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AREAS OF PRACTICE2017-10-31T22:06:45+00:00

Commercial Real Estate Law

Our commercial real estate practice handles matters in all stages of real estate development, investment and finance. We represent real property owners, developers, tenants, investors and secured lenders in all facets of acquisition, financing, utilization, development, operation and disposition. We also negotiate and draft commercial leases and represent commercial landlords and tenants alike regarding their respective lease rights and remedies.

With more than 70 years of combined experience, our attorneys provide practical guidance to clients as they navigate the ups and downs of the commercial real estate market. Whether working with borrowers and lenders to restructure debt and ultimately avoid foreclosure or renegotiating leases to address declining rents, we strive to preserve the value of the clients’ real estate investment in the context of the then‐current economic realities.

We advise on matters related to:

  • Due Diligence
  • Real estate financing for all types of transactions, including traditional debt structures, joint ventures, limited partnerships and hybrid debt‐equity structures
  • Purchase, acquisition, operation and sale of agricultural, residential, retail, commercial, office, hotel and resort, industrial and recreational projects
  • Construction and development of office buildings, business parks, shopping centers, farms and mixed use properties
  • Land Use and Entitlements
  • Local and State Planning, Zoning and Development Laws
  • Real Estate Workouts
  • Conditions, Covenants and Restrictions; Easements
  • Commercial leasing, representing landlords or tenants, for offices, industrial properties, hotels, shopping centers, farms and mixed use projects
  • Commercial unlawful detainers, representing landlords or tenants in filing or defending a complaint for unpaid rent or other breaches of a commercial lease agreement
  • Forming entities to hold title to real estate

Notable Matters:

  • Represented the Teel Family Trust (owner of Raley’s, Bel Air Mart, Knob Hill Foods and Food Source chains of grocery stores) in providing the following services:
    • Negotiated acquisition, development and lease agreements for the construction of new stores, as well as the CC&Rs and reciprocal easement agreements for the shopping centers in which the stores are located
    • Assisted in the acquisition of the Bel Air Mart and Knob Hill Foods chains and the development and financing of Raley’s $35 million warehouse distribution site in North Natomas
    • Assisted in the development of the Raley’s Landing Project, a 10‐city block mixed‐use (office/residential/retail) project along the Sacramento River in West Sacramento, by obtaining all entitlements for the site from the City of West Sacramento and its Redevelopment Agency through various development agreements and an owner’s participation agreement and negotiating sales of parcels within this project to CalSTRS for construction of its main operations office
  • Assisted a national dairy producer in its acquisition of a 600‐acre farm in south Sacramento County where the acquisition costs were supplemented by negotiating conservation easements with The Nature Conservancy
  • Negotiated multiple leases in high‐rise office buildings on behalf of a restaurant group for the last fifteen years
  • Counseled the purchaser of a 50% ownership interest in multiple exclusive golf courses in all legal matters
  • Advised a farming family in the structured sale of land to home builders over a fifteen‐year period
  • Assisted a regional credit union in the acquisition of its corporate headquarters site and the leasing of numerous retail locations
  • Represented the buyer of a rural home site after the seller refused to perform; appealed the trial court’s decision that the agreement was not a valid contract; Court of Appeals reversed, forcing the seller to affirm the contract and perform
Engage our Commercial Real Estate Law Experts, David B. Durrett and Stephen G. Stwora-Hail.
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Employment & Labor Law

Timeliness counts almost as much as expertise when it comes to employment issues. On‐the‐spot employee problems demand immediate attention. We respond when you need us. Claims of discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination; violations of wage and hour and overtime laws; and problems in the hiring, discipline and firing of employees can often be minimized or avoided with a simple phone call to your attorney. Proper policies, documentation and the right legal advice can save companies from unnecessary litigation and set up defenses when lawsuits cannot be avoided.

If a conflict arises, we take immediate action to assemble the best possible case for the client. Our attorneys represent employers in all phases of dispute resolution and litigation in a multitude of forums, including state and federal courts, the National Labor Relations Board, state and federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Fair Employment and Housing Commission, the Department of Labor Standards Enforcement and the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. We also represent employers in mediation and arbitration proceedings and provide support during union organizing activities, collective bargaining and decertification procedures.

Cohen Durrett, LLP, is retained by The Employers’ Council to provide legal services to its members.

We cover a wide array of employment and labor matters including:

  • Traditional Labor Law
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Unlawful Harassment
  • Wage and Hour Claims
  • Reduction in Workforce Planning
  • Employment Contracts
  • Employee Separation and Non‐competition Agreements
  • Affirmative Action
  • Drug Testing
  • Use of Independent Contractors
  • Human Resources Policy Development
  • Protection of Trade Secrets, Trademarks and Other Confidential Information
  • Management Training
  • Independent Investigations

Notable Matters:

  • Obtained the dismissal of all allegations of discrimination in more than a hundred cases before the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing over the last thirty‐five years
  • Enabled a corporate client to withstand one of the largest Teamster organizing campaigns to date and avoided unionization. Teamster walked away from the negotiations
  • Represented numerous regional and national firms for all employment matters, training, and representation before administrative agencies
  • Aggressively defended an employer from an employee alleging failure to accommodate her disability and wrongful constructive termination; jury cut down plaintiff’s requested damages in excess of $300,000 plus punitive damages and awarded less than $17,000 for past wages only
  • Defeated a claim against an employer in less than six months and for less than one‐fifth of the legal fees charged by the prior counsel, a national firm that failed to resolve the claim
Engage our Employment and Labor Law Experts, David L. Cohen and John H. McCardle
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Business Law & Succession Planning

Businesses of all sizes turn to us for practical and cost‐effective counsel throughout all phases of the business life cycle.

Whether you operate as a sole proprietor or through a partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation, we understand the unique needs of your business and provide you with comprehensive and customized counsel so that you can focus on what matters most: building your business legacy.

We guide businesses through:

  • Business Entity Formation
  • Corporate Governance
  • Contracts, Agreements and Commercial Transactions
  • Stock Option and Restricted Stock Agreements
  • Financing
  • Business Tax Planning
  • Non‐Profit Law
  • Partnership and Business Ownership Disputes
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Purchase and Sale of Assets and Business
  • Business Succession Planning

Notable Matters:

  • Assisted a group of owners of nine franchisee restaurants in the sale of the restaurants to new ownership
  • Assisted a co‐owner with the financing and buyout of his co‐owners of a concrete readymix business and associated real estate and water rights
  • Represented a regional church conference in the sale of under‐utilized real estate assets which included land use entitlement issues
  • Assisted numerous local financial institutions in various business matters including federal and state compliance of operations and lending instruments, consultant contracts, human resources, anti‐trust issues, trademark and copyright issues, and general litigation support

Good business succession planning, like estate planning for individuals, ensures a smooth transition to new ownership and management while maximizing value and minimizing tax consequences. Our attorneys, with expertise in both types of planning, seamlessly integrate your business plan, succession plan, and estate plan into one that protects you, your loved ones, and your business.

As a natural extension of our business succession practice, we offer comprehensive estate planning services that cover a broad range of planning techniques tailored to meet each individual client’s specific needs. We also handle trust and probate administration matters following the death of a decedent.

We counsel clients regarding:

  • Revocable/Living/Inter Vivos Trusts
  • Irrevocable Trusts
  • Wills
  • Durable Powers of Attorney
  • Advance Health Care Directives
  • Estate and Gift Tax Planning
  • Family Limited Partnerships and LLCs
Engage our Business Law Expert, S. Susan King
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Litigation

Disputes often arise in business, frequently with significant consequences to core issues such as revenue, competition, client relationships, or management matters. Our litigators bring more than fifty years of combined experience in the field of litigation to the table. The breadth and scope of that experience often results in favorable pre-trial disposition of many cases.

Our attorneys also proactively promote solutions designed to avoid litigation and its associated costs, both economic and psychological. We regularly resolve disputes using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as negotiation, mediation and arbitration.

We advocate for our clients in disputes focused primarily in three areas: Employment, Real Property and Development, and Business Litigation. Examples in each area include:

Employment

  • Discrimination, Harrassment and Retaliation
  • Wrongful Termination
  • Wage & Hour (including class action defense)
  • PAGA Claims

Real Property and Development

  • Purchase and Sale Agreement Disputes
  • Broker Non-Disclosure and Commissions Claims
  • Development Agreements
  • Foreclosures and Receiverships
  • Leases
  • Commercial Unlawful Detainers
  • Easements and Adverse Possession
  • Quiet Title Actions
  • Partition and Boundary Disputes
  • Construction Disputes

Business

  • Contractual Disputes
  • Corporate and Partnership Dissolution
  • Unfair Competition
  • Fraud and Business Torts

Notable Matters

  • Represented multiple employers in wage and hour class action litigation in various California jurisdictions, including a large agriculture concern embroiled in a putative class action of over 2,500 members in Sacramento County Superior Court; favorably settled claims for alleged unpaid overtime, missed rest and meal breaks, penalties and unfair business practices
  • Successfully defended a quasi-government agency in multi-party litigation brought by a former agency manager under California’s Labor Code and whistleblower retaliation statute seeking damages and penalties for wrongful termination
  • Obtained an Arbitration Award for rescission following a week-long hearing on behalf of a buyer-plaintiff suing sellers of real property for fraudulent nondisclosure of property defects
  • Defended an LLC managing member against claims of a minority owner in a lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and fraud seeking an accounting and compensatory and punitive damages
  • Prevailed at trial in an unlawful detainer action on behalf of a property owner seeking to recover possession of a multi-million dollar commercial property; successfully defended the judgment on appeal and against a subsequent federal court action which sought to overturn the state court judgment
  • Successfully defended at jury trial several doctors and a public hospital against charges of medical malpractice purportedly resulting in the death of a patient
  • Successfully defended at jury trial in federal court a public entity and various public employees against alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act
  • Obtained summary judgment in an action by an employee of a manufacturer claiming over $1,000,000 in unpaid commissions resulting in an award of attorney fees in favor of the manufacturer in excess of $100,000
Engage our Litigation Law Experts, Jeffrey L. Anderson and John H. McCardle
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We help business owners, managers and entrepreneurs avoid legal problems so they may focus on their business.

How Can We Help?

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