COSTA MESA, Calif., March 2, 2010 – Attorney Mark Austin, a litigation partner at Rutan & Tucker, LLP, California’s largest full-service law firm based in Orange County, recently achieved a significant victory in an arbitration hearing before JAMS, the nation’s premier provider of private dispute resolution services.
Conducted at the JAMS Resolution Center in Orange, the arbitration was tried over 11 days in November of 2009, and involved 24 witnesses, including five experts.
Austin represented the plaintiff, who alleged fraud and breach-of-contract in relation to his purchase of two properties in a north Orange County city, where he had planned to start a business.
The respondents, the seller and the broker, had represented to the plaintiff that the properties would come with an access easement over an adjacent property, but it was later discovered that no easement existed. In reliance on these representations, the plaintiff purchased the lots for $1.3 million and spent almost $500,000 in pursuit of his business, which was heavily dependent on the easement for parking and access.
In early January of 2010, a JAMS arbitrator served the 30-page arbitration award, which was a complete victory for the plaintiff. The arbitrator found both the seller and the broker liable for intentional and negligent misrepresentations, and awarded rescission of the purchase agreements and return of the $1.3 million purchase price, plus nearly $500,000 in consequential damages, and the right to recover punitive damages. She also declared the plaintiff to be the “prevailing party,” entitling him to recover his attorneys’ fees under his contract with the seller.
Although Austin tried the case on his own, he was up against a team of four attorneys representing the other side, all of whom were present in the arbitration hearing every day. Nevertheless, Austin more than held his own in the trial, as demonstrated by the result.
Since the arbitration award came down, the parties have settled the case for a substantial sum over-and-above the amount awarded by the arbitrator. By virtue of that settlement, the plaintiff will receive full compensation for his attorneys’ fees and costs in the matter, and a substantial amount for punitive damages.