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Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co. v. Stoneway Concrete, Inc.

Citation: 12 ELR 20603
No. No. 47433-8, 637 P.2d 647/(Wash., 12/10/1981)

The court applies the doctrine of commercial frustration to relieve petitioner strip mining company of liability for payments under a surface minerals extraction lease, finding that the parties could not have foreseen that applications for the necessary permits would arouse such strong opposition as to make them impracticable to obtain. The court finds that the doctrine of commercial frustration applies because, in 1969, when the parties entered into a nine-year lease for strip mining of sand and gravel on appellants' land, they did not anticipate and were not prepared for the public outcry over environmental impacts and extensive litigation. It holds, however, that petitioner is liable for rental payments between April 1971, when it stopped paying rent, and mid-1975 when it abandoned the lease, because it continued to operate under the lease until that time.

Counsel for Petitioner
John Kovarik
Casey, Pruzan, Kovarik & Shulkin
18th Floor, Pacific Bldg., 3d & Columbia, Seattle WA 98104
(206) 623-3577

Counsel for Respondent
Richard A. Dykstra, Douglas K. Haughton
Stafford, Frey & Merted
400 Union St., Seattle WA 98101
(206) 623-9900

ROSELLINI and WILLIAMS, JJ., and HAMILTON, J. Pro Tem., concur.

DOLLIVER, J., concurs in the result.