Real Estate

  • December 19, 2014

    Centex Wins Again In Travelers' Choice-Of-Counsel Suit

    A California federal judge on Friday again dismissed claims brought by Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America and others against Centex Homes over the choice of counsel for Centex in a construction defect suit, ruling that the insurers failed to show the home-building company had breached its duty to cooperate.

  • December 19, 2014

    8th Circ. Says Tribal Liquor Laws Apply To Nebraska Town

    In a published opinion released on Friday, the Eighth Circuit affirmed that the Village of Pender, Nebraska, is subject to the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska's liquor license and taxing regulations because it is located on reservation land.

  • December 19, 2014

    Wells Fargo Owes $55M In Mortgage Late Fee Suit, Jury Says

    A New York federal jury on Friday decided Wells Fargo & Co. owes $54.8 million in a class action accusing mortgage companies previously owned by Wells Fargo’s Wachovia Corp. of slapping borrowers with unlawful fees, defendants’ counsel confirmed, although plaintiffs had sought roughly $629 million.

  • December 19, 2014

    Genova Burns Name Partner Heading To Inglesino Wyciskala

    New Jersey firm Inglesino Wyciskala & Taylor LLC announced on Friday that real estate lawyer Elnardo Webster, the second name partner to depart Newark-based Genova Burns Giantomasi Webster LLC in a matter of months, has joined the firm as an equity partner.

  • December 19, 2014

    Retiring Pa. Chief Justice Pegs Legacy On Fracking Decision

    As he prepares to leave the bench at the end of the year, the retiring chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court told Law360 in an interview that his legacy would live on through a 2013 ruling finding that statewide hydraulic fracturing rules violated constitutionally enshrined environmental protections.

  • December 19, 2014

    Blackstone, Patria Drop $263M On Brazil Office Portfolio

    A joint venture between The Blackstone Group LP and Brazil asset management firm Patria Investimentos has paid R$700 million (US$263.2 million) for four Rio de Janeiro office buildings, the companies announced Friday.

  • December 19, 2014

    Convicted Ex-Jefferies Trader Says Client Had Him Fired

    Convicted former Jefferies & Co. Inc. managing director Jesse C. Litvak on Thursday in New York state court sued AllianceBernstein LP and a former executive who testified against him, claiming they wrongfully caused Litvak to be fired as a condition of continuing to do business with Jefferies.

  • December 19, 2014

    Starwood Drops $1.5B In Scandinavia's Largest 2014 RE Deal

    Starwood Capital Group is buying two real estate firms, one based in Norway and one in Sweden, for a combined 11 billion Norwegian kroner ($1.49 billion), the largest real estate deal in Scandinavia this year, Starwood announced on Friday.

  • December 19, 2014

    Zillow, Trulia Shareholders OK $3.5B Merger

    Online real estate listing rivals Zillow Inc.and Trulia Inc. said Thursday their respective shareholders have approved Zillow’s proposed proposed $3.5 billion stock-for-stock acquisition of Trulia as the companies await the green light from U.S. competition regulators.

  • December 19, 2014

    Empire State Building Investors Launch Another Suit Over IPO

    Several investors lobbed a securities fraud suit on Thursday in New York federal court against the Empire State Building's manager and asset management company Malkin Holdings LLC and its principals over allegedly fraudulently cheating the plaintiffs in last year's real estate investment trust deal and subsequent initial public offering.

  • December 19, 2014

    Cos. Looked To REIT Spinoffs To Unlock RE Value In 2014

    Against the backdrop of a midyear set of proposed regulations from the Internal Revenue Service broadening the definition of real property, companies looked this past year to separate asset-specific parts of their businesses into real estate investment trusts, and lawyers expect that trend to continue — and perhaps pick up more steam — in 2015.

  • December 19, 2014

    RE Rumor Mill: Minskoff Equities, Viceroy, Steve Harvey

    The head of Edward J. Minskoff Equities reportedly scored a $200 million refinancing package for a Manhattan office property, while Viceroy Hotel Group is said to be working with a developer on a new 18-story downtown Chicago project and comedian Steve Harvey is reportedly part of a team bidding to redevelop an Atlanta convention site.

  • December 19, 2014

    Mortgage Insurer Radian Protests $1B REMIC Tax Bill

    Mortgage insurer Radian Group Inc. has protested about $986.5 million in alleged deficiencies and penalties levied against it by the Internal Revenue Service, arguing in a series of petitions made public Friday that it had properly claimed losses related to real estate mortgage investment conduit interests.

  • December 19, 2014

    BofA Fails To Shake FHFA's MBS Suit

    A New York federal judge has shot down Bank of America Corp.'s latest bid to get rid of a Federal Housing Finance Agency suit over mortgage-backed securities, saying on Thursday that the fact that the sales transaction was hatched before a final prospectus was available is not a deal breaker.

  • December 19, 2014

    Gotham Dodges $21M Judgment In 11th Circ.

    The Eleventh Circuit on Friday upheld a lower court's ruling that Gotham Insurance Co. doesn’t owe coverage for a $21 million judgment against a title insurance company whose now-convicted attorney sunk a condo development by stealing the deposits of prospective buyers.

  • December 19, 2014

    LaSalle Snaps Up Historic Portland Hotel In $64.3M Deal

    LaSalle Hotel Properties has acquired the historic Heathman Hotel located in downtown Portland, Oregon, for $64.3 million in cash, the real estate investment trust said Friday.

  • December 19, 2014

    Boardwalk Owner Sues NJ Agency Over Dune System

    Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk’s owner hit New Jersey's environmental regulator with a federal suit Tuesday, seeking a declaration that the state does not need perpetual rights to its private land in order to build a system of sand dunes designed to protect the Jersey shore from severe weather.

  • December 19, 2014

    Law Firm Topples FCA Suit Over LSU Hospital Deal

    A Louisiana federal judge on Thursday dismissed a False Claims Act suit against Roedel Parsons Koch Blache Balhoff & McCollister accusing the firm of overbilling for work on a federally funded hospital project, saying the suit was built on “sweepingly conclusory” allegations “devoid of factual details.”

  • December 19, 2014

    Credit Suisse Hit With $40M Verdict In Texas Loan Fight

    A Texas jury on Friday awarded a Highland Capital Management LP-managed entity $40 million, finding the Dallas-based hedge fund was defrauded by Credit Suisse AG units about the value of Las Vegas real estate underlying a $540 million refinancing loan.

  • December 18, 2014

    Calif. Panel Nixes $82M US Bank Win In Skyscraper Loan Suit

    A California appeals court on Wednesday reversed U.S. Bank NA's nearly $82 million award in a loan dispute with the bankrupt owners of a Los Angeles skyscraper, ordering the trial court to revisit an erroneously calculated $14 million prepayment.

Expert Analysis

  • Inside NY Commercial Mortgage Loan Opinion Practice

    Lawrence J. Wolk

    As a frequent deliverer and recipient of commercial mortgage loan legal opinion letters, I am often asked, “What is the norm?” or “Is this standard or customary practice in New York these days?” Customary practice is, by definition, continuously evolving, but consider these 13 legal opinion practices that appear to be the norm in New York, says Lawrence Wolk of Rosenberg & Estis PC.

  • NY Lessees Are Not Liable Under CERCLA As Owners

    Marc Brainich

    Next Millennium Realty LLC v. Adchem Corp. confirms the general rule that New York lessees who sublet property will continue to not be subject to liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act as an owner, absent unusual circumstances in the relationship between the lessee and the property owner, says Marc Brainich of Sedgwick LLP.

  • What Happens When Legal Aid Cuts Stimulate Pro Bono?

    Kevin J. Curnin

    The bad news coming out of the European Pro Bono Summit in November was the rising toll of heavy cuts to public legal aid in England. From this crossroad, there is a lot to be learned about the relationship between public and private assistance, the direction of legal help for the poor in the EU, and whether the American legal aid/pro bono experience offers a road map for what’s next in Europe, says Kevin Curnin of the Association ... (continued)

  • Annual Bankruptcy And Restructuring Roundup

    David N. Griffiths

    Despite the relative paucity of mega cases, 2014 was not a year to forget. With every passing month, new and interesting special situations arose. In case you missed them, here’s a look back at the bankruptcy and restructuring highlights of the year, as well as a look ahead to 2015, say David Griffiths and Doron Kenter of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP.

  • Utah Prairie Dog Could Narrow Endangered Species Act

    Joshua A. Bloom

    In an unprecedented ruling, a Utah federal judge recently struck down the application of the Endangered Species Act to a prairie dog whose habitat is wholly within Utah, creating the potential for a constitutional showdown that could result in a significant narrowing of the Endangered Species Act and further limit Congress’ power to legislate, say Joshua Bloom and David Metres of Barg Coffin Lewis & Trapp LLP.

  • 3 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Hiring Appellate Counsel

    David Axelrad

    In the classic case, a client and his attorney seek appellate counsel after the trial court proceedings are concluded. But these days, “classic cases” are few and far between — more and more, appellate lawyers assist in the trial court with preservation of the appellate record and compliance with the many technical rules of appellate procedure, says David Axelrad of Horvitz & Levy LLP.

  • 6 Questions To Ask Before An Internal Investigation

    Ty E. Howard

    Ample literature exists on how to conduct an effective internal investigation and best practices in doing so. Far less common, but equally important, are the questions a company’s decision-makers — whether a CEO, compliance officer or in-house counsel — should ask before the investigation begins, says Ty Howard, a partner with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP and former federal and state prosecutor.

  • What Lawyer-Novelists Learned From Being Lawyers

    Michael H. Rubin

    The consensus that emerged from my discussions with several lawyers who have become best-selling novelists is that the traits it takes to be a great lawyer are invaluable in crafting first-rate mysteries and thrillers. Both thriller authors and lawyers possess a concentrated attention to detail that allows them to create a logical framework for their story, brief or courtroom presentation, says Michael Rubin of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.

  • How Borrower Got 'Free House' In NJ Bankruptcy Case

    Donna Bates

    A New Jersey bankruptcy court recently held that a mortgagee and mortgage servicer were time-barred under New Jersey state law from enforcing either the note or the accelerated mortgage against the debtor. This decision is particularly relevant considering that New Jersey’s foreclosure practice has undergone recent developments that have contributed to significant delays in foreclosure filings, say Daniel Cozzi and Donna Bates of Blank Rome LLP.

  • Unique Dynamics Of LIHTC Workouts: 3 Thoughts For Lenders

    Mark V. Bossi

    In the still-developing area of low-income housing tax credit workouts and bankruptcies, secured lenders may feel relatively powerless. But armed with knowledge concerning several key leverage points, a lender can better protect its interests and negotiate an advantageous outcome of a troubled loan, says Mark Bossi of Thompson Coburn LLP.