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Couturier v. American Invsco

United States District Court, D. Nevada

June 28, 2018

BRUCE COUTURIER and ELEANOR COUTURIER, Plaintiffs
v.
AMERICAN INVSCO, et al., Defendants

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND FINAL JUDGMENT ON BENCH TRIAL

          ANDREW P. GORDON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I consolidated five related cases for trial and conducted a bench trial.[1] Each of these actions asserts the same basic claim: that defendant Meridian Private Residences CH, LLC (“MPR”) breached a February 2008 “Condominium Resort Hotel Lease” that MPR entered into with each plaintiff. The leases pertain to the plaintiffs' condominium units at The Meridian Private Residences (the “Meridian Condo Project”) at 250 East Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. As required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a)(1), I hereby enter my findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Plaintiffs Bruce and Eleanor Couturier are residents of the State of California and were owners of two condominium units located within the Meridian Condo Project, specifically Units 6-323 and 7-213.

         2. Defendant MPR is a Michigan limited liability company, registered to do business in Nevada.

         3. On approximately February 1, 2008, the Couturiers entered into two Condominium Resort Leases with MPR for their units, effective from February 1, 2008 to March 31, 2010. Exh. 4.[2]

         4. MPR drafted all of the leases that are at issue in these cases. MPR is referred to as the “Lessee” in the leases. The condominium owners are listed as “Owner” in the leases.

         5. The leases say that “Owner hereby grants to [MPR] the right to occupy and use the Unit in conjunction with [MPR's] operation of a condominium resort . . . .” See, e.g., Exh. 4 at 1, ¶ 2(a).

         6. Section 4(a)(1) of the leases provides that “It is expressly agreed and understood that Lessee is leasing the Property with the intent to sublease the Property.”

         7. Section 3(a) of the leases provides that MPR “shall pay Monthly Rent . . . commencing with February 2008 . . . .” Section 3(b) of the leases provides that MPR shall reimburse to the Couturiers “quarterly in respect to real estate taxes and shall pay homeowner's association assessments directly to the homeowner's association as due.”

         8. The monthly rent for Couturier Unit 6-323 under the lease was $2, 527.00. The monthly homeowner association (HOA) assessment was $398.00 per month, and real property taxes were $308.00 per month.

         9. The monthly rent for Couturier Unit 7-213 under the lease was $2, 515.00. The monthly HOA assessment was $390.00 per month, and real property taxes were $288.00 per month.

         10. Section 6(d) of the leases provides that “In the event the Property is uninhabitable for any reason whatsoever (other than through the fault of Lessee), Lessee shall immediately notify Owner . . . . In addition, if the Property is not rentable or is uninhabitable for a period exceeding 60 consecutive days, the Lessee may terminate this Agreement immediately and without prior notice of any kind.”

         11. Section 18 of the leases states that “If either party shall institute any suit . . . against the other in any way connected with this contract, the successful party shall recover from the other a reasonable sum for its attorneys' fees in connection with such suit . . . .”

         12. MPR made three rental payments to the Couturiers but then ceased all further payments.

         13. On June 20, 2008, the Clark County District Attorney's Office wrote a letter addressed to the Meridian Private Residences Homeowners Association, Attn: Mr. Michael Mackenzie. Exh. N. Mackenzie was an officer and employee of defendant American Invsco, MPR's predecessor-in-interest. ECF Nos. 278-7 at 2, 278-8 at 6:19-21. The letter states, among other things, that the condos cannot be rented for a period of less than 30 days because of various provisions of the Clark County Code. In addition, “the Meridian has not satisfied all conditions attached to the recent approval for resort condominiums . . . that are a pre-requisite to commencing a resort condominium use.” Id. The ...


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