AMC Theatres was sued on Wednesday for failing to pay the April rent to the owners of a shopping mall in Hialeah, Fla.
AMC informed landlords last month that it would not be paying rent because all of its theaters are closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Palm Springs Mile Associates, Ltd., filed suit in federal court in Miami, alleging that AMC had failed to pay the $52,153.87 monthly rent on the AMC Hialeah 12. The suit contends that the breach of contract has triggered a requirement for immediate payment of the balance of the lease.
The suit seeks in excess of $7.5 million in damages.
“The Landlord recognizes the challenges posed by COVID-19, including on its own business,” the lawsuit states. “Under the express terms and provisions of the Lease and Guaranty, however, Defendant is obligated to pay Rent and that obligation is not excused.”
The suit also states that the pandemic does not trigger the “force majeure” provision of the lease.
AMC shut down its theaters worldwide on March 17, and has said it expects to remain closed at least through the end of June. The company recently announced a $500 million bond offering in order to shore up its finances, and said the offering would help it stay solvent through a potential reopening in November.
In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis convened a task force this week to advise the state on reopening the economy. DeSantis has imposed a stay-at-home order, which expires on April 30.
In neighboring Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has announced that theaters could reopen beginning next Monday, though it does not appear that any theaters yet intend to do so.
Six Southern states, including Georgia and Florida, have been coordinating their reopening strategy, but DeSantis has so far not indicated that theaters will be able to reopen there.
“You can announce those things, but are people going to have confidence in coming out or not?” DeSantis asked at a press conference on Wednesday.