AZA Wins Summary Judgment for Saltgrass Restaurant in Contract Case July 26, 2023
HOUSTON – A federal judge granted Saltgrass Steak House’s motion for summary judgment in a contract feud with a neighboring landowner over whether a new BJ’s restaurant could replace a closed Joe’s Crab Shack.
This case concerns a 2006 easement agreement between Joe’s Crab Shack Real Estate Holdings, Inc. and Saltgrass, Inc. At the time of the agreement the restaurants owned separate tracts of property that were adjacent to each other on US 59 in Humble. The agreement prohibited each restaurant from demolishing or constructing a building without the other landowner’s written consent.
Joe’s Crab Shack sold its tract to Eastex, LLC in 2017 and in 2019 BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. asked Saltgrass for permission to demolish Joe’s Crab Shack and put up a new BJ’s restaurant. Saltgrass never granted the permission required by the easement agreement and the landlord Eastex sued Saltgrass seeking nearly $9.5 million in damages.
“We are so pleased that the judge followed the clear language of the contract and found that our client Saltgrass did not breach its agreement,” said AZA lawyer Harrison Scheer.
U.S. District Judge George Hanks adopted a magistrate judge’s finding that the contract required the landowner Eastex to make the request, not the lessee BJ’s, and that there was nothing unreasonable about Saltgrass refusing written permission.
The case is 20100 Eastex, LLC, v. Saltgrass, Inc. in the U.S. Southern District of Texas, Case number 4:20-cv-01347.
AZA, or Ahmad, Zavitsanos & Mensing, is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, healthcare, intellectual property, and business dispute cases. AZA is recognized by Chambers USA 2023 as among the best in Texas in commercial law and intellectual property; has been listed by U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ Best Law Firms as one of the country’s best commercial litigation firms for 11 years running; has been named Litigation Department of the Year by Texas Lawyer three times, including for 2021; and was previously dubbed a Texas Powerhouse law firm by Law360.