Real Property Litigation

Carlton Fields handles all types of real property litigation.  Our lawyers regularly represent clients in a very wide range of commercial disputes that involve every aspect of the rights and duties associated with real property.  We represent clients in state and federal courts across the country, as well as in matters before arbitration panels and administrative bodies.

Our clients include developers, owners, landlords and tenants, and we have particularly extensive experience in representing title insurers and their insureds.  We regularly represent lenders who hold mortgages or other claims secured by interests in real property in enforcing those claims, including in lien priority disputes.  Our broad experience also includes representing clients in disputes regarding purchase and sale agreements, joint ventures, development agreements, leases, restrictive covenants, mineral rights, riparian rights, easements or other access rights, boundary disputes, and adverse possession.  We handle eminent domain actions, partition suits, slander of title suits, quiet title suits and disputes, specific performance actions, and tort claims and other actions involving the use and development of real property.  We also have defended several class action suits arising out of real property ownership, transactions, and regulation.

REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

Developer Litigation 

  • Obtained verdict for our client in 15-day bench trial on breach of contract claims arising from termination of a $68 million purchase and sale contract in Los Angeles Superior Court.
  • Obtained affirmance on appeal of judgment granting specific performance on a $13.5 million commercial real estate transaction.
  • Obtained affirmance on appeal of a judgment declaring that the redevelopment of a commercial property would not overburden or violate a joint cross-access easement between shopping center client and an adjoining shopping center.
  • Represented developers in condominium litigation, Interstate Land Sales Act litigation, and escrow deposit dispute litigation.

Landlord Tenant Disputes 

  • Represented national and regional commercial property owners in lease enforcement, tenant litigation, exclusive use issues, environmental issues, insurance-related matters, and bankruptcy-related litigation.
  • Represented national retail chain concerning lease enforcement efforts against landlords, including enforcing exclusive-use rights, disputing common-area maintenance charges, determining liquidated damages resulting from failure to timely provide lease premises to tenant, enforcing self-insurance provisions, and otherwise resolving disputes concerning lease interpretation.
  • Represented landlords and tenants concerning allegations of air quality and mold issues in lease premises.
  • Represented national retail chain in dispute with sub-tenant concerning exercise of self-help, which was preventing construction of retail store.
  • Represented nationwide retail chain concerning landlords’ efforts to fabricate default in effort to cancel valuable long term lease rights.
  • Represented national grocery store chain in reversal of a summary judgment, resulting in opinion establishing the validity and enforceability of a commercial exclusive covenant in recorded shopping center lease.

Eminent Domain Actions 

  • Represented developers in condemnation proceedings, including opposing reasonableness and scope of taking, determining fair-market value of interests taken, and related proceedings.
  • Represented major developer concerning proposed taking of 70-plus acre parcel and established that fair-market value on date of taking was more than 25 times greater than the value proposed by the condemning entity.
  • Represented quasi-governmental agency in efforts to obtain, via eminent domain, sufficient real property to double track existing railroad line from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach.
  • Represented property owners in raising inverse condemnation claims, including Bert Harris claim pursuant to Florida Statutes.
  • Represented property owner in eminent domain action where initial offer was $200,000 and ultimate award by a 12-person jury was $5.2 million.

Commercial Foreclosures and Loan Work Outs

  • Represented secured lender in restructure of $200 million in loans to significant commercial real estate developer.
  • Represented secured lenders and indenture trustees in workouts, foreclosures and bankruptcy matters involving condominium projects, subdivisions, multi-family, commercial, office, and retail properties.
  • Represented national lending institutions in commercial foreclosures in federal and state courts involving
    • hotels, fractured residential and commercial condominiums
    • agricultural property, partially developed land, and undeveloped land
    • industrial property, strip malls, and office buildings
    • homeowner associations
  • Represented receivers and special masters in federal and state courts to manage commercial properties in foreclosure.
  • Tried commercial foreclosure action resulting in $7.6 million final judgment in favor of client against borrower and guarantors on office complex in Vero Beach, Fla.
  • Represented major national banks in commercial mortgage foreclosures.

Lien Priority Disputes

  • Represented national life insurance company in a multimillion dollar foreclosure action, with appellate proceedings involving litigation over lien priority rights between lender and community development association over unpaid property assessments.
  • Represented lender in challenge to validity of its mortgage on grounds it was unauthorized under a partnership agreement and obtained summary judgment based on finding of ratification. 
  • Represented lender in equitable subrogation claim resulting in judgment in favor of lender after bench trial.
  • Represented institutional lender in mortgage priority dispute with holder of “silent second” mortgage that had been recorded before institutional lender’s mortgage.

Title and Other Real Property Disputes 

  • Obtained dismissal of multimillion dollar slander of title counterclaim based upon lis pendens and ruling that statements in lis pendens were made within the course of judicial proceedings and were, thus, subject to the absolute litigation privilege.
  • Established prior owner of property’s title under theory of constructive trust at bench trial.
  • Represented borrower in defense of ejectment suit, seeking to evict borrower from her property, thereby depriving borrower of equity in the property and obtained reversal of trial court’s order entitling lender to ejectment.
  • Represented nationwide commercial property owners in action to enforce restrictive covenants against regional developer that was developing adjoining parcel.
  • Represented developer against local governments’ efforts to prohibit development of multi-acre parcel.
  • Represented purchaser of multi-acre parcel concerning sale and leaseback transaction where seller was seeking to have transaction re-characterized as a loan.
  • Represented property owners and developers concerning alleged environmental or conservation violations.
  • Represented property owners in matters of encroachment, easement, mineral rights, and other use issues involving adjoining or subtending property owners.