Verbal agreement to develop property

The client was an experienced real estate developer who was sued by an individual who claimed he had entered into a verbal agreement with the client to develop a vacant parcel of land into a single-family home. The client acknowledged that the defendant had provided some services to him, and actually had evidence that he had attempted to pay the defendant for those services and that the defendant had rejected the payment.

The plaintiff, for his part, had some solid evidence suggesting the existence of a partnership. However, he was also a municipal employee, and through investigation (including public records requests) we learned that he was present at the property for several inspections on days that he indicated he was paid for a full day’s work by his municipal employer. We made a veiled threat that we would report this absence from work to the plaintiff’s employer, and the threat was taken seriously. The case ultimately settled on terms highly favorable to the client, with the client paying some nominal money to the plaintiff and agreeing not to disclose to the plaintiff’s employer his off-the-job activities.


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