By Jim Butler and the Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com 14 August 2013
Hotel Lawyers on “hotel condo” units as securities (or NOT).
An important decision on when a condo hotel does NOT involve the sale of a “security”
One of the most significant challenges for developers of a condo hotel project is whether the sale of the condo units constitutes the sale of a “security.” If it does, the principals and sellers of the project will have much greater compliance issues, costs and liabilities, which could make the project unworkable.
We have been advising clients on these issues in connection with more than 100 hotel mixed-use transactions since 2000. The deals usually have a significant residential component (condo hotels, hotel condos, single family homes or home sites, etc.) retail, entertainment and other uses added to a core hotel component. The Ninth Circuit opinion in Salameh v. Tarsadia Hotel (CA-9, No. 11-55479) discussed today provides a significant new level of comfort for all involved in such matters.
In an important decision yesterday (August 13, 2013) written by Judge Ronald M. Gould, a 3-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower federal district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s lawsuit arising out of their purchase of hotel condominium units at the Hard Rock Hotel San Diego, a “condo-hotel.”
The case was filed as a class action by Tamer Salameh and other named plaintiffs against some of the most respected people in Southern California’s hospitality industry, including Tarsadia Hotel, Tushar Patel, B.U. Patel, Gregory Casserly and other defendants. Notably, Playground Destination Properties, one of the first developers and most esteemed marketing companies for condo hotels, was also named in the action.
Essential to the plaintiffs’ claims was their characterization of their purchase as involving “securities” under the federal securities laws. They said that defendants offered condominium units together with a rental-management program, and doing so, constituted the sale of a “security.” The lower court dismissed the case after giving plaintiffs an opportunity to amend, finding that the amended complaint still did not state facts sufficient to find the existence of a “security.” The lower court also dismissed related common law fraud claims. For background on this issue and its importance, see “Condo Hotel Lawyer: Why does the SEC care about condo hotels?”
If you don’t know what a condo hotel is, or how it fits into hotel mixed-used, we have an entire section of HotelLawyer.com and HotelLawBlog devoted to condo hotels and to mixed-use. Just use the search bar at the top for any subject or click condo hotels or mixed use!
Why is this case important?