Commercial Lease Disputes


Crowell & Moring has an established, a broad-based retail practice which includes decades of experience counseling retail tenants and litigating commercial lease disputes. We represent retail clients in all stages of disputes with landlords, and serve as national counsel to many well-known retailers.  We have recovered more than $1 billion from landlords across the country and are one of the leading law firms in this arena.  

In addition to litigating disputes, Crowell & Moring provides comprehensive counseling and negotiation services.  We work closely with our client’s in-house legal, business, and auditors to determine overcharges by landlords, and represent clients in settlement meetings, mediations, arbitrations and litigation with landlords on issues such as: abatement of minimum rent and other charges; co-tenancy or percentage rent; common area maintenance (CAM); operating costs; real estate taxes; lease termination rights and costs associated with lease termination issues; exclusives and radius restrictions.

We are active members of such organizations as the National Retail Tenants Association, International Council of Shopping Centers and Retail Industry Leaders Association. Our lawyers have written numerous articles and given many presentations about retail lease disputes, covering topics such as co-tenancy clauses,  operating expenses,utility charges, termination rights, abatement rights, and end of lease rights and obligations

Extensive Experience

We have litigated against all the major shopping center landlords through the years, including Simon Property Group, Inc., Westfield Group, Rouse Company, Urban Shopping Centers, Inc., General Growth Properties, Inc., Richard E. Jacobs Group, Macerich Company, Wilmorite Properties, Pyramid Management Group, Inc., Kravco Company (now Kravco Simon Company), Crown American Properties, New England Development, Developers Diversified Realty, Kimco Realty and Centro Properties, as well as numerous smaller landlords.

Representative clients include Ascena (Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant), Dick’s Sporting Goods, Foot Locker, Victoria’s Secret & Co., Lbrands, and Ross Stores.

Nationwide Practice

We have litigated cases across the country, including in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Representative Matters:

  • Premises Related Issues. Regularly litigate issues involving delivery, construction, and damage to premises, including bringing an action on behalf of Victoria’s Secret & Co. in New York State court against landlord for World Trade Center Shopping Center for failure to deliver premises, and successfully arguing appeal denying landlord’s motion to dismiss.
  • Co-Tenancy Disputes. Commence and defend numerous actions on behalf of clients involving co-tenancy disputes, which have resulted in successful dismissals of landlords’ claims and favorable settlements to tenants.
  • Audit Related Claims. Counsel and advise dozens of tenants in connection with lease audit claims, including issues related to common area costs, operating expenses, and taxes, and have successfully recovered millions of dollars in overcharges for tenants.
  • End of Lease Issues. Regularly represent retailers in connection with end-of-lease obligations involving multi-million dollar financial impacts, and successfully settled and tried numerous cases to summary judgment or verdict, including four trials for Ross Stores and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
  • Multi-Tenant High-Stakes Litigation. Represented several major retailers, such as Macy’s and Sears, in litigation stemming from a devastating fire at the Roseville Galleria, an upscale shopping center operated by Westfield in Northern California, and achieved a favorable settlement.