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SOLON AUTOMATED SERVS. v. BORGER MGMT.

January 31, 1990

SOLON AUTOMATED SERVICES, INC., Plaintiff
v.
BORGER MANAGEMENT, INC., et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HOGAN

THOMAS F. HOGAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 MEMORANDUM OPINION

 This case is before the Court on the motion by defendants Borger Management, Inc. and Jon Utley for summary judgment. In consideration of the motions, the oppositions and replies filed thereto, the arguments made at the hearing held on September 12, 1989, the supplemental briefs and for the reasons stated below, the Court shall grant defendants' motion for summary judgment.

 I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

 The plaintiff is Solon Automated Services, Inc. ("Solon"), a business which supplies coin-operated washers and dryers to apartment buildings, military bases and universities. Solon leases space, installs its coin-operated laundry equipment, maintains the equipment and collects monies inserted in the equipment by users.

 Defendant Jon Utley is an owner of the subject property known as the Windsor House (the "Property"). Defendant Borger Management, Inc. ("Borger") has been the owners' managing agent from April 1, 1986, until the present. On September 1, 1983, Solon executed a lease with the Utleys' prior managing agent, Shannon & Luchs Company. The initial term of the lease began November 1, 1983, and ran for a term of five years. In addition to the initial five year term, the lease contained a provision which allowed for automatic self-renewing terms of five years each, unless notice of termination was given within the first month of the final year of the lease.

 This motion arises out of a controversy between Solon and the defendants as to their respective rights regarding continued operation of laundry equipment owned by Solon. Solon requests declaratory relief to maintain its occupancy of the laundry rooms at the Windsor House without interference from the defendants until October 31, 1993. Solon's request for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction, as well as its claim for wrongful eviction upon which the requests for injunctive relief were based, were resolved by the stipulation entered into by the parties on January 23, 1989. The parties agreed that Utley and Borger would allow Solon's laundry equipment to be reconnected and remain connected until the conclusion of the litigation or the termination in November 1992 of the lease agreement.

 Utley and Borger filed the pending motion for summary judgment on March 17, 1989. Solon opposed this motion on April 4, 1989. On September 12, 1989, the Court ordered parties to file supplemental memoranda.

 II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 On September 1, 1983, Solon executed a lease for the installation and operation of laundry equipment for the use of tenants of the building located at 1444 Rhode Island Ave., N.W., Washington D.C., known as the Windsor House. The initial term of the lease began November 1, 1983, and ran for a term of five years. The lease was signed by an employee of Shannon & Luchs Company, the managing agent of the property at that time. The owners of the property, Utley and his wife, Ana Utley, did not sign the lease.

 The dispute concerns the interpretation of the automatic renewal clause in the lease agreement. In addition to the five year term, the lease contained a provision which provided:

 
This lease shall be automatically renewed for successive five (5) year periods unless one of the parties hereto shall notify the other, within the first month of the final year of Lessee's occupancy, of its intent to terminate this Lease. Said notice shall be in writing, by registered mail, return receipt requested, first class, to the last known address of the other party.

 Thus, according to the lease, if either party decided to terminate the lease after its initial term, it was required to provide written notice to the other party during November, 1987.

 During the month of November, 1987, neither party to the lease gave written notice to the other expressing its intent to terminate the lease following the initial term. In November, 1988, Borger wrote to Solon requesting that it remove its equipment from the Windsor House before December 31, 1988. Solon argues that no timely notice of termination was provided during the initial term and that the lease has now been extended for an additional five year term. Jon Utley and Borger contend that notice of termination is unnecessary in that the renewal clause is without force and effect and against the public policies of the District ...


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