Property Keyed to Saxer
Hawkinson v. Johnston
Axel Hawkinson (Plaintiff), a resident of New York, owned a two-thirds interest in a ninety-nine-year lease involving a vacant lot located in Kansas City, Missouri. George Johnston, and his brother (Defendants), owned the remaining one-third interest in the lot. Defendants paid rent and taxes on the property until June 30, 1940. Approximately fifteen days earlier, Defendants wrote to Plaintiff and informed him of their intention to surrender and abandon their interest in the premises on the last day of the month. Plaintiff replied to the brothers and rejected their claim to abandon the premises and, instead, informed them that he planned to hold each accountable for the entire lease term. Five days before they surrendered the premises, the Johnston brothers again informed Plaintiff of their plan to abandon the lease agreement. Thereafter, Plaintiff sued Defendants for breach of the lease agreement and for monetary damages. The trial court held that Defendants’ repudiation constituted a total breach of the lease agreement and affixed damages for a period of ten years, despite there being sixty-seven years left in the lease. Defendants appealed the trial court’s decision. Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s refusal to assess damages beyond the ten-year period.
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