Real Estate Litigation
Stuart Kane’s real estate litigators frequently represent developers, property managers and owners, landlords, tenants, lenders, retailers, government contractors, brokers, agents and businesses from a variety of industries and sectors.
We specialize in:
Development & Construction Litigation
Our development & litigation team represents an array of developers, owners, and contractors, from local Southern California businesses to Fortune 500 companies and government contractors. We handle development-related disputes, construction defect litigation, issues arising from contracting and subcontracting, mechanics’ liens, project design, delays and financing disputes. Stuart Kane LLP provides a crucial advantage in Southern California development and construction disputes. As experienced specialists, we understand how to navigate through procedure, retain the right experts, investigate properly, keep fees and costs down through a sensible case management order, select the right local mediators who understand construction law, communicate with the insurers—and if the case must go to trial, how to pick the right jury, handle the evidence, and prevail.
Landlord-Tenant Disputes & Unlawful Detainer Litigation
A landlord-tenant relationship can prove difficult, regardless of the location or industry. The real estate litigation team at Stuart Kane LLP understands the nuances of the retail, office, and commercial-industrial leasing markets, routinely handling matters in the Counties of Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino. This in-depth expertise provides an important advantage in both negotiation and litigation. And because of the short timeframe and strictly construed procedural rules in unlawful detainer and post-foreclosure eviction cases, Stuart Kane’s expertise and understanding of the applicable procedural rules in such cases provides our clients with a significant advantage. We are also experienced in disputes concerning common area maintenance (“CAM”) charges, common area operating expenses, enforcement of covenants to provide insurance certificates, maintain property, pay rent, taxes, insurance, and enforcing restrictive covenants, limitations on the uses of property, and similar issues. We have succeeded obtaining injunctions against proposed uses that violate covenants, and have evicted tenants for converting allowed uses (e.g. a pool hall) into prohibited uses (like a “gentlemen’s club”).
Environmental and Toxic Tort Actions
When soil or groundwater is contaminated and the regulatory authorities or primary contaminators are seeking contribution, indemnity or damages from potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) or when people are exposed to hazardous materials, mold, contaminated drinking water or air pollution, Stuart Kane attorneys can pursue insurance coverage, defend claims, negotiate settlements, represent witnesses at depositions, monitor investigations and remedial action plans and managed litigation. We have experience with, among others, the BKK landfill lawsuits, the Porterville water cases, the Orange County Water District lawsuits, and the LAUSD lawsuits concerning contaminated property in Southgate, cases involving mold in residences and commercial properties, leaking underground storage tanks, gas station contamination and similar matters.
Property and Association Management and CAM Charges
Stuart Kane represents property and homeowners association management companies and commercial, retail, residential and industrial tenants in disputes concerning common area maintenance (“CAM”) charges, common area operating charges, audits, maintenance disputes, claims of retaliatory eviction, claims for damages for actions taken or improvements approved by owners, landlords or homeowners associations, and related litigation. We have pushed insurers and associations to defend and indemnify the property managers, defend clients whose records and witnesses are subpoenaed for deposition or trial, and litigated the propriety and amount chargeable to tenants or owners under CC&Rs, covenants running with the land, and leases, including recovering of attorneys’ fees and costs. We have also defended clients sued under the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) concerning access, improvements, and signage to accommodate the handicapped, and lawsuits involving alleged violations of California’s “Prop 65” which requires warnings to the public if products or places contain chemicals known to the State of California to be hazardous to pregnant women or others.
Purchase, Sale, and Option Disputes
Disputes can arise from even the most well-planned real estate transactions, and not just between parties to the agreement, but also involving third parties, like brokers, escrow holders and title companies. Stuart Kane’s litigation team works closely with our transactional attorneys, implementing a comprehensive understanding of local culture, industry, market and business dynamics to find creative business solutions, ideally before a dispute rises to the level of litigation. Where cases cannot be settled, our litigation team expertly and aggressively litigates and tries cases. Stuart Kane’s litigators have successfully obtained remedies for clients, including monetary damages, specific performance, rescission to “unwind” a deal, and liquidated damages, and also have extensive experience with efforts to expunge lis pendens. Our litigators also have extensive experience helping to resolve disputes related to Rights of First Refusal, Rights of First Offer, and Options, which require detailed adherence to contractual obligations, and can be the subject of bitterly contested disputes.
Broker and Other Real Estate Professional Disputes
Brokers and other real estate professionals, such as escrow officers, loan officers, appraisers and other consultants, stand at the heart of the Southern California real estate industry. They find the deals and help make them close. Unfortunately, they often find themselves at odds with parties to the transaction, and other professionals. We represent them in commission disputes, specific performance actions, and other cases arising from an alleged breach of fiduciary duty, non-disclosure, fraud, or misrepresentation. Since reputations are on the line, precision handling, early resolution, and obtaining insurance coverage are key issues that our attorneys expertly handle.
Boundary, Easement and Neighbor Disputes
Adjacent property owners have disputes concerning boundary lines, easements, reciprocal easement agreements or “REAs,” rights to enter or use another’s property and what can and cannot be done on an easement or under a license. It is not unusual for those burdened by easements or whose property lines have been expanded over time to claim adverse possession, abandonment of rights or determination of an easement or reciprocal rights. Disputes also arise concerning maintenance responsibilities on an easement, concerning fee easements, plant and fence maintenance, and homeowners association responsibilities, or even over who is entitled to use an easement. See, e.g. Gray v. McCormick (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 1019. Our attorneys have represented parties who have taken such cases to mediation, arbitration, trial and through appeal.
Title Insurance Claims and Litigation
Title insurance provides an insurance policy that, like other insurance policies, is filled with legal jargon and limits the liability of insurers. Sometimes, however, title insurers make mistakes. Our attorneys have represented title insurers and those making claims against title insurers, and our real estate transactional experts are keenly aware of the changes and the types of policies and their coverage.
Our attorneys have advised private property owners, tenants, redevelopment agencies, cities, water districts and others concerning the acquisition of fee, easement, construction easement and license interests in real property and recovery of the fair market value of land, damage to goodwill, compensation for improvements pertaining to realty or furniture, fixtures and equipment, relocation benefits, challenging the right to take, inverse condemnation and adverse possession, title problems, procedural problems and hurdles, the recovery of fees and costs, settlement, trial and appeal for more than 20 years in Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside and Kern Counties.
Real Estate Attorneys