In this case, the plaintiffs allege that they were victims of legal malpractice through substandard legal representation in the course of a real estate transaction. Plaintiff property owners entered into a lease with a grocery store chain. Under the lease, the tenant was afforded an option to purchase the property for a set sum on a specific date. The option could be exercised at any time during the five 10-year renewal terms that followed. The lease was freely assignable by the tenant and the property could be sublet without the permission or approval of the landlord. The default provision of the lease states that where a tenant is “adjudicated bankrupt,” the landlord may enter and retake the property if the condition was not cured within 90 days.
The grocery store tenant assigned the lease to a big box retailer, who subleased it back to the grocery store. The grocery store later assigned its interest in the lease to a convenience store. The large retailer also assigned its interest in the lease to the convenience store.
Plaintiff property owners argue that the lease and option to purchase were not properly held by the convenience store, and that the retailer’s bankruptcy invalidated the lease, and that their attorneys were aware of these issues when they became involved in plans to refurbish the property. Plaintiffs allege that the grocery store chain possessed the option at all times. Further, plaintiffs argue that the issues with the lease created an adverse relationship that precluded the defendants’ subsequent joint representation of the plaintiffs and the convenience store in connection with the subdivision application.