airport lease.. new case Legal malpractice or not?
- Need your opinions quickly. $10 donated to the Schiff Liver Center per
As always thanks in advance for your opinion
A private company leased land at a local municipal airport and for 22 years
was the sole supplier of aviation fuel at that airport. Approximately 902
of the public airports in this country have a single provider of services,
such as fuel. After 22 years, the only remaining land became available at
the airport and the company leased that additional land with a view to
building more hangar space, thereby increasing traffic and boosting its fuel sales.
A competitor challenged the new lease claiming it violated federal
regulations by preserving an unlawful fuel sale monopoly.
The company and the airport authority believed the lease was proper and
disputed the challenge, but both wanted to avoid expensive litigation. The
company hired a lawyer to help find a way to protect its position as the only
fuel supplier at the airport. Upon advice of that lawyer, the company agreed
to replace the lease on the new land with another agreement. That
agreement gave the company’s interest in the new land back to the airport authority
in exchange for the authority itself committing to build hangars on the
land. If hangars were built, no matter who built them, there would not be room
for a new fuel supplier to compete with the company at the airport.
After the agreement prepared by the lawyer was signed by both the company
and the airport authority, the membership of the authority changed. The new
members decided not to build hangars, but instead leased the land to a
competing fuel supplier.
The company sued the airport authority for violation of the agreement that
was supposed to require the authority to build hangars. The Company was
represented in that lawsuit by the same lawyer who prepared the agreement that
was supposed to require the airport authority to build hangars. He argued
that the language of the agreement required the airport authority to build
hangars, but the Court ruled that the agreement did not say what the lawyer
said it did and ruled that the airport authority was free to change its mind
and do anything with the property it wanted to do once the company gave up
The company has now sued the lawyer for having failed to properly write the
lease to bind the airport authority to build hangars. The company is
claiming it has lost profits from 20 years worth of fuel sales (the remaining
time on its lease) which total $60 million.
The lawyer claims that even if the agreement did not require the authority
to build hangars, it doesn’t matter because no agreement could be written
that would protect the company’s unlawful monopoly.
Do you believe what the lawyers claim or what the company claims?
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