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Lease Dispute-Timeliness

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 10, 2024//

Lease Dispute-Timeliness

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 10, 2024//

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7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: George Asimah v. CBL & Associates Management, Inc.

Case No.: 23-2495

Officials: Easterbrook, Brennan, and Scudder, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Lease Dispute-Timeliness

AsymaDesign, LLC, an entity operating a virtual-reality ride in a shopping mall, leased space from CBL & Associates Management, Inc. Due to noise complaints, CBL relocated the ride within the mall, per the lease agreement. However, the new location proved unprofitable, prompting AsymaDesign to cease rent payments, leading to eviction and eventual dissolution under the Illinois Limited Liability Company Act. Years later, George Asimah, the former owner, sued CBL under 42 U.S.C. §1981 and state contract law, alleging racial discrimination for not granting extra time to pay rent.

The district court dismissed the suit, ruling Asimah wasn’t the real party in interest since the lease belonged to AsymaDesign, not him personally. An amended complaint adding AsymaDesign was also dismissed as untimely. The court cited Illinois law, allowing dissolved LLCs a “reasonable time” for winding up, but noted AsymaDesign initiated litigation almost five years post-dissolution, surpassing Illinois law’s timeframe.

AsymaDesign appealed, but the notice was signed by George Asimah, who lacks legal representation capacity. The court ruled only a bar member (or lawyer admitted pro hac vice) can represent others in litigation. AsymaDesign’s argument that anyone can represent an Illinois corporation in federal court was dismissed.

Dismissed.

Decided 06/03/24

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