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Overview

Thomas Lombardi has more than 25 years of litigation experience, with a particular emphasis on real estate disputes. He represents real estate users in all asset classes, including developers, investors, owners, operators, REITs, private equity firms, advisers, asset managers, trust companies, and regional and family owned companies. 

Thomas litigates a broad spectrum of issues arising from real estate ownership and transactions, including matters involving commercial leases, purchase and sale, construction, finance and the operations of real estate assets. Thomas has experience handling disputes involving joint ventures, purchase and sale agreements, leases, loans, options first rights of refusal, commissions, failure to disclose, fraudulent conveyance construction, ADA, nuisance, quiet title, easements, title and boundary disputes.

Clients also turn to Thomas for defense of non-contract real property claims, ranging from toxic torts, intellectual property rights and discrimination. He also handles litigation arising from partnership disputes, corporate dissolution, fraud, breach of contract, insurance coverage, and unfair competition.

Select examples of Thomas’s prior experience includes:

  • Served as an advisor and litigator for the purchaser of a 500,000 sq. ft. distressed retail center after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis in connection with management, operations, and leasing, including handling of complex, large exposure, multi-tenant, and anchor tenant litigation involving breach of lease, construction, fraud, and discrimination claims.
  • Defended a real estate apartment developer in United States District Court in a case stemming from a complex, $20 million structured finance and sale transaction for the repurposing of a failed development into apartments. An investor that lost its investment filed suit alleging the transaction was a fraudulent conveyance. After two years of extensive, multiparty litigation before the District Court, we prevailed on summary judgment
  • Recovered a substantial arbitration award, including full attorneys’ fees, for a retail center owner against a general contractor for faulty work on retail center common areas. 
  • Defended a national medical provider against a claim that it caused $1.3 million in losses to a landlord due to construction delays. Negotiated a settlement for a nominal amount amid aggressive discovery.
  • Represented the owner of a single-tenant office building against a long-term tenant that used the building for its national headquarters and vacated without restoring the building to the condition required under its lease. The case settled for confidential sum prior to trial.
  • Successfully prosecuted a suit for specific performance on behalf of a developer who held an option to purchase a hotel in a beach community in Southern California. The optionor refused to honor developer’s exercise of the option. Obtained a court judgment enforcing the developer’s option and forcing optionors to sell the hotel. Prevailed on the subsequent appeal by the optionors.
  • Represented the owner of a Bel Air mansion regularly featured in The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills against a celebrity tenant who claimed the owner purchased the property subject to an unrecorded deed of trust of $5.5 million in favor of the tenant granted by the previous owner. Further defended a claim by an intervening judgment creditor holding judgment in excess of $20 million against the tenant that sought to take over the tenant’s claims. The Court dismissed both the tenant and judgment creditor’s claims before trial.
  • Secured a jury verdict, including an award of full attorneys’ fees, in favor of a purchaser of a business and its real estate assets in a suit for rescission of the sale. Prevailed on two appeals with the court awarding client attorneys’ fees for the defense of the appeals.
  • Successfully prosecuted a case through trial against an industrial tenant and its unauthorized subtenant after a large default. The subtenant, a commercial tire importer, denied it occupied the space, relying on a warehouse agreement with the tenant for the storage of its inventory. At trial, the court found the subtenant’s use was not in the nature of a warehouse agreement, but rather constituted a sublease without authorization. The client prevailed against both the tenant and subtenant and was awarded damages for back rent against the subtenant, who was the only collectible party and paid the judgment. 
  • Recovered a significant settlement for a beachfront apartment building owner whose building collapsed as a result of excavation adjacent to the property in complex multiparty construction case.
  • Successfully defended a significant lawsuit filed by 37 tenants arising from the client’s alleged failure to maintain a large apartment complex and building, safety, health, and rent control violations. The case settled on a per-plaintiff basis substantially below the average settlement amount for similar cases, with the plaintiffs agreeing to vacate their rent-controlled apartments, thereby allowing the client to increase rents. After plaintiffs vacated their apartments, the apartments were rented at market value, which increased the appraised value of the apartment complex in excess of the settlement paid and nearly doubled the client’s cash flow from the apartment complex.
  • Represented a mega-jumbo residential lender after the 2008 financial crisis in a loan repurchase action against the loan originator, for breach of warranties under the master loan purchase and servicing agreement for defaulted and non-performing loans, resulting in a favorable settlement and bulk repurchase of the loans.
  • Represented investors who bought a defaulted loan and foreclosed on a vintage building in downtown Los Angeles who were sued for wrongful foreclosure by the borrower and guarantor one year after foreclosure, with construction loan maturity imminent. Successfully obtained expungement of lis pendens interfering with the project’s refinance, and later successfully moved to dismiss the entire lawsuit. The project’s conversion into luxury apartment lofts was completed and resulted in a substantial return to the investors.

Education

  • Whittier College School of Law, J.D.
  • University of California at Santa Barbara, B.A.

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Bar Admissions

  • California

Recognition

  • Named "Southern California Super Lawyer" by Thomson Reuters (2012-2022)

Affiliations

  • Chairman, California Lawyers Association’s Commercial Real Estate Symposium, 2018
  • Co-Chairman of Executive Committee, California Lawyers Association’s Real Property Law Section, 2018-2019
  • Co-Chairman, Crocker Commercial Real Estate Symposium, 2019-2021
  • Advisor to Executive Committee, California Lawyers Association’s Real Property Law Section, 2019-2021
  • Member, Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum in recognition of achieving a nine figure recovery in a commercial litigation matter