may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
AirTouch Communications, Inc.,
Roseville Professional Center, Inc.,
Filed July 27, 1999
Reversed and remanded
Ramsey County District Court
File No. C3986972
Jaymes D. Littlejohn, David W. Larson, Hessian & McKasy, P.A., 4700 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondent)
Bradley J. Martinson, 701 Fourth Avenue South, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Shumaker, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
In December 1997, Roseville Professional Center, Inc. (RPC) discovered AirTouch Communications, Inc. (AirTouch) breached the parties' lease agreement by failing to install a separate electrical meter. AirTouch immediately paid RPC for past electrical costs and installed a separate meter, but RPC demanded $1.86 million in late fees and interest. AirTouch sued RPC for breach of contract and demanded declaratory injunctive and monetary relief. The trial court awarded RPC $46,407.23 in damages, but enjoined RPC from rejecting the renewal of AirTouch's lease and refused to award either party attorney fees. On appeal, RPC argues the trial court erred in: (1) permitting AirTouch to renew its lease; and (2) refusing to award RPC attorney fees. By notice of review, AirTouch argues the trial court erred in awarding RPC damages. We reverse and remand.
Whether a trial court's findings support its conclusions of law and judgment is a question of law for a reviewing court to determine. Donovan v. Dixon, 261 Minn. 455, 460, 113 N.W.2d 432, 435 (1962). We are not bound by and need not give deference to a trial court's determination of a purely legal question. A.J. Chromy Constr. Co. v. Commercial Mechanical Servs., Inc., 260 N.W.2d 579, 582 (Minn. 1977).
In its order, the trial court focused on whether AirTouch intentionally breached its lease agreement with RPC and fashioned equitable relief for both parties. Both RPC and AirTouch argue the trial court's findings are inconsistent with its conclusions of law. We agree. In its findings and conclusions, the trial court: (1) found that AirTouch breached the parties' lease agreement by failing to install a separate electrical meter and then failing to pay all damages, interest, and late fees resulting from this breach; (2) awarded RPC damages resulting from AirTouch's breach of contract; (3) acknowledged the parties' lease agreement entitled the prevailing party of a court proceeding to receive reasonable attorney fees, but denied RPC attorney fees; (4) recognized the lease agreement permitted the landlord to exercise its rights under the terms of the lease if a tenant defaulted in any payment, but enjoined RPC from serving an unlawful detainer action as permitted by the lease and ordered RPC to accept AirTouch's lease renewal; and (5) found in its order denying RPC's motion for a new trial that AirTouch cured its default by installing a separate meter within the lease's 30-day time period, but did not reverse its award of damages.
After a careful review of the record, we conclude that the trial court's conclusions of law and judgment are unsupported by its findings or legal authority. See United States Fire Ins. Co. v. Minnesota State Zoological Bd., 307 N.W.2d 490, 497 (Minn. 1981) (stating "equitable relief cannot be granted where the rights of the parties are governed by a valid contract"); Cherne Indus., Inc. v. Grounds & Assocs., Inc., 278 N.W.2d 81, 96 (Minn. 1979) (noting attorney fees not recoverable unless permitted by specific contractual or statutory authority). Under these circumstances, we must reverse the trial court's judgment and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Reversed and remanded.