Girard Trust Co. v. Melville Shoe Corp. (In re Emery's Will)

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Citation300 N.Y. 496,88 N.E.2d 724
Decision Date21 October 1949
PartiesIn re EMERY'S WILL. GIRARD TRUST COMPANY, Appellants, v. MELVILLE SHOE CORPORATION, Defendant, and Blockfront Realty Corp., et al., Respondents.

300 N.Y. 496
88 N.E.2d 724

MELVILLE SHOE CORPORATION, Defendant, and Blockfront Realty Corp., et al., Respondents.

Court of Appeals of New York.

Oct. 21, 1949.

Appeal from Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, 275 App.Div. 117, 88 N.Y.S.2d 121.

Action by the Girard Trust Company as trustee under the will of John J. Emery, deceased, and as trustee under a deed of trust made by Lela A. Emery, dated January 16, 1909, and others against the Melville Shoe Corporation, impleaded with the Blockfront Realty Corporation and Thomas L. Cunningham, to recover damages allegedly sustained as a result of the defendants having interfered with contractual and property rights of the plaintiffs.

The gravamen of the complaint against the Realty Corporation and Cunningham was wrongful interference with the plaintiffs' rights as overlandlords of certain business property occupied by numerous subtenants. The property had been demised by the plaintiffs' predecessor in title under a long term lease subsequently acquired by the Shoe Corporation and expiring on January 1, 1946 with the right of renewal in the tenant. The option to renew was not exercised by the Shoe Corporation, which was obligated to surrender possession on expiration of the term. Meanwhile, and on September 28, 1945, the Shoe Corporation executed and delivered to the Realty Corporation an intermediate sublease of the entire premises for a period ending December 31, 1945, and made an assignment of the existing subleases. It was alleged that the Realty Corporation was formed by Cunningham for the purpose of obtaining such intermediate sublease from the Shoe Corporation and an assignment of the latter's interest in the subleases with the occupants of the building. The complaint essentially charged that the Realty Corporation and Cunningham acted with the wrongful intent or purpose of continuing the Realty Corporation in possession as a statutory tenant under the Emergency Rent Laws, McK.Unconsol.Laws, s 8551 et seq., although it physically occupied no part of the premises. The alleged plan was thwarted by the commencement of an action by a subtenant for a declaratory judgment and an injunction, which resulted in the ousting of the Realty Corporation at the expiration of its term on December 31, 1945, without loss of rent to the plaintiffs. The sufficiency of the complaint therefore hinged on whether it set forth a cause of action for...

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