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PLEASE NOTE: We are OPEN. However, due to the COVID-19 situation, our attorneys are working remotely. Please contact our office via phone or email to discuss your options.
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We are devoted to helping individuals and businesses with all real estate and business matters in California.
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Recent Case Results

LITIGATION

Fancher Monterey v. Avila Design (Monterey County Superior Court Case #M88951) Sam served as lead counsel in a suit brought on behalf of approximately 11 plaintiffs suing for property damage resulting from a five-alarm fire in downtown Monterey, California. Sam’s clients sought damages of approximately $12,000,000. At the conclusion of the first three weeks of the trial (Phase I), the jury found in favor of Sam’s clients, holding a national franchisor liable for the damages. Prior to the commencement of the second phase of the trial, the national franchisor settled the case for a confidential sum.

Silva v. Davis (Court of Appeals, Sixth District Case #H029776). Successfully defended the buyer from an action by a former owner who claimed that he was still the actual owner of the property. The trial court granted our motion and dismissed the case, and the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision.

Lively v. Heydarian, et al. (El Dorado County Superior Court Case #PC20000236). Represented buyers of a mini-mart/gasoline station who discovered, just after escrow closed, that sellers had not disclosed that the property was contaminated by gasoline leaks nor that they were under state and county orders to monitor the spreading contamination. Successfully rescinded the transaction, obtaining all monies our clients had put into the property.

SCS Development Co. v. Sorci-Sanchez, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV 770427). Prevailed at trial in defense of landowners who were sued for specific performance and breach of contract by a home builder seeking to compel the sale of 20 acres of prime residential property in south San Jose with a value spread of over $40 million.

Zaccor, et al. v. Marguerit (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV771883). Represented business owners whose bookkeeper embezzled nearly $1 million from half a dozen business and personal accounts over a 15-year period. Using a forensic accountant to trace the embezzled money, we collected $200,000 from the former employee.

Overland Development v. Gilroy Presbyterian Church (Binding Arbitration). Represented a developer in an action against a church for breach of contract and specific performance on a land sale agreement. The case resulted in an award in excess of $1 million.

Daheb v. Kim (San Mateo County Superior Court Case #CIV420013). Defeated a claim brought by a buyer alleging misrepresentation and construction defects in a $2 million custom home.

Casitas DelMar Townhouse v. Dimick (Santa Cruz County Superior Court Case #CV157522, Affirmed on appeal – California Court of Appeal, Sixth District, Case No. H034981). RHRC represented nine condominium owners and their homeowners’ association in successfully extinguishing a recorded driveway easement located on a portion of their residential property. The condominiums, situated immediately adjacent to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Cruz, were encumbered by a 15-foot driveway easement for the benefit of the adjoining property owners. Access to the easement had been blocked by parked cars and an access gate for an extended period. The HOA filed an action to establish that the recorded easement had been extinguished by adverse possession. After a bench trial in Santa Cruz County Superior Court, Chuck’s clients prevailed, and the easement was extinguished. On appeal, the 6th District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Saucito Land Company et al. v. Barlocker Insurance (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #108CV115330). RHRC represented property owners who had retained an insurance broker to secure property coverage insurance for their commercial properties. Although the insurance broker was advised that the insurance coverage on two properties was inadequate, the broker failed to advise our clients of the insufficient coverage. One of the two properties with insufficient coverage was lost to a fire. RHRC prosecuted the action against the insurance broker alleging negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, and intentional misrepresentation for, among other things, failing to advise of the insufficient coverage. On the eve of trial, RHRC obtained a substantial settlement for its clients.

2720 Uridias Ranch LLC v. Rosemary Delta (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 108CV125828).  Represented a successful bidder at the foreclosure sale of a leasehold interest as landlord of a San Jose hotel who discovered after purchase that a network of other subleases and deeds of trust held by a few individuals’ LLCs and shell companies compromised and encumbered the interest he thought he was acquiring.  This complex transaction led to multiple suits and settlements, including an action against the client’s broker for his breach of fiduciary duty in encouraging the client to bid at the sale while concealing the conditions of title, and the amount, nature, and status of existing liens against the property.

Caruso v. Raissi (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 107CV097410).  Represented an architect in litigation against a commercial client who refused to pay for three design projects.  Obtained a settlement in which all outstanding balances due were arranged to be paid and remaining project work structured for completion.

In Re: Mavin Income Fund v. Chang (Sacramento County Superior Court Case #96-AS05978, California Court of Appeal Case #C031484). Represented a lender against a sophisticated apartment owner who allowed property (which served as loan security) to deteriorate, resulting in a judgment in excess of $2.1 million, affirmed on appeal.

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COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

Lewis v. Pico Ranch, Inc., et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 1-02-CV812971). Represented a purchaser of commercial property in San Jose who sued the seller for fraud and concealment. The seller failed to disclose that the exisiting tenant was going out of business and rescinding its long-term lease, concealing the tenant’s letter announcing its shutdown. After a two-week trial, the court tentatively ruled that the principals were liable for fraud and damages in excess of $1 million. Sellers agreed to settle for the full amount plus all attorneys’ fees before the court rendered its final opinion.

Vidovich v. Home Depot (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV769940). Successfully defended a developer-landowner against breach of contract claims by a national retailer. The settlement is confidential.

Assadi-Jozani v. Prevedello, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV 794028). On the eve of trial, obtained a confidential settlement for a commercial landlord whose tenant attempted to claim that his rent payments were actually mortgage payments due to a series of oral representations.

Dowd v. Flagstar Corporation, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV 769441). Defended a corporation owning over 3,000 restaurants against a property owner and landlord who was trying to terminate one restaurant’s lease, prevailing at trial and obtaining the corporation’s attorneys’ fees from the property owner.

West v. Prevedello, et al. (Sacramento County Superior Court Case 99 AS02644). Represented owners of an apartment complex in Sacramento who were sued for specific performance by the buyers. Our client prevailed and was awarded attorney’s fees as damages.

Allergy & Asthma Associates v. Cox (Non-litigation).  Successfully represented medical practice with regard to building owner’s refusal to improve building conditions or cooperate in releasing our clients from long-term lease obligation based on unacceptable conditions.

De Anza v. Chen (Santa Clara Superior Court Case No. 109CV159716).  Represented the owner and landlord of a building in which a commercial tenant claimed to be operating a learning center, which instead proved to be a daycare center, requiring different licensing.  The tenant first attempted to get out of its lease of two units in the building by promising to find a replacement tenant, but then instead simply moved its business down the street, breaking its leases.  Negotiated a settlement for the landlord compensating him for lost income caused by the tenant’s abandonment.

Hazin v. Frit San Jose (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 108CV107710).  Represented a tenant operating an ice-cream store in the Santana Row Shopping Center involved in a lease-renewal dispute with the landlord.  Obtained a settlement agreement extending the lease and allowing the tenant’s business to continue operating in the space.

Hartzheim v. Valley Land (Binding Arbitration). Our client, a commercial tenant in an Auto Mall, exercised its option to extend the term of the lease. The lease provided for a certain method of calculation as to the rent during the option period. A dispute arose between the parties as to the fair market value of rent. After a two-day binding arbitration, our clients secured a rental rate in accordance with the evidence presented by our office and significantly less than that proposed by the landlord.

Alpha Factors v. CA-Pruneyard (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 108CV105170). Represented a real estate brokerage in a case for rescission based on fraud against its landlord in an office building. During lease negotiations, the landlord agreed that the tenant would have the 24/7 access to the building it needed in order to conduct its business. After execution of the lease, the landlord unreasonably restricted building access, interfering with the business’ successful operation.

Nvidia Corporation, Inc. v. Extreme Networks, Inc. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-01-CV-803483). RHRC defended a multinational software company in a lease dispute. The settlement was confidential.

Zamani v. Simons (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV780611). Represented a business seller in an action against a shopping center landlord for unreasonably refusing to consent to a lease assignment. The firm obtained a jury trial award of $90,000 for general damages and a punitive damages award of $400,000, which was successfully upheld on appeal.

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RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE LITIGATION

Gunsagar v. Kablanian (Binding Arbitration). Represented sellers who sued the buyers of their $15 million single-family home in Monte Sereno. After buyers’ stock decreased significantly, they tried to get out of the contract by claiming that sellers misrepresented the property’s square footage (the house was approximately 14,000 square feet). Settled the case on the first day of arbitration, recovering the buyers’ $390,000 deposit and winning all attorneys’ fees.

Cleckley v. Coldwell Banker, Bergeson, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-03-CV815421, consolidated with Case #1-03-CV815422). Prosecuted a fraud and rescission claim on behalf of homebuyers against sellers and their real estate agents for failure to disclose past landslides. The firm obtained a confidential settlement on the eve of trial.

Binell v. Greenfield, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV 788929). Settled a nondisclosure case against the sellers of residential property in the Lexington Basin and their broker. Both sellers and their broker failed to disclose that sellers had improved the property in violation of local ordinances, despite knowing what the ordinances required. Buyers obtained a full settlement, including attorneys’ fees.

Morris v. Taulbee, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case CV799421). Represented buyers against a seller and a dual agent who failed to disclose drainage and flooding problems. Seller’s earlier letter to a neighbor buying a property next door warning him of the problems proved that she was aware of the problems yet failed to disclose them. Obtained an $85,000 settlement for the buyers.

Dunivin v. Nasmeh, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV787333). Represented sellers of residential real property in Saratoga. The buyer was a local real estate agent/developer. It was established in discovery that the buyer intended to defraud the sellers. The case settled for full value on the first day of trial.

Montes v. Ledford (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV811608). Represented a buyer in an action for specific performance and breach of contract against the seller, who tried to terminate the purchase contract for a duplex in Gilroy. The seller agreed to pay our client all lost profits and attorneys’ fees to avoid exposure for punitive damages.

Hogue v. Myer, et al. (Binding Arbitration). Prosecuted a case for buyers who discovered that their high-end home in the Los Gatos Foothills had non-disclosed defects which would cost at least $150,000 to repair. Obtained a judgment in the buyers’ favor for the difference between what they paid for the property and its actual worth in true condition.

Mullin v. Benaron, et al. (San Mateo County Superior Court Case #CIV 431399). Settled case in mid-arbitration in favor of sellers of residential real property, who were sued by their buyer for failing to disclose foundation issues. After the buyer’s testimony was taken, he settled for a complete walkaway.

Westendorf v. Sani, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-03-CV-816608). In a two-week jury trial, successfully prosecuted a nondisclosure case against sellers of residential real property in Willow Glen. The sellers, two lawyers, failed to disclose mold at the property. The jury awarded buyers full damages and attorneys’ fees.

Bennette v. Cesari (Binding Arbitration). Represented homebuyers in fraud action against sellers (one of whom was a licensed agent) for blatant misrepresentation of neighborhood noise conditions. We rescinded the sale transaction, forcing sellers to take back the residence, and won all attorneys’ fees. The case was cited in “Property Condition Disclosure Forms,” by George Lefcoe in Real Property, Probate and Trust Journal, pp. 206-07.

Figueroa v. Etchison, et al. (San Mateo County Superior Court Case #CIV446706). Successfully settled an action by our client against her boyfriend of 10 years with whom she cohabited and purchased a large home in Burlingame. The settlement required the boyfriend to buy out our client’s interest in the property and to release all claims to the Burlingame property and all other properties the client had acquired over the years in her own name.

Justus v. Le (Binding Arbitration). Represented a seller in a case against a buyer who backed out of a purchase contract for a single-family home in San Jose after removing all contingencies. The seller was awarded the deposit and his attorneys’ fees, which equaled more than twice the deposit amount.

Tabrizi v. Fung (Binding Arbitration). Represented a buyer of a high-end Los Gatos residence at arbitration, recovering his deposit and all attorney’s fees. Buyer’s offer was contingent on his approval of the property’s condition; unless he removed the property condition contingency in writing, the purchase agreement would automatically be void. After inspections revealed mold/fungus in the crawlspace, buyer refused to remove the contingency. Sellers refused to sign the release of contract or return buyer’s large deposit. The arbitrator found that since buyer did not remove the contingency in writing, the property condition was deemed unacceptable, and the contract terminated automatically.

Austin v. Leading Luxury Estates, Inc. (Placer County Superior Court Case No. T-CV-0000839).  At arbitration, represented a developer in a lawsuit brought by a wealthy dotcom purchaser of a $12 million house in Tahoe City that had issues arising out of low tides and boat access via the property’s dock.  Obtained a confidential settlement for our client.

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BUSINESS

Dunn v. Enz (Case No. 103CV005659). In a two-member partnership formed to develop six residential homes, our client was sued for purported mismanagement and misappropriation of funds. The plaintiff alleged our client owed damages in excess of $1,000,000.00. During the first phase of the trial, plaintiff’s claims were defeated. Thereafter, the plaintiff settled the case by paying our client virtually all of the attorney’s fees incurred in defending the claim.

Blefari, et al., v. Waters Fund Management (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 107CV078155).  Represented multiple investors in LLCs formed to buy and develop properties whose investments were threatened due to mismanagement of the LLCs.  Through the appointment of a receiver, the investors’ losses were recouped in a confidential mid-seven-figure settlement with the LLCs’ insurance company.

Boales v. Boales (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 105CV036541).  Represented a client who invested money in a Saratoga property in exchange for a one-half interest in that property, while the other half belonging to two family members.  Once the property increased in value, the family members refused to honor the client’s 50% interest, claiming his investment was instead “a loan.”  A suit for partition resulted in a judgment for the client against the family members.

Vorgias v. Valencia, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV 790204). In a complex action involving multiple owners of residential property losing money due to high interest rates, represented one owner who sued the other owners for specific performance. Negotiated a settlement whereby our client obtained full title to the property through a buyout and was able to refinance at lower rates.

Giljum v. Gengenbach, et al. (San Francisco County Superior Court Case #401991). Settled a dispute between relatives who co-owned a San Francisco apartment building. The family members, estranged for years, sued each other for partition and sale and for waste and mismanagement. The settlement agreement provided for sale of the property and fair division of the proceeds.

Mimosa Capital Partners v. Scott (Mediation). Represented purchasers of a funeral home business who were defrauded by the seller regarding the business relationships, income, and expenses. Through mediation, we succeeded in reducing the original purchase price by 50% and securing financing terms more favorable to our clients.

The Ridgecrest Group, Inc. v. Aghili (San Mateo County Superior Court Case #415942). Represented a group of plaintiffs relating to a breach of partnership agreement claim relating to the purchase, development, and construction of residential property in Menlo Park. The Court awarded plaintiffs in excess of $200,000.

James H. Baron, as Receiver v. Fire Insurance Exchange, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case # 1-03-CV-817085, Court of Appeal, Sixth District Case # H029830). Successfully represented a Court-ordered Receiver in a case against a major insurer for its failure to pay complete coverage on a fire insurance policy. The insurance company’s adjuster had referred the Receiver to a contractor allegedly on its “approved” “contractor’s list.” The Receiver hired the contractor to perform the fire damage repairs on the insurance carrier’s recommendation. The contractor walked off the job, absconding with a portion of the insurance benefits which had been paid. The carrier then refused to pay further policy benefits and denied further coverage, refusing to pay even the policy benefits it had agreed were owing forcing the Receiver to hire a new contractor funded by Receiver certificates. After a two-week jury trial, the jury awarded damages plus $1.5 million in punitive damages. After the Receiver then successfully moved for an award of attorney’s fees, a total judgment of $2.1 million was entered against the insurance company. The award was successfully affirmed on appeal in a published decision.

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REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

One South Market, San Jose Represented the property owner during the entitlement and sale of the property whereupon it was transformed from a 2-story aging structure into a 23-story downtown mixed-use residential tower. Chuck was also involved in representing the construction manager on the 225,000-square-tower project.

Silvery Towers, San Jose Represented the developer in the acquisition, entitlement, and sale of Silvery Towers, which transformed vacant land and a former night club into two 20+ story towers of mixed-use residential development.

Morgan Hill Residential Development Represented a local farming family during its entitlement, subdivision, and sale of approximately 120 acres in Morgan Hill, California. This 200+ unit project is currently under construction.

101 and 152 Interchange Development – Gilroy Represented the property owner during the entitlement, subdivision, and development of the Costco and Super Walmart properties located in Gilroy, California at the 101 and 152 Interchange Development.

Greyhound Station, Downtown San Jose. Represented the developer in the acquisition and entitlement of the former Greyhound Bus Station in downtown San Jose.  Upon completion, the development will include large mixed-use residential towers of 20+ stories.

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REAL ESTATE BROKERS

Michael Morter, et al. v. Thunderbird Realty, et al. (Santa Cruz County Superior Court Case #CV136523). Obtained an arbitration award in excess of $1 million, including attorneys’ fees, arising out of a real estate broker’s failure to advise and counsel a homebuyer of landslide potential in a mountain property.

Lee v. Slusher, et al. (Alameda County Superior Court Case No. HG05246095). Defended a mortgage broker who purchased property in lieu of foreclosing on his lien. More than three years after escrow closed, the seller claimed that the buyer failed to pay the full purchase price, and that her signature was forged on the deed. The notary, the escrow officer and the title company all denied liability. A favorable settlement was reached.

Delman v. Nguyen (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 1-05-CV-051849). Defended a real estate brokerage and its agent against breach of fiduciary duty claims, among others, by a residential real estate buyer claiming that the purchased property was subject to an undisclosed prescriptive easement. Following mediation of the dispute, the buyer released all claims against the brokerage and its agent for nuisance value, opting instead to pursue his neighbors for trespass and encroachment.

Crakow v. Giannell, et al. (Mediation). Defended a real estate brokerage and its agent relating to the sale of residential real property where the buyer claimed that certain flooding and noise nuisances were not disclosed during the underlying transaction. Following mediation of the dispute, wherein the brokerage and agent were defended on claims of breach of fiduciary duty, the case settled for nuisance value and fully resolved.

Tam v. Prestige Realty, et al. (Alameda County Superior Court Case #RG03080609). Arbitrated a case against sellers who tried to perform a “commissionectomy” on the listing broker (refusing to pay the broker for services). The broker had an exclusive listing agreement and diligently marketed the property. Sellers, unbeknownst to the broker, entered into a purchase contract with one prospective buyer directly, cheating the broker of her commission. The broker sued for her full commission plus attorney’s fees. After two days of arbitration, sellers realized they were losing the case and agreed to a mutually satisfactory settlement.

Sayfie v. Franco (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-02-CV806533). Represented a buyer of a single-family home in San Jose against a real estate agent who acted as a dual agent in the transaction (representing both buyer and seller). The agent marketed and advertised the home as having four income-producing units, although he knew that due to zoning restrictions, the property was illegally zoned for the four rental units. The case settled for the full amount demanded — over $200,000 in lost income from the nonviable rental units.

Fuller v. John V. Pinto & Associates, Inc., et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV766530, consolidated with #CV767682). Defended a seller against a claim brought by real estate broker suing for a commission, establishing that the realtor had breached his fiduciary duty.

Reboul v. Valley of California (San Francisco County Superior Court Case No. CGC-07-464270). Represented one of two beneficiaries of a trust in an action against real estate brokers for breach of fiduciary duty and other claims.  The brokers induced the unsophisticated trustee to invest in three unsuitable and unprofitable commercial properties and advised him to pay more than fair market value for the buildings.  Obtained a confidential settlement compensating the beneficiaries for assets lost as a result of the brokers’ conduct.

Defended a real estate broker against action by the CA Department of Real Estate (DRE) seeking to revoke the broker’s license has result for a conviction of shoplifting, and obtained a restricted license rather than revocation.

Defended a real estate broker against a revocation against brought by the DRE for multiple alleged violations of DRE regulations including claims for improper supervision of agents and trust fund violations, and obtained for the broker only a 90-day suspension which was stayed by the DRE.

Obtained a restricted license for a real estate salesperson applicant following denial of the license by the DRE due to prior felony convictions.

Dalton, Corbin v. Century 21 Alpha, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-03-CV-011268). In a two-week jury trial, successfully prosecuted a nondisclosure case for buyers of residential real property. The sellers of the Morgan Hill property failed to disclose that it was on a septic system, and it was established at trial that the transfer disclosure statement was actually completed by sellers’ agents. The jury found against the agents for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty, and the agents were held responsible for all of buyers’ damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

Blickman Turkus v. M-F Downtown Sunnyvale, LLC., Mozart Development Company (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case # 1-03-CV-814344). Successfully defended major developer against commission claim purportedly earned for procuring a commercial tenant who, after signing a written Lease, two years later refused to occupy the premises or pay rent. The developer was able to defeat the commission claim by convincing the Trial Court, in two separate Summary Adjudication Motions, that the term “rent commencement” in the Commission Agreement with the broker constituted a condition precedent of payment of the commission and required actual payments of rent by the tenant which had never been paid.

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FINANCE AND LENDING

Ward v. Fox, et al. (San Mateo County Superior Court Case #413014). Defended a multi-million-dollar mortgage loan company in an action brought by a former principal who sued for alleged breach of an employment agreement. The mortgage loan business cross-complained for breach of promissory notes signed in its favor by the former principal. Successfully negotiated a resolution of the disputes.

Floria v. Cal State Mortgage (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 102CV810367).  Represented a client who invested in a deed of trust for a lot in Beverly Hills, which went through foreclosure when the borrower ceased payments.  The client then learned the property was virtually worthless, as the appraiser had appraised the wrong lot, and his mid-six-figure investment was lost.  Obtained a confidential settlement for the client.

Aguiar v. Walker, et al. (Santa Clara Superior Court Case No. 1-04-CV-012791).  Successfully defended a claim made by a co-owner in a home that the parties purchased together in 1986. After 20 years of co-owning the property together, one co-owner claimed that the other co-owner (our client) was a mortgage foreclosure consultant as defined by Civil Code 2945 et seq. and that she should now be entitled to void the original purchase and become the sole owner of the property.  On the eve of trial, RHRC successfully obtained the rarely awarded terminating sanctions which eviscerated nearly the entirety of plaintiff’s complaint leaving her with only a small breach of contract claim.  After trial, plaintiff lost her breach of contract claim and the defendant/clients prevailed on their counter claims for partition and breach of contract in addition to being awarded prevailing party attorney’s fees.

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TITLE AND ESCROW

Fogarty v. Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, et al. (San Mateo Superior Court Case No. CIV441934). Represented title insurance policy holder in an action to assert easement rights in a roadway crossing property owned by Open Space District who cross-complained asserting rights to the same roadway. The matter was successfully settled to the satisfaction of all parties.

Critchfield v. Old Republic, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No: C05-00909, transferred to Binding Arbitration). Successfully defended title insurance company for bad faith and for breach of a policy of title insurance. Plaintiff claimed that title company had made a mistake which went to the title ownership of the property. Convinced arbitrator that plaintiff had perpetrated a fraud on Old Republic by failing to disclose its knowledge that an estate still had an interest in the conveyed property and that title company had diligently investigated the alleged mistake, attempted to help cure any defect, and otherwise properly handled the claim.

Cupertino Partners VI v. Alliance Title (Non-litigation).  Represented a seller of a shopping center in an easement and right-of-way dispute and obtained a settlement requiring that corrected title insurance policies be recorded to reflect the true nature and extent of the easement and right of way.

Stout v. Ince, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 1-05-CV-049665, and subsequent Binding Arbitration). Prosecuted a rescission claim on behalf of property buyers against the seller of a vacant lot in Morgan Hill for violations of the Subdivision Map Act, Government Code Sec. 6649.32(a) and for mutual mistake of fact.  Specifically, after the buyers and seller closed escrow on the purchase agreement for the 2 1/2 acre parcel of land, and despite diligent investigation by the buyers before the close, it became evident that the lot had been created from a prior subdivision without the necessary approvals. The buyers only discovered the violation as a result of engineering work they commissioned so that they could apply for and obtain building site approval.  After the violation was discovered, the County of Santa Clara Planning Office, confirmed that the parcels were illegally divided and that Plaintiffs would be unable to obtain building site approval.  Following a two-day binding arbitration on their claims, the firm obtained a full rescission, damages and attorneys fees for the buyers in an amount in excess of $730,000.00.

Wells v. Prion (Mediation). Settled a dispute for a businesswoman who put the name of her significant other on title to her home, which she had owned for many years, without any written agreement or any financial contribution from him. When the two parted ways, he sued her for a half-interest in the property. At mediation, we negotiated a small buyout of his alleged interest and removed his name from title.

Wang v. Hwong (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV800410). Represented a couple who co-owned residential rental property in San Jose with a third party without any written ownership and/or management agreement. After a dispute, our clients sued for partition and an accounting. At mediation, we worked out a buyout of our clients’ interest.

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SPECIALIZED CASES

Spieker v. County of Santa Clara Tax Assessor’s Appeals. Obtained a settlement from the County Assessor reducing valuation of property by approximately $700,000.

Kahn (United States District Court Case # C94-4339 FMS, appeal of Case #91-56128-MM, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California). Represented purchasers of commercial real property against a claim by the seller who carried back part of the purchase price. The property was sold at a foreclosure sale, and the seller sought a personal judgment against the buyers. The trial court’s finding that the seller was a purchase money vendor and our clients were protected by California’s anti-deficiency law was affirmed on appeal.

Lopez, et al. v. Creative Builders, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #CV791853). Represented a homeowner suing her former contractor, whose substandard work resulted in the property being red-tagged. Homeowner had to hire another contractor to finish the job. Sued the original contractor for breach of the agreement for all money paid to the second contractor in excess of that provided for in the original contract. Obtained a favorable confidential settlement.

Cargill v. Field, et al. (Santa Cruz County Superior Court Case #CV144428). Represented a young couple whose new house in the Santa Cruz Mountains was built on the wrong lot. After buying the next-door lot to gain title to the land under their house, their neighbors denied them access to the road and water pipes. Sued the neighbors, got their case thrown out of court, and obtained prescriptive easements for access and water.

Blodgett v. Perea, et al. (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-04-CV013158). Successfully prosecuted and obtained an arbitration award on behalf of a stepfather who helped his stepson purchase a residence. Stepfather paid the down payment and took title with the stepson. Stepson was going to live in the property, make all payments, and eventually repay stepfather the down payment plus half the appreciation. However, he failed to do so, claiming the stepfather’s contribution was a gift, not an investment. Stepfather sued for partition and an accounting and was awarded the down payment, half the appreciation, plus attorneys’ fees against stepson.

Wells v. Prion (mediation). Settled a dispute for a businesswoman who put the name of her significant other on title to her home, which she had owned for many years, without any written agreement or any financial contribution from him. When the two parted ways, he sued her for a half-interest in the property. At mediation, we negotiated a small buyout of his alleged interest and removed his name from title.

Jonathan v. Prawat (Santa Clara County Superior Court Case #1-01-CV800177).  Defended a homeowner in an action by a contractor seeking $400,000 arising out of a construction contract.  The firm cross-complained against the contractor, seeking damages for fraud and won a judgement, including attorneys’ fees, in excess of $900,000.

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