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Judges rule on lease dispute involving hospital

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The Indiana Court of Appeals concluded that a hospital did owe rent to the property owner for a broken lease involving a third party, but the damages the trial court ordered the hospital pay need to be reconsidered.

Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. had a lease agreement with EON Properties in Schererville beginning in 2000. Over the years, the hospital’s office space was reduced and portions were leased to two separate tenants. When EON entered into a lease agreement with these new tenants, the hospital’s rent was reduced accordingly. As part of its lease with Ameriquest, EON required through a third amendment with the hospital’s lease that the hospital be responsible for the last two years of Ameriquest’s lease if the company vacated before its five-year lease ended. EON would be responsible for the first 3 years if Ameriquest left early.

Ameriquest ended up vacating after only 29 months, so EON sought the last two years’ lease payments from the hospital. The hospital refused to pay, so EON filed this lawsuit for breach of lease and quantum meruit. The hospital counterclaimed for breach of lease and quantum meruit because EON increased the hospital’s rent payments and allegedly accepted overpayments from Sisters of St. Francis. The trial court granted summary judgment for EON and ordered the hospital pay more than $180,000.

In Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, Inc. v. EON Properties, LLC, No. 45A05-1110-PL-587, the Court of Appeals upheld the finding that the hospital was liable for the last two years of the Ameriquest lease, rejecting Sisters of St. Francis’ claim that Ameriquest had to occupy the premises for 36 months and had to properly exercise its option to vacate before the hospital could be held liable under the amendment to the hospital’s lease. But those terms were in the lease agreement between EON and Ameriquest, and the hospital was not a party to those terms.

The trial court did err by granting summary judgment in favor of EON with respect to the amount of damages the hospital owed as there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Sisters of St. Francis should receive credits for a security deposit, its claimed overpayments under the second lease amendment, and the improperly increased rent that EON doesn’t dispute. The trial court is to continue with the underlying litigation on the damages issue.

 

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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