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Reid v. Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company

Utah Supreme Court
776 P.2d 896 (1989)


Facts

Mervin and Ethna Reid (plaintiffs) rented commercial space to Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company (Mutual) (defendant) for a five-year term. Mutual complained about noise on several occasions. Feeling that the Reids did not do enough to resolve the problem, Mutual left with 3.5 years to go on its lease. The Reids sued Mutual for breaching the lease, seeking damages for the 3.5 years of unpaid rent. While the case was going on, the Reids fixed up the space and leased it to Intermountain Marketing (Intermountain) for roughly what Mutual had paid. Six months later, however, Intermountain went bankrupt and left. The space remained empty through the trial, which occurred about two years before the end of Mutual’s lease term. Mutual argued that the Reids had constructively evicted Mutual from the property by not resolving the noise problem. The trial court, however, found that the Reids had not constructively evicted Mutual, and that Mutual had breached the lease. The court awarded the Reids damages measured as all the unpaid rent Mutual owed under the lease for the entire term, including rent for the two years remaining on the lease after the trial, minus the net amount the Reids got from the brief reletting of the space to Intermountain. Mutual appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Zimmerman, 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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