Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gianni v. R. Russel & Co. case brief

Gianni v. R. Russel & Co. case brief summary
126 A. 791 (1924)

Defendant lessor sought review of a judgment of a trial court (Pennsylvania), which awarded plaintiff lessee damages for the lessor's breach of an oral contract allegedly entered into just prior to the signing of the lease.

The lessee ran a store inside of an office building. The lessor acquired the property, and after its agent negotiated with the lessee, a lease for three years was signed. It contained a provision that the lessee should use the premises only for the sale of fruit, candy, soda water, etc., with the further stipulation that the lessee was not allowed to sell tobacco in any form. The lessee alleged that it was agreed that, in consideration of his promises not to sell tobacco and to pay an increased rent and for entering into the agreement, he would have the exclusive right to sell soft drinks in the building. However, no such stipulation was contained in the written lease. Shortly signing the lease, the lessor demised the adjoining room in the building to a drug company without restricting the latter's right to sell soda water and soft drinks. Alleging that a violation of the oral contract, the lessee filed suit for damages for breach of the alleged oral contract.

The court held that, because the written lease was the complete contract of the parties and it embraced the field of the alleged oral contract, evidence of the oral contract was inadmissible under the parol evidence rule.

The court reversed the judgment below and entered a judgment for the lessor.

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