If you are involved in a real estate transaction dispute that has reached the point that you need an experienced litigator to protect your investment, call Norton & Associates today for a consultation.
Attorney Timothy Norton 33 years of experience handling complex real estate litigation including $190m in jury verdict awards, $70m in punitive damages for fraud, and millions in settlements, including the following:
- All real estate and real property litigation
- Purchase and sale of real property
- Disclosure/non-disclosure and fraud
- Damages to real property and loss of investment value
- Lawsuits, arbitration, mediation and trial
Get a complimentary evaluation of your case. Norton & Associates serves clients in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County and the L.A. Metropolitan area of California. Call (310) 706-4134 today to get started.
Failure to Disclose Defects
Sellers of real property in California have a legal duty to disclose any and all conditions which they are aware of that might affect the value or desirability of a property. Many sellers and their agents will either fail to disclose all of the known conditions or will intentionally conceal them. This gives rise to a claim by the buyer for failure to disclose and possibly fraud, if the non-disclosure was intentional. Evidence of intent is often found in the record of emails, writings and the record of construction or repairs.
A failure to disclose and non-disclosure will almost certainly result in the buyer receiving less value than they paid and a loss in the value of the real property. This can seriously damage the investment value of the property. The buyer then bears not only the loss, but is required to disclose these known conditions to any subsequent buyer. In this circumstance, it is vital that the buyer look to the seller for recovery and damages, and consult with an experienced real estate litigator, such as Timothy Norton, to know and understand your rights and your potential claims.
When the Seller Is Also the Builder
In cases where the builder is the seller and there are construction defects, there is an overlap between a construction defect case and a real estate disclosure case. These hybrid cases can be very complex. Timothy Norton has been handling exactly this type of case for over 30 years, with $190m in jury verdicts in these matters.
This type of case usually involves the builder as a developer of custom homes who then sells the property directly to the public. The scope of remedies for damages in this circumstance are very wide and varied, providing buyers with a range of recovery options, including recovery for express and implied warranties, as well as damages for non-disclosure as required in all California real property sales. In this case, the buyer has a contract directly with the builder/developer, which may offer substantial protections, as well as a real estate purchase and sale agreement. This is an optimal situation for any buyer who’s been damaged and who is seeking to protect their investment recover lost value. This applies to almost any real property transaction, including custom homes, residential homes, condominiums, townhomes, warehouses, commercial and industrial lofts, residential lofts and high-rise construction. Timothy Norton has over 30 years experience litigating real estate matters in all of the foregoing forms, from custom homes to industrial warehouses.
Damages in real estate litigation can be substantial. In order to calculate and prove the value of your damages, a wide array of factors must be considered, including the loss of investment value, damage to the property, costs of repair, appraisal valuation and the time and cost of remediation. Timothy Norton has extensive experience in assembling professional experts and consultants who determine and define those damages and who present those damages in a clear and artful way that promotes settlement, resolution and success at trial.
Settlement & Mediation
The majority of cases never go to trial. They are resolved by a negotiated settlement. According to various reports and statistics, about 95% of all cases are resolved via settlement. That percentage may even be higher in construction and real estate matters. This may be due to many factors, one of which is the availability of insurance to cover property damage in defect cases.
The primary process for settlement is through mediation, a voluntary, non-binding, confidential process, where a neutral mediator is selected by the parties to assist them in achieving a voluntary agreement to settle the matter. The “mediation” is a meeting of the parties, often in separate rooms, where the mediator confers privately with the parties in an effort to achieve a settlement. A settlement is often the result of intense efforts by everyone to arrive at a figure of settlement that both compromises the claims and meets the needs of the parties. There is an extraordinary and clearly calculated value to ending litigation and receiving a guaranteed sum as weighed against the uncertainly and expense of continued litigation. Mediation is a very important element of the litigation process for the simple reason that a negotiated settlement is a known and agreed outcome that provides a recovery and resolves the case without further expense or risk.
The timing of mediation is critical. Although early mediation may be beneficial, if mediation takes place too early, the parties are not be fully informed of the facts, issues and claims, and the mediation may not result in a settlement. Still, one gathers crucial and valuable information on your opponents strengths and weaknesses, as well as their posture, style and methods of negotiation The critical time to mediate a case successfully is when the facts have been determined to a degree that witnesses cannot change or alter their testimony on critical points, when the basic record of documents is shared and known, and when the quantum of damages to the demanded is known. From there, the selection of the mediator as well as the attorney’s skill in knowing how and what to reveal and present, and what outcome is obtainable, are critical to a successful mediation. Often multiple mediations are required as the issues are narrowed, and the smaller players are settled out. Perhaps the single most important element to mediation is a focused and clear evaluation of the damages, combined with an assessment of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the parties, the players, the witnesses and the evidence, the insurance policies and coverage, and an understanding of ultimately how the case would play out in front of a jury, and the costs of a full-blown jury trial.
Timothy Norton has 33 years of experience negotiating, mediating and settling complex claims. He is familiar with the best and most successful mediators. This experience is an invaluable asset in settlement negotiations and in pursuing and completing a successful mediation strategy.
Call Norton & Associates
Real estate litigation can be complicated. If you have an ongoing real estate case, have been damaged in a real property transaction or sustained damage to real property, call Norton & Associates today at (310) 706-4134 or contact us for an appointment and free consultation. We’re here to help clients in Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles, the L.A. metro area and Los Angeles County.