Owner of Zachary's by the Lake accuses landlords of throwing him out

Kyle Barnett Jul. 30, 2012, 12:00am

NEW ORLEANS – A Lakeview New Orleans restaurant is suing its landlord for breach of contract claiming it was forced from the premises.

Zachary's by the Lake filed suit against David and Laura Skansi in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on June 28.

The plaintiff claims the Skansis granted them a lease in 2009 for a payment of $3,500 a month. Stephen Craig Pisa, majority owner of Zachary's by the Lake, asserts that in November 2011 he signed a letter of intent to allow Dale Bernard to purchase the restaurant, but in May 2012 Bernard declined to to exercise his purchase rights under the letter. The plaintiffs claim shortly after Bernard declined to buy the restaurant the Skansis canceled the lease on Zachary's for supposed breaches in their conduct under the lease. Pisa alleges he received an email from Bernard that said the locks would be changed on the business so Pisa would no longer be able to inhabit the property. Zachary's claims that two days later the locks were changed and Pisa lost access to the restaurant property.

The defendant is accused of causing irreparable damage to the plaintiff by denying due process, denial of rights to leasehold property, violating terms of the lease, violation of the warranty of peaceful enjoyment, defamation and harm to the plaintiff's reputation. In addition, the Skansi's are alleged to have refused the plaintiff access to personal property located at the restaurant's premises.

The plaintiff is seeking a temporary restraining order against the Skansis as well as asking the court to restrain the defendants from excluding them from the property and violating the leasehold.

Zachary's is represented by Metairie-based attorney Thomas Ainsworth Robichaux.

The case has been assigned to Division D Judge Lloyd J. Medley.

Case no. 2012-06365.

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