This opinion will be unpublished and may
not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Florida Vacation Store, Inc.,
a Florida corporation,
Mall of America Company,
Filed February 29, 2000
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 9710436
Thomas G. Wallrich, Peter L. Crema, Jr., Michael P. Singewald, Fafinski, Wallrich & Roos, Dunne Mansion, Suite 100, 337 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis, MN 55403 (for appellant)
John P. Brendel, Burke J. Ellingson, Brendel & Zinn, Ltd., 46 East Fourth Street, #804, St. Paul, MN 55101 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Lansing, Presiding Judge, Davies, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Florida Vacation Store, Inc. (FVS), appeals from an April 1999 judgment denying its claim for permanent injunctive relief. Because FVS failed to show that it lacked an adequate remedy at law, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying FVS injunctive relief on its breach-of-contract claim. We therefore affirm.
FVS is a corporation in the business of promoting Florida tourism. FVS generates revenue by selling package vacations to Florida and by advertising and promoting a variety of Florida attractions for a fee. In August 1993, FVS entered into a lease with Mall of America Company (MOA) for space located on the south side of the Mall of America’s east entrance. The lease contained a quiet-enjoyment covenant and gave MOA exclusive control over the common areas.
In April 1996, MOA relocated a wall directory to give a new tenant space to build a ticket booth. MOA placed the directory in the common area in front of FVS’s store. Because the directory partially obstructed the view of FVS’s store from the east entrance, FVS asked MOA to move the directory or to replace it with a less intrusive, four-sided kiosk. MOA refused.
In September 1996, FVS brought an action against MOA alleging breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, and a separate claim for injunctive relief. On MOA’s summary-judgment motion, the district court dismissed FVS’s interference-with-contractual-relations claim and the damages portion of its breach-of-contract claim. The court took FVS’s request for permanent injunctive relief under advisement. In April 1999, it denied injunctive relief, reasoning that (a) MOA did not breach the lease’s quiet-enjoyment covenant by relocating the directory because the lease gave MOA exclusive control over the common areas; (b) FVS failed to prove irreparable harm because the evidence showed that its gross sales had increased by 68.2% in the year following the directory’s relocation; and (c) even if FVS suffered irreparable harm, it did not establish that the relocation of the directory caused the harm. This appeal followed.
D E C I S I O N
We note initially that injunctive relief is a remedy and not, in itself, a cause of action. Ryan v. Hennepin County, 224 Minn. 444, 448, 29 N.W.2d 385, 387 (1947). Thus, to obtain injunctive relief, a plaintiff must first establish that a cause of action exists — i.e., that the defendant violated a clear right. Id. FVS claims that MOA violated its right to the quiet enjoyment of the premises by relocating the wall directory in front of its store. But because the lease gave MOA exclusive control over the common areas, FVS has not met its initial burden of demonstrating that MOA violated a clear right and that a cause of action therefore exists.
Assuming a cause of action exists, FVS’s claim for injunctive relief fails nonetheless. "The granting of an injunction generally rests within the sound discretion of the trial court." Cherne Indus. V. Grounds & Assocs. Inc., 278 N.W.2d 81, 91 (Minn. 1979). A party seeking injunctive relief must show that it has no adequate remedy at law and that injunctive relief is necessary to prevent great and irreparable injury. Id. at 92; see AMF Pinspotters, Inc. v. Harkins Bowling, Inc., 260 Minn. 499, 504, 110 N.W.2d 348, 351 (1961). The inadequate-remedy-at-law and irreparable-harm requirements are not separate prerequisites to injunctive relief. Dan B. Dobbs, Law of Remedies 87 (2d ed. 1993); see AMF Pinspotters, 260 Minn. at 506-07, 110 N.W.2d at 353 (treating requirements indistinguishably). Thus, injunctive relief must be denied if an adequate remedy at law exists. Borom v. City of St. Paul, 289 Minn. 371, 376, 184 N.W.2d 595, 598 (1971) (equity powers of court may not be invoked when plaintiff has adequate remedy at law); Vanderburgh v. City of Minneapolis, 93 Minn. 81, 83-84, 100 N.W. 668, 669 (1904) ("an injunction will not lie to restrain the doing of an act where there is a speedy and adequate remedy at law").
FVS has not shown that it lacked an adequate remedy at law. The only harm FVS alleged is revenue loss resulting from both the cancellation of sponsorship agreements and a significant decrease in customer traffic and sales-prospect leads. FVS did not allege that MOA deprived it of something unique, is insolvent, or will force it into a multiplicity of suits to enforce its rights. See Dobbs, supra, at 90-91 (adequate legal remedy does not generally exist when plaintiff has been deprived of a unique thing or special entitlement, when defendant acts in such a way that plaintiff may be required to bring more than one suit to effectuate his legal remedy or protect his rights, or when defendant is insolvent). Nor did FVS allege its revenue loss cannot be measured with reasonable certainty. See id. (an adequate legal remedy does not exist when damages are not measurable).
The district court, by bifurcating its summary judgment on consideration of damages and injunctive relief, provided FVS an opportunity to demonstrate any inherent difficulty in measuring damages. The record shows no evidence of an inherent inability to measure damages. On the contrary, FVS estimated it has suffered a $17,560 monthly loss in sponsorship revenue and the equivalent of an 18% decrease in sales since MOA relocated the directory. Thus, FVS has not shown that it lacked an adequate legal remedy. See Dobbs, supra, at 89 (an adequate remedy at law most commonly exists "when the plaintiff seeks to enforce a right the primary value of which is economic and which can be compensated by money"); O.M. Droney Beverage Co. v. Miller Brewing Co., 365 F. Supp. 1067, 1068 (D. Minn. 1973) (breach-of-contract case "presents a classic[ ] example of a situation where the remedy at law in the form of an award of damages should plaintiffs prevail is adequate"); Morey v. Independent Sch. Dist. No. 492, 312 F. Supp. 1257, 1261 (D. Minn. 1969) ("Insofar as plaintiff asserts a claim for loss earnings, it is clear that money damages would be an adequate remedy."). The district court did not, therefore, abuse its discretion in denying FVS’s request for injunctive relief.