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One Down, Many More to Go: Settlement Reached in Vue Lawsuit

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Attorney Gregory S. Weston, the San Diego-based lawyer who represented that group of buyers at San Pedro's Vue condo (and later, a condo/rental hybrid) project, sent out a press release today indicating that there's been settlement in the case. The complaint, filed last November against developer Beverly Hills-based Galaxy Commercial Holding (also behind the Blu rental project on Wilshire), was brought forth by a group of buyers who sued to recoup their deposits and get out of their contracts (many of them couldn't close on the units for financial reasons). But like some other recent condo lawsuits we've seen, the buyers alleged fraud. The best allegation (and perhaps slightly outlandish charge): Fraudulent marketing of the Vue's views ie the sales agents aggressively marketed the buildings views, which contributed to the high price of the condos. Seriously. Well, the buyers got (part of) their deposits back. Here's an excerpt from the press release: "The buyers of 92 condominiums in the newly built 16-story Vue tower in San Pedro are receiving large checks this week thanks to the settlement of a class action lawsuit."

According to Weston, 145 people were part of the original suit. All told, 92 people ended up getting their deposits back, but each buyer only received about 1/3 of their deposit, so in the end the whole pool of people split $1.1 million. The remaining buyers ended up purchasing in the building. Here's the press release below. A rep for the Latham and Watkins, the legal team that represented the developer, confirmed the details of the press release, but decline to comment.

Here's the release:

Condo Buyer Class Action Lawsuit in Los Angeles Settles

October 23, 2009

LOS ANGELES - The buyers of 92 condominiums in the newly built 16-story Vue tower in San Pedro are receiving large checks this week thanks to the settlement of a class action lawsuit. Filed in November 2008, the suit alleged the pre-construction buyers at the Vue in San Pedro were misled in the sales process and that the sales forms had flaws that made them unenforceable. The developers vigorously denied the allegations, but ultimately after months of contentious litigation the parties settled.

In total, the purchasers will receive about $1.1 million. About 50 other pre-construction buyers eligible for the settlement decided instead to go ahead and purchase their unit at a discount to the initial pricing set in 2006, and a small number of individual cases against the developers remain pending.

Gregory Weston, the San Diego-based attorney who represented the buyers in the class action, stated on Friday “I’m pleased that the parties were able to agree on a fair settlement fairly quickly in the action. Real estate buyers and investors should not assume just because they cannot complete purchase contracts they will lose their entire deposit. Now that this case is over I expect sales at the Vue to do very well. This was never about construction quality or anything like that, our issues were with the sales process back when the project started.”

The Hon. Margaret M. Morrow presided over the case in Los Angeles federal court and issued her final order approving the settlement on October 8th.

The 318-unit Vue building overlooks the San Pedro waterfront and was completed earlier this year. Several floor plans are still available from the builder, whose sales website is Vue-Living.com.

The full name and case number of the now settled Vue class action is Steve Adachi et al. v. Carlyle/Galaxy San Pedro L.P. et al., No. 09-793 (C.D. Cal.).

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· Vue’s Views Bring on Lawsuit in San Pedro [Curbed LA]