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Ingles Markets Inc. v. Maria LLC

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division

January 23, 2017

INGLES MARKETS, INC. and SKY KING, INC., Plaintiffs,
v.
MARIA, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT

          MARY GEIGER LEWIS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This is an action for specific performance and declaratory and injunctive relief seeking to prevent Defendant from proceeding with certain commercial construction. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Defendant's Motion) under Rules 59(e) and 52(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         In Defendant's Motion, it requests the Court alter or amend its October 18, 2016, Order (Order) entering judgment in favor of Plaintiffs on their claim for injunctive relief. Having carefully considered Defendant's Motion, the response, the reply, the record, and the applicable law, it is the judgment of the Court Defendant's Motion will be denied.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The background facts relevant to this Motion are undisputed. Plaintiff Ingles Markets, Inc. (Ingles) leases commercial retail space in a shopping center (the Shopping Center) in Spartanburg, South Carolina, owned by Plaintiff Sky King, Inc. (Sky King). Jaylin Spartanburg South, LLC (Jaylin) was the original owner of the Shopping Center. Jaylin recorded a Declaration of Reciprocal Easements (REA) for the Shopping Center in the Spartanburg County Register of Deeds on June 10, 2002.

         The REA sets forth certain use and development restrictions for the Shopping Center.

         Paragraph 5.3 is the portion of the REA at issue in this matter. It provides:

5.3 Restrictions Relating to Development. Development and use restrictions shall limit the construction to be performed on Parcels 1, 2 and 3 to the construction of one building of one story and no more than twenty-four (24) feet in height in the locations, and with the requisite parking spaces, shown on Exhibit “E” attached hereto.

ECF No. 1-3 at 7. Exhibit E, however, was not attached to the REA recorded in the Register of Deeds.

         Bill and Miriam Akkary (the Akkarys) are the controlling owners of Defendant. They have operated two businesses in the Shopping Center since around 2001 when they first entered into leases with Jaylin. On or about January 7, 2011, the Akkarys entered into a contract with Jaylin for the purchase of .91 acres, which is the subject of this litigation (Subject Property). The REA is included in the chain of title of the Subject Property, and Jaylin provided a copy of the REA to the Akkarys. Jaylin did not, however, provide a copy of the Exhibit E referenced in ¶ 5.3 of the REA to the Akkarys.

         After owning the Subject Property for several years, the Akkarys, operating through Defendant, entered into an agreement for the construction of a single building of approximately 8, 800 square feet on the Subject Property. Shortly after learning about Defendant's proposed construction, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on December 22, 2014. ECF No. 1. In the Complaint, Plaintiffs contend Defendant's proposed development of the Subject Property violates the REA, specifically ¶ 5.3 of the REA and Exhibit E referenced in that paragraph. The Complaint seeks, among other things, a permanent injunction prohibiting Defendant from constructing any building on the Subject Property in violation of the REA, including Exhibit E.

         After the Court ruled on motions for summary judgment filed by Defendant and Plaintiffs, the only issues remaining in the case were whether the document proffered by Plaintiffs as Exhibit E to the REA was in fact agreed to by Jaylin and intended to be filed with the REA and whether Defendant had actual or constructive notice of the document such that a permanent injunction should be issued. See ECF No. 80.

         The Court held a bench trial on August 17, 2016, and September 27, 2016, to resolve these issues. ECF Nos. 85, 91. The Court issued its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law on October 18, 2016, holding for the Plaintiff on the remaining issues and permanently enjoining Defendant from erecting any building ...


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