Current or Recent Representations

Loan/Financing Litigation and Workouts

  • For several years, we have represented Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. (and a number of its subsidiaries) in a series of class action lawsuits pending in federal and state courts in Pennsylvania. The lawsuits allege that Fidelity's agents overcharged for title insurance sold in connection with home refinancings. Of the nine cases we originally handled, four remain – two in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Schwartz v. Lawyers Title Insurance Company and Coleman v. Commonwealth Land Title) and two in the Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania (Patterson v. Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. and Fidelity National Title Insurance Co. of New York and DeCooman v. Lawyers Title Insurance Company). Both sets of cases are in the midst of class certification proceedings.

  • We are defending a real estate investment firm in a series of federal and state court suits including three putative class actions and eight individual actions filed by groups of lot owners. The plaintiffs (purchasers of resort development lots funded in part by equity invested by the real estate investment firm) asserted RICO, Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act, and unfair or deceptive practices violations, as well as related common law claims arising from supposedly false and misleading marketing, sales, and financing practices. The real estate investment firm is alleged not only to have financed the developments, but to have controlled their operations and finances, directing an alleged scheme to defraud lot purchasers. We obtained dismissal of the firm in the two putative class actions, one of which has since settled, without any contribution by the firm. The second is currently on appeal by the plaintiffs. We also obtained dismissal of three of the individual actions. We are defending the remaining suits, and there have been no cases decided thus far adverse to the client.

  • We represented one of the largest public housing authorities in a lengthy state-court litigation related to the termination of a large national developer which had failed to properly plan the development and financing of a large housing community and sued the authority for the termination. The case was settled in mediation while dispositive motions were pending.

  • After a three-week trial, we won a $193M judgment against the developer of a major master planned resort and golf course community resulting from a loan default, and pierced the corporate veil of the developer’s related entities, exposing all of those related entities (and the guarantor) to full liability for the entire indebtedness.

  • We represented a major real estate developer at trial in a lender liability action based on the lender's failure to fully fund the loan, causing failure of two multimillion-dollar mixed-use developments.

  • We represent CitiMortgage, Inc., a subsidiary of CitiGroup, Inc. CitiMortgage originates and services residential mortgages throughout the United States and manages most of CitiGroup's $170 billion mortgage portfolio. In addition, it offers refinancing and investment products. Maryland's highest court, the Court of Appeals, affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the borrower's claims brought under the Maryland Consumer Protection Act and Maryland Secondary Mortgage Loan Law. The court found that a lender has no statutory or common-law duty to provide copies of loan documents to the borrower after the loan has been paid off and the mortgage released.

  • We won summary judgment in favor of an insured lender in a lien priority dispute with holder of a mechanic’s lien. Appellate court affirmed, holding that lender’s lien was a valid and perfected interest in the property despite the lack of a property description in the recorded mortgage.

  • On behalf of commercial mortgage-backed security trusts holding first mortgages, we have on multiple occasions successfully sued borrowers to recover lease termination fees paid by tenants of collateral property, but misappropriated by borrowers.

  • We represented a large real estate development/management company in a litigation arising from the failure to close on the sale of commercial property in New York City; the case involved issues of financing, letters of credit and legal malpractice.

Receiverships and Foreclosures

  • In a case of national significance, we obtained preliminary and permanent injunctions preventing the mezzanine lender from foreclosing on a major luxury resort in derogation of the rights of the senior lender.

  • On behalf of a senior lender, we obtained the appointment of a receiver for three apartment complexes securing a $215 million loan. We sold the apartment complexes at foreclosure and successfully defended the foreclosure sale from a challenge by a subordinate secured lender.

  • We represented a major bank in a vigorously contested tax lien foreclosure action pending in New York State court; we previously represented the client in other significant financial litigation.

  • We represented a major financial institution in substantial litigation in state court concerning the foreclosure on real property.

Commercial Landlord/Tenant Disputes

  • We won a $1,350,000 judgment following trial for the plaintiff/landlord in a commercial lease dispute with the tenant.

  • We represented the developers of a shopping center involving their rights and liabilities under the lease to take certain actions relating to the maintenance and further development of the property. The litigation resulted in a split decision in the United States Court of Appeals.

  • We represented a REIT in a breach of lease matter relating to a prominent theater chain. Prior to dispositive motions, we obtained a successful restructuring agreement.

  • We represented a REIT in a portfolio matter involving a multi-unit master lease with a successful disposition motion.

Contract Disputes

  • We represent Johnstown Regional Energy, a processor of landfill gas, in issues and disputes with landfill owners involving the processing and collection of gas, protocols for landfill management, and other issues with landfills.

  • We successfully represented Teos Investments, B.V., and RCRI, B.V., the majority owners of Rosslyn Center, a large multi-purpose office building that sits atop the Rosslyn, Virginia Metro stop, in a number of pieces of protracted and complex litigation against a minority owner.

  • Our attorneys represented entities of the world’s largest commercial real estate enterprise in complex, high-stakes federal and state court litigation involving financing transactions totaling hundreds of millions dollars. The cases lasted more than 10 years and involved extensive discovery, motion practice and related pre-trial matters after which we eventually represented the client through two trials.

Land Use

  • We repeatedly represented owners and developers of fossil, nuclear, and renewable energy projects in assessing the risks associated with planned and ongoing projects and developed and implemented strategies that successfully reduced and mitigated those risks.

  • We represented an industrial company and its principal shareholder in lawsuits arising from the PCB contamination of the company’s property; one case involved the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the other was against a major utility.

Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities Act Claims, including the defense of housing discrimination and accessibility complaints

  • We defended a national property management company in a high-profile federal discrimination lawsuit brought against federal agencies, city police, and the owner and management company of a residential property disrupted with gang activities. The case was about to go to trial, but was settled in negotiations and settlement conferences with a Magistrate Judge.

  • We regularly represent large management companies in defending housing discrimination cases brought with HUD or in federal court, including defending one federal case related to accommodating the disabled which we won on motions and are currently defending at the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • We represented the developer of rehabilitated housing projects in Baltimore City when it was sued for racial discrimination in leasing practices. We prepared an extensive motion to dismiss based on statistical analysis that disproved plaintiff's various theories and the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed the action in its entirety.

  • We represented the majority owner of a joint venture with ownership interests in various multi-family residential properties in a case to determine the respective rights and obligations of the owners.

Title Disputes

  • We won an appeal on behalf of an insured homeowner in a dispute over a judgment lien that was recorded against the seller after the sales contract was executed but before all contingencies had been satisfied. That judgment creditor sought to enforce the lien against the buyer after title to the property had been transferred.

  • We represent a large national title insurance company in several class actions alleging that consumers were overcharged for title insurance in violation of RICO and state consumer protection statutes. We previously obtained a ground-breaking class decertification decision in a similar case, which spurred federal courts in the Third Circuit to decertify three other title insurance overcharge class actions.

Condominium, Hospitality and Resort/Timeshare Litigation

  • We represented a condominium developer in an important case of first impression in Pennsylvania affirming the developer's right to continue to control unallocated parking spaces after control of the association's executive board has passed to the unit owners.

  • We represented a national real estate investment concern in litigation and arbitration regarding contractual contributions for the renovation of a major New York City hotel.

Deficient Design and Construction Disputes

  • We represented Gloucester County Utility Authority in litigation with a design-build contractor for a wastewater sludge incinerator.

  • We successfully defended a developer of multifamily housing against allegations of design-and-construction violations of the Fair Housing Act, including obtaining a precedent-setting ruling from the Ninth Circuit that the right to bring such actions expires two years after a project’s completion rather than two years after a disabled person encounters the alleged violation.

  • We defended a global leader in power technologies in stray current litigation brought by 18 dairy farms arising out of the clients’ design and construction of HVDC converter stations operated by the Intermountain Power Project in Utah. We obtained summary judgment in favor of our client.

  • We represented the developer of a mountain-area luxury vacation development in litigation with the site contractor, design engineer, and homeowners’ association regarding design, construction, and remediation of all-weather access roadways.

  • We represented the developer of an urban high-rise condominium complex in litigation with the general contractor over construction defects, delays, and design-build deficiencies. The case was settled early in discovery.

  • On behalf of a member of an international joint venture developing waste fuel power plants in Mexico, we developed and implemented strategies for arbitration under international arbitration rules. We successfully resolved disputes with the EPC contractor over design, construction, and performance testing.

  • We represented a major Las Vegas casino-hotel-resort in connection with scope, delay, acceleration, and design disputes with the general contractor and lien claims by the general contractor and subcontractors.

  • We defended claims brought against a large national power company by a state agency for allegedly defectively designing waste incinerators that were to produce power with new energy efficiencies. The claims were brought in the administrative process and were settled before a court appeal.

Construction Delay and Disruption Disputes

  • We represented the developer of an urban high-rise condominium complex in litigation with the general contractor over construction defects, delays, and design-build deficiencies. The case was settled early in discovery.

  • We represented a shopping center developer in the arbitration of delay and acceleration claims and scope disputes in site work during the conversion of a 70-acre farm site in central Pennsylvania to a shopping center. The suit was settled during arbitration.

  • We represented a major Las Vegas casino-hotel-resort in connection with scope, delay, acceleration, and design disputes with the general contractor and lien claims by the general contractor and subcontractors.

Contractor Disputes

  • We represented an owner of a petroleum refinery in New Jersey and its general contractor in construction lien litigation related to upgrades and enhancements to the refinery after a subcontractor declared bankruptcy. The matter resulted in a favorable clarification of the New Jersey Construction Lien Law regarding limitations on an owner’s liability to lien claimants in multi-tier construction contracts and was subsequently settled.

  • On behalf of the developer of a five-star ski resort in Colorado, we resolved extensive change order claims relating to construction of a hotel/condominium complex.

  • On behalf of an international restaurant and food services company, we resolved disputes with its contractor and subcontractors on a premium dining and entertainment facility in Denver.

  • We defended the developer of a southwestern resort against the issuer of payment and performance surety bonds and against the general contractor on lien claims.

  • We represented a national developer of entertainment properties in construction claims against its general contractor for a large theater and restaurant project, including the defense of multiple mechanics lien claims and the prosecution of a bond claim. The cases were settled in mediation.

  • We represented a developer against a vendor in relation to breach of contract actions and improperly filed lis pendens resulting in removal of lien, allowing the developer to close on disposition of property.

Bankruptcy Matters

  • We represented a publicly traded REIT as the largest landlord creditor in bankruptcy filed by national grocery chain.

  • We represented a REIT in a national electronic store bankruptcy in relation to lease rejection and assumption.

  • We represented a large national pet store chain in relation to successful assumption of a lease in a bankruptcy filed by a large grocery chain.

  • We represented a REIT as operator of large scale mall in the bankruptcy of national restaurant chain and successful assumption of lease.

  • We represented a large mall operator in the prosecution of lease and judgment enforcement action against a national restaurant chain.

  • We represented SPE in the asset purchase of more than 150 leases of a popular fast food restaurant chain through a bankruptcy structured 11 U.S.C. Sec. 363 asset purchase.

  • We represented a publicly traded REIT in a defense of proof of claim filed in bankruptcy court for rejection damages on lease pertaining to a national restaurant chain.