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Appeals court upholds Marsh's $18.2M award from Roche

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld an $18.2 million judgment Monday in favor of Marsh Supermarkets LLC on its complaint alleging that Roche breached a contract to sublease space in the Fishers building that houses Marsh’s headquarters.

Marsh’s multimillion-dollar award stemmed from a breach of contract suit it filed in July 2008 to enforce a deal with Roche Diagnostics Corp. to sublease the local supermarket chain’s entire 148,000-square-foot-headquarters in Fishers.

The deal, worth more than $47 million over 18 years, would have been one of the largest of its kind in central Indiana.

Judge William Hughes announced the original award following a bench trial in October 2011. Hughes reduced the amount based on a new sublease Marsh obtained with First Advantage Background Services Corp.

Roche, which had its North American headquarters and 2,800 employees spread over several buildings along Interstate 69 near East 96th Street, announced the lease of Marsh’s headquarters in March 2008 but backed out in late May of that year.

The abrupt reversal was a shock to Marsh, which had vacated most of the building, and Roche employees already were moving in and conducting meetings in the auditorium, the lawsuit claimed.

But Roche said it had a right to terminate the deal because Marsh failed to deliver certain documents, including a so-called subtenant non-disturbance agreement—standard paperwork that protects sublease tenants in many of the same ways primary tenants are protected.

In the appeal, Judges Patricia Riley and L. Mark Bailey affirmed in favor of Marsh. Judge Terry Crone dissented.

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