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The downturn may mean less work for our industry, but a recent eruption of real estate-related litigation is keeping attorneys at Cole Schotz on their toes-almost every contractual relationship is being tested as clients seek to protect turf, they tell us.
Cole Schotz' Christopher Caslin, Wendy Berger, Michael Leighton, and Richard Abramson
We snapped Christopher Caslin, Wendy Berger, Richard Abramson, and Michael Leighton when we visited their Third Avenue offices recently. Despite signs of recovery, they're still seeing plenty of false starts and sidetracked projects leading to disputes. The firm recently won a major case involving a prominent developer and contract vendor. The developer backed out of a contract and demanded its deposit back. Verdict: the contract vendor prevailed. Courts seem to be taking an even more careful eye to wording and not entertaining outlandish arguments and theories, unless rooted in sound historic precedent, they tell us.
Cole Schotz' Richard Abramson
They tell us there's pressure to amend or void contracts entered into pre-recession at prices that can't be refinanced today. The devil is in the details, or rather in some obscure, little-used statutes and theories the firm has used to obtain relief from such contracts, or to defend them where necessary. Researching every avenue for clients-Michael shows us how-is key. Example: technical violations of condo-sponsoring plans can be used to void contracts entered into prior to the recession. Other work keeping the attorneys busy includes debt purchase sales (which are preferred by clients to straightforward acquisitions), and foreigners looking to deploy money into US real estate.