Case Study: Tenant Sued Retail Property Owner

Godfrey Traub Managed Legal Defense for Retail Shopping Center Lawsuit

Protea’s president was a practicing commercial attorney in another country for 16 years and has managed numerous shopping centers in Canada and the U.S. since 1976. During the past 47 years he has, first as the litigator, and then as management, been involved in many lawsuits regarding real estate, with the result that management by Protea brings with it another layer of protection and expertise in relation to disputes between clients and third parties.

While Protea managed a large design center in Dallas for a European owner which was represented by a local agent, a tenant sued the owner for damages of $2,000,000. The lawsuit had nothing to do with Protea, and was defended by the local agent, using its attorneys. Two months before the agreed trial date, Protea’s president became involved in the lawsuit and he discovered that the the attorney acting for the owner was overwhelmed and making bad decisions. It appeared the tactic of the plaintiff’s attorneys was to wear the owner down and force a settlement by demanding production of several hundred documents which it intended to produce to witnesses at the trial for identification and examination. This process alone, could have taken no less than three weeks in court.

Protea’s president took over the defense, appointed new attorneys, and obtained a continuance from the court to bring new motions regarding the document production. The upshot was that the plaintiff’s attorneys, within the next several weeks, capitulated, and a settlement was reached which involved no payment by the owner to the tenant.

Prior to Protea’s president taking over the defense, the owner of the center was headed towards having to pay the tenant an excessive amount, perhaps even the whole $2 million claimed.