Monday, April 29, 2013

Garner v. Gerrish case brief

Garner v. Gerrish case brief summary
473 N.E.2d 223

CASE SYNOPSIS: Respondent appeals an order from the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department (New York) affirming the order of the trial court which granted petitioner's motion for summary judgment and directed respondent to surrender possession of certain premises.

FACTS: Owner's executor, respondent in this action, sought to regain possession of premises that owner had leased to appellant. The lease gave appellant the sole privilege of termination. Respondent contended because the lease failed to state a definite term, it created a tenancy at will terminable by either party. Trial court agreed, and appellate court affirmed. Appellant sought review in state's highest court.

The court rejected the common law notion relied on by the lower courts, that such a lease created a tenancy at will.  The court held there was no longer any reason why a lease granting tenant only the right to terminate should be converted into a tenancy at will terminable by either party.

The lease in question simply granted a personal right to the appellant to terminate at a date of his choice and to hold otherwise would violate the terms of the agreement and the intent of the parties.

CONCLUSION: Order granting petitioner's motion for summary judgment and directing respondent to vacate premises reversed. The court rejected notion that a lease terminable at lessee's will created a tenancy at will, terminable by either party and held this lease granted the sole right to appellant to terminate on date of his choosing.

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