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Brown v. Green

Supreme Court of California
884 P.2d 55 (1994)


Joseph Green (defendant) signed a proposal to lease a space from Willet Brown (plaintiff) to be used as a retail furniture store. The proposal recommended that the lessee hire a professional perform a safety inspection, but Green declined to do so. Thereafter, Green and Brown signed a lease agreement that provided for a 15-year term and a monthly rent of $28,500. The lease further provided that Green would comply with all applicable laws, and make all repairs, whether structural or nonstructural. About two years after Green took possession of the building, the Health Department conducted an inspection during which dangerous amounts of asbestos were found flaking from roof-support beams. The Health Department demanded that the asbestos be abated. Instead, Green sealed off the contaminated area and continued retail operations in a separate part of the building, but stopped paying rent. Brown filed suit against Green, seeking $504,278 in unpaid rent and $251,856 to cover the cost of the asbestos abatement.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Arabian, J.)

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