Appeals Court Affirms Judgment Obtained by Litigators Vince Pisegna and Jill Meixel Saving North End Restaurant from Eviction

Attorney Pisegna  Attorney Meixel

Attorney Pisegna (left) and Attorney Meixel (right)

May 2, 2024 (Boston) — In a case recently reported in the weekly trade newspaper for Massachusetts lawyers, Vincent Pisegna and Jill Meixel won a judgment after a one-week long trial saving a famous North End restaurant from eviction. When the landlord appealed, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the judgment.

The issue on appeal was the landlord’s contention that, as a matter of Massachusetts law, the chronic failure by the tenant, over a period of over 18 months, to pay rent on time constitutes a breach of a commercial lease. The Appeals Court disagreed and agreed with the tenant’s contention that the trial judge properly applied prevailing Massachusetts law by analyzing whether the landlord had been deprived of an essential feature of the lease, whether the landlord was harmed by the untimely rent payments, whether the tenant would suffer disproportionally to any harm to the landlord and whether the tenant failed to act in good faith.

The landlord also contended that the trial judge erred in concluding that substantial code violations in the restaurant testified to by landlord’s expert witness constitutes a breach of the lease. In rejecting that contention as well, the Appeals Court affirmed the trial judge’s conclusion that any premises lapses were transitory and rectified promptly when brought to the tenant’s attention. The Appeals Court further observed that the judge found that any transgressions caused no harm to the landlord, and, lastly, that the tenant was never cited by a governmental authority for a code infraction.

“This case represents a clear rejection of visiting serious consequences on a commercial tenant for a technical breach of its lease without first carefully balancing the competing interests of the parties, ” commented Attorney Pisegna.

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