Real Estate & Land Use Litigation

Get to the solution more efficiently with attorneys who know the lay of the land.

The Real Estate and Land Use Litigation Group works in coordination with other practice groups on the full range of disputes and proceedings relating to real property. 

This work relates both to court litigation involving interests in land such as boundaries and easements, and to permitting matters before boards, commissions and courts.  Our clients range from individuals dealing with local zoning permits or private land disputes to large national companies navigating through Vermont’s permit appeal system.

You are our most important collaborator.

Downs Rachlin Martin lawyers work closely with the client’s key personnel to understand not only the facts and the law but also the client’s business, financial and personal needs and goals in order to collaborate on a strategy designed to achieve success as defined by the client. By working closely with attorneys in the real estate, energy and telecommunications groups, we are able to combine the industry expertise of these lawyers with the courtroom experience of our seasoned trial litigators.

Members of the group have developed reputations for being strong and persistent advocates on behalf of our clients, while maintaining positive relationships with regulators, tribunals, and other attorneys. We also strive to be pragmatic, understanding that success is often achieved by way of collaborative means rather than full-blown litigation through all available appeals. Each matter is different, and our lawyers tailor each matter to the specific client.

Recent Accomplishments

Our lawyers represent national retailers in significant permit disputes involving Act 250, local zoning, and stormwater regulation. Working with lawyers in the firm’s real estate group, we have helped clients work through federal, state and local processes in order to develop new store locations. Specifically, Downs Rachlin's Real Estate & Land Use Litigation Team representative matters look something like this:

  • Our group works with clients across Vermont to litigate the whole range of land use disputes relating to boundaries, easements, restrictive covenants, trespass and the like.
  • We frequently assist private landowners with zoning and other permit appeals before local boards and the Environmental Division.
  • We work with quarrying and resource extraction clients as they navigate the maze of permits necessary to expand their operations.
  • On appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court, we successfully gained reversal of a grant of summary judgment in a significant deed dispute involving a major Vermont resort. This reversal allowed the client to avoid substantial redesign and reconstruction costs.
  • Our lawyers successfully gained summary judgment for a client defending nuisance and trespass claims involving his cultivation of orchard trees. On appeal, we were able to secure an affirmance of summary judgment in favor of the client.
  • Working with our energy group, we have represented two different public utilities on appeals involving competing jurisdictions between the Public Utility Commission and Act 250. In both instances, the appellate court ruled in favor of exclusive Public Utility Commission jurisdiction, as urged by our clients.
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