Disputes With Landlords


Crowell & Moring has an established, broad-based retail practice which includes decades of experience in counseling retail tenants and litigating retail leasing disputes. We represent retail clients in all stages of disputes with landlords.  We have recovered more than $300 million 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 in-house and outside auditors during the course of audits to determine overcharges by landlords, and represent clients in settlement meetings, mediations, and arbitrations with landlords.

We have litigated on behalf of numerous major retailers against such landlords as 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.

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

Representative clients include Ascena (Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant), Dick’s Sporting Goods, Footlocker, L Brands (Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works), Ross Stores.

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

Recent representative actions include:

  • Oklahoma:  Landlord filed complaint seeking declaratory relief regarding interpretation of a co-tenancy requirement.  Crowell & Moring succeeded in (1) removing the case from state to federal court; and (2) on motion to dismiss, obtaining dismissal of landlord’s complaint with prejudice. 
  • Florida:  Landlord sued retailer alleging that co-tenancy requirement was met, and that retailer was in default for continuing to pay co-tenancy rent rather than full rent.  The court granted a motion to dismiss filed by Crowell & Moring, dismissing landlord’s claims with prejudice.
  • Kansas:  Crowell & Moring filed action on behalf of retailer against landlord regarding dispute over retailer’s rights under option provisions of lease.  After complaint was filed, landlord agreed to abide by retailer’s interpretation.
  • Oregon:  After one-week trial, defeated forcible entry and detainer action filed against national retail client.  Crowell & Moring continues to represent retailer in multi-million dollar litigation regarding retailer’s end-of-lease obligations. 

In addition, Crowell & Moring has:

  • Resolved multiple lease disputes on summary judgment, entitling our retail clients to millions of dollars for back rent, rent abatement, prejudgment interest and costs.
  • Represented a retailer in unlawful detainer litigation initiated by landlords across the country.
  • Reviewed leases and counseled clients regarding possible claims against landlords, including overcharges for minimum rent, percentage rent, common area maintenance (CAM), real estate taxes, marketing fund, merchants' association, media fund, utilities, insurance, trash, and sprinklering.