Effective real estate litigation requires fundamental knowledge of the real estate market and how that market works. A real estate investor client felt he was defrauded by a real estate developer in a real estate acquisition. My client’s loss exceeded 1.2 million dollars. We filed a lawsuit. Proving our case involved constructing a detailed timeline of events from numerous transaction documents, emails and deposition transcripts. We carefully fit together different versions of certain leases, building permit applications, permits, City of Portland inspection comments, appraisals and email chains to create an inescapable noose for the defendants. For over two years, the defendants had adamantly denied liability and refused to make a credible settlement offer insisting that they would try the case and prevail. With discovery almost complete and a trial date set for early 2014, the defendants finally decided to resolve the matter. Happily, my client was made whole.
On another legal front, financial institutions continue to pursue judicial foreclosure. There appear to be thousands of foreclosures still pending. The financial institutions still appear to be disorganized with no clear strategy for maximizing financial gain. Rather than reach a settlement based on the current value of a property, lenders continue to pursue the folly of foreclosure. I have helped numerous parties navigate this process – maximizing my clients’ return which need not involve prevailing in a lawsuit. Each client’s situation is different and each has a different strategy.
My favorite foreclosure case these days is one in which we negotiated a settlement whereby my clients stipulated to a judgment of foreclosure in exchange for certain considerations A sheriff’s sale was held and the the lender bid its note. Since it was the only bidder. it was the successful bidder. Apparently sometime during this process the lender sold the note. I now get repeated phone calls from a new “servicer” who claims that they have no record of the foreclosure sale, have never heard of the law firm that represented the previous lender and refuse to make any effort to contact that law firm. I addition to the calls I have taken, I have received voice mails from them indicating they are calling to resolve the debt. I have no idea why financial institution stock prices have risen so far in the past year. But it can’t be because of their reaction to the foreclosure crisis.