Overview

Alicia Vaz is an experienced trial and appellate attorney, who specializes in real estate and high-stakes business litigation and dispute resolution, and Co-Chair of the firm’s litigation team.

Alicia has been hailed by clients for her effective, efficient, and creative approach to resolving disputes with solutions that align with her client’s goals and business needs either to avoid a lawsuit where feasible or to achieve a favorable result through litigation in a cost-effective manner. She is considered a strategist, who develops crucial evidence, evaluates and advises her clients of their options, and executes a plan for settlement or success at trial. Alicia has significant trial and arbitration experience in venues throughout California and she has appeared and argued before the California appellate courts.

Alicia has extensive knowledge of all facets of the real estate business and has represented property owners, market rate and affordable housing developers, contractors, investors, high-net worth individuals, landlords, property managers, lenders, and large institutions and REITs in matters involving all asset classes. She has litigated virtually every type of real estate dispute including purchase and sale disputes and specific performance actions; claims by or against agents, brokers, or title companies; lease and property valuation claims; nuisance and trespass claims; guarantor and lender liability claims; easement, boundary, and neighbor disputes; and construction defect and delay claims. Alicia also has extensive expertise in litigation involving the LIHTC and affordable housing industry, including Year 15 exit disputes between partners in affordable housing partnerships.  

Similarly, Alicia has a breadth of experience representing individuals and entities in complex commercial business litigation. She has successfully represented clients in litigation involving claims of breach of contract, including disputes between partners, members, and shareholders; fraud and unfair business practices; insurance coverage; defamation, libel, and slander; tortious interference and business interruption; alter ego; and trade secret misappropriation.

In addition to her robust litigation practice, Alicia is also a member of the firm’s Management Committee and is the firm’s Chief DEI Officer.

Experience

Complex Commercial Business and Unfair Competition Litigation

Obtained a unanimous jury defense verdict in a case by the licensee of Johnson & Johnson alleging more than $80 million in damages for the purported misappropriation of trade secrets by a Canadian medical device company.

Settled on favorable terms claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty brought by a hotel operator against a high-profile bar operator following favorable rulings during the bench trial phase and following commencement of jury phase of trial.

Obtained a judgment in favor of an entity following the grant of a demurrer to claim seeking to invalidate an agreement based on purported violations of the "unfair competition" statutes.

Obtained a favorable decision following a bench trial on behalf of the managing member in an action brought by a minority member claiming he was not bound by the terms of an operating agreement he did not sign and had no capital contribution obligation in the limited liability company.

Successfully defended a declaratory relief action alleging that a title holding entity was the alter ego of its sole corporate member.

Real Estate and Construction Litigation

Represented through arbitration a country club operator in arbitration of a ground lease dispute involving percentage rents between a country club and Native American landowners, applying federal and state laws governing tribal land.

Obtained a favorable jury verdict for a REIT landlord against a biochemical research company tenant who had failed to decommission a radioactive materials license issued by the Department of Health Services. Also obtained a prejudgment writ of attachment.

Received an arbitration award in favor of a buyer seeking a return of its earnest money deposit following the seller’s failure to meet certain conditions precedent to the close of escrow.

Obtained a favorable judgment following a multi-phase trial for the owner of a country club in a lawsuit brought by a neighboring property owner seeking a prescriptive easement over the country club owner’s property. Judgment affirmed on appeal.

Obtained a favorable settlement for an owner of a multi-million-dollar home in litigation against the builder for failure to maintain a contractor’s license and against the builder and the numerous subcontractors in a complex construction defect action.

Represented a hotel owner in construction defect litigation against a general contractor and subcontractor alleging significant construction defects.

Represented a commercial landlord in a dispute with a large retail shopping center tenant over rent adjustments based on a co-tenancy provision in a lease and successfully negotiated a settlement before the commencement of litigation.

Obtained a favorable settlement for a developer in lawsuit for rescission brought by a purchaser of a unit in a high-end condominium complex asserting that the developer had not complied with the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (ILSA) or the Subdivided Lands Act (SLA) because it had failed to provide purchasers with a state-mandated public report.

Represented a contractor in an action to stop foreclosure and determine priority of liens among various lenders and mechanic's lienholders.

Represented a buyer of distressed hotel property in a contract and deed reformation dispute against a lender seller involving failure to transfer adjacent parking parcel as represented. A lis pendens was recorded at the commencement of the action.

Obtained a favorable settlement for the purchaser of two homes in a declaratory relief action brought by an insurance company that refused to defend or indemnify the purchaser as the result of a fraudulent transfer of the property by a seller that did not actually have title to the property.

Affordable Housing/LIHTC Litigation

Obtained a favorable settlement and dismissal of an arbitration proceeding brought by an investor limited partner (ILP) in a low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) partnership seeking to remove the administrative general partner (AGP) based on unsubstantiated allegations of breaches of fiduciary duty and contractual obligations under the partnership agreement. Resolution involved the redemption of the ILP’s interest in the partnership.

Defeated a motion to appoint a receiver to manage the affairs of the LIHTC partnership, leading to a favorable settlement in a federal court action brought by an ILP against the AGP for alleged breaches of contract and fiduciary duties based on purported mismanagement by the AGP.

Obtained an early settlement and dismissal of an out-of-state declaratory relief lawsuit brought by an ILP which purportedly exercised its forced sale right after the general partners already had exercised their option to purchase the project from the partnership as permitted by the partnership agreement. The parties disputed the validity of the respective exercised rights and how the proceeds from a sale would be distributed to the parties under the waterfall provision of the partnership agreement.

Ongoing representation of partners in low-income housing tax credit partnerships involving various Year-15 exit disputes relating to, among other things, claims for breaches of fiduciary duty, partnership and partnership interest valuations, buy-out options, rights of first refusal, and waterfall and exit tax calculations.

 

Insights

News

Speaking Engagements

Publications

Awards & Affiliations

Honors & Recognitions

Selected as "Leader of Influence: Top Litigators" by the Los Angeles Business Journal, 2023

Recognized as a DEIA Visionary by the Los Angeles Times, 2022

Los Angeles Business Journal Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Awards Nominee

ConnectCRE, Women in Real Estate (California), 2021

Century City Chamber of Commerce Women of Achievement, 2019

Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2007-2016

Super Lawyers Top Women Attorneys in Southern California, 2013

Professional Affiliations

Representative, Law Firm Antiracism Alliance

California Change Lawyers, Board of Directors, 2017-present; Chair, Scholarships Committee, 2019-2022

Trial Practice Inn of Court, Los Angeles County, President, 2013; Executive Committee, 2009-2012; Member, 2004-2009

State Bar of California, Litigation Section

Los Angeles County Bar Association, Real Property Section, Real Property Reporter

Community Affiliations

Habitat for Humanity

LifeSteps Partnership for HOPE

KIND Pro Bono Attorney

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central, Eastern, Northern, and Southern Districts of California

Education

J.D., University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2001

B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1997, cum laude

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