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Commercial tenant held responsible for damage caused by fire

In American States Insurance and Ratcliff v. Hampton, dba VIP Truck & Trailer, a building owner and his insurer sued the tenant who caused a fire in the leased premises for the damage caused to his building.  Under the parties' written lease, Hampton had assumed responsibility for any damage resulting from "his negligence or the negligence of invitees or guests."  Hampton argued, however, thast Ratliff's purchase of fire insurance and his admission that his building was under-insured constituted proof that the landlord had assumed the risk associated with a fire caused by Hampton.

The Courts rejected this analysis, and distinguished this case from a prior case where the tenant's only relevant leasehold duty was to pay the insurance premiums incurred by the landlord.

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