may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Coin Controlled Washers, Inc.,
an Illinois corporation,
d/b/a Macke Laundry Service-Minnesota, Inc.,
Helen Bigos, d/b/a Bigos Properties,
Filed January 12, 1999
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C998002828
Kenneth Hertz, Hertz & Associates, 3853 Central Avenue Northeast, Columbia Heights, MN 55421 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Schumacher, Presiding Judge, Peterson, Judge, and Harten, Judge.
This appeal is from an order denying a temporary injunction on the ground that appellant failed to establish that the injunction was necessary to prevent irreparable harm. We affirm.
In 1994, appellant Coin Controlled Washers, Inc., an Illinois Corporation, d/b/a Macke Laundry Service-Minnesota, Inc., entered into a lease agreement with the former owner of an apartment complex now owned by respondent Helen Bigos, d/b/a Bigos Properties. Under the 1994 lease, Macke had the exclusive right to install and maintain coin-operated laundry machines in the complex and was obligated to pay the lessor a percentage of the income received from the laundry machines. The expiration date of the lease was August 1, 2004.
Bigos obtained ownership of the apartment complex by canceling a contract for deed. Bigos claims that the 1994 lease was cancelled when the contract for deed was cancelled. Macke contends that if the 1994 lease was cancelled, a 1997 lease is in effect. The record contains a copy of the 1997 lease purportedly signed by both parties. Under the 1997 lease, Macke was granted exclusive possession of all common laundry areas in the complex to use as a laundry facility; Bigos was prohibited from allowing any other party to install laundry equipment in the complex; and Macke was required to pay Bigos a monthly rental fee plus a percentage of the income received from the laundry machines. The expiration date of the 1997 lease was June 3, 2003.
In February 1998, a Macke employee discovered that all of Macke's laundry machines had been removed from the laundry areas and replaced with other machines. The replacement machines did not have any stickers or tags identifying them as belonging to a particular laundry vendor. Macke's machines are in storage at the complex, and there is no evidence that they have been or will be damaged. Since removing Macke's machines, Bigos has kept records of the amount of money collected from the laundry machines at the complex.
Macke brought an action against Bigos alleging breach of contract and wrongful ouster. Macke sought injunctive relief restoring it to possession of the complex's laundry areas pending the outcome of the lawsuit. Based on its findings that Macke had an adequate remedy at law and that public policy considerations weighed against granting an injunction, the district court denied temporary injunctive relief.
The district court has discretion to grant a temporary injunction, and its decision will not be reversed absent a clear abuse of discretion. Carl Bolander & Sons Co. v. City of Minneapolis, 502 N.W.2d 203, 209 (Minn. 1993). The party seeking a temporary injunction must show that a legal remedy is inadequate and that an injunction is necessary to prevent great and irreparable injury. Cherne Indus., Inc. v. Grounds & Assocs., Inc., 278 N.W.2d 81, 92 (Minn. 1979). "The injury must be of such a nature that money alone could not suffice." Morse v. City of Waterville, 458 N.W.2d 728, 729-30 (Minn. App. 1990), review denied (Minn. Sept. 28, 1990). Generally, the failure to show irreparable harm is, by itself, a sufficient ground for denying a temporary injunction. Id. at 729. This court must view the facts alleged in the pleadings and affidavits in the light most favorable to the prevailing party. Pacific Equip. & Irrigation, Inc. v. Toro Co., 519 N.W.2d 911, 914 (Minn. App. 1994), review denied (Minn. Sept. 16, 1994).
The district court made the following findings regarding the harm being suffered by Macke:
First, the amount of revenue that [Macke] lost since [Bigos] displaced [Macke's] machines is ascertainable from [Bigos's] accounting records. Besides, it is feasible for [Macke], based upon its years of experience in this industry, to estimate with some precision what its losses are. In addition, the machines have not been destroyed. Instead, they are safely stored and are available to [Macke] at anytime. Finally, there is no evidence that any malfunctions that occur with the new machines will be attributed to [Macke]. The record is devoid of any indication that [Bigos] is improperly displaying [Macke's] trademark on the machines currently in use.
Relying on Schumacher v. Ihrke, 469 N.W.2d 329 (Minn. App. 1991), and Bellows v. Ericson, 233 Minn. 320, 46 N.W.2d 654 (1951), Macke argues that it will suffer irreparable harm if injunctive relief is not granted because real property is unique. Schumacher applied the rule that a buyer is entitled to specific performance of a contract to buy real property because real property is unique. 469 N.W.2d at 335. In Bellows, the supreme court stated that injunctive relief restoring the lessee to possession of the leased premises pending trial was appropriate. 233 Minn. at 327-28, 46 N.W.2d at 659-60. The opinion, however, indicates that it was the facts of the case, not a right to real property, that demonstrated irreparable harm. In Bellows, there was evidence that defendant was selling the leased premises and personal property therein and that a legal remedy would be inadequate to compensate the lessee for wrongful conduct by the defendant because the defendant was insolvent. Id. at 323, 46 N.W.2d at 657.
Any interest in real property granted to Macke under the leases ultimately entitles Macke only to a percentage of the money placed into laundry machines at the apartment complex. Macke's laundry machines are being safely stored and are available to Macke at any time, and there is no evidence of damage to Macke's reputation with users of the laundry facilities at the apartment complex. Under these facts, the fact that real property is unique does not weigh in favor of granting Macke injunctive relief.
Macke also argues that without a temporary injunction, its business reputation among building owners will be "damaged because word will travel fast in the industry that `you do not have to honor your contractual obligations with Macke.'" Macke's prosecution of a breach of contract action against Bigos tends to negate that concern.
The evidence supports the district court's finding that loss of revenue is the only damage being suffered by Macke. Under both the 1994 and 1997 leases, Macke is entitled to a percentage of the total amount of money placed in the laundry machines each month. The amount of money to which Macke is entitled can be determined from Bigos's accounting records. Money damages, thus, are adequate to compensate Macke for its loss of revenue. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Macke injunctive relief. Cf. Dahlberg Bros., Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 272 Minn. 264, 276-77, 137 N.W.2d 314, 322-23 (1965) (upholding issuance of temporary injunction when plaintiff had operated Ford dealership in Hopkins for over 40 years and stood to lose customers and employees without temporary injunction).