News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

An apartment landlord to Dallas refugees lost a big verdict. Will it affect city’s push for repairs?

Many residents in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood are refugees or immigrants.
Keren I. Carrión
Many residents in the Vickery Meadow neighborhood are refugees or immigrants.

A Vickery Meadow landlord embroiled in a lawsuit with the City of Dallas has lost a jury trial in a separate case. It may complicate whether repairs happen at his apartments, as the city wants.

The City of Dallas has been trying for over a year and a half to get Nuran, Inc., to make repairs to two apartment complexes in Vickery Meadow. Hundreds of tenants live in the apartments, according to court documents. Many of them are refugees.

KERA wrote about the apartments earlier this year. The city made numerous allegations of building codes: that the owner of the complexes did not properly maintain gutters, chimneys, walls, and other parts of the buildings; didn’t have enough lighting in some places; and failed to get rid of insect infestations.

Nuran, Inc., denied those claims.

Jury verdict

New developments in an unrelated case involving Nuran’s owner may make the city’s quest even more difficult. A jury recently decided against Shawnee Inc., another company tied to Kareem Noorani. Noorani identified himself as president of Shawnee and the owner of Nuran, Inc. in court filings. Jurors said Shawnee failed to comply with a 2017 contract when selling office buildings in Northeast Dallas to another firm.

The jury declared about $3.3 million would “fairly and reasonably” compensate the other company.

Here’s why that matters: if the jury verdict leads to a judgement against Shawnee Inc., Noorani could have less of an incentive — or less money — to make the repairs the city is demanding. And the winner of the breach of contract case could eventually obtain a lien against the Vickery Meadow apartments, called the Ivy and Sunchase Square.

The verdict could be appealed. An attorney for Noorani did not return an email seeking comment.

Kids play in the melted snow outside the Ivy Apartments in Vickery Meadow after the snow storm in February.
Keren I. Carrión
Kids play in the melted snow outside the Ivy Apartments in Vickery Meadow after the snow storm in February.

The City of Dallas, for its part, said it is not concerned that the verdict will keep repairs from happening at the Ivy and Sunchase. Emily Worland, an attorney with the city, said in an interview that it is in talks with Nuran Inc. to have it hire a property manager and zoning professional to bring them into compliance.

“I don’t think it changes it,” Worland said of the verdict. “People are still living at those apartments.”

Nuran, Inc. has consistently pushed back against the city’s allegations of code violations and even sued the city in federal court, claiming its code enforcement efforts were motivated by religious discrimination.

Lawsuits pending

As it stands, Dallas County property records show two “lis pendens” for the Ivy and Sunchase. Lis pendens are notices that lawsuits involving those properties are pending — specifically, the city’s suit over repairs and the 2017 breach of contract dispute.

“The effect of the lis pendens is to say, ‘there’s a lawsuit about this issue relating to the ownership of the real property,’” said Julie Rogers, a law professor at Southern Methodist University.

It’s different from a lien, which creates an ownership interest in a property when the original owners have a judgement against them.

On its own, a lis pendens could limit Nuran Inc.'s ability to sell the complexes or borrow money for repairs.

“People are not going to want to buy it, and no one’s going to want to lend against it,” Rogers said.

Still, any potential lien would not mean the city couldn’t pursue its legal case, said Rogers.

“It doesn’t affect the city’s ability to enforce the law,” she said.

The plaintiff in the breach of contract suit, Delaware-based Kaz Meyers Properties LLC, has said in legal filings that the money they paid for the office complex went to pay debt on the Ivy and Sunchase.

“Nuran may be held liable as either a transferee or the entity that benefited from the transfer,” the company argued in 2020.

Nuran Inc. has other ongoing litigation related to the Ivy and Sunchase Square. The religious discrimination case was filed after the landlord closed a prayer room at the Ivy in response to the city’s code compliance suit.

Nuran, Inc. is also being sued by the family of a two-year-old boy who died in an accident in the Sunchase Square parking lot in February.

Moving forward

Any prolonged delay in hiring a zoning professional and property manager would lead the city to increase the pressure, Worland said.

“The city’s ready to go forward with a temporary injunction,” she said. “It’s ready to go forward with civil penalties, which are accruing as this goes on.”

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the jury verdict was only against the company Shawnee Inc.

Got a tip? Email Bret Jaspers at You can follow Bret on Twitter @bretjaspers.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Bret Jaspers is a reporter for KERA. His stories have aired nationally on the BBC, NPR’s newsmagazines, and APM’s Marketplace. He collaborated on the series Cash Flows, which won a 2020 Sigma Delta Chi award for Radio Investigative Reporting. He's a member of Actors' Equity, the professional stage actors union.