Saturday, January 4, 2014

Beckett v. City of Paris Dry Goods Co. case brief

Beckett v. City of Paris Dry Goods Co. case brief summary
96 P.2d 122 (1939)

Defendant store sought review of a judgment from the Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco (California), which found in favor of plaintiff doctor and allowed the doctor to recover damages for unlawful eviction. The doctor sought review of the trial court's denial of his claim for other certain amounts.

The store agreed to have the doctor conduct an optical department on its premises. After more than two years the store notified the doctor that it was cancelling their agreement. The store contended that the agreement was a license while the doctor claimed that it was a lease.


  • On appeal, the court held that a license was a personal, revocable, and unassignable permission to do one or more acts on the land of another without possessing any interest therein. 
  • The court concluded that no particular legal terminology was required in the making of a lease, but rather it was essential that the instrument show an intention to establish the relationship of landlord and tenant. 
  • The court found that throughout the agreement rights were given and language was used which definitely indicated that a lease was intended including language which forbid any assignment without the consent of the store. 
  • The court determined that the retention by the store of a certain amount of control over the management of the optical department, or the requirement that the doctor adhere to the rule and regulations governing its operations did not negate the intention of the parties that the agreement was a lease.
The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court allowing the doctor to recover damages for unlawful eviction and modified the amount for damages, which were awarded.

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