“You can never solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created the problem in the first place.” –Albert Einstein
Conflicts arise from even the most carefully written real estate agreements. When a dispute arises, owners, landlords, investors, management companies, lenders, and REITs need a legal team that can analyze the dispute and implement a business-oriented strategy designed to protect the clients’ interests when pre-litigation resolution has become impossible.
Our lawyers have deep experience with litigation and dispute resolution involving real estate transactions, property purchases and developments, mechanic’s liens, construction projects, leases, landlord-tenant disputes, ADA matters, title disputes, land use, easement and boundary disputes, adverse possession, condemnation, property damage, tax disputes, reorganizations, workouts, creditors’ claims, unlawful detainer, property liquidation, distressed property, construction defects, construction liens, and escrow and title insurance claims.
We routinely litigate matters involving breached agreements, personal and commercial guarantees, commercial foreclosures, and receiverships. Our litigation process involves an early and thorough analysis of the matter, driven by client objectives. In the real estate context, that often means a detailed review of agreements, financing statements, collateral security, environmental issues, and guarantor liquidity. We aim to put our clients in the best possible position before initiating litigation. In some cases, a secured creditor wants to strengthen its position following non-monetary defaults, but chooses not to bring suit or foreclose for business reasons. In those cases, we may monitor and document the defaults, protect our client against waiver arguments, and position the client to succeed should litigation become necessary.
During the life of the litigation, our lawyers stay in regular contact with the client, ensuring that our litigation activities continue to meet the client’s goals and business objectives. We recognize that litigation is just one of many tools available to our clients. While we press our client’s interests in court, the client may simultaneously investigate alternative resolutions—or the client’s objectives may have changed, necessitating a change in legal strategy as well. The continuous feedback loop ensures that we always act in the client’s best interests.
- Our team defended a large commercial bank in defensive litigation involving a failed mixed-use development in Northwest Florida. Despite multiple mediated settlement attempts, the plaintiff pursued its claims to trial. Johnston Clem Gifford lawyers prevailed at trial, winning a take-nothing judgment for the bank and defeating about $10 million in claim exposure. We later protected the trial result on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the lower court’s judgment.
- We represented a securities firm in a lawsuit filed by real estate development and investment companies that alleged that they lost the opportunity to purchase a $40+ million real estate development north of Dallas because the firm allegedly failed to secure bond financing to fund the project. While consistently denying wrongdoing on our client’s behalf, Johnston Clem Gifford successfully negotiated a “nuisance” settlement in an amount less than 0.3% of the claimed damages.
- The firm’s lawyers routinely represent secured lenders in litigation involving sensitive assets such as hospitals and memory care facilities. We conduct responsible foreclosures, protecting and securing our clients’ interests while mindful of the nature of the asset.