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Hawkinson v. Johnston

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
122 F.2d 724 (1941)


Axel Hawkinson (plaintiff), a resident of New York, owned a two-thirds interest in a 99-year lease involving a vacant lot located in Kansas City, Missouri. George Johnston (defendant), and his brother, owned the remaining one-third interest in the lot. The Johnstons paid rent and taxes on the property until June 30, 1940. Approximately 15 days earlier, the Johnstons wrote to Hawkinson and informed him of their intention to surrender and abandon their interest in the premises on the last day of the month. Hawkinson replied to the brothers and rejected their claim to abandon the premises and, instead, informed them that he planned to hold each accountable for the entire lease term. Five days before they surrendered the premises, the Johnston brothers again informed Hawkinson of their plan to abandon the lease agreement. Thereafter, Hawkinson brought suit against the Johnstons for breach of the lease agreement and for monetary damages. The trial court held that the Johnstons’ repudiation constituted a total breach of the lease agreement and affixed damages for a period of ten years, despite there being 67 years left in the lease. The Johnstons appealed the trial court’s decision. Hawkinson appealed the trial court’s refusal to assess damages beyond the 10-year period.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Johnsen, J.)

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