Louis A. Gonzalez, Jr.

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Experience

Louis is a shareholder and former chair of the firm’s Litigation group. As a trial lawyer, Louis has tried over thirty jury trials to verdict. He has also tried numerous court trials and binding arbitrations to decision. Louis began his legal career as a trial deputy with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office, where he handled several high-profile cases. He joined the firm in 1993 and has represented clients in an array of business and real estate disputes.

Louis represents commercial developers and landowners in a wide range of real estate disputes. He has developed expertise in all areas of real estate litigation, including purchase and sale contracts, due diligence, disclosure, options, partnership, commercial landlord/tenant, and master planned communities disputes. Louis also represents owners in disputes between co-owners and adjacent landowners in partition, easement, boundary and other proceedings affecting title. He also represents owners in disputes with state, county and local entities relating to subdivisions, land use, zoning, and environmental issues. Louis regularly speaks at continuing education seminars on topics related to his real estate practice.

Additionally, Louis counsels broker, developer and lender clients in DRE/BRE compliance and represents them in administrative proceedings initiated by the Bureau of Real Estate, including negotiating settlements, serving as trial counsel, and handling appeals.

Louis was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers for 2004, 2007, 2009-2017, the Top 25 Sacramento Super Lawyers List for 2013, and The Best Lawyers of America® 2013-2017.


Community Involvement

Committed to the legal community, Louis has been an active member of the Sacramento County Bar Association where he has served on the Bar Council and is the former president of the Barrister’s Club. He served on the Sacramento County Judicial Evaluation Committee from 1998 through 2005 and served as a delegate for the Sacramento County Bar to the State Bar of California’s Conference of Delegates. He is also a court-appointed mediator for the El Dorado County Superior Court.

When Louis and his wife have the opportunity, they enjoy Sacramento’s outdoor activities with their two children. They especially enjoy running, cycling, hiking and skiing.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

Rescission Action Dismissed

Louis successfully represented the region’s largest land developer in a rescission action brought by a public entity for misrepresenting the value of land sold during the height of the real estate market. The Seller cross complained for breaching the public entity’s post-closing obligations. After proving the Seller had not made any representations and the public entity was fully aware of the risks associated with the purchase, the public entity paid the Seller its attorneys in order to have the cross-complaint dismissed.

Triad Communities vs. Standard Pacific Corporation

Louis successfully represented Triad Communities against home builder Standard Pacific Corporation’s (StanPac) breach of an assignment agreement related to a nearly 700-acre development in the Bay Area. The area was widely considered one of the last largest developable residential/ mixed-use projects in the Bay Area. Standard Pacific unlawfully terminated the assignment agreement and improperly refused to convey the four parcels to Triad.

By the cross complaint, Triad sought specific performance, declaratory relief, and damages for breach of contract. StanPac agreed to purchase Triad’s interest in the project once certain entitlements were obtained in a sum in excess of $25 million. Triad, as the developer subsequently obtained all necessary entitlements pursuant to the agreement and, upon StanPac’s request, transferred control of the project to StanPac pending the outcome of the final condition to close escrow on the purchase, the resolution of an environmental lawsuit regarding the project.

Upon gaining control of the project, StanPac continued to lead Triad to believe it intended to close escrow on its purchase of the project and all conditions to close escrow had been met. Nevertheless, StanPac attempted to terminate the assignment agreement twelve (12) days later, rather than closing escrow as it was required to do.

Wells Fargo Bank

Representing the commercial and investment property of the REO division of Wells Fargo Bank, Louis successfully guided the bank through post default and lease issues to allow the Bank to sell these formerly distressed properties.

A Greener Globe v. Capitol Waste

In this action, Louis successfully defended a commercial tenant from its landlord’s efforts to terminate the tenant’s 99-year lease over a very desirable 25-acre commercial property in Roseville, CA which was formerly a landfill. Louis not only defended the action but was successful in prosecuting a cross-complaint against the landlord which resulted in an award of damages against the Landlord and an award of over $300,000 in attorney’s fees after a three week trial. Additionally, the Court ordered reformation of the leases requiring the leases to be consolidated on the terms most favorable to the tenant because Louis was able to establish that the Landlord violated the Subdivision Map Act. Louis was also successful in having the Court clarify and impose the ongoing environmental obligations on the Landlord.

Cal Neva Resort

Louis successfully obtained prescriptive easements over a neighboring owner’s property for access to a scenic point for weddings and related activities. Louis also acquired easements for the Cal Neva for several encroaching structures and improvements located on adjoining properties. The case was extensively litigated and the easements and encroachments confirmed after a three week trial. The judgment in Cal Neva’s favor was appealed and the firm successfully defended the judgment on appeal.

Frank et al. v. UDC Homes, Shea Homes, et al.

In this case, Louis represented Shea Homes as the successor in interests to the prior developer, UDC Homes, in an action brought by the owners within a phase of the Villages Development, a large multiphase mixed housing development located in San Jose, California. Plaintiffs’ claimed that UDC, and their representatives, committed various acts of malfeasance in the course of the development of the phase, the DRE process and sales transactions, which damaged plaintiffs. Plaintiffs sought damages in excess of $4 million. Plaintiffs’ primary claim alleged that before UDC began selling lots in the phase, at the urging of the Master Association, the developer recorded a Declaration of Annexation which amended (the “Amendment”) the CC&Rs for detached homeowner’s association. The Amendment provided that the 75 owners within the phase would be assessed 100 percent of the cost associated with the common areas expenses within the phase. Plaintiffs contended that the Amendment was in violation of the Master Association’s Bylaws which required that the maintenance costs for all properties owned by the Master Association be assessed equally among its 3500 members.

The Court conducted a bifurcated trial on the sole issue of whether UDC Homes had the right to record the declaration of annexation without the consent of the detached home owners, the Master Association or the membership. The Court ruled that UDC Homes, in fact, possessed the authority finding that the Declaration of CC&Rs reserved to the developer the right to revoke and amend an annexation of property. After Louis secured this favorable trial outcome, the plaintiff’s claims were greatly diminished and the parties entered into settlements on mutually acceptable terms on the remaining claims.

Davis Ranches

This case involved the partition of more than 9,500 acres of prime agricultural real property and related interests in Colusa County. The real property was owned in varying interests by individual members of the Davis family for over 130 years. Various factions of the family wished to withdraw their interests in the Davis Ranches, while a core group of family members wished to preserve the family’s legacy and continue the ranching operation.  The value of the real property and related interests was at the heart of this dispute.

Management of the Ranches is run by a committee of 7 family members. In addition to the real property, the dispute involved the division of water rights requiring the formation of a water company, mineral interests require the creating of a separate entity and the division of federal crop subsidies. The real estate issues involved to bring about the division of the land interests included compliance with the Subdivision Map, Parcel Map and lot line adjustments in order to create new legal parcels from the existing ranches. Additionally, easements were created to allow access between the newly created parcels and for the benefit of the water company.

Community Associations

Acting as general counsel to large Community Associations, Louis regularly counsels general managers and Board members of variety issues from corporate governance issues, corporate compliance, CC&R enforcement and general liabilities and operations issues. He also regularly prosecutes and defends lawsuits on behalf of Associations and has been doing so for over 15 years.

 

 

Education

J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law, 1991

B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1988

News

Affiliations

Sacramento County Bar Association, Environmental Law and Real Property Sections
Member

Urban Land Institute
Member

Anthony M. Kennedy Chapter of the Inn of Court
Member (1998-present)

Barristers Club of Sacramento
Former President

Meritas, Sacramento
Member

Awards

Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers List, 2015-2017 – Business Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Real Estate

Best Lawyers in America® 2013-2018

Sacramento Business Journal’s Best of the Bar, 2014-2017

AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Rating

Top 25 Sacramento Super Lawyers, 2013 and 2015

Northern California Super Lawyers, 2004, 2007, 2009-2017

award