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Reldresal v. Bolgolam

High Court of Lilliput
678 Swift 2d 910 (2001)


Facts

Reldresal (plaintiff) owns property in the town of Belfaborac. On March 15, 1997, Reldresal entered a ten-year lease with Bolgolam (defendant). The terms of the lease did not indicate the purpose for which Bolgolam would use the property, but Bolgolam intended to open a bar and restaurant in the building. Reldresal was not only aware of his intent, but also assisted Bolgolam in renovating the building for use as a bar and restaurant. Reldresal’s property, however, was located in an area of Belfaborac in which commercial use of property was prohibited by Belfaborac ordinance. The ordinance provided for variances, by which an owner could escape the ordinance upon showing a special hardship if it were strictly enforced. Bolgolam did not apply for a variance. But officials were lax about enforcing the ordinance, and Bolgolam proceeded to open the bar and restaurant without problems. Once in business, the bar produced most of Bolgolam’s large profit margin, although it only took up a small portion of the property. In November 1998, the county voted to enact a new ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages over four percent alcohol. This ordinance was strictly enforced, and, as a result, Bolgolam was unable to sell spirits and wines, causing his profits to decrease sharply. Once patrons could no longer order these drinks with their meals, restaurant sales dropped as well. Bolgolam was eventually forced to downsize his staff and let his chef go. The resulting decline in quality of service and food eventually forced Bolgolam to close the restaurant and bar. When he failed to pay rent, Reldresal brought suit to recover rental payments in March 1999. Bolgolam argued that the lease was not valid when executed and that, in the alternative, supervening events made the lease illegal and unenforceable. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Reldresal.

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Holding and Reasoning (Balmuff, J.)

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Concurrence/Dissent (Frelock, J.)

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