On Wednesday a California appeals court reversed an eviction decision against David’s Restaurant, sending the case back to the trial court with a directive to reverse the ruling. Read the decision here: Court Decision
It’s the latest move in a long-running attempt by Santa Clara — technically, the Santa Clara Sports and Open Space Authority (SOSA) — to dislodge long-time lease holder David Ebrahimi — owner of David’s Restaurant and Banquet Hall — from property earmarked for Related Companies’ proposed City Place development on Tasman.
“We conclude the trial court erred by granting Landlord’s summary judgment* motion, and we reverse the judgment,” wrote California Court of Appeal Judge Helen Williams. “The case is remanded to the trial court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”
The dispute turns on whether Santa Clara waived its right to evict David’s Restaurant by accepting a month’s rent in June 2017 after serving Ebrahimi with an eviction notice.
The trial court judge had found that Ebrahimi had failed to substantiate his claim that by accepting the rent, the City had implicitly waived its eviction rights for that month.
In reversing the trial court, Judge Williams wrote that the City’s contract clause that “acceptance of rent will not impair any right, power, privilege or option arising from any default or be construed a waiver of default” wasn’t applicable.
“The case did not arise from any breach or default of the terms of the lease,” she wrote. “Thus the non-waiver clause did not provide Tenant with actual notice that acceptance of rent would not constitute a waiver of Landlord’s notice of termination…”
The case now goes back to the trial court, which will reverse its decision. “The same facts that supported the reversal, support our motion” for a summary judgment in Ebrahimi’s favor, said his attorney Gary Wesley. Also reversed is the $15,000 in damages that was awarded to the SOSA/City.
It’s unlikely that Ebrahimi will choose to move back into the restaurant for a month, but a claim for damages isn’t off the table, Wesley said.
The eviction lawsuit is unrelated to the eminent domain action against David’s Banquet Hall, which Ebrahimi is also challenging in court.
*Summary judgment means that the case is so clear cut that it can be decided solely on the basis of the information submitted to the court, without a trial.