Paul M. Kelley

Los Angeles Real Estate Litigation Attorney Paul M. Kelley

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Mr. Kelley's practice focuses on litigation and trial work arising from real estate, business and employment disputes. He has been lead counsel in more than 40 matters tried to conclusion as jury trials, bench trials, and binding arbitrations. In addition he has successfully prepared and argued appellate cases in the California Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Over more than 30 years of practice he has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a disputes involving claims based in contracts, tort and a wide variety of statutory violations.

Real Estate Litigation

Mr. Kelley has been involved in almost every type of dispute that can arise from a real estate transaction, including buyer/seller disputes; commission disputes; commercial/ industrial lease disputes; and easement disputes. He advises clients on how to resolve disputes short of litigation, whether in direct talks between the parties or professional mediations. If and when necessary, Mr. Kelley advocates for his clients in litigation in federal court, state court and arbitration. Representative cases include:

  • Shuster v. Transtate Investments. Mr. Kelley represented the plaintiffs who were defrauded in the purchase of an apartment building by the seller who had misrepresented both the income and the expenses. Result: After trial, Judgment in favor of the plaintiff for rescission of the transaction; restitution; and punitive damages.
  • Ortiz v. Urban Properties. Mr. Kelley represented the seller of a commercial building against claims that the buyer had been defrauded by the seller's failure to disclose that the building required seismic retrofitting. Result: After engaging in discovery and submitting motions in limine, the buyer dismissed the case with prejudice the day before trial was set to begin.
  • Goodglick v. Northrop. Mr. Kelley represented an industrial real estate broker whose commission agreement provided for additional commission to be paid in the event the lease was renewed or extended. Result: The court granted summary judgment in favor of the broker. The case settled on appeal for an amount in excess of 90% of the damages awarded.
  • Malley v. Maguire Thomas. Mr. Kelley represented a successor landlord against claims by an attorney/master tenant that the landlord had defrauded the tenant in connection with the lease. The successor landlord cross-complained for the lost rent due under the lease. Result: Unanimous jury verdict in favor of the successor landlord defeating the attorney/master tenant's fraud claim, and prevailing on the successor landlord's damage claim.
  • Thompson v. Highland Properties. Mr. Kelley represented the landlord in defense of a claim by a retail tenant that the landlord had defrauded the tenant in connection with the lease by misrepresenting the signage that would be provided. Result: Unanimous jury verdict in favor of the landlord.
  • Van Doren v. BIGL. Mr. Kelley represented the owner of a high profile restaurant property in a claim against the restaurateur tenant for damages for abandonment of the premises. The restaurateur tenant sought to avoid the lease by claims of commercial frustration, fraud and mutual mistake. Result: Settlement with the landlord recovering all past due rent and five years of future rent.
  • Salser v. Boy Scouts. Mr. Kelley represented a landowner against claims by the Boy Scouts of America that they had a variety of easement rights over the landowner's property; and concerning the obligation of the Boy Scouts to make repairs. After a binding arbitration an award was issued limiting the easement rights to a narrow prescriptive easement, and requiring that the easement holder repair the property.
  • Gana v. K-1. Mr. Kelley represented the general contractor for a commercial building on a claim against the owner for the unpaid balance of the contract. Result: After trial, the contractor obtained judgment for the full amount of his claim.

Business Litigation

Mr. Kelley has represented clients in a wide variety of disputes including those involving the operation and formation of business entities (particularly law partnerships); anti-competitive business practices (including advice concerning the rights and obligations of departing employees); and disputes involving the purchase and sale of businesses. Representative cases include

  • Dar v. AGS USA. Mr. Kelley represented the defendant and cross-complaint, one of the members of an LLC which manufactured clothing. The parties had no buy sell agreement, and Mr. Kelley's client had substantial evidence of misappropriation by the plaintiff. Result: Stipulated judgment in favor of the defendant and cross-complainant by which the plaintiff surrendered his entire interest in the LLC, and stipulated to judgment for damages in the amount of the misappropriation.
  • Cervera v. Francisquito Properties. Mr. Kelley represented one of the partners in a partnership in a dispute with the other partners concerning the operation of a commercial property. Result: Mr. Kelley's client prevailed in a binding arbitration in which the arbitrator awarded both monetary and injunctive relief as requested by Mr. Kelley's client.
  • Kislingbury v. Delacey's Club 41. Mr. Kelley represented the seller of a restaurant business in old Pasadena in a claim against the buyer for the balance of the purchase price. The buyer defended the claim and cross-complained based on alleged fraud in connection with the sale. Result: The case settled during trial; the seller received the balance of the purchase price and the buyer dismissed all of its cross-claims.
  • Rea v. Bell Brand. Mr. Kelley defended a snack food manufacturer against a claim that it had wrongfully terminated its Nevada distributor. Result: After trial, all of the distributor's claims were rejected .
  • Visitor v. Reactor. Mr. Kelley represented a commercial production company and a director in defense of a claim that they had misappropriated the business of opportunity of another commercial production company for whom the director had previously worked. Result: After arbitration, an award was entered in favor of our client on all claims.

Labor and Employment

Mr. Kelley has extensive experience in the area of labor and employment. He was the primary outside labor and employment counsel for a national food manufacturing group and for a furniture manufacturing company. In connection with that work, he advised the companies on labor and employment matters, and successfully defended, through trial, many statutory and common law employment claims. In addition, he was the primary company negotiator for a national labor contract, and advised the companies on WARN act implementation.


    Mr. Kelley graduated from Trinity College, and earned his J.D. cum laude from McGeorge College of Law, University of the Pacific . At McGeorge, Mr. Kelley served as Staff Writer and Associate Comment Editor of the Pacific Law Journal, and was admitted to the honorary Traynor Society. Mr. Kelley is a member of the Litigation Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, as well as the Real Estate and Business Law Sections of the State Bar of California.