Case Studies

Real Estate

  • Mediated resolution of dissolution issues in a long term investment LLC with multiple real estate investments, leading to settlement agreement with long term payout over 7 years with significant interest payments.
  • Arbitrated a dispute between two LLC owners of a real estate parcel with differing interpretations on the meaning of a right of first refusal clause.
  • Mediated dispute involving a warehouse building originally owned by two brothers and father, with a third brother who inherited the father’s share, warehouse sold for ten times the purchase price, with dispute arising over 1031 exchange, taxable income, failure to make distributions to the third brother.
  • Mediated neighboring property owner dispute involving an easement provided for perpetual non-exclusive use for landscaping and gardening to adjacent landowner. The adjacent property was sloping and the original landowner built a three tier sloping garden supported by wooden retaining walls. The current owner demolished and rebuilt the home and removed much of the garden soil and built concrete retaining walls into the easement area and was sued for trespass and other claims.
  • Mediated a dispute between two condominium owners in a duplex, regarding compliance with Homeowners Association rules, usage of common areas, noise, cooperation regarding tandem parking, and replacement of jointly owned outdoor furniture.
  • Mediated dispute among five neighbors over right of way easement over private road leading to local arterial road as well an easement across one property leading to a local walking and bicycle trail. The latter property had been the subject of a County approved subdivision map which did not show the easement and the property had been conveyed to the current owner without disclosure of the easement. Title insurance had been purchased on the latter parcel without exclusion for the easement and there were flaws in the actual location of the road vis a vis the easement. Several claims and cross claims ensued.
  • Mediated matter where buyer purchased a home and submitted option agreement for purchase of vacant lot next door, which was signed and agreed to by seller and its real estate broker. The seller had indicated that the lot was available for purchase as part of the transaction. The seller contended that the lot had been conveyed to a relative. When the buyer attempted to exercise the option, the owner refused to enter into a sale because too much time had passed. A variety of quiet title, contract and tort claims ensued.
  • Mediated commercial landlord tenant dispute between related family limited liability companies, one of which owns wine vineyard land and the other of which owns the winery business. The vineyard business undertook a large expansion project without county construction permits and faced a substantial fine and shutdown order, leading to an inability to pay rent. Landlord was seeking back rent and payment for portions of the construction and fines.
  • Mediated dispute between a restaurant buyer and seller over purchase agreement for business assets that was signed on 11/1/19 and ended when a bank denied an SBA loan application in July 2020 during the COVID pandemic. The parties disputed what caused the delays in the loan application process pushing it deeper into the pandemic downturn. The parties were disputing who should receive the escrow funds that were subject to a liquidated damages clause.
  • Mediated matter where owners of landlocked rural property in mountainous region filed claims against neighbors to establish prescriptive or equitable easement. Those neighbors allege that a different forest road built by plaintiffs’ predecessor should serve as the access road.
  • Mediated matter where a purchaser of a home asserts claims against seller arising from disclosures in purchase and sale agreement for fraud and breach of contract based on failure to disclose that a large 100 square foot detached garage was built without a permit and within a setback area from next door property. The town required the buyer to demolish the building and buyers plan to rebuild it outside of the setback, seeking recovery of demolition and construction costs.
  • Mediated boundary line dispute between adjacent landowners with dispute re property line, location of easement and right of way to connect two roads, support for subdivision map, necessity for getting consents from nearby homeowners, and eventual lot line adjustment.
  • Mediated matter where homeowner suffered water damage and contacted water damage remediation firm to work on home. In the process personal items were collected and put into storage pending the remediation work. Homeowner contests the amounts charged for storage and claims damage to property. The restoration company has sued the homeowner for unpaid storage fees and the homeowner has also sued its insurance carrier for insufficient claims payments.
  • Mediated matter where vacant land purchaser seeks damages due to inability to complete transaction when title company discovered inaccuracies in lot description and also return of rents on adjacent parcel due to habitability issues.
  • Mediated dispute between owners of four adjoining parcels of land each with a manufacturing facility, concerning usage of a private road easement through the properties enabling access to a public road. The easement declaration prohibits parking and loading vehicles on the easement, and the parties were litigating whether parking and loading zones could be allowed and also whether prescriptive easements had been created through use.
  • Mediated action arising from a purchase and sale agreement involving two adjacent office buildings with varying ownership wherein one of the owners allegedly represented that she had power of attorney for her husband who lived overseas. The purchaser made a substantial escrow deposit and thereafter the husband objected to the sale, leading to a litigation for specific performance and seeking damages for breach of contract, intentional misrepresentations, and fraudulent inducement.
  • Mediated a residential real estate purchase and sale agreement non-disclosure matter where several areas of construction without permits were not disclosed. The buyers contended that the value of the real estate received was less than the purchase price. The sellers contended that there were 30 offers on the property lead to any increase in price and that buyers mitigated when they sold the property with disclosures at a price at the top of the market.
  • Mediated a multi-generational family partnership dispute concerning commercial real estate on a long-term lease to a commercial retail tenant. Some partners desired a dissolution or buyout while others preferred the income from the long-term lease with a sale at the end of the lease term.
  • Mediated a matter where the parties entered into a real estate purchase and sale agreement for a commercial land parcel. The buyers tried to cancel, but the buyers made the first of two deposits and then failed to make the second deposit or complete the transaction. The buyers requested an open-ended extension while they closed another sale, but the buyers declined.
  • Mediated a real estate litigation matter where tenant on a 12-year written lease on a 5-acre parcel with residence alleges that there was an oral agreement that the landlord would convey the property to him for no additional consideration at the end of the lease term. Landlord cross claimed for breach of lease and waste.
  • Mediated a dispute arising from a common interest association of a commercial use condominium and two owners operating Cannabis grow and dispensary facilities, allegedly in violation of rules set forth in CC&Rs and local, state and federal laws, and also constituting a nuisance.
  • Mediated a boundary line dispute regarding an accessory structure with competing surveys, and cross complaint for assault and nuisance based on surveillance cameras.
  • Mediated a boundary line dispute involving small encroachment or a portion of a garage, eaves and downspout, leading to quiet title, trespass and nuisance claims.
  • Mediated an easement dispute between adjoining homeowners concerning parking rights in shared driveway where street parking is unavailable
  • Mediated corporate dispute among three members of two LLC’s, owning and operating a horse ranching business in Gilroy, CA each seeking dissolution and partition sale or division of the real estate and businesses, breach of contract and damages for breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Mediated family business dispute involving a mobile home park in San Jose, where one group owned the land and improvements while the other group owned the rental business and had mobile home leases based on a 50% tenancy in common. The land-owning group sued for a portion of the rental proceeds for on various real property law grounds.
  • Mediated real estate dispute arising from purchase of duplex as tenancy in common with a plan to enter into a TIC Agreement and Condo Conversion which never materialized leading to potential claims between the parties.
  • Mediated battery and premises liability claim by an attorney attending a reception at client’s home who was attacked and thrown to the floor, suffering two torn retinas. He claimed that his client was the perpetrator.
  • Mediated a Marvin type contract claim dispute by a longtime girlfriend of a married man who allegedly made promises that he intended to convey to her certain residential real estate.
  • Mediated partition actions between a husband, his wife’s estate and their two daughters to resolve ownership in two residential properties, distribute the proceeds of sales of one of them and determine the ongoing ownership of the second.
  • Mediated real estate purchase contract dispute in which buyer failed to close escrow but seeks return of initial deposit despite waiver of all contingencies.
  • Mediated negligence action by owner of cliffside seafront home in Santa Cruz against pool cleaner who allegedly left hose running which caused significant damage when cliff collapsed.
  • Mediated a claim for negligence and inadequate security by hotel customers against the hotel owners and its private security contractor arising from a serious physical altercation between the plaintiffs and another customer leading to significant physical injury to the plaintiffs.
  • Mediated real property dispute concerning residential properties in San Jose and Pebble Beach, involving quiet title action, conversion, embezzlement, fraud and restitution.
  • Mediated indemnification claim brought by foreclosure trustee against lender and deed of trust holder, which alleged excessive fees expended instead of filing a a declaration of nonmonetary status.
  • Mediated tort claim brought by adjacent tenant in a rural area against adjacent landlord, seeking damages caused by a tree which fell on two vehicles during unusual high wind storm.
  • Mediated quiet title action between owners of two adjacent commercial properties concerning an ingress and egress easement between the properties and a large wooden fence built by one landowner on the edge of the easement which was five feet onto the adjacent landowners’ property.
  • Mediated conversion, trespass to chattel and abuse of process claims arising from remodel of residential property by new owner after a foreclosure sale.
  • Mediated business divorce case alleging breach of fiduciary duty, accounting and partition among siblings involving a family business established by their deceased father, in a trust soon to expire which would establish them as tenants in common.
  • Mediated business divorce between two sisters who co-owned a multi-family rental real estate as reflected in deeds. They dispute the percentage ownership of the property, the disposition of proceeds from a refinancing of the property, the receipt of rent and payment of expenses over an 18 year period. The claims were for fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and resulting and constructive trust.
  • Mediated investment claim where plaintiff was defrauded by a licensed real estate salesman on trust deed investments which were never validly recorded and the investor suffered $1,600,000 in losses. He claimed that the State Department of Real Estate negligently failed to investigate and audit the salesman in a timely manner despite having received a formal complaint, which gave the salesman time to perpetrate an additional fraud and also time to flee the country.
  • Mediated implied contract and ejectment claim by one domestic partner against another seeking 50% ownership of residential property based on financial contribution to the purchase, when title to the property was in the names of the other partner and his parent.
  • Mediated action for trespass, theft of personal property and infliction of emotional distress arising from collection attempts by defendant on a prior contract judgment. There were at least two other related actions among the same parties, the attorneys who are parties and third parties.
  • Mediated quiet title complaint and cross complaint alleging mutual mistake of deed, prescriptive easement and agreed boundaries arising from a subdivision where the fences and placement of the houses by the homebuilder in the 1950s did not match up with the property descriptions in the deed and subdivision documents, leading to potential substantial movement of the fences and impacting setback requirements for the homes.
  • Mediated quiet title, adverse possession, prescriptive easement and trespass dispute arising from the placement of a masonry fence, constructed 30 years earlier by plaintiff’s father, and whether it was on plaintiff’s property or intruded by several inches onto defendants’ property. After losing a small claims case on the issue, defendants used self help to dismantle the fence, causing emotional distress to plaintiff.
  • Mediated HOA dispute with homeowner re: failure to keep home painted and changing roof color and materials without permission of the HOA.
  • Mediated claims for fraud, conversion and unjust enrichment based on $350,000 in loans received by defendant secured by plaintiff’s home without his consent, used for unsuccessful renovations to another property owned by defendant.
  • Mediated family business dispute involving partition claim by two sisters against their sister on a family business rental property and cross complaint for quiet title, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Mediated a matter where surviving spouse asserts claims for cancellation of a joint tenancy deed and financial elder abuse where her three stepchildren persuaded their elderly father to sever a joint tenancy and deed one half of a co-owned home to them allegedly to cover medical expenses.
  • Handled a class action and other related actions involving an AmLaw 100 firm brought by investors who purchased real estate investment products, alleging legal malpractice, securities fraud, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and negligent misrepresentation. Total investor losses exceeded $900 million.
  • Handled a matter arising from the operation of a commercial loan underwriting, servicing and funding company involved in a Ponzi scheme fraud in the magnitude of hundreds of millions of dollars, related to piercing a sham trust and recover million in damages from several co-conspirators involved in real estate projects, including claims of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, conversion and conspiracy.
  • Handled several related claims in a $70 million matter involving a surplus lines insurance carrier which issued financial guarantee bonds related to the financing of real estate limited partnerships, leading to fraud and racketeering claims, debt enforcement actions, securities claims, and litigation with bond lenders, reinsurers, and professionals.
  • Handled a matter between a class of investors and a national accounting firm arising from the bankruptcy of a major homebuilder, alleging errors in accounting for net realizable value write-offs and deferred tax asset estimates among other issues. Plaintiffs sought $95 million in damages.
  • Handled a matter where a mezzanine lender brought a real estate finance enforcement action against a real estate land developer and its managing members for breach of contract on loans and guaranties, as well as tort claims, and the developers counterclaimed alleging lender liability and oral agreements extending and modifying the loans.
  • Handled related matters brought by over 100 investors in oil and gas limited partnerships sponsored by the same general partner, alleging $20 million in damages, based on securities racketeering and common law claims based on alleged misstatements in prospectuses.
  • Mediated dispute between two partners re breach of contract and accounting for costs and distribution of profits arising from residential purchase, renovation and sale.
  • Mediated real estate partition action where co-tenant brother brought partition action against co-tenant sister and co-tenant sister brought cross claims for breach of contract, fraud and declaratory relief.
  • Mediated claims by former husband for cancellation of deed and damages for fraud and undue influence and a quiet title action arising from the transfer of his joint tenancy interest to his wife, who then sold it to third parties.

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