Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reste Realty Corp. v. Cooper case brief

Reste Realty Corp. v. Cooper case brief summary
251 A.2d 268 (1969)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant lessee sought review of a decision of an appellate court (New Jersey), which reversed the trial court's judgment in plaintiff lessor's action to recover rent because the proof did not support a finding of any wrongful act or omission on plaintiff's part sufficient to constitute a constructive eviction, and defendant waived any constructive eviction by failing to remove from the premises within a reasonable time thereafter.

CASE FACTS
In plaintiff lessor's action for rent, the trial court entered judgment for defendant lessee based on the doctrine of a constructive eviction. The appellate court reversed and held that the proof did not support a finding of constructive eviction and that even if there was a constructive eviction, defendant had waived it.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court reversed. 
  • The court held that defendant did not accept the premises in their defective condition by signing a second lease in reliance on plaintiff's agent's promises to provide a remedy. 
  • Plaintiff was guilty of a breach of an express covenant of quiet enjoyment. 
  • The evidence was sufficient to support the trial court's finding of sufficient interference with the use and enjoyment of the leased premises to justify defendant's departure and to relieve her from the obligation to pay further rent. 
  • The interference was "permanent," even though the water receded because the flooding was recurrent and would have continued if not remedied. 
  • There was adequate evidence to support the trial court's conclusion that defendant vacated within a reasonable time and that the delay was not sufficient to establish a waiver of the constructive eviction.

CONCLUSION
The court reversed the appellate court's decision, which had reversed the trial court's judgment in favor of defendant lessee, because there was adequate evidence to support the trial court's conclusion that plaintiff lessor was guilty of a breach of an express covenant of quiet enjoyment and that defendant's delay in vacating the premises did not constitute a waiver of the constructive eviction.

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