Research on Concession holder – California

Author: LegalEase Solutions

QUESTIONS PRESENTED

  1. Whether concessionaire can refuse service to people who are being purposely disruptive to his business? 
  1. Whether concessionaire can evict people’s property after they attained a time limited membership from the state (not from him) allowing them to keep their property on the property he is managing under the concessions. 

SHORT ANSWERS

  1. The statute or the case law on the statutory provision does not specifically about the concession holder’s right to exclude certain people. Since this is a license, the rights are determined based on the terms of the contract. Here, it appears that the contract only prevents the refusal of service based on discrimination. The licensee only refused services to people who were disruptive to his business.
  1. The contracts are to be interpreted fairly and reasonably. It seems that the statute and case law are silent on the rights of concession holder to evict people whose membership has elapsed. Since, the rights of concession holder is determined based on the terms of contract it is not reasonable to force a business owner to provide service to members whose membership has elapsed.

RESEARCH FINDINGS

  1. Whether concessionaire can refuse service to people who are being purposely disruptive to his business?

Generally, “[t]he License Agreement is a contract of adhesion in that it is ‘a standardized contract, which, imposed and drafted by the party of superior bargaining strength, relegates to the subscribing party only the opportunity to adhere to the contract or reject it.’” DVD Copy Control Ass’n, Inc. v. Kaleidescape, Inc. (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 697, 715-16 [97 Cal.Rptr.3d 856, 871-72] (quoting Neal v. State Farm Ins. Cos. (1961)188 Cal.App.2d 690, 694, 10 Cal.Rptr. 781).

Further, “interpretation of the License Agreement is guided by the principle that it ‘must be so interpreted as to give effect to the mutual intention of the parties as it existed at the time of contracting, so far as the same is ascertainable and lawful.’” DVD Copy Control Ass’n, Inc. v. Kaleidescape, Inc. (2009) 176 Cal.App.4th 697, 712 [97 Cal.Rptr.3d 856, 868] (quoting Civ.Code, § 1636)). Additionally, “[t]he parties’ intent is ascertained from the language of the contract alone, ‘if the language is clear and explicit, and does not involve an absurdity.’” Id. (quoting Civ.Code, § 1638)).

Therefore, license agreements are interpreted like contract. The language of the contract is construed in a manner to meet the intention of the parties. In the present case, it appears that the statutory provision and the case law discussing the section on granting concessions does not grant any specific right to the concession holder to exclude certain people. However, here, being a license, the rights of concession holder are determined on the basis of the provisions of the contract between concessionaire and the State.

The provision 36 of the contract on nondiscrimination states that “Concessionaire and Concessionaire’s employees shall not discriminate by refusing to furnish any person any accommodation, facility, service, or privilege offered to or enjoyed by the general public.” (Concession Contract P. 32). This provision can be a basis for the court to construe that the licensee is prevented from evicting disruptive people and people whose membership rights to use the property have elapsed.

However, since this contractual provision is dealing with non-discrimination, it is unlikely that the court will make an interpretation preventing the licensee from evicting people. It is possible that this provision intends only to prevent discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, race, color, religious creed, marital status, ancestry, national origin, age, disability etc.

Further, it appears that in the instant case, the licensee is not treating all people differently. The people whom licensee tries to evict were not discriminated or treated differently. They are evicted as they were being disruptive to licensee’s business and their membership has elapsed. This cannot be regarded as a discriminatory behavior because refusing services to people who cause disruption to business is similar to refusing services to people who are not ready to pay.

  1. Whether concessionaire can evict people’s property after they attained a time limited membership from the state (not from him) allowing them to keep their property on the property he is managing under the concessions.

“[C]ourts must give a reasonable and commonsense interpretation of a contract consistent with the parties’ apparent intent.” People ex rel. Lockyer v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 516, 526 [132 Cal.Rptr.2d 151, 159] (internal quotation and citation omitted). “Interpretation of a contract ‘must be fair and reasonable, not leading to absurd conclusions.’” ASP Properties Group v. Fard, Inc. (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 1257, 1269 [35 Cal.Rptr.3d 343, 351] (quoting Transamerica Ins. Co. v. Sayble, (1987) 193 Cal.App.3d 1562, 1566, 239 Cal.Rptr. 201). Moreover, “‘[t]he court must avoid an interpretation which will make a contract extraordinary, harsh, unjust, or inequitable.’” Id. (quoting Strong v. Theis, (1986) 187 Cal.App.3d 913, 920–921, 232 Cal.Rptr. 272).

Therefore, unlike lease the agreement between the concession holder and the State is a license and the rights are determined based on the terms of the contract between them. The court has to interpret a contract in a fair and reasonable manner. The statutory provision and case law dealing with concession are not specific on the rights of the concession holder and the refusal of service. In the instant case, it appears that if a reasonable interpretation of the contract is made then licensee cannot be prevented from evicting people whose membership has elapsed. Moreover, it is not reasonable to compel a business owner to provide services to members whose memberships have elapsed.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Therefore, the statutory provision or case law dealing with concession does not specifically mention about the right of a concession holder to refuse service and evict people from the property. However, the provision 36 of contract prevent the refusal of service based on discrimination. Here, it appears that the refusal of service by the licensee was not discriminatory and it was only due to the disruption caused to the business.
  2. The language of a contract is to be interpreted fairly and reasonably. Hence, here it is not reasonable to force a business owner to serve disruptive people and people whose memberships have lapsed.