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Final 'nail' in roadhouse coffin
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His day in court

Hilbert said he hopes to present this evidence in Beijing High People's Court where he has filed an appeal on the August verdict issued by the Chaoyang District Court. It remains unknown whether the court will agree to hear Hilbert's case. It also remains unclear whether Hilbert will ever receive any compensation from his landlord or the government - or whether he is entitled to it.

According to legal experts, unless a contract between a landlord and a tenant clearly stipulate remuneration for a structure that is going to be destroyed, tenants have no right to demand compensation.

"Most Chinese leases provide very explicitly that if the property is torn down, the landlord gets the compensation and the tenant gets nothing," said Steve Dickinson, a China-based lawyer at Harris & Moure.

"It depends 100 percent not on property law but on what the lease document says," said Dickinson.

Hilbert said he made an amendment to his lease stipulating compensation if in the future the building housing his restaurant were to be torn down. Hilbert's landlord could not be reached for comment to verify this.

A woman surnamed Liang, Hilbert's assistant, told China Daily that they signed the contract with the landlord on March 30, 2007 and the contract should be valid until May 15, 2010.

But they did not make it clear in the contract how much the landlord should compensate Hilbert if the landlord ends the contract ahead of schedule, according to Liang.

Hilbert would not disclose the next steps he will take in order to secure the money he is owed for the death of Tim's Texas Roadhouse.

"It is an ongoing matter," he said. "Obviously nobody ever discusses strategies in ongoing matters with the media until after the actions take place."

(China Daily September 3, 2009)

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