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Real Estate Litigation

SRBC has a long and distinguished history in real estate litigation, including notable successes in cases involving complex situations, challenging facts and novel legal issues. Our experience spans a broad spectrum of issues in connection with real estate transactions, land use and permitting, title and title insurance, brokerage claims, design and construction, and other real estate‑related claims.

Our clients include owners, developers, buyers and sellers of commercial, industrial, residential and conservation properties, as well as architects and engineers, land conservation groups and other non-profit organizations, municipalities, insurance companies and insureds, among others. We are regularly called upon to bring and respond to real estate litigation, and also to advise our clients about potential claims and available options for avoiding or resolving such matters.

In every case, we develop a strategy designed to serve the client’s specific goals. Sometimes that strategy entails aggressive, fast-track litigation with intense motion practice and heavy discovery. We are prepared to take early action to preserve the status quo or level a tilted playing field, as appropriate, as well as to take cases to trial and pursue appeals. In other cases, the best strategy may be to pursue an early settlement, while still other cases may call for creative, unconventional tactics and innovative dispute-resolution techniques. Our attorneys are skilled in choosing and using the right tools and techniques for each situation. While we are known for our abilities as trial lawyers, our clients also value us for our ability to resolve disputes outside the courtroom.

Representative Areas of Engagement:

  • Variance and special permit litigation. On behalf of property owners and developers, we have successfully handled many cases involving appeals from decisions by zoning boards and special permitting authorities on proposed development projects.
  • Purchase-and-sale agreements, options and rights of first refusal. We have considerable experience in cases involving purchase and sale agreements that did not result in closings, and disputed exercises of options and rights of first refusal arising under leases or other real estate contracts, or by statutory right.
  • Commercial lease disputes. We have successfully handled numerous commercial lease disputes involving a wide range of issues, claims and potential remedies, including security, evictions, specific performance, rent collection, money damages, and attorneys’ fees.
  • Claims based on restrictive covenants and other land-use restrictions. We represent clients in actions to enforce private restrictive covenants or statutory conservation, agricultural or recreational land use restrictions. We have litigated these issues at the trial court level in both the Land Court and the Superior Court, as well as on appeal.
  • Easement disputes. Our attorneys have handled easement disputes, including matters that have gone to trial and appeal. In one noteworthy case, one of our attorneys succeeded at trial and on appeal in obtaining a declaratory judgment confirming the extinguishment of an easement over registered land, based on the defendant’s actual knowledge of a settlement involving the release of the easement.
  • Disputes involving registered land. Our attorneys are familiar with the unique aspects and requirements of litigation involving registered land, and have litigated cases where the distinctions between registered and unregistered land were of particular importance.
  • Real estate malpractice claims. We have extensive experience in handling professional liability claims arising from real estate matters, such as claims involving negligent certifications of title, negligent failure to research zoning regulations, negligent failure to register security interests, and negligent preparation of loan documents.
  • Design and construction disputes. We represent owners, architects, engineers and contractors in an array of design and construction disputes. Our attorneys have successfully resolved design and construction cases in the trial courts and on appeal, and in the context of arbitrations and mediations.
  • Real estate brokerage claims. We have experience in cases involved disputed claims to brokerage commissions in connection with substantial commercial real estate transactions.
  • Title insurance claims. On behalf of title insurance companies, our attorneys have successfully handled numerous title insurance claims and related bad-faith insurance practices disputes, both in the courts and in mediations.
  • Real estate-related contract disputes and business torts. We have successfully represented clients in a wide range of contract disputes, tort claims and statutory actions concerning real estate interests.

For more information regarding our real estate litigation expertise and how we can help you achieve your goals, please contact Lisa C. Goodheart (Chair), at goodheart@srbc.com or 617-227-3030.

Related Publications:

September 01, 2015 -
Retailers Should Beware the Pitfalls of “Early Termination” Clauses for Failure to Obtain Regulatory Approval
Paul White, Esq. and Grace McGuire, Esq. discuss the ins and outs of these clauses - why it’s good to have them in the lease if your business is subject to governmental approval, and the “good faith” efforts to obtain regulatory approval you must show if you end up needing to invoke them.

July 27, 2015 -
Retailers Beware - Are You Paying More Than Your Fair Share?

SRBC partner Paul White writes about emerging issues in disputes between retail tenants and mall owners with respect to allocation of property taxes and other shared expenses.
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June 25, 2013 -
Paul White on Letters of Intent and Recovering Damages for Lost Business Opportunities
Letters of Intent are a common tool in business negotiations, but most lawyers assume that there is no such thing as an enforceable “agreement to agree,” and that a party cannot recover damages for breach of a contract that never came into existence. SRBC partner ...
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March 29, 2011 -
Retailers Beware: Spotting and Litigating Landlord Overcharges
SRBC partner Paul White writes about emerging issues in disputes between retail tenants and mall owners with respect to allocation of property taxes and other shared expenses.

Related News:

August 05, 2016 -
Paul E. White Appointed As Chair to DRI's 2017 Retail and Hospitality Seminar
We are proud to announce that the Defense Research Institute (DRI) has appointed Paul E. White to serve as the Chair of the DRI’s 2017 Retail and Hospitality Seminar in Chicago, which takes place on May 4 and 5.  

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August 04, 2016 -
Lisa C. Goodheart Named a 2016 "Top Women of Law" Honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Sugarman Rogers is proud to announce that partner, Lisa C. Goodheart, has been selected as a “2016 Top Women of Law” honoree by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Each year, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly honors women attorneys ...
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July 06, 2016 -
Kate R. Cook Appointed Co-Chair of BBA Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section
We are proud to share that the Boston Bar Association has appointed Kate R. Cook to serve as co-chair of the BBA’s Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Section starting in September 2016 until August 2018.

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May 02, 2016 -
Paul White: Discusses "Identifying and Recovering Tenant Overcharges" at the Spring 2016 REBA Conference
Partner Paul White, and Rick Burke of Lease Administration Solutions present "Identifying and Recovering Tenant Overcharges: The Battle of Office and Retail CAM and Operating Expenses" at the 2016 Massachusetts Real Estate Bar ...
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February 11, 2015 -
SRBC Welcomes Chief Legal Counsel to Former Governor Patrick
Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen is pleased to announce that Kate R. Cook, Chief Legal Counsel to former Governor Deval L. Patrick, has joined the firm as Of Counsel. She will focus her practice in the areas of business, employment, environmental and real estate litigation. With extensive ...
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December 04, 2014 -
SRBC Welcomes New Associate Kenneth Thayer
Sugarman, Rogers is pleased to welcome Kenneth Thayer as an associate of the firm. Ken is an experienced trial attorney concentrating his practice in the areas of complex business, tort, employment, real estate and insurance litigation. ...
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August 18, 2014 -
Fourteen Partners Earned Title "2015 Best Lawyers" and One Partner Named "Lawyer of the Year"
Fourteen SRBC partners have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015. In addition, David Barry earned special recognition as "Boston Lawyer of the Year" for Product Liability Litigation-Defendants. ...
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May 16, 2014 -
Paul White: The Retail Liability Claim - Evaluation and Collaboration

SRBC partner Paul White co-presents with Andrew Johnstone (Sears Holdings Management Corporation) at the 2014 DRI Retail and Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar.

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April 28, 2014 -
Paul White to Speak at DRI Retail and Hospitality Conference

On May 16, SRBC partner Paul White and Andrew Johnstone, an in-house lawyer with Sears Holdings Management Corporation, will give a presentation on effective strategic partnering between inside and outside counsel on retail-liability claims. The session will be part the Defense ...
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February 04, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart: NEWiRE's Women of Legacy
SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart will participate in a panel discussion and networking program entitled "NEWiRE's Women of Legacy" on February 4. The panel includes NEWiRE's legacy members, Kristin Blount, Polly Bryson, ...
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January 30, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart Joins NEWiRE's Women of Legacy Event

SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart will participate in a panel discussion and networking program entitled "...
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January 24, 2014 -
Lisa Goodheart Named Recipient of 2014 NEWiRE Leadership Award
SRBC congratulates Lisa Goodheart on being named the recipient of the New England Women in Real Estate (NEWiRE) 2014 Leadership Award. This prestigious award recognizes Lisa’s contributions to NEWiRE and the commercial real estate community at large over the years.  Through her collegial support of ...
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November 01, 2013 -
Lisa C. Goodheart Named President-Elect of Boston Bar Foundation

SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart, co-chair of the firm's Environmental Law and Real Estate Litigation practice groups, has been elected by the board of trustees of the Boston Bar Foundation to serve as the BBF's 2013-14 President-Elect.

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October 22, 2013 -
21 SRBC Lawyers Recognized as Massachusetts Super Lawyers
Twenty-one lawyers from SRBC have been included in this year’s edition of Massachusetts Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers annually publishes the results of a peer-survey and independent-research study designed to identify leading lawyers by state. In this year’s listings, SRBC ...
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October 16, 2013 -
Meehan v. Nash
The Massachusetts Appeals Court has dismissed an appeal by the owner of a defunct corporate tenant in a case in which SRBC partner John O'Neill succeeded in piercing the corporate veil and obtaining a personal judgment against the owner on behalf of their landlord-client. The SRBC lawyers successfully ...
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September 16, 2013 -
SRBC Welcomes Two Associates
SRBC recently welcomed two new associates, Gwen Nolan King and Joshua D. Nadreau, to the firm. Gwen is in her fifth year of practice, with prior litigation experience at Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston and at Sperling & Slater, a ...
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November 13, 2012 -
SRBC Ranks High in "Best Law Firms" Survey
SRBC has received first-tier rankings in nine of its practice areas in the 2013 U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” survey. The firm was recognized as a National Tier 1 firm in Product ...
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March 09, 2012 -
Appeals Court Affirms Judgment for C&D Waste Facility Against Town's Challenge
The Massachusetts Appeals Court today affirmed a December 2010 trial court victory by SRBC partners Lisa Goodheart and Dylan Sanders for the owners of a central Massachusetts construction and demolition ("C&D") waste recycling facility, vindicating the facility's special permit and ...
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January 05, 2012 -
Dylan Sanders Becomes SRBC Shareholder
SRBC has welcomed Dylan Sanders as a shareholder and director of the firm, effective January 1, 2012. Dylan, who joined SRBC in 2008, practices in the environmental, real estate and business litigation fields. He has particular experience representing developers in zoning, ...
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January 04, 2012 -
SRBC Welcomes New Lawyers Turner, Bográn-Acosta
SRBC recently welcomed two new lawyers to the firm. Alida Bográn-Acosta comes to SRBC as an of-counsel attorney in our employment litigation group. Alida has more than 17 years' experience advising clients in labor and employment matters. She was previously with the Boston office ...
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October 07, 2011 -
Doniger and Goodheart are "Lawyers of the Year"
Having earlier named 13 SRBC partners to its 2011 annual Best Lawyers in America listing, Best Lawyers has singled out two of those partners--Tony Doniger and Lisa Goodheart--for further honors. Tony is Best Lawyers' 2012 Boston Family Law Lawyer of the Year, and Lisa is 2012 ...
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September 01, 2011 -
Lisa Goodheart Takes Office as President of Boston Bar Association
SRBC Partner Lisa Goodheart today began her term as President of the Boston Bar Association. In addition to her busy environmental, real estate and business litigation practice, Lisa has been active in the BBA for many years, having served as President-Elect, Vice President, and Treasurer, and ...
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August 12, 2011 -
Paul White Appointed Bar Association Delegate
SRBC partner Paul White has been appointed a regional delegate to the Massachusetts Bar Association’s House of Delegates for the 2011-2012 association year. The House of Delegates is part of the governing body of the MBA. Its primary job is to determine the positions the MBA should take on ...
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July 14, 2011 -
Lisa Goodheart to Moderate Panel on Women in Law and Politics
On July 14, SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will moderate a panel presentation entitled "Women in Law & Politics: Progressive Policies to Promote Gender Equality." The event is co-sponsored by the Boston Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society and the Women’s Bar Association. Appearing on ...
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November 02, 2010 -
Lisa Goodheart Recognized by Women's Bar Association
The Massachusetts Women's Bar Association has recognized SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart with its Lelia J. Robinson Award, named for Boston's first woman lawyer. The award recognizes "women attorneys who have achieved professional excellence, influenced women to pursue legal careers, opened doors and ...
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October 05, 2010 -
Dylan Sanders on Environmental and Land-Use Law
SRBC’s Dylan Sanders will be a panelist at the upcoming Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education seminar "Environmental & Land Use Case Law Update 2010." The seminar will be held on October 5th, and will cover recent appellate decisions, hot new trial court opinions, adjudicatory-hearing ...
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September 10, 2010 -
Lisa Goodheart Begins Term as BBA President-Elect
SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart on September 1 began her term as president-elect of the Boston Bar Association. Lisa has been an active member of the BBA for many years, and previously served as its vice president and treasurer, and as a member of its Council and executive, finance, ...
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August 05, 2010 -
Dismissal of Suit Against Condominium Trustees Affirmed on Appeal
SRBC's John O'Neill has secured a decision from the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirming an earlier trial-court victory for his clients, the trustees of a condominium trust.

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August 03, 2010 -
Massachusetts Court Announces New Standard for Snow-and-Ice Cases
Since 1883, the rule in Massachusetts has been that a property owner cannot be liable to someone who slips and falls on a "natural accumulation" of snow or ice on his property. Natural accumulations were taken to be one of the commonly shared risks of winter in New England. Thus, a significant ...
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May 12, 2010 -
Trial Victory For Developer
SRBC's Dylan Sanders has won a $1.4 million judgment in favor of a subdivision developer in a dispute with the owners of a project site. The landowners failed to comply with a contractual obligation to grant the developer an easement necessary to permit construction of an access road and infrastructure for ...
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September 01, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart Takes Office as Boston Bar Association Vice President
SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart today assumed her new role as elected vice president of the Boston Bar Association. "I am honored and pleased," Lisa says, "to have this opportunity to serve the BBA in a new capacity."

April 10, 2009 -
O'Neill and Levin Win Dismissal of Case Against Lender
SRBC's John O'Neill and Andrew Levin recently won dismissal of a lawsuit by a home buyer against a mortgage company. The buyer complained that she was induced by the mortgage company and other defendants to purchase the house for more than it was worth. After giving the buyer two opportunities to ...
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February 09, 2009 -
Lisa Goodheart to Discuss Diversity in the Judiciary
On Wednesday, February 11, SRBC partner Lisa Goodheart will serve as a panelist at a program entitled “Obtaining and Retaining a Diverse Judiciary.” The program, presented by the ABA Judicial Division Standing Committee on Minorities in the Judiciary, will discuss developing strategies to increase ...
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December 17, 2008 -
Early Win for Developer in Subdivision Dispute
SRBC's Dylan Sanders recently won an early summary judgment for a developer-client in a dispute involving a Boxborough subdivision. The dispute arose when the defendant landowners failed to comply with a contractual obligation to grant the developer an easement, which was ...
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