Real Estate Litigation
We understand both real estate law and the business of real estate, and when it comes to successfully resolving real estate disputes, knowing the business is essential.
We litigate a broad range of claims related to real estate. These include purchase and sale agreements, option agreements, secured financing, brokers, finders, real estate partnerships, landlord-tenant, homeowners’ associations, and construction defect cases.
Our clients have included residential and commercial developers, lenders, investors, owners of office and shopping centers, contractors, brokerage firms, construction companies, tenants in office and retail properties, and long-term, master lessees.
Representative matters we have handled include the following:
- Represented a real estate investor who was defrauded out of $350,000 by the sellers. In addition, the attorney who originally represented our client in the transaction committed malpractice and breached his fiduciary duties to him. Our client achieved an approximately $400,000 judgment against the sellers, and a judgment of over $400,000 against our client’s former attorney following trial.
- Represented the owners’ association of a condominium medical office building which sued a hospital company for attempting to sell a large block of condominium units (as part of a larger sale involving four hospitals) without complying with the association’s right of first refusal. The hospital purported to “carve out” the units and gave the association a sham notice for an artificially inflated price and only days to close escrow. After a bench trial, the court upheld the association’s right of first refusal and required that a new notice be issued with the price and terms established by the court. The association then acquired the units.
- Represented an individual who sold his Pacific Palisades home and was sued by the buyers for allegedly failing to make full disclosure regarding the geological condition of the property. A favorable settlement was reached at mediation.
- Represented a couple who purchased a home in Lake Sherwood and sued the seller for failing to disclose that the house suffered water intrusions and contained a noisy sump pump that was designed not as a back-up, emergency system, but rather as the property’s main drainage system, whereby outside ground water was intentionally brought into the house before being pumped out. A favorable settlement was secured at mediation and prior to litigation being filed.
- Represented landlords who owned eight single family homes, each of which was subject to poorly drafted purchase options in fixed term leases that became month-to-month tenancies. The landlords gave notice that the old leases were being terminated and that the tenants could continue to rent their homes only under new, more precise leases. Most of the tenants attempted to exercise the purchase option contained in the old leases and litigation ensued. One favorable settlement was reached prior to litigation, two tenants vacated without any actual or threatened litigation, four favorable settlements were reached at mediation, and one case was favorably resolved via a motion for summary judgment.
- Represented a commercial landlord in a complicated unlawful detainer action. The landlord and tenant had entered into a promissory note whereby past due rent was amortized along with interest as monthly payments. The tenant then made payments that had no correlation to either the ongoing rental obligations or the note payments, and many of the tenant’s checks bounced. The landlord also issued apparently conflicting balance statements. The landlord contended that the tenant owed approximately $50,000 (total outstanding rent plus attorneys’ fees) and needed to vacate the premises. The tenant contended that it only owed a fraction of that amount and did not have to vacate the premises. A Settlement Agreement and Stipulation for Entry of Judgment was reached just before the start of trial whereby the tenant would pay $47,000 and vacate the premises in two weeks.
- Represented the long-term, master lessee of a Southern California marina in a lawsuit against the city that owns the marina. The city engaged in bad faith conduct in an effort to get out of the lease, including concocting several spurious notices of default, stonewalling the approval of a sublease to a major subtenant, and even twice amending its municipal code in aid of a meritless claim that our client was operating the premises in violation of local law. A favorable settlement was reached during trial.
- Represented a Palos Verdes couple who brought suit regarding a property line dispute with their neighbors. The neighbors tore down our clients’ fence, and threatened to tear down our clients’ gazebo, both of which encroached on the neighbors’ property. A temporary restraining order was obtained, and a favorable settlement was reached at mediation whereby our clients obtained a permanent, exclusive easement over the disputed area for a nominal amount.
- Represented a general contractor who adapted an historic building for residential apartment use in litigation against the building’s owners, who continuously made grandiose changes to the project but later refused to pay for those changes. The subcontractors also filed lawsuits against the owner and the general contractor. A favorable settlement was reached at mediation.
- Represented a commercial lender in foreclosure proceedings and enforcement action against guarantors and defense of lender liability claims relating to equity participation loan to corporate developer of a shopping center.
- Represented a bank in prosecution of breach of lease action against real estate partnerships and their general partners arising out of bank’s foreclosure of a loan secured by a shopping center.
- Represented a real estate company in breach of contract action against national home builder relating to Coachella Valley golf course and related residential development.
- Represented an owner of commercial property in quiet title action alleging valuable easements were extinguished by the doctrine of merger.
- May 2013: Real Estate Lenders Beware: Merger May Destroy or Diminish the Value of a Lender’s Security
- December 2011: Nonjudicial Residential Foreclosures
- December 2011: Accepting Trial Payments Does Not Obligate Lender to Make a HAMP Loan Modification
- December 2011: California’s Usury Law May Pose Hidden Risks for Investors in California Loans
- December 2010: New Decision Allows the Recovery of Lost Profits in Real Estate Purchase Disputes
- November 2007: Compelled Arbitration of Oral Joint Venture Concerning Real Property