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    Real Estate Litigation

    Sometimes Disputes Are Part of the Deal in Real Estate 
    Litigation—whether it involves purchase and sales contracts, partnership disputes, claims involving breach of fiduciary duty, commercial leases, property insurance, property tax assessments, design and construction defects or boundaries—is part of the real estate landscape. Typically beginning with a transaction of some sort, many factors, including land use, regulatory issues, capital and financing, then lead to situations requiring litigation. The complexities and financial risks involved require experienced professionals who understand sophisticated deal, financing, and ownership structures, as well as the unique rules and regulations that apply to real estate to help clients achieve the most favorable outcomes. 

    A Multidisciplinary Approach
    Manatt harnesses the power of our leading Real Estate and Land Use practices—as well as the firm’s top lawyers in diverse and related fields—to provide clients with seamlessly integrated counsel whenever the need arises. Real estate litigation is a true subject matter practice, where we bring to bear our know-how in many different disciplines in resolving disputes. 

    Our experienced litigators have worked on a wide range of real estate-related issues, including eminent domain, inverse condemnation, land use, construction defects, complex leases, owner and partnership disputes, commercial evictions, homeowner conflicts, environmental regulation, title insurance, zoning, planning, foreclosure, bankruptcy, real estate fraud, property damage, landlord/tenant issues, and commercial insurance coverage. 

    Tough When Tough Is Called For
    Our attorneys are tough, demanding and outcome-oriented. We understand that our approach reflects as much on our client’s business as it does on us. By starting with a goal of achieving win-win solutions, we embody our client’s business philosophy. And rest assured, when a tougher stance is required, we do tough as well as any firm. We know how and when to turn up the heat, often leading to effective resolutions. 

    Additionally, the current economic climate has had a tremendously negative impact on the real estate industry, lenders and developers. During this difficult time, our team works closely with Manatt’s financial services and corporate lawyers to help banks get distressed assets off their books. When an existing development implodes, we can simultaneously manage all the real estate issues involved as well as construction disputes with laid-off contractors and unions, the environmental impact of the unfinished property, bankruptcy proceedings, insurance claims and investor payouts. 

    Covering the Full Spectrum
    With our broad scope of experience, we can assemble a team to suit the specific needs and achieve the unique goals of our clients. The matters we have handled for clients are as varied as the properties, developments, transactions, and financings that make up the field of real estate. The common ground is that for all of our clients, we focus on an effective strategy that often means moving more capital into a project, limiting losses on a distressed project, or collecting what is owed to our client. Drawing upon the legal talents and litigation experience of our lawyers, we create the most effective and efficient strategies for successfully resolving real estate-related conflicts in the following areas: 

    • Representation of Lenders. We represent numerous banks and lenders, especially in California. These range from regional banks to large multinationals with portfolio assets. These often involve complex lender, guarantor, and title issues. We deal with a wide array of distressed assets and are syndicators of low-income tax credits as well. For example, we secured summary judgment on behalf of Central Pacific Bank in a complex stop notice case involving a failed residential development in Sacramento. The case involved whether the stop notice was timely under a statutory deadline and the result was a set of highly complex factual and legal issues, including statutory interpretation and potentially conflicting case law. 
    • Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring. Manatt has advised lenders, investors and borrowers on litigation involving problem loans as well as pre- and post-bankruptcy matters, including foreclosure, lien enforcement proceedings and fraudulent conveyances. 
    • Construction Disputes. When disputes arise between contractors, subcontractors, and public and private owners regarding construction, public works, infrastructure and transportation projects, our litigators work to bring them to a successful resolution. 
    • Environmental & Toxic Torts. We have counseled plaintiffs and defendants in numerous environmental contamination cases involving the disposal of hazardous waste, cleanup of contaminated properties, cost allocation, toxic torts, eminent domain actions, on-site and off-site disposal practices, and potential liability to or from adjacent property owners. 
    • Land Use. We have successfully litigated land use disputes involving many large, high profile commercial and residential projects. We advise clients in regard to the full range of land use, planning, zoning and environmental matters affecting real property development.
      • In Yamagiwa v. City of Half Moon Bay, our land use and environmental litigators proved to the court that wetlands were caused by trapped water from a storm drain improperly built by the city itself. After we secured a jury verdict of $36.8 million, we settled the case for $18 million because payment of the full judgment would have bankrupted the city. 
      • On behalf of an international retail chain, after a successful outcome at trial, we successfully negotiated the settlement of six additional cases alleging violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, allowing the client to begin construction of the stores years earlier than would have otherwise been permitted.
      • We prevailed in a lawsuit alleging violations of CEQA and California zoning and planning laws on behalf of our client, the real party in interest, in connection with a proposed major retail chain store in the City of Lancaster.
      • We prevailed in a summary judgment motion against the State of Nevada invalidating a statute that effectively prohibited development of 2,400 acres. We then negotiated a settlement with Clark County that sets the framework for approval of a master-planned development of the site.
    • Eminent Domain. We have extensive experience at both the trial and appellate levels in the litigation of eminent domain cases. On behalf of our clients, we have evaluated the public purpose for the forced acquisition of private property and taken appropriate steps to ensure adequate, just landowner compensation. We have also helped governments acquire property within reasonable budgets for large infrastructure, utility and redevelopment projects. We have represented property owners in numerous landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases, including:
      • Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 535 U.S. 302 (whether a land use moratorium is a taking of property must be decided on a case-by-case basis)
      • City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687 (right to Seventh Amendment jury trial and Fifth Amendment compensation for regulatory taking)
      • Preseault v. ICC, 494 U.S. 1 (federal “rails-to-trails” statute is valid under the Commerce Clause; however, compensation may be sought in the Claims Court under the Just Compensation Guarantee)
      • First English Evangelical Lutheran Church v. County of Los Angeles, 482 U.S. 304 (1987) (Constitution requires just compensation for regulatory taking of property)
      • Agins v. City of Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255 (ripeness rules for regulatory taking cases)
      • Orange County Transportation Authority v. OC Mills (litigation against OCTA for acquiring parking lot and a mall’s lost revenue)


    Attorneys & Professionals

    Badkar, Dinesh R. Los Angeles 310.312.4266
    Bassak, Andrew A. San Francisco 415.291.7449
    Brunsten, William S. Los Angeles 310.312.4109
    Burg, Edward G. Los Angeles 310.312.4189
    de Recat, Craig J. Los Angeles 310.312.4319
    Dolqueist, Lori Anne San Francisco 415.291.7452
    Duchesneau, Peter Los Angeles 310.312.4209
    Fogarty, John T. Los Angeles 310.312.4165
    Friedman, Kenneth D. New York 212.830.7184
    Gomez, Charles G. Los Angeles 310.312.4123
    Gordon, Michael New York 212.790.4603
    Grumer, Carl L. Los Angeles 310.312.4149
    Hernandez, Ileana M. Los Angeles 310.312.4116
    Martin-Culver, Marilyn D. Orange County 714.338.2718
    Mehta, Viral Los Angeles 310.312.4348
    Morrison, Andrew New York 212.790.4581
    Osaki, Keli N. Orange County 714.371.2539
    Peluso, Kimo S. New York 212.790.4570
    Platt, Robert H. Los Angeles 310.312.4221
    Rochman, Harvey L. Los Angeles 310.312.4104
    Rutenberg, Craig S. Los Angeles 310.312.4333
    Shatz, Benjamin G. Los Angeles 310.312.4383
    Soneff, George M. Los Angeles 310.312.4186
    Turovsky, Ronald B. Los Angeles 310.312.4249
    Weiss, Lenard G. San Francisco 415.291.7460
    Wolfe, Sheldon H. San Francisco 415.291.7432
    Yeh, Jack S. Los Angeles 310.312.4367

    Real Estate Litigation

    Selected Clients

    • Carmel Partners
    • Central Pacific Bank
    • City of Dana Point
    • Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority
    • Lowe Enterprises
    • Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • Awards & Rankings

    logo/img/@altRanked in California for Real Estate Law 2009–2014

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally in Tier 1 for Real Estate Law 2014-2015

    logo/img/@altRanked Nationally for Real Estate Law 2012–2014