By CBSLA Staff

WESTWOOD (CBSLA) – The parent company of gym chain L.A. Fitness is suing the property owner of its Westwood gym, seeking reimbursement of more than $500,000 in rent paid even though the business has been unable to operate for nearly a year due to coronavirus-related closures.

Fitness International LLC’s breach-of-contract lawsuit, filed Thursday in Santa Monica Superior Court against WW Westwood LP., seeks at least $555,000 in damages, compensation for lost profits, attorneys’ fees and a court declaration that L.A. Fitness does not have to pay rent during the closure periods.

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The gym is located in the 10900 block of Wilshire Boulevard and the original lease agreement dates back to January 1996, according to the lawsuit.

L.A. Fitness stopped operating the gym last March 17 due to a government-mandated closure to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the suit states. The gym was briefly allowed to reopen for about a month in the summer, from June 12 through July 13, but since that time has again been prohibited from operating, according to court papers.

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“But for the brief four-week period, (L.A. Fitness) has been prohibited from operating its business from the premises for nearly ten 10 months,” according to the suit, which says the government-mandated closures resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are “unanticipated events, completely out of the control of  (L.A. Fitness) and catastrophic in result.”

Although L.A. Fitness told its landlord that its obligation to pay rent during the closure periods was excused due to the government-mandated shudowns, WW Westwood LP demanded full payment, according to the complaint.

A representative for WW Westwood LP could not be immediately reached.

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(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)