Your Client Has Used Far More Space than Permitted Under a Lease for Over a Decade, Does the Continuous Accrual Doctrine Apply or is the Claim Time Barred?

Association of Business Trial Lawyers—Los Angeles

David Graeler and Maya Hamouie authored the article “Your Client Has Used Far More Space Than Permitted Under a Lease for Over a Decade, Does the Continuous Accrual Doctrine Apply or is the Claim Time Barred?” for the Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Business Trial Lawyers’ Spring 2022 newsletter.

In the cases David and Maya handle, tricky disputes can arise when a landlord seeks damages in unpaid rent from a tenant who is claimed to have been using more space than the lease permits. This type of dispute may invoke multiple legal questions: When does the applicable statute of limitations period begin to run? Does the tenant’s use of extra space give rise to a single claim for breach of contract with a single limitations period accruing when the tenant first used more space, or may the landlord properly assert a continuous breach giving rise to multiple new claims with each having a new limitations period? Relatedly, when does a trespass claim against the tenant accrue? In providing answers to these questions, their article examines (1) the applicability of the continuous accrual doctrine to situations involving tenant encroachments; and (2) whether a trespass claim may be sustained in lieu of a contract action.

The Association of Business Trial Lawyers (ABTL) was founded in Los Angeles, California in 1973 to develop a better forum for the discussion of business trials. This included an aggressive effort to promote communication between the bench and bar. The ABTL is unique in providing a forum in which litigators and judges meet together to address issues important to business trial lawyers. Judicial participation in ABTL programs and events is very strong, in part, because the ABTL includes all business litigators, including both plaintiff-focused and defense-focused practices.

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