Contracts Keyed to Dawson
Van Wagner Advertising Corp. v. S & M Enterprises
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Van Wagner’s lease was for billboard space on the eastern exterior wall of a building on East 36th Street, which faced an exit ramp of Midtown Tunnel and was viewable to vehicles entering Manhattan. The original Lessor sold the building to S&M, and S&M notified Van Wagner that it was terminating the contract, pursuant to §1.05 of the lease. Van Wagner abandoned the space under protest, and commenced this action for specific performance and damages. The Trial Term concluded that only the original Lessor, and not the future purchaser (S&M) could terminate the lease at will. It declared the lease valid and subsisting and found that the space was a unique location, but did not award specific performance because it found Van Wagner had an adequate remedy at law—the lost revenue’s on its sublease for the billboard space for the period through the trial. The Appellate Division affirmed.
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