Payne & Fears’ real estate attorneys offer expanded services in a variety of real estate concerns, including transactional matters, litigation, and dispute resolutions. Our attorneys understand the real estate industry from top to bottom. Our clients range from commercial developers, general contractors, subcontractors, designers, landlords, and commercial tenants to individual property owners, all of whom rely upon our guidance for their real estate and construction law needs. We are prepared to help clients with a range of issues, including acquisitions, leases, construction operations, all kinds of litigation and disputes, and other issues that arise through the course of property ownership, operations, construction, and development.

Real Estate Transactions

Retaining an experienced real estate transactional attorney can forestall problems that commonly appear further along in the development or construction process. We routinely provide transactional services for developers, builders, contractors, subcontractors, and owners, including negotiating terms and drafting agreements between parties. Our attorneys provide quality services in other real estate transactional matters, including:

  • Drafting, negotiating, and evaluating commercial real estate leases
  • Drafting, negotiating, and evaluating purchase and sale agreements
  • Drafting, negotiating, and evaluating construction contracts and design consultant agreements
  • Negotiating and evaluating loan documents
  • Facilitating agreements between contractors and subcontractors
  • Dealing with mechanic’s liens, stop notices, and construction bonds
  • Evaluating insurance policies

Real Estate Litigation and Dispute Resolution

In the case of a real estate dispute, we are prepared to protect clients’ interests in a range of real estate litigations, arbitrations, and alternative dispute resolutions. We provide litigation services for commercial and individual clients, including owners, developers, builders, contractors, and subcontractors. Some of our representative real estate litigation cases include:

  • Commercial lease and unlawful detainer disputes, including securing judgment for possession, full compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs against holdover commercial tenant in unlawful detainer action
  • Real estate non-disclosure claims
  • Construction payment and operational disputes
  • Foreclosure actions
  • Public contracting and Miller Act claims
  • Partnership disputes over real estate ownership and development obligations
  • Indemnity and property loss disputes, including securing full defense and indemnity for a commercial contractor under a commercial general liability policy for an arbitration after the insurer had denied coverage twice previously
  • Complex litigation, including representing a publicly traded homebuilder in a complex, high-stakes insurance coverage dispute that was resolved in the builder’s favor. The settlement of the case involved several trial-court rulings that discourage liability insurers from taking overly aggressive coverage positions
  • Warranty disputes

In circumstances where real estate concerns intersect with other areas of law, we leverage the experience of our Employment and Insurance Litigation Groups to meet clients’ needs. Our strengths in these areas offer clients more comprehensive coverage in their real estate matters.

Construction Law

Construction projects are complex ventures rife with legal hazards. At Payne & Fears, we take a proactive approach to clients’ needs, advising them on practices designed to minimize risk exposure and to strengthen their positions in the event they need to pursue or defend a claim. Our attorneys handle an assortment of construction transactions and disputes arising from the construction process. Payne & Fears’ construction law attorneys shepherd clients through the entirety of their projects, from beginning to end. Our clients include a spectrum of construction-related entities, including developers, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, and public works-related entities.

Regardless of whether your needs are transactional or involve dispute resolution, you can trust the Payne & Fears’ construction law attorneys to manage all phases of your project with efficiency and élan.

Construction Law Transactions

We facilitate transactions required in various stages and different iterations of the construction process. These transactions include transactions critical at the beginning of a project, such as facilitating development deals and preparing documents necessary for entity formation. We also review the agreements necessary for establishing responsibilities and relationships involved with shared facilities (e.g., Covenants, Conditions & Resolutions (“CC&Rs”) associated with Homeowners’ Associations (“HOAs”). As a construction project progresses, we monitor and assist with operational challenges, contract interpretation, and negotiations.

Construction Law Dispute Resolution

The complications of construction disputes can threaten a project’s profits and cause overall costs to increase. Wherever possible, we balance the desire to maintain business relationships and protect our clients’ current and long-term interests. The multiple moving parts involved in construction projects mean relationships can be unpredictable. Should a dispute arise, our attorneys cover all aspects of construction-related disputes—whether it’s negotiation, arbitration, mediation, litigation, or appeal.

Payne & Fears has significant experience representing companies in all types and sizes of construction matters. We take a proactive approach to meeting our clients’ legal needs, advising them on practices to help them minimize exposure to risk and strengthen their positions should they need to pursue or defend a claim.

When our clients’ construction interests touch on multiple areas of law, we leverage the experience of our three practice groups to help them achieve their objectives. Our attorneys routinely counsel construction industry clients on matters that sit at the intersection of employment, business, and insurance coverage law. Drawing from our experience appearing before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the US Department of Labor (DOL), and the California Civil Rights Department (CRD), we provide employment advice and counseling to construction industry clients, including help with discrimination and harassment, and wage-and-hour claims made by employees against construction industry leaders. Our attorneys also handle construction litigation, indemnity and property loss disputes, indemnity and property loss disputes, construction defect litigation, and disputes over warranties, insurance coverage, and premises liability. We recently achieved a significant victory on behalf of a commercial contractor, securing full defense and indemnity under a commercial general liability policy for an arbitration, despite the insurer denying coverage twice previously.

Some of our representative Real Estate and Construction clients include:

  • Centex Homes
  • Pulte Homes
  • K. Hovnanian Company
  • Lennar
  • Lincoln Property Company
  • MIG Management Services
  • Related California
  • Stronghold Engineering Incorporated
  • Sares-Regis Group
  • Slater Builders
  • The Olson Company
  • Tri-Pacific Capital Advisors
  • Wasatch Property Management
  • Western National Property Management
  • William Lyon Homes

Payne & Fears’ Real Estate & Construction Law Successes

  • Won a nearly $10 million jury verdict on behalf of a financial institution over a major home builder for breach of a real estate option agreement
  • Won defense judgment in a bench trial in a real estate fraud case arising from purchase and sale agreement (San Bernardino County)
  • Won a defense verdict in a jury trial on fraud claims in a multi-million-dollar real estate transaction. Attorney’s fees were awarded to our client and later won a bench trial on fraudulent conveyance claim against the plaintiff in the original case who tried to evade payment of those fees (Orange County)
  • Won an arbitration award in a dispute over a ground lease and option to purchase (Orange County)
  • Secured the dismissal of a coverage action filed by a subcontractor and insurer for a national homebuilder, in a hostile forum
  • Represented a publicly traded homebuilder in a complex, high-stakes insurance coverage dispute that was resolved in the builder’s favor Although the terms of the settlement are confidential, the homebuilder was “thrilled” with the settlement
  • Obtained a significant judgment against an unlicensed contractor for reimbursement of fees paid to contractor
  • Obtained summary judgment in arbitration for a national homebuilder alleged of misrepresentations in connection with new home sales
  • Recovered more than $1.65 million from several insurers on behalf of a homebuilder, reimbursing the homebuilder for all defense costs it had incurred or would incur in the future after the insurers denied coverage and refused to defend the homebuilder in a single-home construction defect action
  • Recovered $1 million in insurance proceeds for a Fortune 500 homebuilder after several liability insurers refused to defend the homebuilder in two multi-plaintiff construction defect actions in Clark County, Nevada
  • Recovered more than $2.75 million from several primary and excess insurers on behalf of a homebuilder, reimbursing the homebuilder for defense costs it shouldered after the insurers denied coverage and refused to defend the homebuilder in several construction defect lawsuits