Answer the following questions to the trial..
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THE CASE OF THE MEETING OF THE MINDS
Plaintiff Starr signed a five-year commercial lease in July 2001 with the Defendant, Oakshade Town Center, for space in a shopping center in Davis, CA. A provision of the lease stated: “Lessee does not rely on the fact nor does Lessor represent that any specific Lessee of type or number of Lessees shall, during the term of this lease, occupy any space in the Shopping Center”. Starr vacated the premises in April 2003 and sued Defendant for rescission and damages.
Plaintiff alleges that he entered into the lease in reliance on false statements made by the defendant and its agent; that Starbucks, Applebee’s, and Dos Coyotes would be leasing and occupying sites near his and that they would commence operations by the end of 2001. Starbucks and Applebee’s never leased space. Dos Coyotes became a tenant but not until December 2002.
Defendant admits that his agent discussed other tenants with the Plaintiff. Defendant disputes the misrepresentation, claiming they were not statements of fact, but statements of opinion about possible future conduct and alleges, in any event, the alleged misrepresentation was not material to the Plaintiff because of the provision in the lease (stated above).
Questions to Discuss
- What do you think was the single biggest mistake made by Starr?
- Do you believe the Defendant committed misrepresentation (fraud) and why or why not? Be specific by using the facts and the definition of misrepresentation and any defenses for the defendant if needed.
- Could Starr or Defendant have done anything to have avoided the problem, if there was one?