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Case Results: Landlord-Tenant Disputes

Below is a list of some of the cases the firm has handled, not a complete list, and is not a guaranty of future results.

Doe Corporation v. Roe Corporation

Klein & Wilson filed an action on behalf of its commercial property owner client against the tenant for rent and property damage. The tenant’s pre-trial offer was miniscule. At trial, Klein & Wilson proved the tenant was liable for damages totaling $330,971. Then, the court awarded Klein & Wilson’s client $132,871 in costs and attorneys’ fees, representing every penny Klein & Wilson requested.

TriMas Corporation v. United Colors of America

Klein & Wilson represented a public company in a commercial unlawful detainer action and persuaded the defendant to enter into a stipulated judgment wherein it agreed to pay Klein & Wilson‘s client $2,021,291.45 and return possession of the property if the settlement was not timely paid.

Doe Corporation v. Roe
$2 Million
Klein & Wilson obtained a $2 million judgment in a breach of lease case against a corporate tenant and then filed an action against the personal guarantor to collect the debt. The guarantor raised virtually every defense available to a surety and then, days before trial, settled the matter.

Does v. Roe Corporation

Klein & Wilson represented tenants who subleased their space to a corporation. Former counsel structured the deal in such a way that Klein & Wilson‘s clients made no money on the sublease, but remained liable to the landlord should the subtenant fail to make lease payments. Klein & Wilson filed an action against the subtenant, seeking a declaration of how to interpret the lease. At the same time, Klein & Wilson indicated there was a possibility its clients would evict the subtenants, under a provision which gave the clients a unilateral right to re-occupy the property. The case settled when the subtenant agreed to pay Klein & Wilson‘s clients $645,000 in exchange for their waiver of their right to re-occupy the property. Accordingly, Klein & Wilson turned an unprofitable transaction into a windfall.

TriMas Corporation v. J & KS Management Co., Inc.

Klein & Wilson represented a public company in a commercial unlawful detainer action and obtained a judgment against defendants in the amount of $498,052.19 plus possession of the property.

Business Center Drive Partners, L.P. v. BioGentec Corporation

BioGentec was a landlord’s worst nightmare. The company was habitually late on rent and repeatedly made commitments it did not keep. The landlord, Klein & Wilson‘s client, refused to renew the lease and, at that point, the landlord’s nightmare got worse. BioGentec held over and took advantage of every procedural opportunity to delay eviction. As a result of Klein & Wilson‘s aggressive litigation tactics, Klein & Wilson successfully evicted BioGentec and then won a substantial monetary judgment against BioGentec for back rent and attorneys’ fees. Klein & Wilson convinced the court to find the principal of BioGentec in contempt of court for failing to turn over assets. Klein & Wilson recovered almost all of the outstanding judgment when the judge threatened to throw the principal in jail.

Automasters, LLC v. Balsamo
(Landlord Trial Verdict)

Klein & Wilson represented a commercial landlord that leased property to Automasters, LLC, the successor to the Tune Up Masters’ chain. The tenant claimed the landlord’s propane business on the leased property interfered with the tenant’s business, causing the tenant to suffer over $1 million of revenue. While the case was pending, the tenant failed to comply with a number of lease provisions. Accordingly, before trial, Klein & Wilson filed a cross-complaint for ejectment to evict the tenant. At trial, the court granted Klein & Wilson‘s motion to bifurcate the trial and hear the client’s cross-complaint first. After five days of trial, the court concluded that the tenant violated the lease and issued an order evicting the tenant, dismissing the tenant’s complaint and awarding Klein & Wilson‘s client approximately $150,000 in damages.

Bovee v. Kodnegah
(Landlord Trial Verdict)
Klein & Wilson won an eviction judgment after an eleven day commercial unlawful detainer trial. The court found for Klein & Wilson‘s client on all of its causes of action, alleging the tenant breached three lease covenants unrelated to rent. The court denied the tenant’s motion for relief from forfeiture of the lease; accordingly, the tenant was evicted. The court also awarded Klein & Wilson‘s client $163,464.00 in attorneys’ fees and $7,903.47 in costs.

Doe Corporation v. Roe Corporation

In 2006, Klein & Wilson represented a tenant who leased a large building for many years. The lease required the tenant to maintain the building. Upon termination of the tenancy, the landlord demanded $765,000 to repair the premises. Klein & Wilson persuaded the landlord that many of its demands were unreasonable, and Klein & Wilson settled the case for only $350,000.

Plaza Freeway Limited Partnership v. First Mountain Bank
(Plaintiff Verdict)
Klein & Wilson represented a shopping center attempting to evict a bank tenant, based upon expiration of the bank’s lease. Both sides agreed the lease had not yet expired, but the bank executed an estoppel certificate indicating an erroneous lease expiration date. The question presented at trial was whether the bank was bound by its estoppel certificate or whether the actual lease expiration controlled. The trial court concluded the bank was not bound by the estoppel certificate. Klein & Wilson appealed, and the appellate court reversed, finding the estoppel certificate enforceable. The appellate court ordered the trial court to enter judgment in favor of Klein & Wilson‘s client. The case was a published decision and was one of the ten most important appellate decisions involving real estate.

State of California v. Diess, et al. (El Morro Village Mobile Home Park)
Klein & Wilson represented most of the residents of the El Morro Village Mobile Home Park in their effort to avoid eviction by the State of California. The matter was an extremely high profile case involving some of the leading citizens of Orange County, the California legislature, and the Governor of California. The residents of El Morro Village lived at the mobile home park for many years and the site had been a mobile home park for approximately 75 years. The State of California and very powerful forces within the State wanted the mobile home park closed and took every step possible to force the residents to leave. Klein & Wilson sought to delay eviction as long as possible to allow the residents’ lobbyist to seek a lease extension. Klein & Wilson was successful at avoiding immediate eviction of the residents and when the legislative option failed, Klein & Wilson was able to negotiate a deal with the State allowing hundreds of residents to remain for 14 months and leave their mobile homes in place without paying for the costs of removal. Klein & Wilson understands it ultimately cost the State millions of dollars in lost revenue and removal costs to return the site to its original condition. While Klein & Wilson was unable to stop the inevitable eviction, Klein & Wilson received a standing ovation from residents who came to hear a losing motion for a preliminary injunction against the State. Klein & Wilson received thank you notes from many of the residents, who are cherished to this day.