Ulwelling Law Results

Seller forced to sell house

Description

Clients were a husband and wife seeking to purchase a new home in Torrance. They entered into a contract, but the seller refused to complete the transaction, arguing that the buyers had failed to close the escrow on time. James’ clients went to binding arbitration and prevailed. The arbitrator entered an award requiring the opposing party to complete the sale at the contract price, and to fully reimburse James’ clients for their attorney fees and costs. James then successful petitioned the Los Angeles County Superior Court to confirm the arbitration award and enter a judgment.

Case Name

Do v. Van Bastelaar

Myers v. The Retreat Homeowners Association

Case Conclusion Date

09.27.2016

Outcome

Judgment ordering court-supervised elections entered in favor of plaintiffs

Description

James filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of homeowners who alleged that elections run by their HOA were rigged. James brought a successful motion, arguing that the HOA misapplied its rules for voting by proxy, resulting in hundreds of ballots being improperly discarded. The court voided the results of the election and ordered a new election under the supervision of a neutral third party. The new election resulted in the defeat of the sitting board. James’ clients recovered a substantial portion of their costs and attorney fees.

Clemente v. Lajtay

Case Conclusion Date

10.06.2015

Outcome

Defendant neighbor sold home and moved away

Description

James represented a husband and wife who were unable to live in peace in their home due to the conduct of a next-door neighbor. James filed a complaint alleging invasion of privacy, trespass, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Rather than attempting to defend the lawsuit, the neighbor sold his home and moved away. A judgment taken against the neighbor by James’ clients was paid from the proceeds of the sale.

Shearer v. A-1 Pool & Spa, LLC

Case Conclusion Date

Apr 02, 2014

Outcome

Commercial property deeded to client in exchange for dismissal

Description

James’ client loaned a substantial sum of money to a family member and his business partner. Given that family was involved, normal legal formalities were not followed. One of the borrowers fell into financial and marital difficulty, and the business partners had a falling out. The borrowers stopped making payments. James’ client had no choice but to file a lawsuit to recover the loaned money. The defendants eventually agreed to deed certain commercial property to James’ client in satisfaction of the loan, resulting in a full case resolution.

RBS Citizens v. Medigovich

Case Conclusion Date

Aug 13, 2013

Outcome

Bank dismissed lawsuit against borrowers upon receipt of letter demand

Description

RBS Citizens, a residential lender, filed a lawsuit against certain borrowers two years after a short sale. The bank alleged that the borrowers remained personally liable on the loan notwithstanding the short sale. James wrote a detailed letter to counsel for the bank, citing to Civil Code section 580b and recent case law, explaining why the borrowers were not liable for the debt. The bank promptly dismissed the suit.

DeFrancesco v. Sustayta

Case Conclusion Date

Mar 15, 2013

Outcome

Defendant agreed to sell property to plaintiff buyer within two months of filing complaint

Description

James was hired by the buyer of commercial property after the seller tried to cancel a pending escrow. James filed a lawsuit for specific performance, seeking to compel the seller to complete the transaction. James also recorded a lien (lis pendens) against the property. The case quickly settled after the seller reversed course and agreed to complete the sale. James’ client now owns the property.

Wong v. Meridias Capital, Inc.

Case Conclusion Date

Oct 19, 2011

Outcome

Gained dismissal prior to first court hearing

Description

James represented a broker in an action brought by two borrowers alleging fraud in a loan transaction. James immediately filed a “demurrer,” challenging the validity of the plaintiffs’ claims on the face of the complaint. Prior to the hearing date on the demurrer, the plaintiffs dismissed the entire action, recovering nothing.

Yonekura v. Kealy

Case Conclusion Date

Aug 16, 2011

Outcome

Won arbitration award against contractor

Description

James represented a homeowner who gave a substantial deposit to a contractor as a down payment on a home remodeling project. The relationship between the contractor and the homeowner soured and the homeowner terminated the contractor. The contractor refused to return any portion of the owner’s deposit. James represented the owner in an arbitration through the CSLB (Contractors State License Board). He won the return of his client’s unearned deposit paid to the contractor.

Regions Bank v. Legaspi

Outcome

Obtained bank’s dismissal of lawsuit against borrower

Description

Following a short sale, Regions Bank sued a former homeowner, attempting to collect the unpaid mortgage balance. James and the firm’s legal team determined that the lawsuit violated recently enacted borrower protection laws. James demanded that the bank dismiss the action. The bank complied and filed a dismissal, collecting nothing from the borrower.

Ali v. Habashi

Outcome

Achieved favorable settlement on eve of trial

Description

A buyer of a commercial property was prevented from closing escrow because the seller backed out of the deal at the last minute. This caused the failure of the buyer’s “tax deferred exchange” under IRC 1031, creating a large tax obligation that could have otherwise been avoided. James represented the buyer in a lawsuit against the seller to recover damages. James achieved a favorable settlement just prior to making opening statements at trial.

Hann v. Lam

Outcome

Obtained arbitration award compelling release of buyer’s deposit to seller

Description

This case involved a dispute between a buyer and seller of commercial property in Barstow. James represented the seller. The buyer claimed he had a right to cancel the transaction, and get his deposit back, because the property lacked street frontage as advertised in the “MLS.” James first brought a successful motion in superior court to compel the buyer to arbitrate. James then arbitrated the case through IVAMS (Inland Valley Arbitration & Mediation Services), arguing that the buyer should be charged with knowledge of the building’s true frontage because of disclosures provided in escrow. James’ client prevailed. The arbitrator awarded the seller damages and attorneys’ fees, which the seller collected in full from the buyer’s deposit.

Valdez v. Desert View

Outcome

Obtained arbitration award requiring return of buyer’s deposit

Description

In this case, the buyer could not close escrow on the purchase of an income property in Palm Springs because of financing difficulties. The buyer requested the return of his deposit, but the seller refused to release it. The buyer, represented by James, demanded arbitration pursuant to contract. After a one-day hearing, the buyer prevailed. The seller, a limited liability company, then sought to avoid paying the attorneys’ fee award by claiming it had no assets. James successfully petitioned the superior court to add the managing member of the company as a joint debtor on the award, and ultimately collected the money owed.

Real Estate Litigation

Ulwelling Law litigates a range of real estate disputes. We help property owners, real estate agents and brokers, property managers, and investors.

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Real Estate Transactions

We are experienced with commercial and residential real estate transactions, including lease deals and purchase and sale agreements.

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Confidential purchase of historic residential property in Culver City, California

Case Conclusion Date

Jan 12, 2016

Outcome

Successful pursuit, negotiation and closing on historic residential property

Description

In this unique case, James’ client wanted to purchase an adjacent home in Culver City with the intention of eventually moving his in-laws or other family members into the home. The challenge, however, was that the adjoining home was a rental, the owner could not be located, and the owner’s interest in selling was unknown. James tracked down the owner, delicately persuaded her to sell the property, drafted the contract documents, and facilitated the transaction through closing. James’ client was pleasantly surprised that his dream of purchasing the neighboring property became a reality. The seller was pleased with the deal as well, since James’ client honored her wish to preserve the original character of the property.

Purchase of residential property in Temecula, California by institutional trustee of special needs trust

Case Conclusion Date

Mar 23, 2015

Outcome

Facilitated successful closing of home in Temecula for beneficiary of special needs trust

Description

James was hired by the Trust Division of Midland States Bank, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The bank served as the trustee of a special needs trust whose beneficiary wanted to purchase a home in California. The bank needed local counsel to assist with due diligence, contract review, title evaluation, and communication with other professionals. James worked with the real estate agents, title officer, insurer, home inspector and escrow agent to ensure that the bank’s and the beneficiary’s unique needs were understood and met. The transaction closed successfully to the satisfaction of all parties. James was similarly engaged by Midland States Bank to handle several other California purchases.

Commercial lease negotiation

Outcome

Successfully negotiated long-term lease with retail chain of shoe stores, significantly enhancing value of client’s property

Myers v. The Retreat Homeowners Association

Case Conclusion Date

09.27.2016

Outcome

Judgment ordering court-supervised elections entered in favor of plaintiffs

Description

James filed a lawsuit on behalf of a group of homeowners who alleged that elections run by their HOA were rigged. James brought a successful motion, arguing that the HOA misapplied its rules for voting by proxy, resulting in hundreds of ballots being improperly discarded. The court voided the results of the election and ordered a new election under the supervision of a neutral third party. The new election resulted in the defeat of the sitting board. James’ clients recovered a substantial portion of their costs and attorney fees.

Kahman v. Sea Harbour HOA

Case Conclusion

Date May 31, 2017

Outcome

Won defense judgment in case against HOA

Description

This case involved a lawsuit filed against an HOA in Huntington Beach, California. The plaintiff, a homeowner, claimed that the HOA improperly denied his architectural request, interfered with his construction project, and caused him emotional distress. James immediately filed a motion, called a “special motion to strike,” which resulted in the lawsuit being dismissed and a judgment being entered in favor of the HOA, including an award of costs and attorney fees. James ultimately collected on the judgment in favor of the HOA.

Confidential Plaintiff v. Condfidential HOA

Case Conclusion Date

Nov 30, 2016

Outcome

Confidential mid six-figure settlement paid to plaintiff

Description

This case involved a lawsuit by a homeowner against an HOA located in Riverside County, California. James represented the plaintiff, who alleged that the HOA wrongfully arrested her, unlawfully excluded her from board meetings, and subjected her to campaign of harassment. After extensive litigation, the case resolved favorably, with James’ client being paid a settlement in the mid six figures

Midwood Manor v. Mitchell

Case Conclusion Date

Jun 03, 2011

Outcome

Ended longstanding dispute by gaining homeowner’s compliance with association’s architectural requirements

Description

A homeowners association and an owner were locked in a lengthy dispute over the owner’s unapproved addition to her condominium. All efforts to settle informally without counsel failed. James filed a lawsuit on behalf of the association and succeeded in resolving the case during a court-supervised conference. The homeowner agreed to remove and replace the unapproved addition at her expense, finally solving the problem for the association.

Chow v. Sea Harbour Homeowners Association

Outcome

Prevailed at trial against group of homeowners

Description

James represented a Huntington Beach homeowners association in a lawsuit filed by a group of homeowners. The plaintiffs claimed that the association breached the CC&Rs by failing to maintain and repair a group of boat docks. Following trial in Orange County Superior Court, the court found in favor of James’ client and against the owners. Judgment, including an award of attorneys’ fees, was entered in favor of the association. The plaintiffs paid the award and apologized to the association for bringing the lawsuit.

Community Association (HOA) Law

We are proud to be recognized throughout Orange County and beyond as respected community association lawyers. Many of our clients come as referrals from other firms. Ulwelling Law is uniquely positioned in that we serve as general counsel for a number of HOA’s and are also willing to take on meritorious cases against HOA’s on behalf of individual owners.

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Business Law

Ulwelling Law is a trusted advisor and advocate for our small business clients. We provide transactional services such as entity formation, corporate compliance (Secretary of State filings), and contract review. We also give solutions to the seemingly endless list of challenges that confront the small business owner.

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Brentwood Legal Services v. Corilant

Case Conclusion Date

08.17.2015

Outcome

Judgment of dismissal entered in favor of defendant

Description

An attorney sued his former client, alleging the client had breached a fee agreement and defrauded the attorney. The complaint sought damages in excess of $1.2 million. Representing the defendant, James successfully petitioned to move the case from court to private arbitration. Following arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator ordered the complaint dismissed, with James’ client paying nothing.

Screen Actors Guild, Inc. v. Beauty Shop, LLC

Case Conclusion Date

Jan 29, 2013

Outcome

Won motion vacating judgment against film director

Description

SAG (Screen Actors Guild) obtained an arbitration award for $146,000 against a film production company and a movie director. Following the arbitration, SAG entered judgment against the director in LA County Superior Court. James and his legal team brought a successful motion to vacate the judgment, arguing that the arbitrator erred by finding that the director was subject to the arbitration provision in the SAG contract. As a result, the judgment against James’ client was thrown out.

Alegria v. Burbidge

Case Conclusion Date

Apr 24, 2012

Outcome

Obtained judgment of dismissal after successful FRCP 12(b)(6) motion

Description

James’ client and numerous other defendants were sued in federal district court. Plaintiff alleged violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act and breach of an internet marketing agreement. James and his associate, Daniel Josephson, filed a motion to dismiss, challenging the complaint on the grounds that plaintiff had failed to allege a valid legal theory and that a total defense to the action appeared on the face of the pleadings. The court granted the motion, resulting in an order dismissing James’ client from the case.

Bellagio Jewelry, Inc. v. Croton Watch Company, Inc.

Outcome

Obtained judgment of $831,274 following trial

Description

James represented a local business, Bellagio Jewelry, Inc., which owned the trademark “Bellagio” for use on watches and jewelry. Bellagio Jewelry, Inc. sued Croton Watch Company, Inc. in federal district court for trademark infringement, alleging that Croton had unlawfully refused to stop using the disputed trademark in selling its own line of watches. Croton was defended by several prominent law firms, including Christie, Parker & Hale, LLP (Pasadena) and Ostrolenk, Faber, Gerb & Soffen, LLP (New York). Following trial, in which James and his partner Omar Siddiqui served as lead trial counsel, the court found in favor of Bellagio Jewelry, Inc. and entered a judgment in the amount of $831,274. The case was reported in the November 21, 2008 edition of The Daily Journal, Verdicts and Settlements.

Islam v. Alam

Case Conclusion Date

05.03.2018

Outcome

Summary judgment motion granted

Description

James’ client, a real estate agent, was sued for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to defraud the plaintiff. James took the plaintiff’s deposition, conducted written discovery, and then brought a motion for summary judgment. James argued that all causes of action against his client should be thrown out before reaching trial, because there was insufficient evidence for any reasonable juror to conclude that his client could be held liable. The judge agreed. The motion for summary judgment was granted, resulting in James’ client being completely removed from the lawsuit.

Ochoa v. Elite Slides

Outcome

Successful defense resulting in unconditional case dismissal

Brentwood Legal Services v. Corilant

Case Conclusion Date

08.17.2015

Outcome

Judgment of dismissal entered in favor of defendant

Description

An attorney sued his former client, alleging the client had breached a fee agreement and defrauded the attorney. The complaint sought damages in excess of $1.2 million. Representing the defendant, James successfully petitioned to move the case from court to private arbitration. Following arbitration proceedings, the arbitrator ordered the complaint dismissed, with James’ client paying nothing.

Compton v. Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept.

Case Conclusion Date

Nov 20, 2014

Outcome

Award of $890,100

Description

James and his partner, Omar Siddiqui, represented a client in a civil rights action, alleging that a sheriff’s deputy used excessive force while effectuating an arrest. James and Omar took the case to trial before a jury in the United States District Court, Central District of California. The jury returned a swift verdict in favor of the plaintiff in the amount of $890,100, exclusive of costs and attorney fees. The jury also found that the deputy acted with malice, justifying an award of punitive damages.

Harriman v. Sunfield Financial (Appeal)

Case Conclusion Date

Mar 25, 2013

Outcome

Appeal by opposing party voluntarily dismissed after briefs filed

Description

After James’ client, the defendant, won a judgment of dismissal in Solano County Superior Court, the plaintiff filed an appeal with the 1st Appellate District. After submission of plaintiff’s opening brief and James’ opposition brief, the plaintiff/appellant voluntary dismissed her appeal, ending the case.

Harriman v. Sunfield Financial

Case Conclusion Date

May 18, 2011

Outcome

Obtained judgment of dismissal prior to trial

Description

James represented a residential mortgage broker who was sued by a borrower years after her loan closed. Prior to trial, James filed papers challenging the plaintiff’s case on the grounds that she waited too long to sue and could not state a viable claim. The trial court granted the motion and entered judgment in favor of James’ client.

DeSalvo v. Buca di Beppo

Outcome

Won jury verdict for $227,000

Description

James served as co-counsel for the plaintiffs, two models whose images were used without consent in an outdoor ad campaign by an Italian restaurant chain. Plaintiffs sued for trademark violation and commercial misappropriation. The case was featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal (“Models Serve Up Suit to Restaurant Chain”). Following a trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the jury returned a verdict for $227,000 in favor of James’ clients.

General Civil Litigation

Ulwelling Law’s attorneys have extensive litigation experience with civil lawsuits of all kinds. We litigate on behalf of plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts throughout California.

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