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Lemond Properties, LLC v. Chart Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 19, 2018

Lemond Properties, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
Chart Inc., Defendant.

          John L. Krenn, Esq. and Gray Plant Mooty, counsel for plaintiff.

          Jason R. Asmus, Esq. and Briggs & Morgan, counsel for defendant.

          ORDER

          David S. Doty, Judge United States District Court

         This matter is before the court upon the cross motions for summary judgment by plaintiff Lemond Properties, LLC and defendant Chart, Inc.. Based on a review of the file, record, and proceedings herein, the court grants Lemond's motion and denies Chart's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         This contract dispute arises out of the parties' lease agreement involving industrial property in Owatonna, Minnesota. Under the agreement, Chart agreed to lease the property from Lemond for manufacturing purposes. McGregor Decl. Ex. 1 §§ 1.1-1.3. The lease commenced on November 23, 2011, and the parties agreed it would expire by its terms on November 30, 2023. Id. §§ 3.1-3.2.

         The lease also includes the following early termination provision:

Tenant shall have, in its sole discretion, the right to terminate this Lease upon completion of the third (3rd) Lease Year or the completion of the seventh (7th) Lease Year, as applicable, by (1) providing Landlord with twelve (12) months written notice prior to the start of such applicable Lease Year (either the 3rd or the 7th) that it is exercising its early termination rights ....

Id. § 3.3. On November 26, 2013, the parties amended the lease agreement. Id. Ex. 2. Among other changes, Chart agreed to waive its early termination rights as to the third lease year. Id. § C.In 2015, Chart stopped manufacturing in the property, but continued paying rent as set forth in the agreement. Compl. ¶ 13. Then, on September 18, 2017, Chart sent a letter notifying Lemond that it was terminating the lease effective at the end of the seventh lease year (November 30, 2018). McGregor Decl. Ex. 3. Lemond responded that the notice was untimely because Chart was required to give twenty-four months' notice before the completion of the seventh lease year, i.e., on or before December 1, 2016. Id. Ex. 4.

         Lemond then commenced this suit seeking a declaration that Chart's termination notice is of no legal force or effect and that the lease will not expire until November 30, 2023. Soon thereafter both parties moved for summary judgment.[1]

         DISCUSSION

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material only when its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party. Id. at 252.

         On a motion for summary judgment, the court views all evidence and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 255. The nonmoving party, however, may not rest on mere denials or allegations in the pleadings but must set forth specific facts sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. A party asserting that a genuine dispute exists - or cannot exist - about a material fact must cite “particular parts of materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). If a plaintiff cannot support each essential element of a claim, the court must grant ...


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