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21 Merchants Row Corp. v. Merchants Row, Inc.

Supreme Court of Massachusetts
587 N.E.2d 788 (1992)


Facts

Merchants Row, Inc. (defendant) acquired commercial real estate subject to a lease to 21 Merchants Row (plaintiff). The lease contained a provision requiring the lessor’s advance written consent to any assignment of the lease. The lease did not contain any limitations on the lessor’s authority to grant or withhold consent to assignment. 21 Merchants Row entered into a purchase agreement for the sale of its business. Merchants Row, Inc. consented to assign the lease to the prospective buyer. 21 Merchants Row subsequently requested assignment of its lease to the buyer’s lending bank with a grant to the bank of the right to reassign the lease without future advance consent. Merchants Row, Inc. refused to assign the lease to the bank. 21 Merchants Row filed claims asserting that Merchants Row, Inc. breached the lease by wrongfully and unreasonably withholding consent to assignment. The trial court denied the motion of Merchants Row, Inc. for judgment as a matter of law and Merchants Row, Inc. appealed for direct review by the supreme court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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