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Strickland v. Wawa, Inc.

A-5975-98T2 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2000) (Unpublished)

LEASES; INDEMNIFICATION—Where a lease calls for a landlord to indemnify its tenant for claims arising out of the use of the common area, the landlord will be held to that obligation even if the tenant’s use was in some way responsible for the claim.

A store’s customer was injured when she slipped and fell on ice in the area of a parking lot near a convenience store. The property owner and the convenience store settled with the injured customer and reserved their respective claims against each other for indemnification. The lease provided that all areas “neither exclusively occupied by nor leased to a tenant ... including ... parking areas ... shall be called the Common Area.” The parking spaces where the customer fell were described in the lease as “reserved for the use of [the convenience store] and its customers on a non-exclusive basis.” The indemnification clause of the lease provided that the landlord would “indemnify and save the tenant harmless from and against any and all claims ... arising out of the use of the Common Area.” Based upon those provisions, the Court held that the landlord had an obligation to indemnify its tenant for any damage arising out of the accident.

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