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Costa Regency, L.L.C. v. HSBC Card Services, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

June 21, 2019

COSTA REGENCY, L.L.C., Plaintiff,
v.
HSBC CARD SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          ORDER

          VIRGINIA M. HERNANDEZ COVINGTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on consideration of Defendant HSBC Card Services, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss the Complaint (Doc. # 5), filed in state court on May 2, 2019. Plaintiff Costa Regency, L.L.C. filed a response in opposition on June 14, 2019. (Doc. # 10). For the reasons that follow, the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Background

         Costa Regency initiated this case in state court on March 7, 2019. (Doc. # 4). The Complaint includes two counts: Count I for “Declaratory Relief - Needed Repairs and Maintenance, ” and Count II for “Injunctive Relief - Hazardous Materials and Access.” (Id.). The Complaint alleges that Costa Regency and HSBC have a landlord-tenant relationship. (Id. at 1-2). Specifically, Costa Regency owns an office building in Brandon, Florida, that it has leased to HSBC through June 20, 2020. (Id. at 1, 3).

         Under the lease, HSBC “agree[d] to maintain the [property] and all parts thereof in a good and sufficient state of repair” and to “take good care of the [property] (including any improvements hereafter erected or installed on the [property]), and [to] keep the same in good order and condition, and irrespective of such guaranty shall make and perform all routine maintenance thereof and all necessary repairs thereto, interior and exterior, structural . . . and nonstructural, ordinary and extraordinary, foreseen and unforeseen, of every nature, kind and description.” (Id. at 3-4). HSBC also “agreed that it shall, at its sole cost and expense, ‘take good care of, repair and maintain all driveways, pathways, roadways, sidewalks, curbs, spur tracts, parking areas, loading areas, landscaped areas, entrances and passageways in good order and repair and keep all portions of the [property] . . . in a clean and orderly condition free of dirt, rubbish, debris and unlawful obstructions.'” (Id. at 4).

         Regarding hazardous materials, “HSBC agreed that at all times it also would in all respects comply with all federal, state and local laws, ordinances and regulations related to hazardous materials” and “agreed to be solely responsible for all reporting obligations imposed by hazardous materials laws.” (Id.). HSBC “agreed that it would not take any remedial action in response to the presence of any hazardous materials on the [property] without first notifying Costa [Regency] of its intention to do so and affording Costa [Regency] ample opportunity to appear, intervene or otherwise appropriately assert and protect [Costa Regency's] interest with respect to the proposed remedial action.” (Id. at 4-5). Finally, “HSBC also agreed to immediately notify Costa [Regency] in writing of any reports made to any environmental agency arising out of or in connection with any hazardous materials in, on or about” the property. (Id. at 5).

         According to Costa Regency, HSBC has not been maintaining the property as required by the lease agreement: “HSBC failed and refused to honor its contractual agreement to maintain the [property] and allowed it to suffer waste, disfigurement and damage.” (Id. at 5). Costa Regency alleges HSBC: has failed to maintain and make repairs to cracks in the exterior walls; has not sealed and repainted the parking lot; has not restored the landscaped areas; has not provided evidence that sufficient mold remediation has occurred; and has refused to replace the roof as needed. (Id. at 6-8).

         So, Costa Regency insists it “has a bona fide, actual and present practical need for a declaration regarding its rights and HSBC's obligations under the Lease Agreement regarding repairs and maintenance of the [property] .” (Id. at 8). Costa Regency is in the process of trying to attract future tenants for the building, but HSBC's failure to make all necessary repairs “is hampering [Costa Regency's] ability to market and lease the property.” (Id.). Furthermore, Costa Regency alleges that “the parties . . . are in doubt about their rights and obligations under the Lease Agreement” because the parties disagree about the extent of repairs required under the lease agreement. (Id. at 9).

         Additionally, Costa Regency alleges that there was a spill of the hydraulic fluid used in elevators - a hazardous material - in the building in June 2018. (Id. at 10). However, HSBC did not notify Costa Regency of this hazardous spill until November 2018. (Id.). Although HSBC allegedly informed Costa Regency that it would hire an environmental consultant to notify all necessary agencies and develop a remediation plan, HSBC “has not given Costa [Regency] proof that it has retained an environmental consultant.” (Id. at 11). Costa Regency seeks an injunction requiring HSBC to, among other things, provide proof to Costa Regency that HSBC contacted the appropriate environmental agencies about the spill, as well as give Costa Regency notice of the testing and remediation plan HSBC intends to perform so that Costa Regency can approve it. (Id. at 13).

         HSBC filed the instant Motion to Dismiss in state court on May 2, 2019. (Doc. # 5). Subsequently, on June 4, 2019, HSBC removed the case to this Court on the basis of diversity jurisdiction. (Doc. # 1). Costa Regency has responded to the Motion (Doc. # 10), and the Motion is ripe for review.

         II. Legal Standard

         On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), this Court accepts as true all the allegations in the complaint and construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Jackson v. Bellsouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1262 (11th Cir. 2004). Further, the Court favors the plaintiff with all reasonable inferences from the allegations in the complaint. Stephens v. Dep't of Health & Human Servs., 901 F.2d 1571, 1573 (11th Cir. 1990). But,

[w]hile a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do. Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.

Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(internal citations omitted). Courts are not “bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.” Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). “The scope of review must be limited to the four corners of the complaint” and attached ...


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