Procedural Posture

Plaintiff, administrator of a landlord’s estate, brought an action against defendant lessee for a declaration of the rights and duties of the parties under a lease. The Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) entered an interlocutory judgment that the agreement was in force and that the lessee had four months to fulfill his obligations. The administrator appealed. Four months later, a final decree was entered and the lessee appealed.

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The administrator argued that the interlocutory decree constituted a final judgment and was appealable. He also argued that the lessee abandoned or breached the contract, which called for the lessee to procure subleases with the landlord’s approval. The evidence showed that because of an economic depression several of the sublessees defaulted and the landlord refused to approve subsequent sublessees found by the lessee. The lessee argued that the contract was valid and had not been forfeited and that the landlord hindered the lessee’s performance of the contract. The court found that because the first decree was interlocutory and nonappealable because it reserved for future consideration the matter of compliance or noncompliance with the terms of the lease, as well as issues pertaining to prevention of performance of the contract, and did not fully adjudicate the rights of the parties. The court also found that whether the administrator was entitled to damages or to what extent was a matter to be proved upon trial of that issue.


The court dismissed the administrator’s appeal from the lower court’s interlocutory decree and reversed the lower court’s subsequent final judgment.

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