Stamford, Connecticut — Cody Real Estate LLC (“Cody”), represented by Carmody, Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP prevailed on an appeal, affirming the Trial Court’s decision and awarding Cody more than $362,000 in damages against Garlick & Herbs (“G&H”), their former New Canaan tenant.  Cody was represented by Carmody litigation partner Liam S. Burke. The Appellate decision as released by the Court on June 6, 2023.

Cody commenced this litigation in May 2018 after G&H stopped paying rent in October of 2017.  After Cody notified the tenant they were in default, G&H began a series of attempts to renegotiate the lease without terminating the lease or vacating the premises, resulting in an action for monetary relief initiated by Cody against G&H and its two corporate affiliates and guarantors of their lease. Following the start of a Superior Court trial in May of 2018, a heavy rainstorm occurred, and G&H commenced its defense, claiming that they had been constructively evicted by virtue of water damage to their equipment and inventory.  Further, while remaining on the premises, G&H argued that water infiltration had forced them to shut down and that they were unable to fully recover or reopen, seeking business losses in excess of the unpaid rent, asserting ten special defenses and a right to recoupment. 

At trial, Carmody lead attorney, Liam S. Burke presented evidence that the purported damage was not as bad as was being asserted, and could have been readily repaired but for G&H ‘s pretextual tactics to avoid lease obligations and/or renegotiate the lease. G&H remained closed, still occupying the premises, until the end of its lease in March of 2021.  In its decision, the Trial Court held that “any and all of the reasons” advanced by G&H for its refusal to pay rent, or Cody’s purported failure to repair the premises after the rainfall,  were “either negotiation tactics or pretextural” and awarded $362,048 in damages to Cody. The Trial Court also found G&H was “looking for a way out’ of the lease to move its operations to Southport”, characterizing the tenant’s breach of the lease as “an ill-fated, bad faith maneuver to squeeze concessions from their landlord”. (The Trial Court Decision was released on August 3, 2021).

The Appeal by G&H and its two affiliated corporate lease guarantors of the Trial Court decision followed. On appeal G&H claimed that their corporate guarantors were not liable for damages because the initial lease and guaranty had expired. The Appellate Court affirmed the Trial Court’s decision in its entirety holding that G&H and its two affiliated corporate guarantors remain liable to Cody for the underlying judgement. 

Commenting on the win, Liam S. Burke said: “Cody Real Estate has been a long-standing client of our firm and we have been fortunate to advise the company on a wide range of matters.  This case is notable because -despite the victory at trial, Cody continues to experience challenges leasing the space and mitigating the damages resulting from the unfounded claims asserted against Cody all these years later.”

Carmody Torrance Sandak & Hennessey LLP has been a leading Connecticut law firm for more than 100 years, with 85 lawyers and offices in six locations across the state, Carmody has built its reputation based on a commitment to excellence, highly personalized, cost-effective client service, and successful outcomes.

For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Minihane