Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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Commercial real estate dispute heading to trial again

Acquiring real estate is often a pivotal piece of business development. Without it, an entrepreneur or investor lacks the resources needed to expand and grow an existing business, or get a new business off the ground. A lot of consideration has to be given to real estate transactions, too, since zoning laws and other restrictions can limit its use. But in some cases, merely purchasing commercial real estate can be a long up hill battle.

One case serves as a perfect example. It all started in 2005 when an investment group, known as Health Science Park, entered into an agreement to purchase 60 acres from the Reverend Jimmy Swaggart's Family Worship Center Church. The purchase never went through, and litigation ensued. In 2016, the Health Science Park won a jury trial allowing it to purchase the property based on the terms that were negotiated and agreed upon in 2005.

However, the case was appealed. On appeal, the higher court ruled that the trial court had made a mistake in the way that certain evidence was handled. As a result, the Court of Appeals sent the case back down to the trial court for a new trial. Although the Health Science Park tried to appeal that decision to the state Supreme Court, that court refused to hear the matter. So, as a result, this matter is going to trial again over a real estate transaction that should have occurred nearly 15 years ago.

This case highlights the importance of carefully negotiating and drafting commercial real estate transactions. Agreements that are unambiguous can often be dealt with relatively quickly, even if the matter heads to court.

This is why Louisiana businesses need to consider acquiring the assistance of a skilled legal professional who may be able to help them on the front end to avoid long, drawn out real estate issues. These same advocates can also help fight when these agreements do lead to litigation.

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Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
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