Jury Finds Commercial Tenant Not Responsible for Replacing Roof and HVAC system

In a jury trial that spanned five days, the landlord of a commercial building sued its tenant and four other Fortune 500 companies alleging that defendants breached a commercial lease when they refused to replace the roof and HVAC system on the leased property. The landlord sought in excess of $600,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. Defendants served a statutory offer of $125,000 at the outset of the litigation. The landlord’s lowest demand immediately prior to trial was $400,000. Defendants’ last settlement offer was $150,000. Haight represented all five corporate defendants, which included the tenant. Haight outright defensed landlord’s claims against two of the corporate defendants, and the jury returned a verdict of $21,533 against the remaining three defendants. This award was effectively reduced to zero after the court awarded the tenant’s fees and costs as the prevailing party under the statutory offer, and the defendants who prevailed under the statutory offer were awarded in excess $300,000 in fees and costs.