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Intermediate court sends back case over mall’s parking garage payments

West Virginia’s intermediate court has concluded the current owners of Charleston Town Center shouldn’t be held to a contractual agreement for the parking garages that was worked out under a prior authority.

The Intermediate Court of Appeals ruled that the circuit court erred and sent the case back for further proceedings. The intermediate court judges said the earlier ruling was based on a contractual relationship that no longer exists.

The intermediate court heard oral arguments in April.

The mall’s owner, Charles WV Mall, LLC, claimed Kanawha County Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit erred when she ordered the company to remit payments to the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority, which owns the property where the garages sit.

The attorney for Charles WV Mall contended it shouldn’t be forced to pay based on a contractual agreement from before ownership changed in May 2021.

“Additional litigation is required to determine the rights of the parties under the new contractual dynamic,” wrote the judges on the intermediate court.

“Such litigation will afford the parties an opportunity to establish the breadth and scope of their new contractual relationship, as well as provide each party due process and the opportunity to advocate their respective positions under the new contract provisions.”

Parking charges between the mall and the garage owners have been a source of conflict for years. The original agreements started in 1982.

The Town Center Mall went into receivership in January 2019. The bank in charge of the receivership was part of a joint motion to continue paying the tenant parking fees.

A lawyer for the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority told the intermediate court that the prior agreements should stand.

The ruling from the intermediate court acknowledged that the same principles might very well wind up applying but that the matter needs further exploration by the two sides.

“It is important to note that the Circuit Court may conclude, after litigation of the new contractual relationship, that the duties of the parties with respect to the parking garage tenant charges have not changed,” concluded judges on the intermediate court.

“However, under the limited facts and circumstances of this case, it would be improper for Petitioner to be bound by a prior court order interpreting a contractual framework that may no longer exist.”

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