Supreme Court sides with MOA in Sears lease dispute

The nation’s high court has sided with Mall of America in a lease dispute.

Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion, saying the mall can challenge a 100-year lease that Sears signed back in 1991, which cost the tenant just $10 per year.

However, when Sears filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Transform Holdco took over the lease, and the mall has worked to undo those terms.

David Schultz, a constitutional law expert from Hamline University, says it’s a very complex case, but Wednesday’s ruling — which was unanimous — means Mall of America can continue its appeal of the lease transfer in lower courts.

“The bottom line is Sears wanted to transfer this lease to somebody else, the court said you can’t, it’s now going to revert to the Mall of America. For the mall, this is a big win because they’ve got a chunk of empty space here that they can now lease out and do something with as opposed to losing control of it if Sears had won,” Schultz said.

The ruling comes after the court heard arguments in the case back in December.