Commercial Landlord/Tenant Law Update - Damages

November 19, 2019

A recent Massachusetts Appeals Court decision involving a dispute between a commercial landlord and supermarket tenant illustrates the importance in litigation of landing a strong counterpunch.  In that case, Motsis v. Ming’s Supermarket, Inc., the landlord leased space in a warehouse building in the South End of Boston to the supermarket for use as storage of food and grocery supplies.


The dispute arose after a pipe burst in the warehouse, causing the Boston Inspectional Services Department to visit the site and ultimately prohibit the supermarket from using the warehouse due to structural and permitting issues.  After the landlord refused to make required structural repairs, estimated to cost $500,000, the supermarket stopped paying rent.  As a result, the landlord filed a suit against the supermarket for breach of the lease.  In response, the supermarket threw the above-mentioned counterpunch by filing a counterclaim against the landlord for breach of the lease and unfair and deceptive business practices.  After a trial, the supermarket’s counterclaim proved to be a knockout blow as it was awarded damages for lost profits of $795,000.00 due to lost use of the warehouse and the landlord was ordered to complete the structural repairs.  This judgment was upheld on appeal by the Massachusetts Appeals Court on November 5, 2019.


If you are a commercial tenant or landlord and have questions regarding a lease dispute, please feel free to contact Klein Law for a consultation.