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Jury sides with entertainment center in dispute over repairs

A Jackson County jury awarded the owners of a shuttered Raytown indoor entertainment center nearly $1.7 million in actual damages and another $5 million in punitive damages in a dispute with their former landlords over several years’ worth of uncompleted repairs.

The lawsuit by Grand Prix LLC, which operated the Extreme Grand Prix Family Fun Center on Blue Ridge Boulevard from 2014 until its July 2022 closure, alleges breach of duty, tortious interference, negligent misrepresentation and fraud, among other counts, by two Nevada limited liability companies and their California-based property manager over an escalating series of air-conditioning repairs and roof leaks.

Plaintiff’s attorney Matthew Gist said the defendants had previously repaired minor HVAC and roof issues without charge to the plaintiff, but after summer 2019 they would “either ignore plaintiff’s requests for repairs, or send business partners and asset managers with no HVAC or roofing experience to attempt to make repairs and to replace the roof.”

“Any repairs to the HVAC were short-lived, and identical failures would arise days if not hours later — and again the same person would come again and fail to make the repair,” he said. “The roof replacement actually made the leaking worse, with water flowing into the building onto the racetrack, bounce houses, arcade, and other areas of the business causing partial and complete shutdowns of the facility at times.”

The entertainment center eventually stopped paying its monthly rent of $18,329.63, which included a monthly $3,050 fee for operating expenses that the plaintiffs argued made the repairs their landlords’ responsibility.

The jury sided with the plaintiff at the conclusion of a four-day trial and awarded the fun center owners $458,239 in actual damages for breach of contract; $935,380 for tortious interference; $250,000 for negligent misrepresentation; and $50,000 for fraud; plus four separate punitive damages against the four named defendants totaling $5 million.

In addition, the jury rejected the defendants’ $500,000 counterclaim for unpaid rent. The defense, which declined an interview request, has since asked for a new trial or a reduction of the award.

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$6.69 million verdict

Breach of contract

Venue: Jackson County Circuit Court at Independence

Case number/Date: 2016-CV10674/Oct. 21, 2022

Judge: Marco Roldan

Plaintiff’s Expert: Jerry Miller, Leawood, Kansas (business/finance-commercial real estate contracts)

Last pretrial demand: $458,240

Last pretrial offer: $50,000

Caption: Grand Prix LLC v. LB One LLC, LB Three LLC, Loc Nguyen and Advanced Real Estate Services Inc.

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Wesley Carrillo and Matthew Gist, Ensz & Jester, Kansas City

Defendants’ Attorney: Paul Burnett, The Hood Law Group, Kansas City