On December 8, 2021, Partner David Rusnak and Senior Associate Roberto Bazzani secured a jury verdict in the Metro Atlanta Business Court, representing a small, Atlanta-based commercial bank in a complex real estate dispute with a regional convenience store/gasoline retailer.
The case stemmed from the retailer’s construction in 2001, and subsequent use for nearly 20 years, of a driveway connecting the retailer’s store to a busy state highway. The driveway, which was the main access to the retailer’s store, was constructed across property originally deeded to the State Highway Board in 1927, that reverted to a customer of the bank in the late 1980s. The driveway was repeatedly transferred among entities controlled by the bank’s customer through 2007, which the bank eventually acquired through foreclosure in 2010. The Court, based on the findings of the jury, entered a judgment to the effect that the retailer had no lawful right or privilege to use the driveway for access to and from the adjacent state highway.
According to David, the biggest challenge he and Roberto faced during the trial was keeping the jury’s interest and attention, as their case required the jury to digest and understand a lengthy, detailed chronology of multi-party transactions, and archaic real property concepts that Judge Iannazonne noted, at one point during the trial, that he had not dealt with since law school.