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 involving the sale of real property, breaches of real estate contract claims, deed and covenant restriction claims, real estate brokerage commissions claims, and claims arising from financing and leasing contracts. Recent representative engagements include:
- 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 correctly refused to close until the seller satisfied certain preconditions. The case began when the seller filed an 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.
Foreclosure and Lender Litigation
In this time of unprecedented levels of foreclosure filings and bankruptcies, impacted clients turn to us for advice on a variety of issues concerning foreclosures, workouts and lender-related litigation. We represent secured lenders, developers and borrowers in litigation that arises in connection with mortgage loans or other real estate-related financings. Our experience includes workouts, tax liens and mortgage foreclosures, actions involving guarantors, lender liability claims and relief for secured lenders from bankruptcy stays. Recent representative engagements include:
- 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.
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. Recent representative engagements include:
- Representation of 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.
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.
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. Recent representative engagements include:
- Representation of 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.
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.