SC rules Summersville RadioShack's lease expired

By Nathan Bass | May 10, 2013

CHARLESTON – A Summersville RadioShack will have to move after the state's high court rejected the store owner’s argument that the lease had been extended.

The state Supreme Court issued the unanimous memorandum opinion on May 3.

Carlotta Evans, a RadioShack owner and operator, rented a location in a commercial shopping center in Summersville that was owned and operated by One Gateway Associates. The initial three-year lease expired in June 2007 and automatically renewed for an additional three-year period.

From 2007 to 2010, Evans also rented a second property in the shopping center from which she and her son operated an oil change center and U-Haul rental business.

When the RadioShack lease expired at the end of June 2010, the negotiations became complicated by the fact that the lease for the oil change center was to terminate at the end of July as well, and there was a dispute involving the storage of U-Haul rental trucks on the “common parking lot,” according to the opinion.

An extension contract was negotiated for RadioShack but the parties continued to dispute issues relating to the U-Haul operation and on Aug. 19, 2010, One Gate Associates sent Evans a termination letter that said it was not extending the lease on the RadioShack.

Evans, also an attorney, then initiated an action in circuit court and was granted a preliminary injunction allowing RadioShack to stay on the property. After a complaint and amended complaint were filed, Evans filed a motion for partial summary judgment on her claim that the extension agreement “constituted a valid, binding contract between the parties.”

One Gate Associates filed a motion for summary judgment on several issues, as well, including the validity of the extension agreement.

After a hearing was held on March 6, 2012, the Circuit Court of Nicholas County entered an order denying Evans' motion for partial summary judgment and granting in part and denying in part, One Gate Associates motion for summary judgment.

The circuit court rejected Evans’ claim that the extension agreement was binding because it said her acceptance of the agreement added an additional term relating the U-Haul business and so her acceptance of the agreement was not “unequivocal and unconditional.”

“On appeal, petitioner argues that the circuit court erred in granting respondent summary judgment on her claim for breach of contract based on the Extension Agreement which petitioner says was valid,” the court wrote.

“The circuit court was correct that '[petitioner] and [respondent] had not reached a meeting of the minds’ as to the terms of the Extension Agreement," the court wrote.

"After careful consideration, this court concludes that the circuit court did not err in granting respondent summary judgment on the claim.

“For the foregoing reasons, we find no error in the decision of the Circuit Court of Nicholas County and affirm its March 14, 2012, order which ruled, inter alia, that there was no extension of the commercial lease petitioner had with respondent for the location of her RadioShack store.”

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