Both FPA and Kmart entered the condemnation proceedings, asserting rights to just compensation. The first appeal (Utah Department of Transportation v. FPA West Point, LLC) addressed valuation methods in the context of a condemnation award determination. In that case, the Utah Supreme Court held that courts must use the aggregate-of-interests approach (which determines the value of properties with divided ownership interests by assessing the value of each property interest separately) in deciding the amount of a condemnation award. In this appeal the issue presented for the Supreme Court's review centered on whether the district court erred by granting a condemnation award to Kmart, a lessee, even though Kmart’s lease contained a clause terminating its leasehold interest in the event of a condemnation. The Court held that it did: because the termination clause extinguished all of Kmart’s compensable property interests, Kmart was not entitled to compensation. Accordingly, the district court’s grant of a condemnation award to Kmart was reversed. View "UDOT v. Kmart Corp." on Justia Law

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In 2003, a corporation was assigned a lease that permitted a restaurant to operate. Xiao-Yan Cao, the corporation’s president, personally guaranteed the corporation’s performance. In 2006, the lease was assigned to Hong Lin. As part of the assignment, the lease term was extended until 2013. Both Cao and Lin signed the lease extension as guarantors. In 2010, Lin stopped making timely rent payments. Lin and the property’s landlord agreed to a repayment schedule to permit Lin to catch up. In 2013, Lin defaulted on rent payments. The landlord sued both Lin and Cao for a sum representing the last month’s rent and a balance from the month prior. The district court concluded that the 2010 repayment materially modified the contract and discharged Cao’s guaranty. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that extending the period within which a tenant could pay its rent did not materially modify the contract. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly determined that the 2010 repayment agreement did not materially modify the contract and that Cao was not relieved of her responsibilities as guarantor. View "PC Riverview, LLC v. Cao" on Justia Law