Ţuca Zbârcea & Asociaţii has successfully persuaded the High Court of Cassation and Justice to reject Bucharest Municipality’s legal action filed against the owner of the former headquarters of the City Hall, whereby the Bucharest Municipality claimed ownership right over the building worth approximately EUR 30 million.
The dispute was filed in 2014 by the Bucharest Municipality against the owner of the building located on Splaiul Independentei, which used to be the headquarters of the City Hall until January 2017. By this legal action, the Bucharest Municipality asked the court to render a judgment in lieu of sale-purchase agreement, claiming to be the beneficiary of a sale promise which allegedly entitled it to ask the owner of the building, evaluated at approximately EUR 30 million, to transfer the ownership right.
The Bucharest Tribunal, as court of first instance, rejected in full the action of the Bucharest Municipality. Thereafter, the Court of Appeal maintained this ruling and upheld that there was no valid promise to sell because the legal requirement of stipulating a determined or determinable price had not been observed. However, the Court of Appeal also held that the building owner had undertaken an obligation to sell at the request of the Bucharest Municipality. A final appeal was lodged against this judgment both by the Bucharest Municipality (against the rejection of the action) and by the building owner, who argued that he did not undertake such obligation.
Under afinalcivil decision rendered on 14 July 2020, the High Court of Cassation and Justice rejected the final appeal of the Bucharest Municipality, it admitted the final appeal of the building owner and it ordered the replacement of the refuted considerations.
“This dispute had a material stake, given the substantial value of the building, multiple civil ramifications, presented by dozens of arguments that the parties debated over 6 years, and required complex evidence that resulted in two specialized expert reports being submitted to the case file. The supreme court’sruling acknowledges that the owner had the right point of view, and it is a fine recognition of the many arguments that we brought with respect to the rules applicable to sale promises, the criteria for the interpretation of agreements, the status of private arrangements, and key concepts of civil procedure”, said Ioana Gelepu, a Partner in the Litigation and Arbitration Department of Țuca Zbârcea & Asociații, who coordinated the legal team representing the building owner. Irina Răileanu, Managing Associate, was also a member of the team.