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What Are the Landlord’s Remedies When a Tenant Breaches a Commercial Lease?

In California, commercial tenants generally have several additional obligations that go beyond paying the monthly rent. This may appear to benefit landlords, but it can also mean significant losses in case the tenant decides to default on the lease. An experienced northern California real estate attorney will be able to explain the available legal remedies for recovering damages if your tenant defaults on the terms mentioned within the commercial lease.

Type of Commercial Lease Breach

The first step a landlord should take when a tenant breaks the commercial lease is to determine the type of default or breach that has occurred under the law. A seasoned real estate attorney can provide the right legal advice in this matter.

There are different remedies available depending on the nature of the default. Breach of commercial lease usually falls into two categories:

  • Monetary default: This is where the tenant fails to fulfill contractual obligations, such as rent or utility payments.
  • Nonmonetary default: This is where another contractual obligation is breached, such as failure to have proper insurance, damaging the property, or using the property for unintended or non-permitted use.

You should note the terms of your particular lease agreement since many of these allow you to convert non-monetary lease agreements to monetary in nature. For instance, if you agree to repair the damage caused by non-monetary defaults, you can add the cost to your tenant’s rent. It can be harder to enforce remedies to nonmonetary defaults as compared to monetary ones.

Remedies Available to Commercial Landlords in California

Landlords can take further action if a commercial tenant fails to remedy the breach within a reasonable or applicable notice period. The primary decision that needs to be taken by a landlord is to whether end the lease and evict the tenant or preserve the relationship while still recovering damages.

Preserve the lease

Landlords in California have four primary remedies when they want to preserve the lease agreement:

  • Distraint: Landlords (usually with a bailiff) are allowed to enter the premises and seize goods of a value matching the outstanding monies owed. Strict rules are in place to govern distraint. You may be exposed to liability for damages if these rules are breached.
  • Damages: The tenant can be sued by the landlord for monetary damages resulting from the tenant’s default.
  • Injunction: This is a court order which forces an individual to stop doing something. The landlord may seek an injunction for stopping a tenant from using the leased premises for operating a business that is not permitted through the lease, for example.
  • Specific performance: Commercial landlords can seek an order for specific performance in certain circumstances. These force the tenant to act in a specific manner. For instance, the tenant may be required to repair damages as per the order.

Terminate the lease

You may decide to terminate the landlord-tenant relationship, in which case you have three available remedies that can be used together or separately:

  • Forfeiture: Written notices are provided by the landlord for the purpose of lease termination. This remedy is usually enforced to prevent a tenant from entering the premises.
  • Writ of possession: This court order allows the bailiff to take possession of the property on behalf of the landlord. It’s useful in situations where it is not practical to physically exclude the tenant from the premises.
  • Damages: The landlord may choose to seek damages as a result of the lease termination. This usually involves lost future rent payments. Taking this into account, the landlord also has a duty to minimize losses by finding another tenant quickly.

Claiming Monetary Damages for a Breach of Lease in California

Tenants are liable for rent owed under the lease terms if they breach a lease. This includes compensation for losses as a result of failure to perform property maintenance and other obligations. Damages for unpaid rent will include any arrearages for the time that has already passed.

Under California law, landlords are allowed to recover:

  • Unpaid rent that is already owed.
  • Difference amount from the rent of a new tenant going forward if it is less than the defaulted lease. This difference can only be collected for the remainder of the lease term.

It’s critical to understand that monetary damages are limited by the landlord’s duty to reduce damages. This duty states that a landlord is not allowed to let their rental property sit for a lease term if they could have found a new tenant.

Watch Out for Waivers

Your right to terminate a lease may be considered waived if your tenant can prove that you knew of the breach but acted as if the lease was still in effect. For instance, the tenant can argue that you have willingly accepted the breach if you continued to accept rent. This is constituted as a waiver of the breach.

Get a Trusted Real Estate Attorney on Your Side

The experienced attorneys at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds will assess various aspects of your commercial lease default to find the most effective legal strategy going forward. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping property owners that have been wronged by their tenants. To request your confidential consultation with us, call (415) 849-2564 or write to us online

What Constitutes a Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California?

Fiduciary relationships work to ensure the highest degree of loyalty and care from one party to another. Breach of fiduciary duty can do more than violate this trust relationship – it may result in irrecoverable costs in a variety of forms.

What is a Fiduciary Relationship?

A fiduciary relationship has been defined within the California Civil Jury Instructions published in 2017 as “any relation existing between parties to a transaction wherein one of the parties is duty bound to act with the utmost good faith for the benefit of the other party.”

In essence, the fiduciary duty of a party to their beneficiary exists when the beneficiary places their complete confidence in the fiduciary’s integrity. The fiduciary is not allowed to work against the beneficiary’s interests or take advantage of them without consent or knowledge.

These are a few typical examples of individuals and organizations owing fiduciary duty:

  • Banks to their borrowers
  • Attorneys to their clients
  • Controlling shareholders to minority shareholders
  • Business partners
  • Insurer to insured
  • Corporations to their stockholders
  • Pension fund trustee to pensioner beneficiary
  • Joint venturers
  • Stockbroker to client
  • Spouse to spouse
  • Trustee to trust beneficiary
  • Trade unions to union members

Forms of Breach of Fiduciary Duty in California

A person agreeing to act as a fiduciary essentially promises to act in the best interests of the other party. Hence, a breach of fiduciary duty takes place when the fiduciary acts in a self-interested or self-serving manner. Typically, breaches of fiduciary duty take place due to deception or negligence on the fiduciary’s behalf.

These are a few common examples of a breach of fiduciary duty:

  • Acting in a manner beneficial to a competitor
  • Sharing an employer’s secrets
  • Mishandling for company funds or assets
  • Deliberately withholding important information from partners
  • Engaging in any conduct legally classified as self-dealing
  • Using the trust’s property for the fiduciary’s own benefit

Consequences of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty

It’s important to understand that a breach of fiduciary duty is not a criminal act in itself. But it can be tied to one. For instance, insider trading is not just a breach of fiduciary duty, but it is also a crime depending on the significance of the wrongdoing.

The fiduciary won’t just have to deal with the damages associated with their breach, but also the consequences of a criminal act in certain cases. This may include penalties and jail time. In California, a plaintiff can demand compensatory damages along with punitive damages.

Punitive damages are awarded in more exceptional cases. They are not meant to compensate the plaintiff, but to punish the defendant and send a message to society that this particular breach of fiduciary duty is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The difficulty lies in quantifying damages and actually proving that a breach exists. This is where a qualified civil litigation attorney can prove to be useful.

Elements of a Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim

There are four primary elements that need to be demonstrated to successfully prove a breach of fiduciary duty. Plaintiffs can recover damages caused by a defendant by providing substantial evidence supporting the specific components.

Plaintiffs should be prepared to show that:

  • Fiduciary relationship existed and the principal was owed a duty by the fiduciary.
  • Fiduciary acted in a manner that breached or contradicted their expected duties.
  • Fiduciary’s actions caused the principal to suffer damages.
  • Damages incurred on the principal were a direct result of a breach of fiduciary duty.

According to California’s Code of Civil Procedure section 343, you have four years to file a breach of fiduciary duty claim. But this is not a universal statute of limitations.

Your claim may have grounds for constructive fraud, in which case the statute of limitations will be reduced to three years. This makes it crucial to contact an attorney to discuss your options and file a claim in a timely manner.

It’s important to set realistic expectations regarding the next steps whether you are a defendant or a plaintiff in a breach of fiduciary duty claim. A reputable business attorney in California will be able to explain the fine nuances of the way the law applies to your particular case. This includes reviewing arbitration agreements, options for litigation, and the possibility of settling out of court.

There may be multiple parties involved in your claim, which could make it complex. Filing a claim can be costly and may last for months. For this reason, it is in your best interests to act swiftly if you believe you were harmed by a breach of fiduciary duty.

Our Seasoned Civil Litigation Lawyers are Ready to Fight for You

The attorneys at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds have helped numerous clients attain fair compensation to cover the losses suffered through a breach of fiduciary duty. Our lawyers have extensive legal knowledge and experience successfully litigating fiduciary breach cases across a wide array of circumstances.

Schedule your comprehensive case review with our lawyers today. Call us at (415) 849-2564 or contact us online.

Understanding Quiet Title Action Lawsuits in California

Uncertain property boundaries between neighbors, boundary disputes, unclear ownership of inherited property, and claims of adverse possession are some of the common reasons for filing quiet title actions in California. This type of lawsuit requires legal representation from an experienced real estate attorney for settling a dispute and establishing title to the property.

Quiet Title Lawsuits in California

The purpose of quieting title to a property is to establish clear ownership of the title against adverse claims or any interest in the real property as per Cal. Civ. Code § 760.020. Quiet title action represents a legal proceeding whereby an entity or person claims title to a portion or all of a specific real property. The Plaintiff asks the Court for a ruling that their title is superior to any other interest claimed by the Defendant.

It’s essential that the action is filed in the same county where the real property is located physically. The Court has the supreme power to make determinations on the title issues once you file the quiet title action.

It is important to understand that these lawsuits are particularly powerful. Hence, they involve stringent requirements as compared to other lawsuits in the real estate field. It’s also necessary to understand that quiet title actions are different from cancellation of instrument claims and claims to remove a cloud on the title.

Purpose of Filing a Quiet Title Action

Quiet title lawsuits are filed for targeting any adverse interests in a real estate property. The claim is appropriate for establishing an interest against other existing clouds on the title or adverse claims in real property ((Paterra v. Hansen (2021) 64 Cal.App.5th 507, 532.) All quiet title actions seek to sue unnamed defendants designated as persons claiming an interest in the concerned property.

If the Plaintiff is successful in their action, the court will establish their title, which will become binding on non-parties to the suit. Quiet title action judgments are good against the world in a manner of speaking (Nickell v. Matlock (2012) 206 Cal. App.4th 934, 944.)

These are a few typical reasons for filing a quiet title action:

  • Boundary disputes: These arise when adjoining property owners disagree over the location of a boundary line.
  • Errors on deed: This refers to clerical errors on a deed that requires resolving.
  • Easement on property: A Plaintiff may seek to establish the duties and rights regarding the easement on a real estate property.
  • Lienholder claims: The property may have claims by lienholders regarding unpaid property taxes or for an outstanding Deed of Trust that doesn’t appear to have been discharged.

Special Requirements for Bringing a Quiet Title Action in California

Quiet title actions have several unique requirements, which is why they are characterized as stringent. These lawsuits are commenced by filing a complaint with the court for quieting the title as per Code Civ. Proc. § 761.010(a). The complaint is required to satisfy certain components as mentioned in the California Code of Civil Procedure.

The complaint to quiet title in California should contain the following as per Code Civ. Proc. § 761.020:

  • Description of the issue property.
  • Title of the Plaintiff that requires determination.
  • Adverse claims to the title held by the Plaintiff.
  • Date as of which the quiet title determination is sought.
  • Prayer for determination of the title against adverse claims.

Quiet Title Judgement Cannot be Obtained by Default

There is a ban on judgment by default in a quiet title action. Normally, if the Defendant fails to appear or respond to a lawsuit in court, the Plaintiff can request for a default judgment. This judgment is generally binding if there are no problems with the process service.

Based on this, the unambiguous language of Code Civ. Proc. § 761.010 establishes that the court cannot enter a judgment by default and will in all cases require evidence of the Plaintiff’s title. The power of the quiet title judgment is the primary reason for this unusual restriction. Judgment on these actions becomes final and is good against the world.

Should You Consult with a Quiet Title Attorney?

The chief objective of a quiet title action is to obtain clear ownership of the property. It also helps in settling any flaws found during a property title search.

In relation to this, the process of filing a quiet title is not always straightforward or easy. It takes a skilled attorney specializing in real estate to examine the title, review search results, and take the necessary steps for obtaining a title insurance policy.

This will help in preventing possible clouds on the title. A seasoned attorney will know clearly what needs to be done in case of title defects. It’s wise to speak with an attorney regarding the claim since conflicts in property ownership routinely lead to litigation.

Our Reputable Quiet Title Co-Ownership and Partition Attorneys are Here to Give You the Right Legal Advice and Support

You don’t need to fight a quiet title battle on your own. The real estate attorneys at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds have vast experience in handling such lawsuits throughout California. When you sign up with us, our legal team will immediately move to take the necessary steps and help you obtain a clear title to your property.

To set up your initial consultation with our attorneys, call us at (415) 849-2564 or reach us online.

Mechanics Liens Process for Contractors and Subcontractors

Firm handshakes can no longer be trusted by contractors and subcontractors to ensure they get paid. Proper use of a mechanics lien is one of the best ways to obtain a security interest in the owner’s property. An experienced California real estate attorney can help ensure you follow the statutory process for preparing, filing, and enforcing a mechanics lien.

Need for Mechanics Lien

Contractors and subcontractors can use mechanics liens to collect payment for their construction work and supplies. The lien allows for taking possession of the property on which the work was completed if the property owner fails in making the necessary payments.

Mechanics liens are typically filed against property owners when they fail to pay their contractors and subcontractors. Filing a mechanics lien should not be your first go-to option, however. You should try and obtain your payment in an amicable fashion.

Call the property owner. Send them reminder emails and notifications for the property. You should let them know that you fully intend on pursuing legal remedies to get your fair and due payment.

This will let a judge know that you tried your best to resolve the dispute in good faith before filing a suit. If the property owner is hell-bent on not paying you, it may be time to file a lawsuit for a breach of contract and other damages (quantum meruit) along with a mechanics lien.

Process for Filing a Mechanics Lien in California

You can file a mechanics lien in 6 easy steps. While these steps may seem straightforward, it’s recommended that you have a reputable law firm represent your interests. California law requires you to do the following for filing a mechanics lien:

Include the provision in your contract

Contractors are usually required to inform the property owner regarding the right to payment and filing of a mechanics lien. This language should be included in your services or materials contract. It will essentially protect your rights in case you are not paid and have to file a lien down the road.

Send direct notice to the property owner

You are required to send notice to the property owner directly within 45 days advising them of the right to file a lien. Contractors should also explain that the property owner has the authority to make direct payments to the subcontractors for materials or work. This is an important notice as it preserves your access to filing a mechanics lien.

Obtain owner information

Subcontractors may not have direct access to the property owner. They should demand the name and address of the property owner for which they are providing the materials and services. It’s best to make this demand in writing with the contractor.

Request payment

The mechanics lien cannot be filed right away. You should first ask the property owner for payment before using the lien option. The property owner should also be given the opportunity to pay. Send a nonpayment letter to the property owner reminding them of the dues.

File a Statement of Lien

You only get 120 days for filing the Statement of Lien. The timer starts from the day you completed the work and not when the due date for the payment was missed. You may end up waiving your right to claim a lien if you miss this deadline. The original Statement of Lien has to be filed with the county recorder. A copy of the same needs to be sent to the property owner using certified mail.

Legal action

You can take further legal action against the property owner. You get 365 days from the last day of work to file a complaint against the property owner

Your first step when considering filing a mechanics lien should be hiring an attorney. It’s best to work with an established law firm with the necessary experience.

Do You Have a Right to File a Lien?

You will need to determine whether you have the right to file a mechanics lien or not. Certain construction laws in California state the circumstances in which contractors and subcontractors can file a lien.

Just because the property owner did not pay you, doesn’t give you an automatic right to file a lien. On a related note, you can always lose the right to file a lien even if you had that right at the beginning of the project.

“Frivolous lien” refers to a lien when you did not have the right to file it. This can lead to an expensive legal mess. There is a lot of room for error in these situations since nothing is set in black or white. This makes it important for you to work with a qualified real estate business lawyer who understands the laws and your needs.

Speak With an Experienced Real Estate Attorney in California Today

It can be difficult and confusing to figure out whether you have lien rights or not. The real estate lawyers at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds can help you understand all available legal options to recover the money you are owed from the property owner.

To schedule your initial consultation with our office, call us today at (415) 849-2564 or fill out our online contact form.

Understanding And Resolving Easement Disputes in California

According to a recent survey, 17% of real estate issues were found to be boundary disputes between neighbors. This occurs when residents are uncertain about where their property begins and ends.

Unfortunately, easement disputes can quickly become ugly, lengthy, and expensive. An experienced real estate attorney can help you with skilled legal guidance and direction if you are involved in a boundary dispute with your neighbor.

Overview of Easement Issues in California

An easement refers to a situation in which an entity or individual has the legal right to use or occupy the land of another person for a particular purpose. However, the landowner retains the title. Such property is usually termed “servient estate.” The property owner can keep every other person from using the land except the easement holder.

Types of Easements in California

There are four general types of easements that apply to properties in California. These are:

Easement by Express Grant

Express easements are created when the easement is granted by the landowner. This allows another entity or person to use the land as specified or directed.

An express easement can be created using a contract, grant, deed, or any other form of written document. It’s recommended that you work with a trusted attorney to draft the express easement document. This will help prevent common disputes from cropping up at a later date.

Easement by Implication

The second type of easement is by implication. This is created when it becomes certified by law that there was a previous easement between the two parties (although implied). It’s necessary for the claimant of the implied easement to bring proof that they had the landlord’s word or were already able to use the servient estate for a defined purpose.

Easement by Necessity

Easement by necessity happens when there is no other option but to use the land for the intended purpose. It becomes absolutely necessary to allow the use of land for the specified purpose in easement by necessity. This happens when there may not be any possible alternative for accessing the other person’s property. For instance, a landlocked party will need to use their neighbor’s property for accessing their own property.

Easement by Prescription

A prescriptive easement is generally granted when an individual continues using a part of another person’s land for a certain time period. Easement by prescription can be granted even if the landowner did not specifically permit the use of the land.

Common Examples of Easement Disputes in California

Easement disputes between neighbors are a common issue in California as previously stated. These are a few common easement and boundary disputes between neighbors:

  • Trespassing: Landowners have an express right to keep their property safe from unwanted intruders and strangers. A neighbor driving through another’s land every day can be considered trespassing if it is without permission.
  • Interference: Interference happens when the actions of a person hinder or affect the purpose for which the property easement was granted in the first place. The person interfering with the use of easement can be held responsible for their actions.
  • Zoning: Zoning and land-use regulations, which prevent a landowner from using the property can be the cause for an easement dispute between the landowner and the city.

Easement and boundary disputes should not be taken lightly. You should speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you are involved in one. In fact, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney even before you formally discuss the issue with your neighbor.

Your attorney will be able to help direct the conversation in the right direction while maintaining your best interests. They may also outline the available legal actions at your disposal in order to obtain a favorable outcome.

Resolving an Easement Dispute

Easement disputes frequently turn into frustrating and lengthy arguments. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. There are a few possible ways of resolving a dispute if you are a property owner who is frustrated by an easement.

  • Try and resolve the disagreement mutually by opening a discussion with your neighbor. This approach usually works with neighbors that are friendly, reasonably minded, and community-driven.
  • Try to enter into a contract or agreement with the easement holder for the purpose of putting an end to the easement entirely.
  • Purchase the neighbor’s property if you have the means and your neighbor agrees.
  • Send a demand letter to the easement holder or neighbor. Note: it is best to have your letter drafted or at the very least reviewed by an experienced attorney.
  • Use the threat of legal action as leverage to negotiate with the easement holder or neighbor. Using a document that is drafted by a well-established law firm usually works well with this strategy.
  • Speak with a dedicated attorney about legal remedies that are available for limiting or terminating the easement.
  • If other more amicable measures have been exhausted, file a lawsuit against the easement holder to recover monetary damages if they improperly used the easement and caused you to sustain compensable losses.

Consult With an Experienced Real Estate Attorney in California

The experienced team of real estate attorneys at Peterson, Martin & Reynolds is committed to offering comprehensive representation with regard to easement disputes and other types of boundary dispute issues. We encourage you to set up a case evaluation by calling us at (415) 849-2564 or reaching out to us online.


Peterson, Martin, & Reynolds LLP Celebrates 25 Years Practicing in the Bay Area

At Peterson, Martin & Reynolds, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our founding on November 19th. Since 1997, we have been honored to serve numerous clients in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California. Our fearless, vigorous, and effective approach has helped us establish a successful track record both in litigation and with alternative forms of dispute resolution. We have tried countless cases to verdict and judgment in state and federal courts, and we have consistently achieved successful results for our clients.

Over the past two and a half decades, our firm has thrived not only because of the favorable outcomes we have secured for our clients; but also because of our commitment to providing exceptional client service.

We believe that those we represent deserve to have strong legal advocates who are responsive to their needs. We have always worked closely with our clients, taking the time to thoroughly understand their goals and customizing solutions that are designed to achieve their goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. This is why so many of our clients are referred to us by those whom we have worked with in the past.

We thank you for trusting us with your legal needs during the past 25 years, and we look forward to serving our community for many years to come.

Court Grants Equitable Easement Giving Exclusive Use of Property to Neighbor

The recent Romero v. Shih case provides a keen reminder of the risks to home buyers unaware of lot lines and historical uses of real property.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, reversed in part and affirmed in part the trial court’s ruling granting an implied easement and an equitable easement for exclusive use of property containing a fence and driveway.

Two adjacent property owners sued each other over the right to use an 8-foot-wide strip of land between them. Years earlier, the owner of both properties had applied for a lot line adjustment, which was conditionally approved by the City of Sierra Madre but never finalized or recorded by the owner. The owner obtained a survey, built a fence on the intended lot line and used the strip as a driveway. After both lots had been transferred several times to separate owners over the years, it was discovered that the fence and driveway on Lot A were encroaching on Lot B.

Romero, the owner of Lot B, sued for trespass and to quiet title to the strip of land. Shih, the owner of Lot A, cross-complained seeking an easement to use the land. There was no dispute that Romero owned the land at issue. The evidence showed that removal of the encroachment would have severely limited Shih’s use of the driveway and parking area on Lot A, and that alternatives such as moving one side of the residence were expensive and unreasonable. The trial court ruled that Shih had an exclusive implied easement and an equitable easement to use the strip as it had been used historically.

The Court of Appeal reversed in part and affirmed in part.

An easement gives a nonpossessory and restricted right to a specific use or activity upon another’s property. When there is no writing confirming the easement, an implied easement can arise in limited circumstances. An implied easement gives effect to the intent of the original parties to grant use of real property in the same manner and to the same extent as it was being used at the time of the transfer of property. Exclusive implied easements, which in effect strip the servient tenement owner of the right of use, are disfavored and rare.

In this case of first impression, the Court held that an exclusive implied easement, which for all practical purposes amounted to fee title, was not justified because Shih’s encroachment did not meet the requirements of being either de minimis or necessary for safety or public utility purposes.

On the other hand, the Court affirmed the grant of an equitable easement, which gives a court discretion to protect the encroacher’s continued use and award damages where there has been no legal right to encroach. This remedy requires factual findings of (1) innocent trespass by the encroacher; (2) no irreparable injury to the property owner; and (3) disproportionate hardship to the trespasser. Here, Romero had never used the strip and provided no evidence of actual plans to do so. The actual harm to Shih if the encroachment were removed far outweighed the hardship to Romero from keeping it in place.

PMR Webinar – DRE Complaints, Investigations & Outcomes: What Brokers Need to Know

Peterson Martin & Reynolds LLP’s 22nd Annual Managing Brokers Program!

This essential webinar presentation on the California Department of Real Estate’s complaint process includes topics such as how licensees get onto the DRE’s radar, the anatomy of DRE investigations, options available to the DRE when addressing violations of the laws they enforce, addressing rules violations, best practices to protect against DRE complaints, being familiar with and prepared for potential corresponding civil litigation, and more.

April 20, 2022


Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP Successfully Defends Residential Homeowner Clients from Meritless Nondisclosure Claims

In January 2022, Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP obtained a judgment affirming an arbitration award on behalf of its clients finding in their favor and awarding PMR’s clients $240,953 in attorney fees and costs.  The case involved home buyers’ allegations that PMR’s clients had concealed dry rot throughout the framing of an extensively renovated hillside home when they sold the Point Richmond, California home to the buyers.  Although the buyers did in fact discover extensive dry rot when they attempted to remodel the home, PMR’s clients denied they had any actual knowledge of the dry rot condition when they sold the home to the buyers.  After a 4-day arbitration hearing, the Arbitrator ruled in favor of PMR’s clients, denied the buyers’ claims and awarded PMR’s clients $240,953 in attorney fees and costs for having to defend the claims.

Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP Wins $2,159,692 Arbitration Award for Residential Homeowner Clients

In April 2022, Peterson, Martin & Reynolds LLP obtained a Final Arbitration Award for residential real estate clients in the amount of $2,159,692.  In 2016, PMR’s clients had purchased a 3,139 square foot home in an upscale neighborhood in Lafayette, California. The home was built in 1947, and was sold as being on a private, secluded and secure 1.4 acre lot.  The seller of the lot failed to disclose that a pathway that ran through the property had served for decades as a popular, well-travelled trail to the surrounding community. The purchase contract called for arbitration of any disputes. PMR’s lawyers filed for arbitration on behalf of the clients, alleging non-disclosure by the seller. After an 8-day arbitration hearing, the Arbitrator found the seller had intentionally failed to disclose the public’s historical use of the pathway through the property, and awarded $2,159,692 to PMR’s clients, including compensation for diminution in value, loss of use and enjoyment, out-of-pocket remodeling expenses, and attorney fees and costs.