Cooley Announces Real Estate Trial Win
New York – May 24, 2011 – Cooley LLP's New York office secured a trial victory last week on behalf of two individual defendants in a real estate dispute involving a 45+ acre parcel of rare undeveloped beachfront property in the Hamptons worth in excess of $50 million.
The defendants bought interests in the property from the plaintiff under a deal in which each of them and the plaintiff would receive five-acre oceanfront lots for residential use once the property was subdivided. Under a complex set of agreements, one term provided that if the planning authorities insisted on modifications that would have an adverse "overall impact" on the plaintiff's residential lot, then the plaintiff could seek compensation from the defendants in the form of transferring land from their lots to the plaintiff to "share" the burden.
When the local authorities asked that a 1.5 acre drainage easement be imposed on the plaintiff's lot as a condition of obtaining subdivision approval, the plaintiff demanded land from the defendants. The plaintiff brought an action in federal court under diversity jurisdiction seeking a declaratory judgment that he was legally entitled to over an acre of land from Cooley's clients.
After a four-day bench trial before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that notwithstanding the imposition of a 1.5 acre drainage easement, the plaintiff had suffered no tangible "overall impact" and thus was not entitled to receive any land from the defendants.
The trial team, which handled all aspects of the case from the initial complaint until judgment included partners Alan Levine and Jason Koral and associate Jennifer Lerner.
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