Cases & Deals

TJPA reaches global settlement in Millennium Tower litigation

Client(s) Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), et al.

Jones Day represented Transbay Joint Powers Authority ("TJPA"), one of the primary parties in the Millennium Tower litigation, which is one of the highest profile litigation matters in the United States. Beginning in 2016, a series of lawsuits were filed concerning a 56-story condominium tower, colloquially referred to as "San Francisco's Leaning Tower," which has vertically moved more than 16 inches and is tilting as much as 20 inches. Owners of more than 200 units filed individual actions and a putative class action was filed on behalf of the remaining unit owners. Plaintiffs sued the tower's developer and adjacent property owners, including Jones Day's client, TJPA. TJPA is a public agency responsible for a newly constructed Transit Center adjacent to the Millennium Tower. Other parties who were brought into this litigation include parties involved in the design and construction of the Millennium Tower, the Transit Center, and two other nearby projects—the Sales Force Tower and a project at 350 Mission. The cases involved complex legal and technical issues regarding the cause of the movement and tilt of the tower and other alleged damage to the tower, mechanisms and costs to upgrade the tower's original foundation system and responsibility for the damages claimed by plaintiffs.

Total recoveries sought against TJPA exceeded more than $1 billion. This litigation, involving a signature project in San Francisco with a number of well-known unit owners, including former 49ers' quarterback Joe Montana, was featured on a segment on 60 Minutes and heavily covered by local and national print and broadcast media. In August 2019, the parties informed the court that a tentative and conditional global settlement was agreed upon. The parties subsequently drafted, negotiated and executed a series of settlement documents. The court granted final approval of the proposed settlement in the class action on August 7, 2020. On October 7, 2020, the court entered an order finding all conditions to be met and the global settlement to be final and effective. Pursuant to the settlement, all claims against TJPA were dismissed with prejudice.

Laura S. Lehman v. Transbay Joint Powers Authority, et al., No. CGC-16-553758 (Super. Ct. San Francisco Cty., Cal.)