Coinmach Corp. v. Aspenwood Apartment Corp.

A commercial tenant remained in possession of premises for six years after it lost its lease when the property was sold through foreclosure. The tenant ultimately conceded that the foreclosure terminated the lease and the tenant became a tenant at sufferance. The property owner sued the tenant for breach of the terminated lease, trespass and other torts, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA). The trial court granted summary judgment for the tenant on all claims. The court of appeals reversed and remanded in part. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) a tenant at sufferance cannot be liable for breach of the previously-terminated lease agreement; (2) a tenant at sufferance is a trespasser and can be liable in tort, including, in this case, tortious interference with prospective business relations; (3) the tenant here was not liable under the DTPA because the property owner was not a consumer; and (4) the owner in this case could not recover under the attorney's fees under the Texas Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act. Remanded. View "Coinmach Corp. v. Aspenwood Apartment Corp." on Justia Law