Law School Case Brief
Jaber v. Miller - 219 Ark. 59, 239 S.W.2d 760 (1951)
The intention of the parties is to govern in determining whether an instrument is an assignment or a sublease.
Jaber rented a building, and later transferred the lease to Norber & Son, which, in turn, later transferred the building to Miller by a document entitling the transfer an "assignment." After the building was destroyed by fire, Miller sought to cancel monthly installment notes for the use of the building. The court required repayment, finding that the instrument transferring the building to Miller was a sublease and the notes represented rent. Miller appealed the judgment of the Sebastian Chancery Court, Ft. Smith District (Arkansas) denying Miller's petition to cancel 14 promissory notes.
Was the document transferring an interest in the building to Miller considered an assignment?
The Court reversed, holding that there was no doubt that the parties intended an assignment and not a sublease, as evidenced by the document's title. All its language was that of an assignment rather than a sublease. The consideration was stated to be in payment for the lease and not in satisfaction of a tenant's debt to his landlord. The deferred payments were evidenced by promissory notes, which were not ordinarily given by one making a lease.
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