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Real Estate and Land Use Disputes

Overview

There is nothing like litigation in a commercial real estate project to bring about delays, raise costs, create reputational harm, and kill deals altogether. The business and lifespan of real estate carries the risk of contractual and land-use disputes. In addition to drafting and reviewing sales contracts and lease agreements, we represent commercial real estate entities and individuals in the defense of sales, lease, and land use conflicts. Our skilled litigators partner with our in-house team of real estate, financial services, insurance, and other specialized attorneys, enabling us to take a 360-degree view of each issue and to craft effective strategies to increase the chances of obtaining favorable results.

Our litigation team collaborates closely with our real estate clients – owners, developers, institutions, contractors, and other stakeholders – to build legal strategies designed to keep projects on track and minimize damages. In addition to transactional support, we represent entities and individuals in land-use disputes, managing concerns related to easements, trespassing, nuisance, partitions, breach of covenants, and community association conflicts.

Our goal is to prevent litigation in the first place utilizing effective negotiation and advocacy, whether the forum is a conference room, administrative proceedings, mediation, or arbitration, without the need for costly litigation. But when the courtroom is unavoidable, we draw upon our significant experience and resources defending our clients in tribunals throughout Virginia to prevent or obtain the imposition of monetary damages or other relief.

Our Real Estate and Land Use Disputes practice includes:

  • Representation of developers, property owners, lenders, REITs, , commercial landlords, investors, creditors, and brokers
  • Defense of clients in contractual issues related to sales and lease agreements
  • Disputes over land use issues such as easements and boundary lines, trespass and nuisance violations, subdividing property (partitions), breach of covenants, and community association disputes
  • Representation of clients in construction litigation
  • Representation of clients in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) proceedings

Representative Experience

  • Isle v. Martin, 91 Va. Cir. 149 (Va. Cir. Ct. 2015) (County of Chesterfield). Defended the landlord in a claim brought against him for personal injuries alleged to be caused by contaminated well water. We successfully prosecuted a statute of limitations defense and the case was dismissed by the Court.
  • Represented a public institution of higher education in breach of lease lawsuit brought by a landlord.
  • Smith v. Marshall, No. CL13-2883 (Va. Cir. Ct. July 15, 2016). Represented defendant property owners in a lawsuit asserting an easement in the defendant’s road under theories of prescriptive easements or easements by estoppel. Following a two-day bench trial, we successfully obtained a defense verdict.
  • Forest Lakes Community Assoc. v. United Land Corp. of America, 293 Va. 113 (2017). Successfully represented a property owner in multi-party litigation involving nuisance and trespass claims. The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that the actions were barred by the statute of limitations.
  • Represented a residential builder in a dispute with the locality regarding responsibility for construction of a subdivision access road.
  • Pyramid Development v. D&J Assocs., 262 Va. 750 (2001). Successfully defended landowner Pyramid Development in a lawsuit filed by plaintiff D&J Associates seeking to use a railroad easement across Pyramid’s property. The railroad service was discontinued prior to D&J Associates’ acquisition of an adjacent property. The Supreme Court of Virginia held that the easement was extinguished when railroad service across the easement was discontinued. The Court entered a judgment for Pyramid.
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