School Dismissed: 3rd Time in the Starting Blocks

A Superior Court ruling on March 11, 2022 dismissed six of Winston School’s eight claims in its lawsuit against the City over the termination of Winston’s lease. The ruling sent Winston School to the starting blocks for a third time, with a March 31 deadline to file an amended complaint.


The City terminated the lease on Aug. 11, 2021, based on its finding that Winston had failed to meet the lease’s first redevelopment milestone; Winston has until July 2023 to vacate. Winston filed its lawsuit on Oct. 7, asserting eight claims against the City, including the six now-dismissed claims seeking declaratory relief as to whether Winston’s proposed plans were a “redevelopment” within the terms of the lease, whether the City improperly deemed Winston’s redevelopment application incomplete, and other specific claims relating to lease provisions. But Winston had to correct its failure to comply with a requirement of the Government Claims Act, sending it back to the starting blocks on Dec. 22 with the filing of an amended complaint.


At the March 11, 2022 hearing, the judge considered the City’s request for dismissal of the declaratory relief claims and a claim seeking “reformation” of the lease. The City succeeded in knocking out all six of the declaratory relief claims, though not the reformation claim. The court gave Winston a March 31 deadline to file an amended complaint “to plead breach of contract.” The reformation claim and a breach of good faith claim still await adjudication. However, Winston’s effort to win “a declaration with respect to the future conduct of the parties,” which the Court’s ruling describes as the purpose of declaratory relief, appears to have met its end.