March 14, 2014

Payne & Fears LLP Wins Major Jury Verdict for Estancia Coastal LLC

Payne & Fears LLP won nearly $10 million in a jury trial in the San Diego Superior Court which concluded on December 27, 2011, on behalf of Estancia Coastal LLC.  Estancia Coastal LLC is a subsidiary of TriPacific Capital Advisors, an investment advisor to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association.  Judge Thomas P. Nugent presided over the trial.

Estancia had entered into a “land banking” transaction with KB Home, a publicly held homebuilder, for a residential housing project in San Diego County.  When the real estate market collapsed, KB Homes elected not to exercise its option to purchase the property, but failed to pay the property taxes, the government fees and the costs of completing the site improvements on the property as required by its contracts with Estancia’s predecessor.  Estancia sued to recover the amounts due.

Following a three week jury trial, the jury returned unanimous and near-unanimous verdicts in favor of Estancia, and awarded the approximately $9.8 million Estancia sought.  Estancia is also entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees, costs and pre-judgment interest, making the final judgment substantially larger.

Payne & Fears LLP attorneys Dan Livingston and Tom Vincent represented Estancia.  “We were very pleased that the jury awarded the full amount we sought,” said Livingston.  “It was gratifying to see how well the jurors understood a very complex case and arrived at the right outcome.  It was an honor to represent Estancia and the good people at TriPacific, who worked closely with us to produce this huge victory.  KB Homes was a well-funded opponent represented by highly skilled attorneys from two major national law firms.”

“We are extremely pleased with the verdict in this case – which represents a complete and total vindication of our position,” said TriPacific CEO Geoffrey S. Fearns.  “Although we were disappointed that we had to bring this matter to trial, we couldn’t have asked for a better result.  Dan Livingston and Tom Vincent did a truly superlative job explaining this case to the jury, and the award of 100% of the damages we were seeking is a testament to their outstanding advocacy skills.”

Mr. Livingston and Mr. Vincent are partners in the firm’s business litigation practice, which represents companies and individuals in all types of commercial disputes, including real estate, financial institution, intellectual property, trade secret and general business disputes.