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Not long after Morrison & Foerster committed more than $60 million to a 15-year lease on a new office at 1700 K St. N.W. in 2004, the firm learned that one of the tenants in its original office at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. was vacating. Sources close to the matter told Legal Times in December that two partners talked the rest of the partnership into expanding into the newly vacated space in the firm’s Pennsylvania Avenue digs while trying to sublease the K Street space. And so Morrison remains on Pennsylvania Avenue, while its K Street lease causes headaches. Morrison subleased some of the space to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and some to Monument Realty. Monument is now suing the firm, as well as the owner of the building, 1700 K Street Associates LLC, in D.C. Superior Court for breach of contract. The complaint, filed Jan. 24, alleges that, acting as the defendants’ “agent,” the building’s manager, Charles E. Smith Commercial Realty Co., approved Monument’s use of subcontractor Can-Am Contractors. But the complaint says that the approval was rescinded only after Can-Am began doing carpentry work in the building, causing Monument to incur upward of $200,000 in damages. Philip Harvey of Alexandria, Va.’s Fiske & Harvey is representing Monument in the suit. Alan Cope Johnston, managing partner of Morrison’s D.C. office, declined to comment on the matter, except to say the firm is named in the complaint only “because we’re in the chain of privity between the building and the subtenant.” Venable partner Brian Schwalb is representing Morrison but has yet to answer the complaint.
Marisa McQuilken can be contacted at [email protected].

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