Friday, November 29, 2013

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Dolgencorp, Inc. case brief

Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Dolgencorp, Inc. case brief summary
964 So. 2d 261 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2007)

Appellant grocer sued appellees, a tenant and landlord, to enjoin the tenant from selling groceries in a shopping plaza, alleging a covenant in its lease gave it the exclusive right to sell groceries there. The Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, Palm Beach County, Florida, granted the tenant summary judgment because, inter alia, it was not a signatory to the lease as required by § 542.335, Fla. Stat. (1998). This appeal followed.

Appellant's lease granted it the exclusive right to sell groceries at the plaza; other stores could sell groceries only if they devoted no more than 500 square feet to them. The lease stated that this covenant ran with the land. A short form of the lease was recorded. The tenant devoted more than 500 square feet of sales area to grocery items, and the landlord did not enforce the covenant. This suit followed.

The trial court held that the covenant did not run with the land, that the tenant did not have constructive notice of it, and that § 542.335 rendered it unenforceable.


  • The appellate court, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to appellant, held that the covenant ran with the land and that the tenant had constructive notice of it under the recording statute, § 695.01(1), Fla. Stat. (2006). 
  • It also had implied actual notice of it; as an experienced commercial tenant that had obtained such covenants for itself, it was obliged to make further inquiry or to examine the landlord's chain of title to determine whether appellant, an anchor tenant, had a grocery exclusive covenant. 
  • Finally, § 542.335(1)(a), Fla. Stat. did not apply to covenants running with the land.

The judgment was reversed and the case was remanded.

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