Beauford Properties, LLC owns commercial real estate in Atlanta. After Beauford sold a building located on Marietta Street in Atlanta, its former tenant filed a lawsuit against both Beauford and the buyer of the building claiming that the lease of the building had been extended by an oral agreement the tenant had with Beauford. Based upon the tenant’s contentions, the buyer brought a cross-claim against Beauford for close to $800,000 that combined with tenant’s claims totaled nearly $1 million. Beauford Properties hired Arnall Golden Gregory as defense counsel.
By means of motions heard on the first day of the trial before jury selection, Beauford defeated all of the tenant’s claims. To defeat the buyer’s claims, Beauford showed the jury that the tenant’s testimony and documentary evidence was not credible and that the witnesses for Beauford were truthful.
After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict for the client. Beauford Properties successfully defeated all claims of the tenant and the buyer and recovered all of its attorneys’ fees incurred during three years of litigation under the prevailing-party attorneys’ fees provision in the lease with the former tenant. The principle of law applicable to the case was that a defendant in a lawsuit becomes the prevailing party for purposes of a prevailing party attorneys’ fees provision by having no judgment entered against it in favor of the plaintiff. The Georgia Court of Appeals later upheld the judgment favorable to the client.