In Danai v. Canal Square Associates, there was a dispute between the landlord and the tenant, a travel agency, concerning whether the tenant failed to renew its multi-year lease. During a bench trial, the landlord impeached the President of the travel agency, who had testified concerning her understanding of the renewal provision in the lease, by questioning her about a draft letter to the landlord which the landlord had found in the tenant's trash. The trial court entered judgment for the landlord, giving it possession of the premises.
The tenant then brought suit against the landlord for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. It was undisputed that the tenants' trash was taken out from the leased premises and stored in a "trash room" in the building. The letter had been written and then torn up on March 30, and on April 1 a Vice President of the landlord went through the tenant's trash in the trash room and recovered the letter. The letter was used at trial to prove that the tenant was aware of its failure to give notice to the landlord of its intent to renew the lease.
The trial court granted summary judgment to the landlord, finding that the tenant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in its trash, and the D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed.