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Grizzle v. Runbeck

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 2, 1952

GRIZZLE et ux.

Rehearing Denied July 1, 1952.

Judgment reversed.

Milburn N. Cooper, of Phoenix, for appellants.

E. R. Thurman, of Phoenix, for appellees.

Stanford, Justice. Udall, C. J., and Phelps, De Concini, and La Prade, JJ., concurring.


Stanford, Justice.

Page 1161

[74 Ariz. 93] Appellees, Anton Runbeck and wife, brought this action against James M. Grizzle and wife, appellants, in the lower court [74 Ariz. 94] to recover damages arising out of the alleged breach of a lease. Trial was had before the court sitting without a jury and judgment rendered in favor of appellees in the sum of $ 4,014. Appellants, upon the denial of their motion for new trial, now prosecute this appeal.

This case involves two separate leases, one a sublease, on the Blue Palm Trailer Court in Phoenix, Arizona. In April of 1947, the owners of the premises, Mr. and Mrs. William C. McClure, leased the property for 25 years to a Mr. and Mrs. Jacobson. A dwelling house was on the property at the time of this lease but the property was otherwise unimproved. The Jacobsons made the necessary improvements to convert the property into a trailer court, which they named the Blue Palm Trailer Court, and then, in November of 1947, assigned the lease to the Grizzles, appellants herein. We shall hereafter refer to the original lease between the owners and the Jacobsons, which the Jacobsons assigned to the Grizzles, as the "basic lease". The Grizzles operated the trailer court until March 10, 1948, when they subleased the property for five years to the Runbecks, appellees herein. This lease shall hereinafter be referred to as the "sublease". On the execution of the sublease, the Runbecks paid the Grizzles $ 4,250, representing the first month's and the last nine months' rent, and agreed to pay $ 425 on or before the 10th day of each month as the monthly rent. Pursuant to an agreement entered into at the time of the execution of the sublease, the Grizzles managed the court for the Runbecks until the latter part of September, 1948, when the Runbecks assumed full management of the court.

In November of 1949, the Grizzles gave written notice to the Runbecks that they were in default under the terms of the sublease for failure to pay the rent and demanded possession of the premises, whereupon the Runbecks paid the rent and remained in possession of the court. In February of 1950, the Runbecks informed the Grizzles that they would not pay any more rent until the Grizzles reimbursed them for certain expenditures they had made in keeping the court in repair and in operating condition. The Grizzles then gave the Runbecks written notice that they had defaulted in the payment of the rent and demanded possession of the court. Upon the Runbecks refusal to pay the rent, the Grizzles filed an action in the Superior Court of Maricopa County wherein they demanded possession of the premises and the accrued rent. The Runbecks did not contest the action but instead abandoned and gave up possession of the premises to the Grizzles on March 7, 1950. The Runbecks thereafter filed this suit against the Grizzles for damages.

The Runbecks complaint alleged that the Grizzles did not keep the premises in repair as they covenanted so to do, whereby it was necessary for them to expend $ 1,245.52 for labor, repairs and services in order [74 Ariz. 95] to carry on with the operation of the court. Part of these alleged expenditures were incurred while the Grizzles were managing the court for the Runbecks, and the remainder after the Runbecks had assumed full control. The complaint contained a prayer for $ 6,588 damages for loss of prospective profits; $ 2,000 damages for the loss of the leasehold interest; $ 30 expense incident to the forced removal; $ 1,245.52 for the aforementioned expenditures; and, $ 3,825 damages for the loss of their last nine months' rent which they had paid in advance, a total sum of $ 13,688.52. The lower court, sitting without a jury, awarded the Runbecks $ 4,014 damages.

As the lower court was not requested to make findings of fact and conclusions of law, and none were made, this court is left to conjecture as to the grounds or theory upon which the lower court based its judgment. However, as the briefs deal only with the issues of duty to repair and the right to recover the advanced rent, we shall limit our review to those issues.

Page 1162

We must start with the assumption that the lower court made all necessary findings of fact essential to support the judgment. In re Estate of Brashear,54 Ariz. 430, 96 P.2d 747; Roberts v. Spray,71 Ariz. 60, 223 P.2d 808. Therefore, if there is any reasonable evidence to support the judgment ...

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