A Jersey Mike’s Subs located in the now-closed College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend didn’t have the right to continue operating in the Hall of Fame building, according to the Indiana Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the operating agreement.
Specialty Foods of Indiana, doing business as Jersey Mike’s Subs, entered into a use management and operations agreement with Century Center Board of Managers in 2000 for the sub shop to be the exclusive provider of food and drink in the Hall of Fame. The city of South Bend completed construction on the building in August 1995. But by 2009, the National Football Foundation decided to relocate the Hall of Fame to Atlanta due to poor financial results. The Hall of Fame in South Bend closed at the end of 2012.
Specialty Foods sued the city and Century Center in December 2012, seeking declaratory judgment that it could continue to operate in the building. The trial court denied the request based on the language of the force majeure clause of the UMO agreement.
“[W]e conclude that the terms of the force majeure provision excusing performance for ‘any other reason not within the reasonable control of Century Center’ includes the closure and relocation of the Hall of Fame,” Senior Judge Carr Darden wrote in Specialty Foods of Indiana, Inc., d/b/a Jersey Mike's Subs v. City of South Bend and Century Center Board of Managers, 71A05-1302-MI-95.
“In considering these circumstances surrounding the making of the UMO Agreement and the purpose the parties intended to accomplish by entering into the contract, it is clear that Specialty Foods’ operation in the Hall of Fame building was ancillary to and contingent upon the existence of the Hall of Fame. Thus, when the Hall of Fame ceased to exist in South Bend, so too did the need for the services provided by Specialty Foods.”