Enforcement of Liquidated Damages Clause in Franchise Commercial Lease

Represented a franchisor in a case where a franchisee tenant defaulted in a lease that contained a liquidated damages clause, resulting in over $1 million owed to the landlord. In the commercial lease context, a liquidated damages clause may provide for an acceleration of future rents owed following the early termination of the lease. These so-called “rent acceleration clauses” are typically enforceable, provided two criteria are satisfied: (1) at the time of contracting the actual damages flowing from a breach were difficult to ascertain; and (2) the sum agreed on as liquidated damages represents a “reasonable forecast of damages expected to occur in the event of a breach.” Goldman & Pease defended the franchisor against the landlord’s aggressive pursuit of enforcing the rent acceleration clause and obtained a favorable settlement in light of the strong case law supporting the enforceability of rent acceleration clauses in commercial leases.

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