"Equitable estoppel can be applied to bar a party from relying on the defense of the statute of limitations. Where a defendant has 'by deception or in violation of his duty toward plaintiff, caused him to subject his claim to the statutory bar, defendant must be charged with having wrongfully obtained an advantage ... and this can be done by his silence under an affirmative duty to speak. [Citation omitted.]" ' 268 Kan. at 116.
"Estoppel by silence is often described as involving silence as to material knowledge not held by the other. [Citation omitted.]" 268 Kan. at 118.
Here, Thompson maintains that she detrimentally relied upon the Corporation's answers, which made a general denial and defended on the merits. The record discloses the following.
In Thompson's 2001 case, the Corporation's answer denied all factual allegations except those admitted. It admitted that it was a corporation currently authorized to transact business in the State of Kansas and that Thompson leased an apartment at Essex Place Apartments in Overland Park, Kansas. It did not state from whom Thompson had leased the apartment. It also stated that the negligence of Thompson or others should bar or reduce Thompson's claim. No reference was made to the Partnership.
**5 Thompson correctly points out that the Corporation's answer did not specifically deny it was the agent of the owner of the apartment complex when she signed the lease or injured her foot. Nevertheless, the Corporation did not specifically admit those allegations, and its general denial placed those allegations in issue.
To support its motion for summary judgment, the Corporation attached a copy of the lease. The lease identified the "Owner" as "Equity Residentail [sic ] Properties Management Limited Partnership as agent for the owner of Essex Place Apartments." Although the lease referred to the Partnership as the agent of the owner and not as the management company for the owner, the lease indicated that the Partnership, not the Corporation, was the entity to act for or on behalf of the owner. See K.S.A. 58-2551(a)(2).
In the 2001 case, Thompson's interrogatories asked the Corporation to identify the "manager" of the apartment at the time of accident. It responded: "Equity Residential Properties Management Limited Partnership. The employee assigned as the manager for that property was Elaine Mendelsohn."
Thompson v. Equity Residential Properties Management
121 P.3d 488 (Table)
Oct 21, 2005