llinois Appellate Court Rules that a Relocation Provision in a Commercial Lease Must Abide by State Regulations

Earlier this year, the Appellate Court of Illinois handed down an opinion that has implications for businesses with leased premises. Our Aurora business attorneys found Bright Horizons Children’s Centers LLC v. Riverway Midwest LLC, which is a dispute regarding a commercial lease that was initially filed in Cook County.

Bright Horizons is a company that operates day care facilities across the state of Illinois. The company entered into a ten year commercial lease agreement with Riverway for a property in Rosemont, Illinois. The lease agreement contained restrictive language allowed for the building to only be used for a child-care center. The agreement also contained a relocation provision which gave Riverway the right to relocate Bright Horizons, upon 180 day written notice, to a different property of equal quantity and quality to the original premises. The dispute between these two parties arose when Riverway sought to invoke the relocation clause less than one year into the lease.

Riverway attempted to exercise the relocation provision on three occasions. The first attempt was unsuccessful because the alternative premises allegedly presented to Bright Horizons did not meet the requirements of the lease agreement. Bright Horizons accepted the second space offered by Riverway, but Riverway withdrew their notice before renovating the new facilities to meet the requirements of the lease. Riverway then proposed a third relocation premises, and allegedly informed Bright Horizons that if they were unable to agree on an alternative space, Riverway would terminate the lease in 180 days from the date of the notice. This third property allegedly ran afoul of state licensing standards for child care facilities and the Illinois Administrative Code. Bright Horizons informed Riverway that the third property did not meet Illinois’ licensing standards and could not be legally used as a child care facility. In response, Riverway informed Bright Horizons that they were in default of the lease and that Bright Horizons could cure their default by relocating to the third alternative premises.

Bright Horizons then filed for declaratory judgment requesting that the trial court find: 1) that they were not in breach of the lease, 2) that Riverway could not terminate the lease, and 3) that Riverway had failed to properly exercise the relocation clause of the lease agreement. Bright Horizons then filed for summary judgment on these issues, which was granted by the trial court. Riverway then appealed the trial court’s ruling. On appeal the Appellate Court agreed with the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Bright Horizons. In so ruling, the Court held that the lease allowed for one permitted use of the premises and required that Bright Horizons comply with all laws and regulations, including the state child-care licensing standards. The Court held that Bright Horizons’ relocation to the proffered space would violate state regulations and cause Bright Horizons to be in breach of the lease due to their inability to operate a child-care. As such, the Court affirmed the ruling of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Bright Horizons.

Lubin Austermuehle is a full-service litigation firm based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois that focuses on handling all of the legal issues confronting businesses in today’s world. We represent both plaintiffs and defendants, and we have experience representing clients in matters ranging from commercial leasing issues to securities fraud. Our attorneys have over two decades of experience in business litigation and have won favorable verdicts in “bet the business” lawsuits. Lubin Austermuehle has many Chicago, Wheaton, and Crystal Lake business lawyers who can identify and understand the legal issues in a dispute, no matter how complex they may be. Our focus with each client is to resolve their legal issues quickly through outstanding representation. If your business is being sued or you are seeking advice to stay out of court, call our Chicago business lawyers to discuss what Lubin Austermuehle can do for you. For a consultation, call 630-333-0333 or send us an email through our website.

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