According to the National Association of Realtors’ third quarter 2022 report, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas Metro Area commercial real estate space is “stronger than nationwide” in the office, multifamily, industrial, and retail space. This region represents a prime opportunity for investors; however, the increase in commercial real estate activity can lead to a higher incidence of litigation.
The Hunnicutt Law Group practices many types of commercial real estate litigation matters while serving Dallas, Texas, and the surrounding areas. For over 25 years, we have provided outstanding legal representation for a fraction of the price charged by big law firms.
What Are the Common Types of Commercial Real Estate Litigation Cases?
Commercial real estate litigation cases come in a variety of forms, such as:
- Breach of contract;
- Title disputes;
- Breach of fiduciary duty;
- Fraudulent representation;
- Construction litigation matters; and
- Foreclosure actions.
Anything involving commercial real estate can, unfortunately, result in litigation. Seasoned and new entrepreneurs may find themselves in a legal dispute, regardless of how careful they are.
What Do You Need to Prove to Have a Valid Commercial Real Estate Litigation Case?
Different types of commercial real estate disputes require the plaintiff to prove varying elements or factors to win their case. The Hunnicutt Law Group provides a general discussion of common types below.
Breach of Contract Case
To bring a valid breach of contract claim, you must show the following elements:
- You and the breaching party entered into a valid contract.
- You met your obligations under the contract (or were prepared to do so).
- The other party failed to meet their commitments or informed you that they will not perform when the time comes.
- Because the other party did not perform under the contract, you suffered damages.
You can put forth evidence of a valid offer and acceptance to prove you have an enforceable contract. Additionally, you need to show that both parties had benefits and burdens under the agreement (e.g., the contract was supported by consideration).
Fraudulent Misrepresentation Case
The basic premise of a fraudulent misrepresentation case is that the other person should have been truthful to you and failed to do so with the intent or purpose of defrauding you.
For example, in a commercial real estate transaction, the parties must be truthful when making representations about the property. If they intentionally mislead or lie to the buyer to get them to proceed with the transaction, this may constitute fraudulent misrepresentation.
Construction Litigation Case
Construction litigation cases can cover a variety of situations, such as construction defect issues and breach of contract. What you need to prove to have a successful claim heavily depends on the type of legal issue at play.
For example, in a construction defect case, you need to prove, among other things, that there is a defect and that it materially impacts the transaction or property. A breach of the construction contract will require proof of substantial completion.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Case
Commercial real estate litigation cases can involve a breach of fiduciary duty in many contexts. A fiduciary duty is the highest duty under the law. The fiduciary must put the beneficiary’s interest before his own.
For example, if a business partner or board member breaches their fiduciary duty in a transaction, you may have a claim against them.
The essential elements of a breach of fiduciary duty claim are the following:
- Someone owed you a fiduciary duty.
- They failed to meet the fiduciary duty.
- You suffered damages because of the breach of fiduciary duty.
- There is a causal link between the breach of duty and your resulting damages.
Fiduciary duties can arise from a contract or someone’s position. Contractual fiduciary duties include good faith and fair dealing, while other responsibilities include the duty of loyalty and care. The circumstances dictate the fiduciary obligations the person owed you and whether they failed to meet those obligations.
What Steps Can You Take to Minimize the Impact of Different Kinds of Commercial Real Estate Litigation Disputes?
The best lawsuit is one that never happens. Disputes may be unavoidable, but you can take steps to minimize the impact or likelihood of otherwise costly litigation.
Have Written Agreements in Place
There is an adage in the legal profession: “If it is not in writing, it did not happen.” Having written documentation limits the potential for miscommunication and manipulation. Further, in some cases, an agreement must be in writing to be enforceable.
Contact an Attorney Early in the Process
Legal disputes are best addressed by experienced attorneys with decades of knowledge and training in the law. Sometimes, a carefully worded email, letter, or phone conversation can avoid the lawsuit altogether.
Ignoring a potential legal dispute or attempting to address it without tailored legal advice can have negative consequences. Contacting an attorney early in the process can help limit the potential for the conflict to get out of hand.
Meet Your Filing Deadlines
To have a valid claim, you must bring the lawsuit within the applicable deadline or statute of limitations. If you file the claim beyond the deadline, the court may dismiss your case, and you may not be able to bring the lawsuit against the party.
For example, Texas law requires plaintiffs to bring most types of breach of contract cases within four years after the cause of action accrues. Other kinds of commercial real estate litigation carry their own deadlines. To find out what applies to your case, contact an experienced Texas commercial real estate attorney.
Take Steps to Mitigate Your Losses
Once a legal dispute arises—such as a breach of contract—the parties must mitigate or at least not worsen their situation. Once a breach or other matter occurs, do your best to limit your losses and take responsible steps when reacting to the issue.
If you incur unnecessary expenses or do things that worsen your situation, the at-fault party or their insurance company may use this to limit the compensation they pay to you.
The Hunnicutt Law Group—Commercial Real Estate Litigation Lawyers Serving Texas
We understand that a legal dispute does more than disrupt your finances; it interrupts your life. We strive to ease the burden by providing you with excellent and professional legal counsel in your time of need. Our goal is to protect your rights and investments effectively and efficiently.
We provide top-notch, personalized legal counsel to our clients, treating them like people rather than numbers or dollar signs. For over 30 years, we have delivered successful results to hundreds of clients.
If you are involved in a commercial real estate dispute, contact us today by calling 214-361-6740 or filling out our online contact form to schedule your consultation. Our firm also provides video conferencing for your convenience.a