The war continues between Pizza Hut and Maywood Mart. Maywood Mart is trying to terminate Pizza Hut's lease but Pizza Hut took the fight to court. It appears both sides have dug in for some trench warfare as they refuse to budge from their positions. A trial is scheduled for next summer unless they settle the case.
JJ reported in July that Pizza Hut sued Maywood Mart owner Tei Equities, LLC (NY) in U.S. District Court. Pizza Hut alleged that Tei had been trying for several months to move out of its current Maywood Mart location facing I-55N. It is easy to see why Pizza Hut wants to stay where it is in the shopping center. The storefront faces the interstate, is highly visible, and is in front of the entrance to the shopping center. Earlier post.
However, Tei has other plans for Pizza Hut. It wants to move Pizza Hut to another location in the shopping center. It forced out the tenants that were north of the Pizza Hut location and tore down the building that housed them. It is currently constructing a new building that will host a Petco.
Pizza Hut has a lease that expires in 2020. It pays annual rent of $29,186. Pizza Hut accused Tei of attempting to kick it out of its current site so it could rent the location to another tenant that will pay higher rents. Tei said Pizza Hut's building is unsafe. It claims Yazoo clay caused the roof to change its shape. Water no longer falls off of the roof but instead ponds. It alleges the ponding has become dangerous and the only way to solve the problem is to demolish the building. It repeatedly cites the example of a building's roof collapsing due to the ponding of water over at Jackson Prep as proof of an allegedly dangerous structural condition. Tei is consistent if nothing else It repeats the words Yazoo clay and Jackson Prep whenever possible. One would think Yazoo clay is the most destructive substance known to man when one reads Tei's pleadings. Tei also claimed that if offered another location in Maywood Mart to Pizza Hut that was higher then its current rent but lower than what the market value rent would be (Is this "market value rent" something like Amazon's list price?).
Pizza Hut argued only 25% of the property was damaged- if any was damaged at all by the alleged ponding. Tei counterclaimed and asked the court to terminate the lease as well as awarding damages to the New York-based landlord.
The two sides continue to skirmish in court. Pizza Hut is represented by Lord Snow. U.S. Magistrate John C. Gargiulo issued a case management order that stated a settlement conference will be held on April 13, 2017 and a jury trial will be held during Judge William Barbour's four week term.
Brunini law firm attorneys William Drinkwater and Matt Allen represent Tei Equities, LLC.
Kingfish note: It will not be surprising if this case goes to trial. Tei has been kicking out tenants left and right. Their position is pretty concrete. Pizza Hut wants that location as well. Question: Did Tei offer to allow Pizza Hut to have its old location if a new building is available for rent?