Milford Paintball LLC v. Wampus Milford Associates LLC
A court can order the rescission of a lease, as a result of evidence that a defendant negligently misrepresented that a landlord was ready, willing and able to perform the landlord's work. On remand from the Connecticut Appellate Court, the trial court found that in 2003, Kathleen Rorick and her children negotiated to lease the subject property, a vacant 168,000 square foot former manufacturing facility, for an indoor paintball business that would open in September 2004. The defendant's representatives allegedly assured Rorick that the landlord was ready, willing and able to perform the landlord's work on the property so that the paintball business could open in September 2004. The tenant provided a $32,083 security deposit and signed the lease in February 2004. Allegedly, the landlord did not hire any architects or contractors to complete the landlord's work or seek any permits. The plaintiff sued and alleged that the defendant breached the lease, engaged in misrepresentation and violated CUTPA, the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The plaintiff proved, by a fair preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant negligently misrepresented material facts, with the intent to induce reliance by the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff reasonably relied on the negligent misrepresentation and was injured. The defendant's conduct qualified as "immoral, unethical, oppressive, or unscrupulous," for purposes of CUTPA. The conduct in question, wrote the court, "was destitute of integrity and good faith, conscienceless, deceitful and underhanded." There was no credible evidence that the landlord took any action to perform the promised landlord's work, although it knew that the landlord's work was essential to the plaintiff's business success. The defendant negligently misrepresented that the landlord was ready, willing and able to perform the landlord's work, to permit the plaintiff to open business in 2004. The court rescinded the contract, awarded restitution of the plaintiff's $32,083 security deposit and awarded compensatory damages of $18,351 and reasonable attorneys' fees of $108,345.