Monday, January 6, 2014

Echo Consulting Services, Inc. v. North Conway Bank case brief

Echo Consulting Services, Inc. v. North Conway Bank case brief summary
669 A.2d 227 (1995)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Plaintiff tenant brought an action against defendant landlord claiming constructive eviction, partial actual eviction, breach of an implied covenant of quiet enjoyment, and breach of the lease. After a bench trial, the Superior Court (New Hampshire) denied the tenant's claims. The tenant appealed.

CASE FACTS
After the landlord, a bank, acquired the tenant's building it undertook a series of renovations. The tenant contended that its employees were not able to get in or out of the building through a door after regular business hours and the only means of access after hours was through the rear door that was obstructed or difficult at times.

DISCUSSION

  • The court concluded that the superior court correctly dismissed the tenant's partial and constructive eviction claims, but applied the wrong legal standard to determine the quiet enjoyment issue. 
  • The evidence in the record was sufficient to support the superior court's conclusions that the tenant was not physically deprived of any portion of the property leased to it, nor of any appurtenant rights given to it under the lease. 
  • The court changed the state's common law by prospectively defining the covenant of quiet enjoyment to include interference by the landlord that did not rise to the level of a constructive eviction.
CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the superior court's judgment dismissing the tenant's claims of constructive and partial actual evictions. The court reversed and remanded the superior court's decision that the covenant of quiet enjoyment was not breached.

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