Real Estate Litigation
Litigation and Dispute Management
When disputes arise, clients look for lawyers who can proactively represent them to resolve the issues. Porzio’s experienced litigators understand the underlying real estate issues and have the experience to provide our clients with dispute management and litigation counseling. Our attorneys approach disputes with an open mind and in close consultation with our clients to ensure that their needs are always the focus of our work. We work to resolve disputes amicably whenever beneficial to our clients’ interests, but when litigation is unavoidable, our team is equipped to effectively and aggressively protect those interests in state and federal courts, before arbitrators, and before agencies, boards, and other tribunals.
Commercial Real Estate Transaction Litigation
Our litigation and transactional attorneys work collaboratively to deliver cost-effective representation that protects clients’ property and contract interests. We handle a wide range of disputes, including those involving the sale or purchase of real property, breaches of real estate contract claims, deed and covenant restriction claims, easement and other boundary disputes, real estate brokerage commissions claims, and claims arising from financing and leasing contracts.
Commercial Foreclosures, Workouts and Lender Litigation
Impacted clients turn to us for advice and representation in connection with a variety of issues and matters concerning commercial foreclosures, Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) article 9 sales, loan workouts, lender liability and other lender-related litigation. We represent secured lenders, developers and borrowers in litigations that arise in connection with commercial mortgage loans, as well as with other real estate or asset-based financings. Our extensive experience in this area includes, without limitation, handling both the prosecution and defense of commercial real estate foreclosures, loan modifications and other workouts, tax lien foreclosures, UCC article 9 levies and sales, suits on underlying note obligations and guarantees, lender liability claims, relief for secured mortgage lenders from bankruptcy stays, and other related litigation.
Commercial Landlord/Tenant Litigation
Commercial landlords and tenants need to know their rights and responsibilities under a lease. We provide experienced counseling in connection with such disputes. When litigation cannot be avoided, we are equipped to guide our clients through the process. Examples of the types of matters we handle range from breach of lease, constructive eviction, return of security and dispossession actions to non-payment and suits against lease guarantors.
Prerogative Writ Litigation and Zoning Appeals
Not every development project receives proper consideration by municipal land use boards and other governmental agencies. Our litigation attorneys have experience representing developers before trial and appellate courts, seeking to affirm or overturn governmental actions. Such matters include appeals of land use board decisions, municipal redevelopment initiatives, appeals objecting to the unlawful adoption of zoning ordinances, projects seeking to advance the construction of low and moderate-income housing, and appeals of improper determinations by state and local officials regarding permitting and environmental issues.
Title Insurance and Title Litigation
Our attorneys quickly analyze title issues and recommend appropriate courses of action. We represent private property owners and national title insurance companies in actions based on boundary disputes, easements, adverse possession claims, judgment and other liens, and riparian rights.
Professional Claims Defense Litigation
At times, a professional architect, surveyor, wetlands delineator, title agent or other real estate-related professional faces suit for alleged professional negligence. When that occurs, it is critical for the professional to retain an attorney who is familiar with the professional’s practice and the defense of such claims. We have the background and experience to help clients preserve their professional reputations while efficiently litigating their matters.
Environmental Cleanup Cost and Insurance Recovery
Whether in representing clients in the recovery of environmental cleanup costs or negotiating and litigating claims among neighbors, landlords, tenants, prior owners and operators, we continuously evaluate the best method to resolve environmental disputes, be it trial, arbitration or mediation. Today, financing opportunities abound for the redevelopment of brownfield properties and we can identify and secure these incentives. Our assistance has led to the successful closure of many deals, turning opportunities into profitable ventures.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
For clients who wish to resolve disputes without litigation, our seasoned negotiators are prepared to handle mediations and arbitrations. In fact, several of our attorneys are approved mediators under the New Jersey statewide mediation program. We have the skills and experience to mediate disputes, helping clients to preserve business relationships.
Representative Case Studies:
- Successfully defended an international engineering and environment services firm in a commercial lease dispute where the owner was claiming oral modification of the parties' lease agreement, which would have committed the client to a $5 million additional obligation. Following a two and a half week trial, the jury unanimously returned a “no cause verdict” in the client's favor.
- Represented a contract purchaser of a multi-million dollar development who rightly refused to close until the seller satisfied certain preconditions. When the seller sued by way of Order to Show Cause attempting to compel either an immediate closing or a contract termination, Porzio mounted an aggressive defense and counterclaim, rebuffing the seller’s demands and causing the case to quickly settle after the seller fulfilled all closing obligations.
- Represented a property owner who brought suit against a neighbor, alleging that the neighbor was improperly encroaching on the client's exclusive riparian rights. At mediation, our team helped the parties craft a creative resolution acceptable to all concerned.
- Won multi-million dollar judgment on behalf of commercial real estate brokers for unpaid commissions owed to them.
- Successfully handled liquidation of several large portfolios of defaulted commercial loans, prosecuting lawsuits against borrowers and guarantors while also foreclosing on the property.
- Won a million dollar verdict in a lawsuit to enforce a personal guaranty in a commercial note and mortgage.
- Represented a commercial lender in successfully and quickly obtaining both foreclosure of real property and a multi-million dollar monetary judgment against the borrowers and guarantors on the defaulted debt obligations.
- Represented a national title company and its insured, a national mortgage lender. Both parties were dragged into a sale-leaseback lawsuit between the current and former owners. Porzio convinced all parties that their dispute did not affect our client's secured interest. As a result, the plaintiff dismissed our client from the case.
- Represented a wetlands delineator in a suit that alleged that our client had committed malpractice by failing to properly prosecute a wetland application before the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Porzio lawyers successfully obtained a dismissal of all claims.