213-229-2868 Los Angeles
510-450-1850 Oakland

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

James M. Gilbert
James M. Gilbert
John C. Holmes
John C. Holmes
Edward Rhee
Edward Rhee
William W. Steckbauer
William W. Steckbauer
Sean A. Topp
Sean A. Topp

SW’s seasoned attorneys successfully handle complex cases in all types of dispute resolution and litigation forums.  Putting business objectives first, our aggressive trial advocates and experts will leave no stone unturned to achieve the best resolution for our clients.  To assist them in making decisions about litigation, the firm approaches every new matter with “litigation triage,” examining what’s at stake in the case and what it will cost to achieve the optimal result.

Real Estate Litigation

We represent clients in the full range of real estate litigation, including issues that arise in connection with purchase and sale disputes, conflicts between brokers, agents and parties to a contract, disputes between members and tenants-in-common, partnership disputes, property nuisances, land development, easement disputes construction defects, mortgages and foreclosures, leases and CC&R restrictions. SW also provides its clients with comprehensive services in all aspects of landlord and tenant litigation.

The firm offers comprehensive services in defaults and financial remedies, including foreclosure and/or appointment of a receiver and in the restructuring, settlement and disposition of defaulted loans and real property collateral, as well as defenses to and limits on payment remedies.

We offer in-depth knowledge about all types of payment remedies, how they work, the strengths and weaknesses of each, and we combine and match remedies to fit the client’s particular needs and circumstances.  Real Estate Services include:

  • Commercial Litigation / Loan Enforcement
  • Landlord/Tenant Actions
  • Real Estate Partnership disputes, including, dissolution, partition and breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Mechanics’ liens and related remedies
  • Construction defect and construction performance actions
  • Receiverships
  • Appeals
  • Writs of attachment/injunctions

Commercial Litigation

As our civil litigation system, in both Federal and State Court, dictates, we try cases as a last resort by attempting to resolve disputes at every step until trial.  The firm guides clients successfully through all aspects of the litigation process from the outset, through strategy, planning and reality-checking, as well as fact-gathering and trial preparation.

When alternative, creative resolutions are unachievable, our commercial litigators represent companies in an extremely broad range of commercial litigation, including complex contract and business tort cases of all kinds, including fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and unfair competition claims against companies and their directors and officers.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

We help our clients resolve business disputes without litigation whenever possible.  Our deep experience and expertise in business law drives our creative Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services, which go beyond traditional commercial dispute arbitration.  Arbitrators and mediators have an important role in the first steps of the dispute resolution process as neutral third parties skilled in reconciling the parties’ differences before proceeding to litigation.

We work effectively with our clients to find the right dispute resolution mechanism to free their time and resources from problems that can disrupt their operations.  We are well versed in the law that governs ADR, including issues such as the availability of discovery, the scope of the right to confidentiality in ADR proceedings, the enforceability of arbitration awards, and the ability to secure special relief, such as injunctions or punitive damages.

Receivership Actions

Our receivership attorneys provide counsel to owners of commercial real properties when a lender alleges the existence of a loan default and threatens to go into court to have a receiver placed in charge of a client’s property.  In most cases, the lender provides only 24 hours prior notice of the court hearing, so the borrower’s counsel must be ready to move quickly to oppose the lender’s action.  When a receiver is placed onto a property, the court orders the owner and its management company to surrender possession of the property along with the bank accounts and records for the property and places the receiver in full control of the property.  This is a potent weapon available to lenders due to the devastating financial impact it can have on a borrower.

A receivership is expensive and will generally bring the owner’s turnaround plans for  a property to a halt.  The receiver simply maintains the status quo until the bank forecloses on the property or the receiver sells the property to a third party to satisfy the debt.  In many cases, lenders will be willing to negotiate a more reasonable settlement of their claims against a borrower, if borrower’s counsel can delay or defeat a lender’s plan to appoint a receiver.  Our receivership attorneys know the law and are ready to hit the ground running to quickly and aggressively defend a client’s position in court.  We have successfully defended borrowers in receivership cases throughout the State of California against some of the largest law firms in America.  The attorneys within our receivership group have both prosecuted and defended hundreds of receivership cases.  This knowledge and experience allows  us to better understand and predict what the lender will do in such cases and frequently to either defeat the lender’s receivership application or negotiate a reasonable settlement on behalf of the borrower.

Insurance and Bad Faith Litigation

Our litigation practice includes representing insurers in insurance claims, coverage and bad faith litigation in federal and state courts.  We work with clients to prevent, reduce and defend bad faith claims and, when necessary, develop winning litigation strategies for trial.   Insurance and bad faith claims, such as denial of coverage or failure to negotiate a settlement, can be burdensome and time consuming to an unsuspecting insurer.  We work to minimize the time our clients spend defending these claims and are well known for squashing thorny issues before they ever make it to court.  In addition, our attorneys are extremely familiar with California’s numerous and cumbersome regulations involving insurance fair claim practices and the settlement of disputes.

Practice Areas

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