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Garner v. Gerrish

Court of Appeals of New York
473 N.E.2d 223 (1984)



In 1977, Donovan leased a house to Gerrish (defendant). Donovan used preprinted legal forms to draw up the lease, filling in the appropriate terms, and Gerrish signed it. The document included no definite termination date for the lease, but instead provided that “Lou Gerrish has the privilege of termination [sic] this agreement at a date of his own choice.” In 1981, Donovan died. Garner (plaintiff), Donovan’s executor, filed suit seeking to evict Gerrish from the property. The trial court held that a lease which permitted the lessee to terminate at any time created at will termination rights for both the lessor and the lessee, and thus the eviction was lawful. The Appellate Division affirmed, and Gerrish appealed to the Court of Appeals.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wachtler, J.)

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