Real Estate Litigation

Why Cooley

Real estate disputes – whether they involve purchase and sale contracts, partnership disputes, claims involving breach of fiduciary duty, commercial leases, property insurance, property tax assessments, design and construction defects or boundaries – require litigation prowess to resolve. We offer skilled, experienced litigators who collaborate with top Cooley lawyers in related practices to achieve favorable outcomes for our clients.

Our group also has extensive experience with environmental matters including:

  • Pursuit and defense of claims arising under the California Environmental Quality Act  and the National Environmental Protection Act 
  • Contesting and responding to agency orders 
  • Soil and groundwater contamination claims, including related air emission issues and related insurance actions 
  • Assisting with alleged CERCLA (Superfund), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Proposition 65, Clean Water Act and other statutory violations 
  • Pursuing and defending claims of alleged exposure to hazardous materials, including chemicals, mold, bacteria, radioactive materials, asbestos and lead paint

Our experience in adversarial proceedings includes trials before judges and juries as well as alternative dispute resolution forums such as nonbinding mediation and binding arbitration. In every instance, our goal is the same: to provide the best, most cost-effective service for our clients, who include property owners, sellers, buyers, developers and investors, as well as lenders, borrowers, landlords and tenants.

Representative Matters

  • 221 Main: We pursued damages due to breach of a long-term commercial office lease on behalf of a San Francisco office building owner.
  • AREI: We defended the commercial developer in 24 coordinated cases alleging $260 million in investment losses associated with the syndication of limited partnership or TIC interests in various senior assisted-living facilities around the nation. 
  • Athletics Investment GroupWe advised the owners of the Oakland Athletics in an arbitration proceeding seeking recovery of damages from the Joint Powers Authority, the agency that operates the Oakland Coliseum. We pursued claims that the agency had breached contractual obligations to repair and improve the facility for baseball at the same time that it renovated the facility for football. The dispute resolved without an arbitration hearing. We also represented the team owners in an arbitration proceeding involving the possible sale of the team to local buyers. The dispute turned on the valuation of the franchise and was resolved without an arbitration hearing.
  • BRIDGE HousingWe advise nonprofit organization BRIDGE, the largest developer of affordable housing in California, in cases involving property insurance rights, property development and alleged design and construction defects.
  • BV HoldingsOur client processed and distributed fresh and dehydrated vegetable products. We enforced crop purchase contracts and resolved disputes over real estate ownership, distribution contracts and facility rights.
  • City Investing Company Liquidating TrustWe litigate cases related to utility service contracts for a residential development involving a subsidiary of the trust's parent company.
  • EBayWe represent eBay in a lawsuit challenging a city's closure of a portion of a street. The closure benefits eBay, and the plaintiff claims to hold access easement rights.
  • Ernest Rady: In 2009, several relatives sued our client Ernest Rady, a San Diego business leader and philanthropist, seeking $272 million in damages over a purported contract to buy out their shares in American Assets, a family-owned corporation. The jury delivered a unanimous verdict for the defense after less than a day's deliberations and a two-week trial in San Diego Superior Court. The remaining claims for breach of fiduciary duty and dissolution were dismissed later.
  • Gerson Bakar & AssociatesWe advise Gerson Bakar & Associates, a developer and operator of thousands of units of residential and commercial properties, in cases involving property insurance coverage disputes and alleged construction defects.
  • Main PlazaWe helped Main Plaza, owner of a high-rise office building in downtown San Francisco, successfully challenge an assessment valuation increase before the Assessment Appeals Board resulting from the renovation of its building.
  • Manchester Financial Group: We represented this client in front of the San Diego City Council, successfully arguing the rejection of two different appeals concerning the acceptance of the project's environmental review.
  • Menlo EquitiesWe have handled cases involving easements, landlord-tenant disputes and real estate financing disputes for this Silicon Valley real estate investment firm.
  • Oliver & Company: We advised this builder in disputes with the owner of an expensive residence and the architect of the residence.
  • Pacific Sun IndustriesWe helped negotiate the early termination of our client’s commercial lease. 
  • PetSmart: PetSmart, a nationwide chain of large retail pet stores, has engaged us to resolve claims stemming from its development, construction, leasing and closing of stores, as well as enforcing its lease rights.
  • Prentiss Properties: We helped Prentiss Properties, developer and manager of commercial real estate projects, to secure payment from a construction subcontractor to repair construction defects in a high-rise office building. 
  • RNM Properties: We advise this property developer in landlord-tenant disputes.
  • Sunroad Centrum PartnersWe defended this developer in a public nuisance suit brought by the city of San Diego over a commercial office tower that allegedly encroached into FAA airspace and presented a safety hazard. We also advised Sunroad in a breach of contract case involving a dispute over a purchase price adjustment provision in a residential land sale contract. The court ruled in favor of our client and awarded attorneys’ fees and costs. 
  • Woodside Hotels & Resorts: We helped Woodside Hotels and Resorts, a provider of cooperative hotel services, resolve disputes relating to hotel ownership and management.