Real Estate Law
With a general real estate law practice, I represent various builders and contractors, real estate investors, real estate brokerage firms, agents and property managers and owners throughout the real estate life cycle including financing, acquisition, planning, zoning, construction, development, management, and disposition of real estate.
From helping clients identify the best corporate structure for their investment for liability, business operation, and tax reasons, to obtaining new zoning, to drafting leases for landlords, to representing landlords or property management ompanies, to handling evictions, to representing Property Owners Associations, my practice is substantially dedicated to real estate law.
Quiet Title Actions
When a person needs to establish that he is the proper owner of a piece of real estate in Arkansas, the proper action is to file a petition with the appropriate circuit court to quiet title to the property in his or her name. Below is a compilation of statutes that govern how someone confirms that he or she is the proper owner in a quiet title action.
Section 502 provides the requirements of the petition. The petition must describe the land, state facts showing a prima facie right and title to the land, and state that there are no adverse possessors on the property. Further, one has to search a lot of files and provide notice of the quiet title action to anyone who should be notified of the lawsuit. A proper search includes searching (1) the land title records of the county, (2) tax records held by the county’s collector, treasurer and assessor, (3) probate records, (4) voter registration records, (5) and any appropriate business or partnership records.
Notice to any individuals discovered during the search that may have an ownership interest must be made by sending notice in duplicate via certified mail to the individual by name and to the same address as “occupant”. If the certified mail is returned, then another notice must be sent via regular mail.
Also a conspicuous sign needs to be placed on the property that references the lawsuit.
If the petitioner trying to quiet title knows of someone who claims an interest in the property, then the petitioner must name the other person as a defendant and summon them to court.
The petitioner must also have a notice published in the newspaper of the county on the same day of the week for four weeks. That notice must tell everyone who claims an interest in the property to come forward and speak up.
After publication of the notice, the court is required to hear proof of allegations in the petition. If the petitioner can not show a perfect claim of title, then he must show color of title for the property for a period of seven years and have paid the taxes on the property during that time.
If the court is satisfied, then it will issue a decree establishing and quieting title in the petitioner. However, there are some important exceptions. The decree is not valid against those who contracted with the petitioner, a person in adverse possession, a person who paid the taxes in the last seven years or a remainderman unless he or she were served and summoned to court.
The decree should be recorded in the real estate records. The decree may be set aside within three years if someone can present a meritorious defense. If there is someone suffering from a disability such as infancy, lunacy, idiocy or someone claiming an interest in the property under someone suffering from such disability, then the decree may be set aside up to three years after the removal of the disability.
Personal Injury Law
The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, work accidents, tripping accidents, assault claims, and product defect accidents (product liability). The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to medical negligence claims ) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermatitis, and repetitive strain injury cases. Personal injury cases may also include toxic torts, in which a contaminant transmitted by air or water causes illness, injury, or death (as in John Grisham's book, A Civil Action).
Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. In the United States, this system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of tort reform. Attorneys often represent clients on a "contingent fee basis" in which the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful. Typically, a Plaintiff attorney charges 1/3 of the proceeds recovered if a case is settled out of court or 40 percent if the matter proceeds to trial. These sums are negotiable before hiring an attorney. Legal aid from the government may not be available; for example it was largely abolished in England in the late 1990s and replaced with arrangements whereby the client would be charged no fee if her or his case was unsuccessful.
Divorce, Custody, and Family Law
Family law (also called matrimonial law) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations, including:
Marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships
Adoption and surrogacy
Child abuse and child abduction
The termination of relationships and ancillary matters, including divorce, annulment, property settlements, alimony, child custody and visitation, child support and alimony awards
paternity testing and paternity fraud
This list is not exhaustive and varies depending on jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions in the United States, the family courts see the most crowded dockets. Litigants representative of all social and economic classes are parties within the system.
Legal Contract Preparation
A contract is a voluntary arrangement between two or more parties that is enforceable by law as a binding legal agreement. Contract is a branch of the law of obligations in jurisdictions of the civil law tradition. Contract law concerns the rights and duties that arise from agreements.
A contract arises when the parties agree that there is an agreement. Formation of a contract generally requires an offer, acceptance, consideration, and a mutual intent to be bound. Each party to a contract must have capacity to enter the agreement. Minors, intoxicated persons, and those under a mental affliction may have insufficient capacity to enter a contract. Some types of contracts may require formalities, such as a memorialization in writing.
Plaintiff Insurance Representation
A plaintiff (in legal shorthand) is the party who initiates a lawsuit (also known as an action) before a court. By doing so, the plaintiff seeks a legal remedy, and if successful, the court will issue judgment in favor of the plaintiff and make the appropriate court order (e.g., an order for damages). "Plaintiff" is the term used in civil cases in most English-speaking jurisdictions, the notable exception being England and Wales, where a plaintiff has, since the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, been known as a "claimant". In criminal cases, the prosecutor brings the case against the defendant, but the key complaining party is often called the "complainant".
In some jurisdictions the commencement of a lawsuit is done by filing a summons, claim form or a complaint. These documents are known as pleadings, that set forth the alleged wrongs committed by the defendant or defendants with a demand for relief. In other jurisdictions the action is commenced by service of legal process by delivery of these documents on the defendant by a process server; they are only filed with the court subsequently with an affidavit from the process server that they had been given to the defendant according to the rules of civil procedure.
Criminal Defense Law
In the field of criminal law, there are a variety of conditions that will tend to negate elements of a crime (particularly the intent element), known as defenses. The label may be apt in jurisdictions where the accused may be assigned some burden before a tribunal. However, in many jurisdictions, the entire burden to prove a crime is on the government, which also must prove the absence of these defenses, where implicated. In other words, in many jurisdictions the absence of these so-called defenses is treated as an element of the crime. So-called defenses may provide partial or total refuge from punishment.
A lawsuit (or suit in law) is "a vernacular term for a suit, action, or cause instituted or depending between two private persons in the courts of law." The term refers to any proceeding by a party or parties against another in a court of law.
Sometimes, the term "lawsuit" is in reference to a civil action brought in a court of law in which a plaintiff, a party who claims to have incurred loss as a result of a defendant's actions, demands a legal or equitable remedy. The defendant is required to respond to the plaintiff's complaint. If the plaintiff is successful, judgment is in the plaintiff's favor, and a variety of court orders may be issued to enforce a right, award damages, or impose a temporary or permanent injunction to prevent an act or compel an act. A declaratory judgment may be issued to prevent future legal disputes.
A lawsuit may involve dispute resolution of private law issues between individuals, business entities or non-profit organizations. A lawsuit may also enable the state to be treated as if it were a private party in a civil case, as plaintiff, or defendant regarding an injury, or may provide the state with a civil cause of action to enforce certain laws.
The conduct of a lawsuit is called litigation. The plaintiffs and defendants are called litigants and the attorneys representing them are called litigators. The term litigation may also refer to criminal trial.
Wills, trust, and Estate Planning
Let Friedman Law Firm help you with your Wills, trust, and Estate Planning. It's never something anyone wants to think about, but the day you pass away, your loved ones will truly be honored by you having gone out of your way to prepare. Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best!
A residential contractor is any person or business who contracts orally or in writing directly with a person holding an interest in real estate, or such person’s agent, for the construction of any improvement to or repair of real estate involving a house, duplex, triplex or quadraplex. During the last legislative session, HB 1594, a bill concerning materialmen’s and mechanic’s liens, was passed into law as Act 454 of the Regular Session of 2009. Generally speaking, the law has been that if a residential contractor (plumber, electrician, HVAC, roofer, garage door fixer, etc.) did work on a house, duplex, triplex or quadraplex, then he was entitled to be paid by the owner. If the owner did not pay him, then the residential contractor had two legal options available to him. First, he could sue on the contract. Second, he could sue on the equitable principle of unjust enrichment (quantum meruit is the Latin phrase for unjust enrichment). Unjust enrichment means that 1) if a contractor did something with the expectation of getting paid, 2) the owner or owner’s agent who was supposed to pay knew of the expectation and allowed the contractor to proceed and 3) the work was actually done, then the law would not allow the owner to unjustly enrich himself at the expense of the contractor by letting the owner not pay for the work done. THIS NEW LAW DRAMATICALLY CHANGES THE LAW. Importantly, the statute states: “If a residential contractor fails to give the notice required under this subsection, then the residential contractor is barred from bringing an action either at law or in equity, including without limitation quantum meruit, to enforce any provision of a residential contract.“ That language is very sweeping! Let me give you a couple of examples of how it will affect residential contractors. First, let’s say that the contractor fails to give the statutory required notice to the owner before he brings ANY materials onto the property or does ANY work. * An electrician installs a new meter box. The owner doesn’t pay. * An HVAC company installs a new HVAC unit. The owner doesn’t pay. * A plumber installs new plumbing throughout an entire house. The owner doesn’t pay. * A garage door man installs a new garage door. The owner doesn’t pay. * A carpet company installs new flooring. The owner doesn’t pay. * A carpenter installs new cabinets. The owner doesn’t pay. Second, what can the residential contractor do about the owner’s failure to pay. NOTHING! He is barred from bring an action either at law or equity against the owner! WOW! THAT’S HUGE. To protect himself, a residential contractor MUST provide the required statutory notice before he does any work or supplies materials. If you need a copy of the required notice, which was changed in the statute, or if you would like for me to review your standard form documents at a very reasonable price, please call
Property Owners Association
Are you tired of the deadbeat free riders who take advantage of the community and fail to pay their dues? Are you ready to have an outside manager take care of the receipt, record keeping and collection of dues? What can you do when someone continually violates the POA rules and regulations? Our office can assist your Property Owners Association with enforcement of the property owners association rules, regulations and dues. Contact us now to see how we can help.
As a landlord for nearly a decade and as an attorney, I can tell you what is in
your lease is crucial. Late fees, when to return the security deposit,
acceptable reasons for withholding the security deposit, whether you can charge
a pet deposit, the definition of abandonment–the language you use in your lease
can have dire consequences. Is your lease up to date with current law? If you
are a real estate agent, are your leases AREC Rule 10 compliant?
Our office drafts leases regularly.
In Arkansas, there are two methods that you can legally take to evict a
tenant. Each method is separate and distinct with different forms and timelines.
Arkansas is the only state in the United States with a criminal charge for
remaining in a property and failing to pay the rent. Arkansas also has a civil
method for regaining possession of the property and evicting tenants. Which
method would be the most effective for you depends on a number of
Our office deals with evictions regularly.