Litigation Group Wins Dismissal after Trial for Commercial Property Owner.

May 2009

In a trial in federal court in Newark before Katharine S. Hayden, USDJ, NJ Lawyers Richard Welch and Nicholas Stevens won a dismissal of a claim against a Jersey City property owner in which the plaintiff sought to force the firm’s client to sell his property, valued at $600,000, on the basis of a previously abandoned transaction. Previously, the parties had executed a one-page “Offer Form” prepared by their common real estate broker that purportedly set forth an initial agreement as to a purchase price for the subject property. Subsequent attempts to negotiate a comprehensive contract for the sale failed, and the firm’s client withdrew after declining to accept the buyer’s last proposed contract. Nearly four years later, the buyer filed an action seeking specific enforcement of the Offer Form and money damages. At trial, plaintiff asserted that the Offer Form represented an enforceable agreement to sell the property, despite the lack of any terms other than the price. Through cross-examinations, Mr. Welch entered documentary and testimonial evidence establishing that the Offer Form did not represent a binding agreement for sale of the property. Following the conclusion of plaintiff’s case, Mr. Welch moved for a decision in favor of the defendant based on the failure of plaintiff to prove its case. After argument, the Court granted the motion, awarding victory to the defendant without requiring him to present his case in defense.

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