Shop Owner 1, Shopping Mall Owner 0

An appellate court this week upheld a ruling against the landlord of an Ohio shopping mall saying it owed a man $28,673 for fraudulently inducing him into a lease.

The 3rd Ohio District Court of Appeals sided with Derek Kill of D&D Sports Cards & Collectibles in Lima when ruling Simon Property Group made representations to Kill to induce him into moving his store and signing a lease that was nearly four times more than a temporary lease.

Kill operated a sports merchandise memorabilia store at the Lima Mall. He had signed a temporary lease in 2006 for almost all of that year. Simon approached him in late 2006 asking him to move while strongly suggesting Champs Sporting Goods was moving in and needed his store site.

Kill also was led to believe he would benefit from Champs moving in but was told he needed to sign a five-year contract for $5,288 for a 3,000-squarefoot site, unlike his previous temporary lease that cost $1,400 for 4,228 square feet.

Believing his business would prosper with Champs moving in, Kill agreed to the deal but only after an exclusionary clause was added that Simon could not lease to a competing business selling similar merchandise.

Soon after the lease began a disagreement started.

Kill said Simon never gave him the $20,000 it promised to him to renovate the space for his store. He also said Simon violated the exclusionary agreement, causing his business to decrease in 2007 by nearly $70,000 from the previous year.

Simon said it had not violated the lease and filed to evict Kill. Simon also sued Kill for $65,881 in unpaid rent.

Judge Richard Warren of Allen County Common Pleas Court heard the case ruling that Simon induced Kill, who was a new and inexperienced businessman, into signing the lease. While the judge ordered Kill to pay Simon $13,400 in unpaid rent, the judge awarded Kill $9,000 for a tenant allowance, $33,163 in lost income, and $1 for punitive damages.