Good news for the TMA regarding the judge’s ruling on the golf course litigation. Summary below provided by the Tamarack Municipal Association on October 2, 2015:
Bryant/RSPT vs TMA
On August 4, 2015, the court heard arguments on summary judgment motions. Summary judgment means that the facts are so clear that the judge can decide parts of the case on briefs and affidavits without a trial.
The decision in Bryant/RSPT vs TMA was issued by Judge Winmill on September 30, 2015, on the pending motions.
In summary, TMA prevailed on most issues, and even on the issues where TMA was not given summary judgment in its favor, TMA is in a better position if the matter proceeds to trial. Significantly, TMA is not liable for the approximately $700,000 in annual rent. TMA is not liable for WMG’s property taxes. TMA may be able to prove to a jury that Bryant was enriched by TMA’s stewardship of the golf course. TMA may be able to convince a jury to award Municipal Assessments for some periods when TMA was not a WMG tenant.
Bryant/RSPT made three claims in the complaint. Count 1 was for breach of the holdover lease that charged TMA over $700,000 a year. Bryant moved for judgment in favor of this count. That motion was denied. TMA moved to dismiss this count. TMA’s motion on this count was granted, the court finding that RSPT and Bryant had no legal basis for creating a holdover lease. TMA does not owe rent from the time Bryant allegedly imposed a holdover lease.
Count 2 was for breach of the lease between TMA and WMG, which Bryant alleged she was entitled to enforce based on her allegation that the lease required TMA to pay property taxes. Bryant moved for summary judgment in her favor on this count, and it was denied. TMA moved to have this count dismissed, and TMA’s motion was granted, the court finding that the lease did not require TMA to pay property taxes and TMA did not breach the lease it had with WMG. TMA therefore is not required to reimburse Bryant for WMG’s property taxes.
Count 3 is Bryant/RSPT’s claim for unjust enrichment. Bryant moved for summary judgment in her favor on this count, and this motion was denied. TMA moved to dismiss Count 3, and TMA’s motion was also denied, meaning that the facts needed to reach a decision are not clear enough for a disposition without a jury trial. Accordingly, Count 3 will proceed to a jury trial, unless settled. The court limited Bryant’s unjust enrichment claim to the period after Bryant terminated the leases – after November 1, 2014.
TMA counterclaimed for unjust enrichment on grounds that RSPT enjoyed the fruits of TMA’s stewardship, including TMA’s $48,000/year support for LOMA since 2009. Bryant moved to dismiss TMA’s unjust enrichment claim, and the court denied this motion. TMA’s claim for unjust enrichment will proceed to trial unless settled.
TMA’s second counterclaim was for unpaid municipal assessments, on grounds that Bryant is WMG’s assign and therefore liable for WMG’s unpaid assessments for any WMG properties during times when TMA was not a tenant. Bryant moved to dismiss this counterclaim, and this motion was also denied, and unless settled, this claim will also proceed to trial.
Bryant also asked the court to extend the time for obtaining an expert to provide testimony about the market value of TMA’s lease, and the Judge denied RSPT’s request to obtain its own valuation expert.