Practice Areas

Related Case Studies

Print to PDF Print to PDF

Real Estate - Representative Experience

  • Issues
  • Venue
  • Client Type
  • Lawyers
  • Full Description
  • Result
  • Tenant's Purchase Options; Commercial Real Estate; Right of First Refusal
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Defendant Real Estate Broker and Agent
  • Enrique Marinez, Todd A. Roberts
  • Represented a national commercial real estate broker and agent in connection with a dispute over the validity of a tenant’s attempt to exercise purchase options.


     

  • After vigorously pursuing the litigation for two and a half years, our high professional standards required us to withdraw from the matter due to a previously undisclosed conflict of interest between the broker and the agent. The matter settled less than a month later.

  • Commercial Real Estate; Option to Purchase
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Defendant Real Estate Agent and Broker
  • Todd A. Roberts
  • An action against our client arose from a tenant's failed attempt to exercise an option to purchase a commercial building in Livermore. The broker and agent were sued along with the building's owner following the owner's refusal to proceed with the sale based on his belief that a financing contingency that was part of the option to exercise was invalid, on its face, and that the option had expired.

     

  • The matter was amicably resolved on terms favorable to our client.

  • Real Estate Litigation
  • JAMS Binding Arbitration
  • Defendant and Cross-Complainant Developer
  • Todd A. Roberts
  • Represented a regional, residential and commercial developer in connection with a dispute with a landowner/partner who attempted to terminate partnership agreement and development.

     


     

  • Acted as lead trial counsel and defeated all claims asserted against the developer and prevailed on all of the cross-claims asserted against the plaintiffs.

  • Real Estate; Litigation
  • Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara
  • Plaintiff Home Owners
  • Represented the plaintiffs, home owners, in a case involving defaulted loans from prior owners of high-end residential property. The previous owners took out an equity line on the property, claimed that they had paid-off that equity line and then failed to properly release their equity line after alleged pay-off. Thereafter, our clients purchased that property in a short sale. The opened credit line was not disclosed during the sale of the property. In fact, all information available to our clients indicated that the equity line was closed prior to sale. Soon after purchase the creditor recorded a notice of default against the property based on alleged nonpayment under the deed of trust.

  • Obtained a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to protect our clients' home, then received a settlement demand of $560,000 to which we responded with an offer of $10,000. After preparing a motion for summary judgment, the case settled for $10,000 to the relief of our very nervous client.

  • Self-Storage Facility; Joint Owners; Partition
  • San Mateo County Superior Court
  • Defendant Self-Storage Facility Owner
  • Defended the owner of a self-storage facility located in Redwood City that was jointly owned with the plaintiff for decades before their differences became too great. The plaintiff sought a partition of the property, and the parties disagreed over the accounting for the business and the compensation of the managers.


     

  • The lawsuit was stayed under the stipulated interlocutory judgment. We represented the defendant in multiple hearings before the referee and either won rulings in the defendant's favor or reached compromises favorable to the defendant. The property is up for sale and has several offers, including offers from both parties.
     

  • Real Estate; Partnership; Contract; Sale; Defamation
  • San Mateo County Superior Court
  • Defendant Property Owner
  • Represented a defendant in an action involving a dispute as to the ownership interest in and ultimate sale of a parcel of real property located in Redwood City, County of San Mateo, and a dispute as to the terms of a separate oral agreement regarding a stock transaction.



     

  • The matter was settled at the mandatory settlement conference approximately two weeks before trial on terms advantageous to our client.

  • Other Side's Legal Fees
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Retailer
  • Gerald G. Knapton
  • A litigant lost a case and was asked to pay the fees and costs of its opponents under the "prevailing party" clause of a written agreement. The fee application sought fees for many millions of dollars in fees and costs even though the aspect on which the applicant prevailed was quite isolated.

  • Prepared a comprehensive report/declaration recommending a fee of $85,000 which the court adopted as its opinion for the matter.

  • Real Estate
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Defendant Insurance Provider
  • Michael J. Ioannou
  • Represented the defendants, an insurance provider, in a suit brought by a leading producer of fabricated aluminum products over the sale of their real estate subsidiary. The case involved 300,000 acres of real estate sold in California and Hawaii with myriad of complex issues involving a $500 million purchase agreement.
     

  • The case settled on favorable terms for our client.
     

  • Real Estate
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Michael J. Ioannou
  • Represented a client in a real estate litigation suit involving a purchase by a retirement development company of the lease hold interests in four assisted-living condominium projects. The landlords claimed the ability to increase rent to fair market value (rent increase dispute in excess of $1,000,000 per year for lease extensions for the next ten years).
     

  • The case settled pursuant to a favorable confidential settlement and release.

  • Church Law
  • Court of Appeal of the State of California Sixth Appellate District
  • Church
  • Susan H. Handelman
  • A real property dispute erupted when a dissenting faction withdrew from a religious organization. The appeal involved significant U.S. and California constitutional issues.
     

     

  • Succeeded in having a lower court decision affirmed which determined that the real property remained in the control of the church.

  • Negligence; Misrepresentation
  • Alameda County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Private Client/ Homeowner
  • Gregory M. Gentile
  • Successfully represented homeowners in prosecuting their claims for construction defects against a general contractor and failure to disclose by the seller.  The clients alleged that the general contractor failed to properly build exterior decks on a custom home, and the seller failed to disclose to the clients' known defects about those decks, including water leaks into the home.  The seller and the general contractor aggressively sought to have the clients’ case dismissed, and brought several dispositive motions just prior to trial. 

  • Successfully defeated both motions and obtained a large settlement for our clients.

  • Commercial Leasing
  • Bay Area
  • Sprint PCS
  • John G. Dooling
  • Represented Sprint PCS in the leasing of hundreds of cell sites in various commercial locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Work included due diligence, lease negotiation and preparation and interaction with planning departments and city councils.

  • Enforcement of Water Rights Under Real Estate Purchase Agreement
  • Napa County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Winery
  • John G. Dooling
  • Represented the owner of a winery in a breach of contract action against a large commercial winery who refused to abide by the terms of a well-sharing agreement.

  • Matter settled favorably as to our client at mediation, resulting in a new well-sharing agreement.

  • Partition Action
  • San Mateo County Superior Court
  • Co-Owner of Residential Property
  • John G. Dooling
  • Prosecuted a partition action relative to a residential property owned by co heirs of an estate.

  • The case was quickly resolved with the co-owner agreeing to place the property on the market. The property was quickly sold and the proceeds were  split accordingly.

  • Nondisclosure, Fraud
  • Contra Costa County Superior Court
  • Purchasers of Real Property
  • John G. Dooling
  • Represented the purchasers of a residential property who discovered multiple and significant Code violations not disclosed prior to the close of escrow.  Sought and was able to enforce a rescission remedy.

  • The sellers purchased the property back from the buyers at the purchase price and paid for the purchaser’s attorney’s fees and all costs related to the transaction.

  • Ability of Client to Foreclose on Mechanic's Lien on Property Bank had Already Foreclosed
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Land Improvement Contractor
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Our client, a land improvement contractor, contracted to perform site improvement work on residential property. The defendant bank financed the project and eventually foreclosed on the property when the developer defaulted.  Our client sought recovery from the defendant, arguing his mechanic's lien was senior to the bank's deed of trust.  The bank argued that there were defects in the client's lien claim and therefore the bank's deed of trust had seniority.
     

  • The parties quickly agreed to mediation, and the matter settled successfully for our client, with our client being paid $60,000.
     

  • Did Client Breach Written Agreements? Was Clients' Performance Excused?
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Defendant Developer of Commercial Condominiums
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Our client, a developer of commercial condominiums, was sued by the plaintiffs, real estate brokers, who claimed that our client failed to pay commissions earned in the sale of 50 commercial condominium units.
     

  • After extensive litigation and multiple settlement conferences, the case settled successfully for our client as our client paid less in commissions than the amounts stated in the written agreements with the brokers.
     

  • What was the Scope of an Easement? Did the Clients Violate Plaintiffs' Easement Rights?
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Defendant Individual Homeowners
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Our clients and the plaintiffs were next door neighbors. The plaintiffs had an easement for ingress and egress running over a portion of our clients' property. Our clients undertook some remodel work on their property and the plaintiffs claimed that the work violated the plaintiffs' easement rights.
     

  • After extensive litigation, the matter went to trial and the court interpreted the easement favorably for our clients.
     

  • CERCLA; RCRA
  • USDC: Central District of California
  • Defendant Dry Cleaning Company
  • Defended the past owners of a dry cleaning business at a shopping center purchased by a "vulture investor" in a CERCLA action.

  • Following an extensive mediation, we negotiated a very favorable settlement that imposed the vast majority of the clean-up on the investor, who had bought the property at a significant discount from market value.

  • CERCLA
  • USDC: Northern District of California
  • Defendant Owner
  • Represented the owner, who was fraudulently induced to acquire real estate for development, in an environmental matter involving litigation against both the seller and those persons who caused the contamination. We also represented the owner in an administrative enforcement action brought by the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

  • In the latter administrative action, our client was deemed secondarily liable, thus imposing the clean-up obligation on the other parties. Following our filing of a motion for summary judgment in the litigation against the other parties, one of the two defendants conceded liability. The District Court then subsequently ruled in favor of our client regarding the liability of the second defendant, and further granted rescission of the sales transaction based upon fraud. The case was ultimately settled with a very substantial payment made to our client.

  • CERCLA; RCRA
  • USDC: Northern District of California & Contra Costa County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Land Fill Operator
  • Represented a solid and hazardous waste landfill against thirty generators and transporters of solid and hazardous wastes in a complex federal CERCLA and RCRA action which was accompanied by a parallel state court action. The landfill was prevented by the actions of various local governmental entities and waste haulers from raising moneys through its rates to satisfy the Federal and state requirements for posting "financial assurances" related to its closure and post-closure costs. The action was filed after the EPA and state regulators threatened to file an administrative enforcement action against the landfill if it did not provide the required financial assurances. The case was politically charged and received a substantial amount of attention in the press.

  • The case settled, and a $30 million premium was paid for a complex combination of insurance policies which were literally negotiated from scratch and provided the requisite state and federal assurances and funded all closure and past-closure activities for the next 35 years.

  • Did Defendant Employee Breach Contract? Did Defendant Title Insurance Company Breach its Fiduciary Duties to the Client? Did Client Breach Separate Agreement with Defendant Employee in Failing to Pay Defendant Employee?
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Developer of Commercial Condominiums
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Our client, a developer of commercial condominiums, sued the defendant, an employee who had been working for the client, asserting that the employee had failed to pay for a condominium unit transferred to him. The defendant claimed the unit transfer was part of his compensation.  Our client also sued another defendant, a title insurance company, asserting that the title insurance company's errors in the handling of the escrow for the unit resulted in the unit being transferred to the employee without payment being made for the unit.  In a separate cross-claim, the employee claimed that our client failed to pay him more than $100,000 in compensation owed on the sale of units in a separate commercial condominium project.

  • After extensive litigation, the case settled successfully for our client on the eve of the trial. Our client received $200,000, plus other considerations valued at $25,000.

  • Did the Client Trespass on Plaintiff's Property? What Damages, if any, did Plaintiffs Sustain?
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Defendant Electrical Contractor
  • Kevin P. Cody
  • Our client, an electrical subcontractor, placed temporary power poles across the plaintiff's property to provide electrical power to a residential construction project being built by the defendant, a developer.  The plaintiffs maintained the placement of the poles constituted a trespass on their property. Our client argued that the placement of the poles was in fact authorized by a PG&E easement.

  • After extensive litigation and settlement negotiations in which the plaintiffs were offered in excess of $50,000, the matter was tried to a jury. Just before closing arguments, the plaintiffs dismissed our client in exchange for a waiver of costs.

  • Commercial Real Estate Transactions
  • San Francisco, California and Nevada
  • Real Estate Development Company
  • John G. Dooling
  • Currently represent a development company who regularly buys, sells, leases and develops real property in California and Nevada.

  • Partnership; LLC; Denial
  • San Francisco County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff LLC Member Cable Television Provider
  • Todd A. Roberts
  • Immediately filed a civil complaint and sought an injunction to prevent the defendant's lockout of the plaintiff, our client, from a company. This application for injunctive relief brought the defendant to the negotiating table, where the parties resolved several of the issues in the complaint.

     

  • The matter was eventually settled and the plaintiff was restored to his rightful place in the company. RMKB has since assisted the plaintiff in purchasing the defendant's interest in the company
     

  • Dispute Over Homeowners Association; CC&RS
  • San Mateo
  • Defendant Homeowner
  • Todd A. Roberts
  • Represented the defendant in a case involving a dispute between two condominium unit owners and their homeowners' association. The dispute concerned water leaks that were identified as the connection point between the sewer line (a common area component) and the unit owners' toilets (individual unit component). The plaintiff (owner of a lower unit) sued our client (owner of an upper unit) and the homeowners' association for their respective failure to maintain the sewer line and the toilet seals. The plaintiff asserted cost of repairs and consequential damages, including diminution of value and loss of rental income. Subsequently, each defendant filed their cross-complaint for contractual indemnity under the CC&RS.

     

  • Successfully eliminated the plaintiff's claim for diminution of value damages pursuant to Kaye v. Mount La Jolla (1988) 204 Cal.App.3d 1476, 1488 (which provides that permitting diminution of value damages between condo unit owners and the HOA is contrary to the bargain of common development ownership and creates a potentially open-ended financial burden on condominium ownership.) After limiting the plaintiff's damages to cost of repairs, we settled the case successfully and cost effectively by taking the HOA's construction consultant deposition early to allocate the liability between the parties, i.e., identify the sources of water leaks.

  • Real Estate, Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • Defendant Real Estate Manager
  • Stephen J. Erigero
  • Currently defending a real estate manager in a case in which the parties entered into an operating agreement for a real estate project that is only partially developed.  The bank has foreclosed on the property. The plaintiff alleges that the mismanagement by the defendant LLC managers caused the loss of the property.

  • Adversary Proceeding, Easements,
  • US Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California, Oakland Division
  • Real estate developer, business condo association
  • Nicole S. Healy, Todd A. Roberts
  • Represented property developer and business condominium owners’ association in connection with claims brought by Trustee of bankruptcy estate and bank in connection with allegations that defendants interfered with bankruptcy estate with respect to easements for access and utilities.   

  • Case settled following two rounds of mediation

  • Mobile Home Park; Mobilehome Residency Law; Habitability; Translation Act; Eviction
  • County of Los Angeles Superior Court
  • Defendant Mobilehome Park Owner
  • Kathleen Strickland
  • Represented owner of a mobilehome park in action filed by approximately 240 residents claiming dozens of violations of the Mobilehome Residency Law, and asserting claims for nuisance, breach of the warranty of habitability, and violation of the Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 17200, et seq.), amongst other causes of action.

  • This matter was settled to the satisfaction of our client.

  • holdover; tenant; landlord; buyer; seller; unlawful; detainer
  • Santa Clara Superior Court; United States District Court, District of Northern California (San Jose)
  • Plaintiff purchaser of real property/landlord
  • Colette R. Thomason
  • Our client purchased residential real property in Palo Alto, but after close of escrow and a one month seller rent-back, the seller refused to vacate the property he had already sold our client.  We had to file an unlawful detainer complaint to evict the seller.  The day before trial, the seller  attempted to remove the action to federal court and filed a federal cross-complaint.  

  • After a one day bench trial on the unlawful detainer during which we called and defended multiple percipient witnesses, we obtained a judgment in favor of the landlord, including an award of $53,500 in holdover damages and reimbursement of the landlord's attorneys fees.  We immediately obtained a writ of possession and evicted the holdover seller from the property.  We filed and opposed several motions in federal court before the Court, reminded in one of our oppositions that it had not ruled on the removal request, denied the request and dismissed the federal cross-complaint.

  • Trespass; Nuisance; Declaratory Relief
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Private Client/Homeowner
  • Gregory M. Gentile
  • Successfully prosecuted and defended a homeowner in a property line dispute with her neighbor.  The claims by the client were for trespass, nuisance, and quiet title.  Through expert opinion, we were able to secure the client’s property rights and obtain appropriate resolution, returning the property to her.

  • The matter settled five days before trial with an agreement to return the expropriated real property back to the client.

  • Construction Defect; Real Estate; Fraud; Conspiracy; Professional Liability; Architects
  • Sonoma County Superior Court
  • Defendant Architect Consultant
  • John A. Koeppel
  • A real estate developer developed a 108 unit apartment complex and sold it to a real estate investment company, Company A.  The real estate investment company hired our architectural consultant client to perform a due diligence inspection and report.  Within two years, real estate investment Company A sold the apartment complex to real estate investment Company B.  Plaintiff, real estate investment Company B sued the developer, the original general contractor and subcontractors, real estate investment Company A as seller and our architectural consultant client for construction defects, negligence, breach of contract and fraud and conspiracy.

  • The case was settled for a fraction of the plaintiff's original demand.

  • Negligence; Misrepresentation
  • San Mateo County Superior Court
  • Defendant Home Inspection Company
  • Gregory M. Gentile
  • Successfully represented a home inspection company and home inspector as to claims of negligence and misrepresentation.  The claims against the clients were part of a group litigation filed by a homeowner against the real estate agents, their brokers and inspectors who were involved in the sale of the home.  The homeowner claimed undisclosed and undocumented defects pertaining to their purchase of their home. 

  • Successfully resolved the matter on behalf of the clients by bringing a motion for summary judgment.

  • Trespass; Nuisance; Quiet Title as to Real Property; Property Lines
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff Homeowner
  • Gregory M. Gentile
  • Successfully prosecuted a neighbor and defended a homeowner in a property line dispute.  The claims made were for trespass, nuisance and quiet title. 
     

  • Through expert opinion, able to secure the client’s property rights and obtain appropriate resolution, returning the property to client.
     

  • Adverse Possession;Quiet Title; Easement Preparation
  • Santa Clara County Superior Court
  • Plaintiff, Home and Property Owner
  • Gregory M. Gentile
  • Client sued for adverse possession and quiet title as against developers.  Thereafter multiple cross-complaints were filed against client, each of which sought to quiet title.  Case was laden with discovery issues and had multiple depositions prior to trial.  Matter was interlaced with breach of contract between two separate developers which was tried before the court in a 15 day court trial.  

  • Court trial of developer found developer to be in default for failing to proceed with trial after 15 days of court testimony. Judgment entered  against developer by the court.  Thereafter, a further motion was filed on behalf of our clients which resulted in judgments in their favor and against the developer.  Matter is on the process of appeal.

  • Personal Injury; Toxic Tort
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Defendant Municipality
  • Currently defending a municipality in a personal injury and property damage matter composed of six coordinated cases involving 1,138 plaintiffs. Our client is one of two defendants accused of being the cause of the alleged harm. The matter involves, among other accusations, contamination of drinking water resources in the Pomona region of Southern California.

  • The matter currently is in litigation. Following extensive motions, the Superior Court dismissed 26 of the plaintiff’s 28 courses of action against our client. Recently, the court ruled in favor of our client and dismissed the entire case. The plaintiffs have appealed.

  • Non-Disclosure; Professional Negligence; Construction Defect
  • JAMS San Francisco, CA
  • Defendant Testing & Inspection Firm
  • John G. Dooling
  • Defended a testing and inspection firm in an action for non-disclosure and construction defect. Our client provided periodic special inspection and testing on an extensive re-model of a $6.5 million home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco.

     

  • A favorable result was reached at mediation before Bruce Edwards of JAMS.

  • Personal Injury
  • Los Angeles County Superior Court
  • Defendant Manufacturer
  • Currently represent one of several dozen defendants accused of contributing to contamination of drinking water aquifers in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California in a personal injury and property damage matter that is composed of six consolidated cases involving several thousand plaintiffs.

     

  • The matter is currently in litigation, and will go to trial in 2005.

  • Merger; Non-Competition Clause; Staffing Company
  • San Francisco County Superior Court
  • Defendant National Staffing Company
  • Defended a national staffing company in an action involving the effect of a non-competition clause following one of the parties entering into a merger.

  • Successfully issued a demurrer and a demand for arbitration which created leverage for a global settlement involving the staffing company, the merging company/individual and the non-merging company.

  • Construction Defect
  • No Suit Filed, Claim Made in LA County
  • Plaintiff Tenant
  • Stephen J. Erigero
  • Advised a tenant in a dispute with a landlord regarding commercial space. The landlord contracted to construct the tenant's improvements for a first class dance studio. The construction was late and performed in a substandard manner, impairing the tenant's ability to use the premises.

  • The tenant is continuing to negotiate with the landlord. The tenant retained a real estate lawyer to take over the negotiation. Our role to evaluate the construction defect was completed.