Monday, May 10, 2021

Cowles and Thompson Litigation Team Succeeds in Creative Solution to Breach of an Arbitration Agreement

Dallas, TX (May 10, 2021) – A Cowles and Thompson litigation team of Casey Erick, Sim Israeloff, and Bill Siegel succeeded with a creative approach on behalf of a restauranteur in a breach of lease  dispute that  went into both arbitration and a state court lawsuit. 

 

Dispute Overview and Judgment

The Cowles and Thompson client, a prominent restaurant chain, determined that a previously planned project would not go forward.  Despite the client’s attempts to resolve the dispute, the landlord brought suit in arbitration for damages of nearly $1 million.  The lease agreement dictated that arbitration could be employed for resolution of non-monetary disputes -- but expressly excluded from arbitration any claims for “default on the payment of rent or any other monetary obligation under the Lease.” The Cowles and Thompson team  determined that the landlord’s inclusion of a claim for rent in arbitration was in fact a breach of the lease itself.  Therefore, a state court lawsuit was filed against the landlord for breach of contract.  Cowles and Thompson sought attorney’s fees and costs 1) as damages, for fees incurred in successfully challenging the inclusion of a claim for monetary obligations in the arbitration, and 2) as fees incurred in prosecuting the breach of the arbitration agreement.

The final judgment in state court found against both the landlord and the client.  Our client was awarded judgment for damages for the landlord’s breach of the lease and attorney fees incurred in asserting  the claim.  The client also defeated most of the landlord’s claims, and the judgment awarded the landlord far less than it had asserted.  The net effect of the offsetting judgments meant the plaintiff was awarded only 25 % of the amount sought.

 

Cowles and Thompson Team

Casey Erick represents clients in both litigation and transactional matters that span across commercial law, labor and employment, real estate, consumer protection, and general litigation including breach of contract, corporate trade secret theft, tortious interference, defamation, personal injury, fraud, and various other kinds of civil litigation.

Sim Israeloff is Section Head of the Commercial/Business Litigation group.  His practice is devoted to commercial and complex business litigation in state and federal courts.  He represents U.S. and foreign businesses and individuals in litigation and arbitration involving business transactions, real estate partnerships, franchises, securities, intellectual property, injunctions, and probate matters.  He is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

William L. (Bill) Siegel is Section Head of the Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights group and a member of the Corporate and Business group.  His experience includes representing individuals and business entities in their corporate and transactional affairs, including drafting and negotiating agreements of all types and representing individuals and business entities in disputes that may arise in litigation in State and Federal Courts.  He also represents debtors, creditors, Trustees, and Committees in bankruptcy matters in Chapter 7 liquidations and Chapter 11 reorganizations.

 

Cowles and Thompson

Cowles and Thompson, P.C. is a full-service law firm with offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas.  Established in 1978, the firm has long served the Dallas-Fort Worth region, Texas, and the nation.  Cowles and Thompson attorneys strive to provide effective, creative, efficient solutions for their clients’ most complex problems, including critical litigation and appeals, employment, business formation and transactions, creditor’s rights, and family law.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

David Metzler, Managing Partner:  dmetzler@cowlesthompson.com

Teresa Martin, Marketing Director:  tmartin@cowlesthompson.com

 

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