The Firm's Construction Law Practice
– Litigation Experience
The Firm regularly represents developers, general contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in construction-related litigation. The Firm’s representation includes the defense of claims alleging negligence and negligent supervision in work performance, breach of contract, defective design work, cost overruns and delay, disputes over payment and indemnity, surety and lien defense, and challenges arising out of the supervision and oversight of projects. The Firm also has extensive experience in connection with enforcing and responding to mechanic’s liens, stop-work orders, and other construction remedies on behalf of developers, contractors, and sub-contractors, as well as handling labor and employment issues, including collective bargaining issues, that arise in the construction context. Lawyers at the firm regularly represent clients in response to legal challenges to development projects.
We understand the needs of the construction industry and have an extensive network of key contacts with industry experts and specialists ready to assist us. We know how to both efficiently and aggressively investigate, litigate, mediate and arbitrate such construction claims, and are intimately familiar with the design, construction and financial issues that can arise from a project, allowing us to better protect our clients’ interests and present an effective defense.
The Firm’s knowledge of contractual indemnity issues and insurance law is especially beneficial to our clients. This specialized knowledge promotes a higher success rate in tendering claims to other parties and their insurers, thereby extricating our clients’ involvement or significantly reducing the potential costs incurred. Often at the heart of many construction disputes is the enforcement of indemnity/hold harmless provisions. We have developed a well regarded expertise in analyzing these particular issues, having conducted numerous trials over this particular subject.
The Firm also has extensive experience in representing defendants faced with claims arising from construction accidents and construction defects. Consequently, we have the technical background and experience to understand and evaluate everything from specific practices of various trades, their safety policies and procedures, and coordination among same, to handling construction defect litigation involving single-family detached homes, common area developments and apartments, and commercial structures. Many of these matters tend to be more complex in nature, which requires us to work closely with our clients to elicit their input and experience in defending these matters and to coordinate defense strategies with the client’s insurers and other defendants in order to develop the most effective and efficient defense for the client.
– Regulatory Experience
The Firm is well recognized for its regulatory experience, particularly in real estate development, construction, and environmental matters. This is due in part to several of the Firm’s attorneys having served the public in various capacities at the local, city, and state-wide government level. The Firm’s regulatory experience has enabled it to provide a more complete and comprehensive representation to its clients, as many of the regulatory issues apply to a number of different industries and are national in scope.
For example, one of the most significant developments in recent years has to do with the impacts of recent stormwater regulation on construction projects and/or residential and commercial development. Specifically, and along with a Washington D.C. law firm, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA), two of the country’s leading construction industry trade associations, selected our Firm for its construction and regulatory expertise to represent them in connection with a dispute between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The case concerns the EPA’s decision to refrain from issuing specific numeric effluent limitations for construction projects, despite a finding that the construction industry was, and continues to be, a pollution point source. The EPA had come to the conclusion that such limits were not appropriate or feasible to enforce. The NRDC disagreed, and sued the EPA claiming that they have failed to abide by a non-discretionary duty to issue such limits.
While we are actively litigating the matter, it is important to understand that mandating numeric effluent limits would have a significant financial impact on the construction industry. Specifically, if the EPA were now forced to establish the effluent limits, every builder would be forced to comply with these limits or they run the risk of being found in violation of the Clean Water Act and facing significant penalties as a result. In order to make sure builders comply with these possible effluent limits, therefore, builders would be forced to prepare Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for every project, detailing the measures that will be taken to comply with those limits. This would almost certainly require every builder to collect their runoff, have it tested, and submit monitoring reports to the EPA or governing regulatory agency detailing their success, or lack thereof, in complying with those limits.
– Transactional Experience
The Firm also works with several large developers as transaction counsel on complex redevelopment projects that entail contract negotiation expertise in the areas of construction, finance, regulatory and real estate development law. There is little doubt that our construction transactional practice benefits from the talents of our construction litigation practice. A working knowledge of almost every type of construction litigation dispute, and how liability insurance operates in those settings, certainly strengthens our ability to effectively understand and negotiate construction related contracts.
We also have a comprehensive understanding of the implementation and coordination of claims under owner controlled insurance programs (OCIPs) and contractor controlled insurance programs (CCIPs).