Aiglon Associates, Ltd. v. Allan

In Aiglon Associates, Ltd. v. Allan (1994) 248 Va. 150 445 S.E.2d 138, a shopping center landlord sued a tenant under a commercial lease to recover unpaid rent from the fourth month of the rent term through the date of judgment. (Id. at p. 139.) The landlord previously had sued the same tenant under the same lease and recovered damages for unpaid rent accruing during the first three months of the leasehold, attorney fees and expenses to restore the premises. The tenant alleged, and the trial court agreed, that the landlord's second suit was barred by res judicata. (Id. at pp. 139-140.) In reversing, the Virginia Supreme Court construed the mandatory acceleration of rent clause in the lease agreement and determined it was applicable only upon the termination of the lease. (Aiglon Associates, Ltd. v. Allan, supra, 445 S.E.2d at pp. 139-140.) The court noted the evidence in the record showed the landlord did not elect to terminate the lease (and thus trigger the acceleration clause) by reentry or taking possession of the leasehold premises, in light of the requirement in the lease that the landlord provide written notice of its intention to terminate. (Ibid.) The court thus held res judicata did not bar the landlord's second lawsuit under the lease. (Ibid.)