Jackson’s Granted Preliminary Injunction in Boston Properties Parking Suit

by Dave Emke June 14, 2017 at 3:10 pm 28 Comments

(This story was updated at 3:40 p.m. to include additional information from, and links to, the court documents that were filed Tuesday, as well as comment from Boston Properties.)

In a Tuesday ruling from the Fairfax County Circuit Court, Jackson’s Mighty Fine Food & Lucky Lounge in Reston Town Center was granted a preliminary injunction against the ParkRTC system.

The injunction (view) will restrict Boston Properties from enforcing its pay-to-park system against Jackson’s guests in the Orange Garage, or otherwise interfering with Jackson’s guests’ right to park for free and without charge in the Orange Garage, according to a press release.

“We are pleased with the ruling of the Fairfax County Circuit Court granting a preliminary injunction [Tuesday] and reinforcing Jackson’s view that the current ParkRTC system creates confusion and concerns for our guests,” said Jon Norton, CEO of Great American Restaurants. “Jackson’s puts its guests first and we are delighted that they will no longer be forced to use the cumbersome ParkRTC app or the current pay-to-park system in the Orange Garage.”

Neither Great American Restaurants nor Boston Properties has provided clarification on how Jackson’s patrons will be able to park without using ParkRTC. An executive at Jackson’s said Wednesday afternoon that he would not comment on the issue.

Following the lawsuit filed by Jackson’s in March, Boston Properties made several amendments to the parking regulations, allowing free garage parking after 5 p.m. and one hour of free parking on weekdays in the garages. The announcement of these changes May 31 came one day prior to the second day of evidentiary hearing in the suit, in which Jackson’s owner Great American Restaurants claims the pay-parking rules violate agreed-upon terms of their lease.

According to the lawsuit:

“Great American and Boston Properties agreed to specific lease provisions which provided that parking for Jackson’s customers in the structure on the Garage Parcel would be free, that any parking access and control system would not unduly impede Jackson’s right to ‘free parking and access,’ and that, if the landlord ever sought to implement paid parking, it would ‘at its sole cost and expense’ provide a system that allowed Jackson’s to validate tickets ‘so that parking for [Jackson’s] customers and employees shall be free and without charge at all times and in all instances.”

“From the beginning, we have asked Boston Properties to uphold our lease rights, and [Tuesday’s] ruling is a step in the right direction,” Norton said.

If Boston Properties is successful in appealing the injunction, Jackson’s would be required to pay $25,000. In the letter announcing its ruling (view), however, the Court says Boston Properties’ argument about the necessity for paid parking has been “inconsistent.”

“Boston Properties argues that if the system is enjoined, then the entire pay-to-park system will have to shut down, thus resulting in an amount likely to be many millions of dollars. That argument, however, is inconsistent with Boston Properties’ initial argument that the pay-to-park system was necessary to ensure parking spaces would be available for the tenants and their employees and customers. Boston Properties has not yet admitted that the primary motivation to install the pay-to-park system was to monetize an asset that has become more valuable as the area has become more densely populated. Thus, the Court does not consider Boston Properties’ lost revenues argument to be persuasive in determining the amount for bond.”

A trial date for the suit has been set for February 2018.

Boston Properties has previously said it is “very confident” it will prevail in legal challenges related to paid parking. In response to Tuesday’s ruling, Boston Properties says it “is reviewing the Court’s opinion and considering [our] options.”

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