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Unethical real estate development?

Knoxville, TN |
Filed under: Real estate

We purchased multiple properties in a planned TN R.E. develp. Developer didn't finish developing property and is now apparently BK? Mr. Developer sat on the Exec. Board of Bank that financed all/most (?) of prop. Land owners (inv.'s) in dev. are now plagued w/sink holes & unfinished basic services. We (couple) want to sue for faulty contract and/or breach of contract and just get our money back. We'd want to include bank in suit as they were involved in this develp. & do have funds; also other agencies that approved faulty develp. There are 6-8 couples also ready to sue. We could go solo (prefer)-or together? BIG probl. w/ "good 'ol boy" locals. How to find honest atty.? Local atty's are unwilling to discuss litig. - all say they have "conflict". Should we sue in local or Fed?

Attorney Answers 1


Whether you can sue in Federal Court will hinge on whether there is a federal question involved, or whether there is diversity jurisdiction -- meaning that the parties involved as plaintiffs and defendants are residents of different states. Clearly, therefore, more information is needed as to who the potential or actual parties are, where their headquarters are, whether they are subsidiaries of out-os state companies, whether individuals can be deemed resident(s) of a different state because of second homes or other out-of-state contacts, and so forth. Also, the documentation that governed this investment will be very instrumental in determining the potential liability of the parties. The representations and warranties they made in the documents, the disclosures that they provided, or did not provide will be important information. This is a difficult question to answer in this format, and I do think that you need to have a detailed discussion on the legal issues involved with a professional to delve into whether you have recourse and what recourse that might be.

I fully understand the good-ol boy comment, and appreciate the reluctance of local attorneys to involve themselves in a matter such as this, whether they are in fact conflicted or not. That type of local influence is, unfortunately, present in a lot of situations, and is a delicate matter that will need to be overcome. I have experienced it as a positive and a negative factor over the years. I suggest that you are fully prepared in your knowledge of the parties, the issues involved, the legal claims you have, and the facts/circumstances that you are claiming make these parties legally liable to you all.

I hope this brief response is helpful.

DISCLAIMER—This answer is for informational purposes only and discusses general legal principles, trends, and considerations and is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. For legal advice, you should retain legal counsel in your state for advice regarding your specific circumstances.

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