CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Grillo's Pickles

If you haven't been to the Grillo's Pickles website, you should. There, you'll find the fantastic story of how this company began. We've copied part of it here to save you a click.

Grillo's Pickles began with a pickle cart, just a small wooden stand in downtown Boston, where Travis Grillo and his friends would sell two spears for one dollar. Travis would make the pickles by night using his family's 100-year old recipe - one he'd memorized from making pickles every summer as a kid. In the morning, Travis would bike to the Boston Common and set up the cart with his buddies. They'd hang out all day, urging people to try the simple Grillo family pickle. It was a small business but Travis worked hard for it. He made more pickles, biked more miles, and slept less hours than he ever had before.
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CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: Factory Five Racing

Factory Five Racing was founded in 1995. Over the years they have grown from a start-up business in a small garage to become the world's largest manufacturer of "build-it-yourself" component car kits. They employ a full-time crew of about 40 people, and are located in Wareham, Massachusetts (about an hour south of Boston). They make their products right here in the USA, in the heart of New England where American manufacturing was born.
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Fred and Danny Magnanimi grew up watching their father create beautiful, handcrafted jewelry in the family's Cranston, RI jewelry manufacturing business. When the boys grew up, Fred moved to New York and began working on Wall Street as an investment banker, while younger brother Danny, still enamored by the family business, stayed home. Increased competition from overseas businesses created significant challenges for the business, but Danny was confident he could find a way for the family business to evolve and thrive. This was his mission, this was his passion.
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        What Are a Commercial Tenant's Rights If a Landlord Fails to Maintain the Leased Premises?

        Across the country states have enacted laws protecting tenant rights under residential leases. Unfortunately, commercial tenants generally do not enjoy the same protections and rights as residential tenants. Unless specifically negotiated in a commercial lease, standard residential tenant protections such as the implied warranty of habitability and a landlord’s duty to re-let are not commonly found in commercial leases. This begs the question: what are a commercial tenant’s rights if a landlord fails to maintain the leased premises?

        Commercial tenants may be able to employ a constructive eviction defense in situations where a landlord’s egregious, and intentional, act (or failure to act) substantially and permanently interfered with the tenant’s use of its leased premises. Upon a finding of constructive eviction a tenant may terminate its lease and be relieved from its obligation to pay rent. Unfortunately courts are not always willing to make a finding of a constructive eviction as it can be difficult for commercial tenants to prove that the landlord caused the defects which made their leased premises permanently untenantable for the intended purpose. For example, in Sims v. Mason, 361 Mass. 881 (1972), the court held that although the Landlord had breached its obligations under the lease, the Landlord’s failure to make promised improvements, provide proper cleaning services and furnish suitable heating and air conditioning did not amount to constructive eviction.

        However, courts in Massachusetts have held that a commercial landlord does in fact have a duty to repair unsafe conditions following receipt of written notice of such condition, even if no specific duty is set forth in the lease. In Bishop v. TES Realty Trust, 459 Mass. 9 (2011), the court held that M.G.L. c. 186 §19 was applicable to commercial landlords, and went further to state that a landlord could not waive such duty in a lease.

        In practice, instead of relying on a constructive eviction defense commercial tenants are best served by negotiating certain rights and protections into their lease. Commercial tenants should negotiate the right to rent abatement upon any extended failure by the landlord to supply required utilities or to promptly comply with landlord covenants and conditions in their lease. Additionally, commercial tenants should negotiate the ability to perform obligations of the landlord following landlord’s failure to do so within the time frame set forth in the lease, and to withhold the reasonable cost of such performance from their rental payment.

        This article was published by the New England Real Estate Journal on November 30, 2018. The article can be viewed here. A PDF of the article is available here.