Biography

Richard Barrett-Cuetara is a trial attorney who has represented clients in litigation, arbitration, adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court, and mediation involving complex commercial disputes in the real estate and hospitality industries. His ability to understand and resolve complex commercial real estate disputes is based on his prior experience as a real estate financial analyst, asset manager, loan underwriter and commercial real estate appraiser for a prominent international life insurance company. This experience gives him insight into high-profile mixed-use developments, including Class “A” office buildings, retail, hotels, and fitness facilities.

He represents hotel owners, real estate developers, commercial borrowers, property management companies, office and retail ownership groups, commercial tenants, and franchisors and franchisees in litigation involving claims such as fraudulent transfers, fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties, disgorgement, accounting, mismanagement, lender liability and hotel occupancy tax issues. Additionally, Rick represents and defends landlords and tenants in complex office and retail lease disputes involving CAM charges, operating expense audits and general defaults under office and retail leases. He also represents commercial and residential real estate brokers and agents in professional liability disputes.

Rick has obtained jury trial and bench trial verdicts in cases involving ad valorem taxes, the division of commercial shopping centers, and hotel partnership disputes.

Representative Experience

  • Jury trial verdict in Ad Valorem Tax Litigation dispute against Dallas Central Appraisal District (DCAD) involving denial of tax exemption to non-profit entity.
  • Jury trial verdict resulting in six figure award, and attorneys’ fees and costs on behalf of client regarding enforcement of two post-separation agreements (Separation, Release and Restructuring Agreement and Contribution and Indemnification Agreement) that related to the division of commercial shopping centers, the transfer of general partner interests, and liability of the managing general partner for committing “Bad Boy Guarantor” acts under the Indemnification Agreement.  Defendant was found liable for not indemnifying and reimbursing the Plaintiff for payment of ad valorem taxes to the lender.
  • $2M bench trial verdict in partnership hotel dispute against co-partners involving claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duties, breach of contract, mismanagement and for an accounting.
  • Represented partner in fraudulent transfer claim related to hotel fraud case resulting in six figure settlement.
  • $27M complex arbitration proceeding relating to division of 6 hotels branded by three international hotel companies involving claims against co-partners for breach of fiduciary duties, fraud, breach of contract, disgorgement, accounting, and mismanagement. The dispute settled.
  • Settled $22 million commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) loan dispute as Special Litigation Counsel for hotel client in an Adversary Proceeding in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas.  The client owned an upscale, full-service luxury hotel branded with a world-wide leader in the hotel industry.  The client exercised its right under the loan agreement to “re-brand” the hotel.  However, the Master Servicer and Special Servicer of the CMBS loan allegedly failed to grant borrower’s unfettered right to “re-brand” the hotel in a timely manner.  The hotel client sued the CMBS lender, Master Servicer, and Special Servicer.  Borrower asserted damage claim of diminution in value to the hotel.  The case settled and the CMBS lender waived default interest, attorneys’ fees and other monetary claims.  Borrower re-negotiated interest rate, maturity date and other issues favorable to borrower.
  • Represented owner against a family member alleging a partnership interest in a $7M apartment complex.
  • Representation of landlords and tenants in retail developments, Class “A” Office Buildings, and Class “A” Office, Retail and Loft Developments involving complex lease disputes regarding CAM charges, operating expense audits and general defaults under retail and office leases.
  • Complex business and partnership disputes involving claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, disgorgement, accounting, receivership, and mismanagement issues.
  • Challenged constitutionality of municipal hotel ordinance, actions of hotel inspectors, city manager and law enforcement personnel.  Resulted in new hotel ordinance being enacted.
  • Closed a $60M acquisition of four mid-tiered hotels in Texas that were converted to "select-service" hotels and franchised with an international hotel company.
  • Negotiated hotel and office building leases.
  • Negotiated operational matters for retail property management firms, asset managers, and hotel operators.

Education

  • California Western School of Law  (J.D.)
    • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International, Vice-Justice
    • Professional Responsibility Committee Chair
  • University of Miami School of Law  (Masters of Law)
    • Taxation
  • San Diego State University  (B.S.)
    • with Honors and Distinctions

Bar Admissions

  • Texas, 1983

Court Admissions

  • United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Texas
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Professional and Community Activities

  • State Bar of Texas, Litigation and Real Estate Sections
  • Dallas Bar Association, Litigation and Real Estate Sections
  • Board Member, Southwest Jewish Congress, Dallas, 2009-present
  • Dallas Hispanic Bar Association, 2007-2011
  • Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, 2005-2019
  • Hospitality Law Conference, Advisory Panel, Moderator and Host, 2001-2017
  • Global Alliance of Hospitality Attorneys, 2001-2017

Speeches and Presentations

  • Panel member, moderator, and host of Legal Seminars at national hotel conferences including the ALIS Conference, Lodging Conference, NYU Conference, and Hospitality Law Conference
  • Guest speaker at Legal Issues in the Texas Hospitality Industry Conference, sponsored by the State Bar of Texas. Co-presented paper on Litigating Over Core Agreements - 2015
  • Guest lecturer on agency law and fiduciary duties as it relates to hotel management agreements, asset management agreements and franchise/license agreements to the graduate students in Hospitality Law at the University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management - 2015
  • Co-sponsored Legislative Forum presented  by the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, Austin, Texas - 2015
  • Hospitality Law Conference, Houston, Texas. Panel member, presentation topic “Breaking Up is Hard to Do: The Challenges of Unwinding the Owner-Manager Relationship” – 2015
  • Co-sponsored Legislative Forum presented by the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association and Hotel Association of Tarrant County, Fort Worth, Texas - 2014
  • Introduced panel “High Stakes Texas Real Estate Litigation:  An Inside view from the Office of General Counsel” in the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation Regional CLE Workshop at the Belo Mansion - 2014
  • Luncheon speaker on “Avoiding the Nightmare of Litigation” at the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association’s 69th Annual Short Course, University of Houston, Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel & Restaurant Management - 2014
  • Organized two Hospitality Law Seminars featuring Scott Joslove, President & CEO of the Texas Hotel & Lodging Association, as Keynote Speaker, along with other panel members - 2012 & 2013
  • Guest speaker, North Dallas MLS Meeting, on "Fraudulent Financing:  Do Not Pass Go - Go to Jail! “ - 2006
  • Interviewed on “Viewpoints,” a nationally syndicated talk show broadcast to more than 215 radio stations nationwide, discussing travel taxes and hotel occupancy taxes - 2003

Professional Recognition

  • Dallas Central Appraisal District v. Friends of the Military d/b/a Vet to Vet, 304 S.W. 3d 556 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2009)(lead counsel)(petition for review denied)(non-profit tax exemption case)
  • Chamison v. HealthTrust, Inc. – The Hospital Company, 748 A.2d 407 (Del. 2000)(officer and director indemnification/contribution dispute)(trial team)
  • Judicial Edition, AV Preeminent Rating, Highest Possible Rating in Legal Ability & Ethical Standards, Martindale-Hubbell, 2012-present 
  • AV Preeminent Rating (5.0), Martindale Hubbell, 2001-present
  • Member, American Bar Association’s Real Estate, Condemnation, and Trust Litigation Committee, 2013-present
  • America's Most Honored Professionals - Top 1%, American Registry, 2016 - 2020.
  • Top Rated Lawyers, Texas' Legal Leaders, based on AV Preeminent Martindale-Hubbell Lawyer Ratings, Dallas Morning News 2016
  • America's Most Honored Professionals - Top 1%, American Registry, 2016 - 2021
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Litigation for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability, Martindale-Hubbell, February 2015
  • Top Rated Lawyer in Commercial Litigation & Real Estate Law, Martindale-Hubbell, 2013
  • Attorney of the Week, Hospitalitylawyer.com, 2013
  • State Bar of Texas, Office of Minority Affairs, Texas Minority Counsel Program, Steering Committee, 2010-2012
  • Profiled in Diversity & the Bar, as a “Mover & Shaker,”  Minority Corporate Counsel Association, November/December 2008

Publications

  • Co-author of “Is the Hotel Industry Due for Another Crash Course in Hospitality 101?” published in www.hlconverge.com of www.hospitalitylawyer.com, October 13, 2013; and syndicated by LAW360,  November 2013
  • “Suit Charges City Wants to ‘Eradicate’ Unwanted Hotels” published in Lodging Hospitality Magazine, August 5, 2011
  • “Super Bowl XLV Hoteliers – Beware of Sporting Women,” published in GlobalHotelNetwork.com, February 1, 2011
  • Co-author, “Arbitration:  Panacea or Nightmare?,” published in Lodging Hospitality Magazine, January 2009
  • “Is the USA Patriot Act the Model Legislation for Foreign Governments to Use in Combating Terrorism?” published in the 2nd Edition of Hospitality Law, a treatise on legal issues in the hospitality industry, 2005
  • “Asset Manager:  Gatekeeper or Bean Counter?,” published in Lodging Hospitality Magazine, March 2004
  • “Avoiding Tortious Interference Lawsuits,”  published in Lodging Hospitality Magazine, August 2003
  • “Splitting the Red Roof-Ramada Difference,” published in Lodging Hospitality Magazine, May 2000
  • Co-author, “Sons of Thunder to the Rescue?  A Ruling in New Jersey May Bring Relief for Victims of Unilateral Terminations of Management Agreements,” published in Lodging Hospitality Magazine, January 1998
  • “Avoiding the Expropriation Nightmare – Tax Consequences and Asset Protection Techniques” published in 52 (3) U. MIAMI L. REV. 701, 1998
  • “Confronting Tax Havens, The Offshore Phenomenon, and Money Laundering” published in 23 (2) INT’L. TAX. J. 12, 1997: