Real Estate and Property Litigation
We have a broad range of experience in handling real estate and property disputes, including title issues, adverse possession, nuisance, condemnation, and other issues.
Title Disputes. We have represented clients in several disputes against title insurers, from negligence in the preparation of title commitments to breach-of-contract actions for failure to pay insured claims. Example cases:
- Title Insurance Company v. Property Purchasers, et al. We represented a married couple who purchased a home and land in Reno County, Kansas. The title insurance company brought a declaratory judgment action in federal court, resulting in litigation involving allegations of misrepresentation by sellers, real estate agents and title company. A bench trial in resulted in a verdict for damages and attorney fees against the purchasers’ real estate agent, after a pre-trial settlement with the sellers. The case settled for a confidential sum before court ruled on attorney fees and costs.
- Property Investor v. Title Insurance Company. We represented a real-estate investor who purchased property that had unmarketable title resulting from a title company’s failure to adequately research title to the property in a previous foreclosure. We secured a favorable resolution with the title company without having to file suit.
Environmental Contamination. We have represented clients in disputes involving contamination of residences, commercial property, and agricultural land. In this area, we represent both property owners in civil disputes, along with property owners dealing with state or federal cleanup actions.
- Property Owner v. Restoration Contractor. We represented a family in a claim of asbestos contamination of a residence by a restoration contractor. A three-week jury trial in state court resulted in a verdict for actual and punitive damages. The case later settled for a confidential sum before the district court ruled on the amount of punitive damages.
- Land Owner v. Feedlot Company. We represented a rural property owner in a claim against an adjacent feedlot for water contamination. After suit was filed in federal court, and after the feedlot’s motion to dismiss was denied, the feedlot filed for bankruptcy protection.
- State Agency and Federal Agency v. Fertilizer Distributor. We represented a fertilizer distributor in both state and federal investigations involving allegations of soil and groundwater contamination. An early, aggressive investigation revealed the source of contamination was in fact an adjacent federal site, resulting in no liability on the part of our client.
Adverse Possession / Trespass. We have represented several clients against adjoining landowners for claims of adverse possession and trespass.
Homeowners Association Disputes. We represent both homeowners and homeowner associations in claims of violations of restrictive covenants.
Foreclosure Prosecution. We represent banks and other lenders in the foreclosure and recovery of commercial property. (Note: we do not prosecute residential foreclosure actions.)
Foreclosure Defense. We represent homeowners in the defense and workout of residential foreclosure actions.
- State Agency v. Retail Vendor: defense of business against allegations of commercial gambling and civil forfeiture. State Agency voluntarily dismissed lawsuit with prejudice after preliminary court rulings and before beginning of discovery.
- Business Owner 1 v. Business Owner 2: representation of 50-50 business owners (one case involving HVAC contracting company, another involving an implement dealership) in claims against co-owner for embezzlement, breach of fiduciary duty and conversion. Resolved on favorable terms before beginning discovery.
- Construction Supplier v. Construction Contractor: representation of materials supplier against contractor for failure to pay for significant quantity of materials. Recovery of payment-in-full, including attorney fees, after post-judgment writ of execution and seizure of contractor’s assets.
We represent businesses across Kansas in day-to-day business matters with an emphasis toward regulatory compliance and litigation prevention. Many of the businesses who use us for advising came to us initially for a litigation matter. As we have assisted our business clients in resolving outstanding disputes, we have taken the opportunity to help our clients adjust their practices to avoid litigation in the future. While this has greatly reduced the litigation our business clients have faced, it has given those businesses the confidence to contact us before problems arise so we can help them avoid costly disputes; in this way, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.