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City Stores Co. v. Ammerman

United States District Court for the District of Columbia
394 F.2d 950 (1968)


Facts

Ammerman (defendant) intended to build a large shopping center, called Tyson’s Corner, on a tract of land that was not zoned for a shopping center. At the time that City Stores Co. (City Stores) (plaintiff) began talks with Ammerman, the zoning request had already been denied. Ammerman would need to persuade the zoning board to rezone the property. At that same time, City Stores and Ammerman were negotiating the terms of a lease of a store site in another shopping center. During the course of these negotiations, Ammerman representatives requested that City Stores assist in obtaining zoning for Tyson’s Corner. Ammerman representatives requested that City Stores provide a letter stating that it would like to become a tenant at Tyson’s Corner. City Stores provided this letter in exchange for Ammerman’s promise that a department store owned by City Stores would become one of the major department stores at Tyson’s Corner on terms equal to those of other major department stores. Ammerman provided City Stores with a letter confirming this arrangement. Ammerman was granted the rezoning and began leasing the store sites. Ammerman refused to lease a store site to City Stores. Ammerman was negotiating with Sears for the final store site at Tyson’s corner. Ammerman argues that it would make more money from Sears than from City Stores’ department store. Before Ammerman could sign the lease with Sears, City Stores brought suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, seeking specific performance of the agreement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gasch, J.)

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