Real Estate Litigation
Practice Leader: Norman B. Berlin
- Read more about our services to the real estate industry.
Pepper Hamilton LLP is experienced in all aspects of real estate litigation, assisting owners, developers and other industry clients in resolving disputes involving a host of issues. Our experience includes issues of foreclosure/deficiency judgments, ownership disputes, easement and boundary disputes, breach of lease/lease options, right of first refusal, buy-sell agreements, specific performance disputes, fraudulent nondisclosure of environmental contamination, tax appeals, land use and zoning appeals, and eminent domain and condemnation matters.
We don’t just “manage” litigation for real estate clients. We try cases. Our experience includes a number of successful trials before juries and judges, as well as successful post-trial appeals. Even if a client decides that settlement is the desired outcome of a particular case, the best way to gain a successful settlement is to demonstrate thorough preparation and willingness to go to trial. We also are experienced in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration, mediation, mini-trials, structured negotiations and other techniques.
Examples of our real estate litigation experience include:
- successfully defending a commercial real estate developer in a case alleging fraud
- representing a landowner and real estate developer in cases involving the condemnation of residential developments by a municipal authority
- successfully defending sellers of commercial real estate from the purchasers’ allegations of fraudulent nondisclosure of environmental contamination
- successfully representing purchasers of commercial real estate in disputes over specific performance of contracts for sale, including persuading courts to schedule trial on an expedited basis (usually before the closing date set by the contract)
- representing taxpayers in numerous real estate tax assessment appeals for commercial properties, including major office buildings, banks, supermarkets, shopping malls, fast food restaurants, convenience stores and strip-style shopping centers; appeals handled at the local administrative agency level and at county and appellate court level
- representing a consortium of telecommunications companies in all real estate tax assessment appeals in Pennsylvania, particularly in seeking to eliminate double taxation (real estate and personal property) on cellular phone towers
- successfully defending the tax-exempt status of a hospital and housing authority properties from a county challenge
- representing Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, taxpayers in a class action in connection with a court-ordered countywide increase in assessment of real estate taxes
- defending a national department store and a national drug store chain in connection with lease disputes
- successfully negotiating a favorable settlement in defending a local real estate company in a civil racketeering action alleging mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud
- obtaining a defense verdict for a family trust and its trustees in a complex dispute over a real estate transaction and corresponding mortgage settlement
- obtaining summary judgment for major real estate development company in commercial real estate broker commission dispute
- successfully defending shopping center public access rules in cases of first impression following New Jersey Supreme Court decision granting limited public access rights in centers
- successfully defending a commercial real estate developer in seminal case under Pennsylvania’s parol evidence rule
- serving as lead counsel for a national real estate company defending claims of trade secret misappropriation and tortious interference with non-competition agreements
- serving as lead counsel in real estate litigation in Michigan state court involving a $75 million building
- representing major real estate developers and property owners in zoning and land use appeals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.