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District of Columbia Court of Appeals
February 17, 2005, Argued ; April 7, 2005, Decided
[*483] REID, Associate Judge: In this commercial landlord-tenant matter, the trial court dismissed, under Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12 (b)(6), the claims of appellants Nebeyu Samuel and Abeba Touelde for breach of contract, wrongful eviction, illegal seizure of business property and inventory, as well as their demands for damages. The case proceeded to a bench trial on appellant Sarete, Inc.'s claims. The trial court granted judgment against appellant Sarete, Inc. on all of its claims, as well as its demand for damages. Appellants filed a timely appeal contending that the trial court improperly dismissed the individual [**2] plaintiffs' claims, and erred in granting judgment in favor of appellee 1344 U Street Limited Partnership. We dispose of the parties' arguments on appeal as follows:
(1) In this notice pleading jurisdiction, we hold that the claims of the individual plaintiffs should not have been dismissed under Super. Ct. Civ. R. 12 (b)(6) because their complaint fairly put the appellee on notice of the claims against it, and the individual appellants alleged facts which, if construed in the light most favorable to them and if taken as true, demonstrate that they had at least something analogous to a landlord-tenant relationship with the appellee and that they had assumed the obligations of the original tenant under the Lease Agreement. And, since the record on appeal and our resolution of the legal issues in this case reveal that all of the appellants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law as to their claims for wrongful eviction and breach of contract, we reverse the judgment of the trial court with respect to the claims of the corporate appellant for wrongful eviction and breach of contract, as well as its order dismissing the claims of Mr. Samuel and Ms. Touelde, and remand those matters [**3] to the trial court with instructions to enter judgment in favor of all the appellants on Count I (breach of contract) and Count II (wrongful eviction).
(2) We hold that the appellee waived its lease contract prohibition on the tenant's assignment of the lease to a third party, the corporate appellant, when it continued to accept rent payments from Mr. Samuel despite its knowledge of and signature on the Assignment of Lease agreement between its original tenant and the corporate appellant.
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871 A.2d 480 *; 2005 D.C. App. LEXIS 148 **
SARETE, INC., et al., APPELLANTS, v. 1344 U STREET LIMITED PARTNERSHIP, APPELLEE.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. (CA6345-00). (Hon. Joan Zeldon, Motions Judge). (Hon. Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Trial Judge).
lease, landlord, trial court, lease assignment, premises, tenant, Cafe, privity of estate, appellants', rent payment, privity of contract, damages, waived, wrongful eviction, assignee, rent, fraudulent, evict, landlord-tenant, locks, lease contract, misrepresentation, lease agreement, self-help, privity, tenancy, breach of contract, leasehold interest, asset sale, jury trial
Civil Procedure, Pleadings, Heightened Pleading Requirements, General Overview, Evidence, Burdens of Proof, Torts, Business Torts, Fraud & Misrepresentation, Governments, Courts, Common Law, Real Property Law, Landlord's Remedies & Rights, Eviction Actions, Self Help Remedies, Legislation, Statutory Remedies & Rights, Lease Agreements, Commercial Leases, Appeals, Standards of Review, Clearly Erroneous Review, Commercial Law (UCC), Application & Construction, Remedies, Damages, Trials, Jury Trials, Province of Court & Jury, Damages, Punitive Damages, De Novo Review, Torts, Trespass to Real Property, Premises & Property Liability, Trespass to Real Property, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Landlord & Tenant, Lease Provisions, Assignments, Subleases, Responses, Defenses, Demurrers & Objections, Denial of Allegations, Affirmative Defenses, Fraud, Breach, Breach of Contract Actions, Tenant's Remedies & Rights, Constructive Evictions, Encumbrances, Restrictive Covenants, Covenants Running With Land, Business & Corporate Compliance, Contracts Law, Covenants, Lessees & Lessors, Motions to Dismiss, Failure to State Claim, Pleading & Practice, Rule Application & Interpretation, Dismissal, Involuntary Dismissals, Failure to State Claims, Complaints, Requirements for Complaint