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Overview

The members of Lawson Lundell’s Real Estate Litigation Group have collective experience in a myriad of real estate related litigation. The group has both prosecuted and defended a wide variety of claims related to land. These cases frequently involve the application of difficult areas of law and the use of a variety of experts. We provide advice and representation on a regular basis to international, national and local corporations as well as to individuals, financial institutions, tenants, commercial landlords, creditors, debtors and others in matters relating to real estate. Members of the group also advise and represent clients in civil and criminal claims related to contaminated site and other environmental matters.

The Real Estate Litigation Group also has extensive experience in providing advice and representation on property tax planning, negotiation of assessments with B.C. Assessment, negotiation of property tax issues with local government and provincial taxing authorities, and recovery of taxes through appeals to the Property Assessment Appeal Board.

Our priority is to provide quick, comprehensive and effective solutions to our clients’ problems, always with a view to matching the required resources to the particular client’s needs. This includes, where appropriate, recourse to alternative business and dispute resolution techniques.

The group assist strata corporations, developers and real estate agents with strata corporation windups and has successfully completed a number of strata corporation windups, including the first court approved windup in British Columbia.

Experience

Experience

Real Estate Litigation

Examples of work done in real estate litigation include:

  • Successfully acted for an investor in a mixed use development project whose claims for restitution were allowed by the court following a lengthy trial. (Pacific Wagondepot Ltd. v. Hudson West Developments Ltd., 2017 BCSC 1593)
  • Acted for Chevron who owned leased property which also was subject to a right of first refusal.  A dispute arose as to whom Chevron was entitled to sell the property and the court accepted Chevron's submissions on the proper interpretation of the option. (North Eastern Enterprises Ltd. v. Chevron Canada Limited, 2016 BCSC 1954)
  • Acted for the Province in a complex option to purchase case involving the sale of two office towers in Victoria. (British Columbia Minister of Technology Innovation and Citizens’ Services  v. Columbus Real Estate Inc., 2016 BCCA 283 and 2017 BCSC 1518)
  • Represented a shopping centre owner, Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc., in a property tax case that establishes important principles for qualification of expert appraisal evidence, appraisal of development potential of shopping centre and other large scale commercial properties slated for redevelopment, and liability for hearing costs for frivolous and vexatious conduct. (Caven v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority 2016 BCSC 122)
  • Successfully represented the client, leading to decisions of the B.C. Property Assessment Appeal Board in (South Vancouver Parks Society v. Area 09 and Ivanhoe Cambridge Inc. 2016 PAABBC 20160114) that denied a third party attempt to increase a $500 million property assessment for Oakridge Centre in Richmond to as much as $1.1 billion.   
  • Successful claim to vary a will in circumstances where the plaintiff was estranged from an abusive parent and had been disinherited as a consequence. (R. v. J.D.M., 2016 BCSC 2265)
  • Successful defence of wills variation claim brought by adult son seeking to vary his deceased mother’s will. (Brown v. Estate of Pearce, 2014 BCSC 1402)
  • Successfully defended at trial and on appeal a complex commercial claim involving breach of fiduciary duty and professional negligence in the context of a real estate acquisition and proposed development in British Columbia. The claim involved allegations relating to the both the solicitation of the investment, and the operation of the limited partnership which acquired the real estate. (Voegtlin v. Paprotka, 2013 BCSC 1613, 2014 BCCA 323)
  • Successfully acted for an investor in a development project who was promised, but not provided, security for the investment and the court therefore awarded restitutionary damages as a result. (Smith v. Landstar Properties Inc., 2011 BCCA 44)
  • Acted for a shareholder of a development company who asserted that funds were diverted from the company. (0757376 BC Ltd. (Re), 2011 BCSC 1268)
  • Successfully acted for a commercial landlord in the pursuit of a defaulting tenant. (Caromar Sales Ltd. v. Shura Real Estate Development Company Limited, 2011 BCSC 1088)
  • Successfully acted for several parties who had invested in a vineyard which was to be purchased and developed and asserted the developer had misappropriated substantial funds. (D. Bacon Holdings Ltd. v. Naramata Vines Inc., 2011 BCCA 22, 2010 BCCA 427, 2010 BCCA 613)
  • Successfully obtaining injunctive relief for various clients relating to the enforcement of their rights in land
  • Successfully prosecuting a claim of trespass against the neighbour of a commercial enterprise, including an award of punitive damages
  • Representing bankruptcy trustees, financial institutions and other creditors in prosecuting claims for fraudulent preferences and conveyances of land
  • Acting for numerous industrial and commercial landowners in contaminated site litigation brought under the Waste Management Act
  • Acting of commercial landlords and tenants in commercial tenancy disputes
  • Acting for the operator of a landfill in a constitutional and administrative challenge to bylaws passed by a regional district
  • Acting for a prominent golf and country club in a complex arbitration of a renewal of its lease with an First Nations band
  • Assisting a municipally owned corporation structure a joint venture of a large development site so as to make the site more attractive to private sector partners from a property tax perspective
  • Acting for several large mining companies in respect of claims against insurers for indemnity against historical environmental claims
  • Classification and valuation for property tax purposes of residential, commercial and industrial real estate (such as commercial/residential development properties, port facilities and other terminals, pulp and paper mills, hydro-electric facilities, sawmills, mining and other major industrial land and improvements)
  • Prosecuting and defending claims for the specific performances of contracts for the purchase and sale of land, both commercial and residential
  • Acted for both owners and tenants in connection with disputed options to renew leases and options to purchase real property
  • Acted for both purchasers and vendors in connection with numerous collapsed real estate transactions (commercial and residential)

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