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Aigner v. Cowell Sales Co.

Colorado Supreme Court
660 P.2d 907 (1983)


Facts

Phillip Aigner (defendant) leased shopping-center space from Cowell Sales Co. (Cowell) (plaintiff) to run a laundry. The lease contained a termination clause stating that if Aigner defaulted on his monthly rent payments, then Cowell could terminate the lease, notify Aigner, and take back the premises three days later. The lease also contained a separate provision stating that if Aigner vacated the premises, then Cowell could take back the space without terminating the lease. In that case, Cowell would be entitled to compensatory damages for the time remaining under Aigner’s lease. Within the first year of the lease, Aigner fell behind on his rent. Cowell sent Aigner a letter demanding that, within three days, Aigner either pay the rent or vacate the premises. Aigner took his property and left. Cowell re-leased the space three months later. Then Cowell sued Aigner to recover: (1) the rent Aigner had failed to pay prior to Cowell’s letter and (2) the rent for the three months between Cowell’s letter and the re-leasing of the space. The trial court awarded Cowell damages for both time periods. Aigner appealed, arguing that Cowell’s letter terminated the lease agreement, thereby freeing Aigner from any obligation to pay rent after the letter’s date. The appellate court upheld the trial court’s judgment. Aigner appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Rovira, 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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