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Business client claims faulty legal advice led to botched deal

As succinctly and unceremoniously noted in a recent business article chronicling the would-be purchase of a large land parcel near an international airport, "the transaction tanked."

And that failure sowed solely to faulty legal advice rendered by a law firm, states its former client, who is not content to just walk away following the demise of a potentially lucrative business deal.

Rather, 276 Port LP, which is a large-scale real estate investor, has filed a legal malpractice claim against the firm, alleging both a breach of its fiduciary duty to the investment company and negligence in the performance it delivered.

Although the case took place outside California, we sketch its details for readers inside the state, believing that the matter commands broad relevance for its depiction of a law firm's alleged role in a deal gone wrong.

And it certainly did go wrong. The investor says it felt reasonably safe in providing a hefty deposit pending the transaction in spite of existing ground leases on the property, given legal counsel's assurance that the leases had "perceived defaults" that would enable them to be terminated.

That was not the case, and the transaction was unable to be consummated. As a result, the client lost its deposit and a business opportunity it coveted.

Had the investment company reasonably believed that the leases would be a problem, stated its principal, it would never have offered the $25 million purchase price it agreed to for the parcel.

The law firm denies any shortcomings in its performance and says that it will "staunchly defend" itself.

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