Schwartz v. Hartford Orthopedic
A commercial landlord's failure to mitigate damages may not qualify as a proper special defense in the landlord's suit alleging nonpayment of rent. In 1993, the plaintiff landlord allegedly signed a five-year lease, to rent premises to Connecticut Combined Hands Surgeons Inc. In or about 1998, 2003 and 2008, a substituted tenant, Hartford Orthopedic, Plastic & Hand Surgeons Inc., allegedly extended the lease for additional five-year terms. The landlord alleged that the lease was extended to March 2013. Allegedly, the defendant tenant vacated the premises, without prior notice, in July 2010, and did not pay the rent or the operating expenses, as required by the lease. The landlord sued the commercial tenant and a guarantor, alleging nonpayment of rent. The defendants denied that the lease was extended to March 2013 and argued that the landlord failed to mitigate his damages. The landlord moved to strike and argued that a landlord who sues a tenant for nonpayment of rent is not required to mitigate his damages. "In an action for rent due, a lessor of commercial property is generally under no obligation to mitigate his damages after the lessee fails to pay rent," pursuant to Brennan Associates v. OBGYN Specialty Group P.C., a decision of the Connecticut Appellate Court. The defendants' special defense that the landlord failed to mitigate his damages was legally insufficient pursuant to Brennan Associates, and the court granted the landlord's motion to strike the special defense.