In 2005, Martha Crow and her husband Sylvester signed a lease agreement with Crow’s Sports Center Inc., Lynn Lambert and Rhonda Lambert. It included an option-to-purchase provision.
After Sylvester Crow died five years later, the others informed Crow they were ready to buy the business. They included an appraisal for $47,000 along with evidence they could pay for the property.
But Crow refused to accept their offer because she had two other appraisals for more than $100,000.
They sued her, and in May 2011, Chancellor Talmadge Littlejohn found that the option-to-purchase provision was enforceable. Crow appealed.
In a 6-4 vote, Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Lee wrote that while the provision was enforceable, Littlejohn should obtain an independent appraisal and hold a hearing to determine the property’s fair market value.
“One would think that qualified licensed professionals would not be so far apart on the valuation of property,” he stated.
The four judges who dissented said the contract is enforceable and also specifies a method to determine the purchase price.
Crow was represented by Ronald Michael and Seth Wesley Pounds. The others’ attorney was Greg Beard.