Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Spirited News

Landlord/tennent dispute centers on ghosts and Jehova's Witness:

Thu Sep 8, 1:54 PM ET
ORLANDO, Fla. - The landlords of an Orlando entertainment complex are suing two restaurateurs for refusing to move into a renovating building because they claim it is haunted.
Subcontractors who worked there and other people have reported seeing ghosts or other apparitions, said Lynn Franklin, attorney for the restaurant owners.

"It's very serious," Franklin said Thursday. "A lot of people are corroborating having seen incidents in this location."

The $2.6 million lawsuit filed last month by the owners of the Church Street Station entertainment complex says an offer to hold an exorcism was refused.

"I asked them if these were good ghosts or bad ghosts, and if they were good ghosts why it was a problem," said David Simmons, an attorney representing the building's owners, who include boy band promoter Lou Pearlman. Simmons is also a member of the state House.

Christopher and Yoko Chung, the owners of Amura Japanese Restaurant, had planned to move into the building last October, but backed out of the lease.

Franklin said Christopher Chung's religious beliefs as a Jehovah's Witness required him to "avoid encountering or having any association with spirits or demons," and Chung also objected to the offer for an exorcism because it is a Roman Catholic rite not accepted by his faith.
The lawsuit also asks a judge to decide whether the building is haunted and, if so, whether the ghosts would interfere with the restaurant's business. Renovations have stopped on the building, and it remains empty.

A company called Orlando Ghost Tours regularly led visitors through the property until it changed hands in 2001 and still begins its tours in front of the building

I say he is in breach of lease. Either pay up or let them do the exorcism.


At 12:07 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Interesting question. Obviously, the court can't force an exorcism be performed. At the same time, the lessee clearly(?) did not receive the benefit of what he had bargained for - namely a ghost-free premises. It would be ludicrous for the court to interject that the presence, or at least the wide-spread belief in the presence, of ghosts and/or demons would not materially affect the ability of the restaurant to conduct normal business operations. I pity the judge.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger KJ said...


People will come to the restuarant b/c of the belief in the ghosts. I did a walking ghost tour of Savannah once and went to one of the restuarants for a drink later that night for that very reason. I saw two other people from our tour there. I think the guy is missing out on a spooky opportunity.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Oh, I absolutely agree with that! But it's his opportunity to miss, and it can't be foisted upon him. I imagine that if he opened his restaurant with nude waitresses he'd get a lot of business because of that too. But that's not what he bargained for.

At 2:11 PM, Blogger KJ said...

Well, spd, I think it comes down to two things: is it really haunted (or has such the reputation in the general community such that it is defacto haunted)? If so, then if the lessor knew it was haunted, absent fraud, it was a unilateral mistake. He's stuck with the lease. If neither knew about the ghosts, then it is a mutual mistake and a voidable contract.

Just like the baren cow.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger a former european said...

My religion forbids me to execute written contracts or enter into any enforceable agreements.

At 4:00 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Voidable contract...nice out for the judge.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

I'll bet this one winds up in a first year contracts text book too.
The kids will love it.

At 3:44 AM, Blogger a former european said...

Grrreeeaatt! That's all 1-Ls need. Another doofus case for profs to play "hide the ball". Shall we also hope for a new case to illustrate the enforceability of what is or is not "a frolic and a banter"?

Or hows about someone getting a sack of grain dropped on their head, causing them to "lose recollection", in order to illustrate the principle of res ipsa loquitor?

I always thought the King's Bench decisions were boring but, then again, at least Lord Whosit and Baron Suchandsuch had a basic legal education -- unlike the liberal wing of SCOTUS.


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