Overview

Construction is a difficult business. Margins are tight, risks are high and mistakes are costly. To survive in the competitive marketplace, companies in the construction industry require experienced legal guidance.

That’s why the companies turn to the experienced and nationally ranked construction law attorneys at Stinson, with one of the largest dedicated practices of its kind. From our base throughout the Midwest, we serve clients in construction-related matters of all types across the United States. We are known for providing practical and timely assistance to our clients in an industry where literally time is money.

Our attorneys routinely advise clients of all sizes, including owners, lenders, engineers, architects, developers, contractors, designers, insurers and sureties. We also develop programs to assist construction companies in satisfying their obligation to comply with state and federal laws, and provide training to ensure that a company is complying with its own contract terms and best practices. When disputes arise, our attorneys work closely with clients to formulate strategies to resolve matters in a creative and cost-effective manner. Clients value our experience with mediation, arbitration, litigation and negotiation in highly specialized and complex cases.

In an ever-changing and highly regulated market, clients count on Stinson's construction attorneys to stay abreast of industry developments, emerging trends and current legislation. We participate in numerous local, regional and national industry-related associations, and frequently write and speak on current issues pertaining to our clients.

LITIGATION / ARBITRATION / CLAIM EXPERIENCE

  • Represented a specialty contractor on a $100 million highly specialized baggage handling system subcontract as part of Miami-Dade County’s $3 billion North Terminal construction project at the Miami International Airport. Our client suffered severe project delays, disruptions and compressed work and provided substantial extra work for the project. In response to our client’s request for additional compensation due to those severe impacts, the owner threatened false claim violations and possible termination of further work. We obtained an early settlement and recovered more than $10 million and a release from the owner for any alleged false claim issues or other issues—all without formal litigation and while preserving important business relationships with the owner.
  • Represented the owner and operator of a cogeneration facility that supplies electricity and steam to a chemical plant. A series of lightning strikes caused the cogeneration facility to shut down, resulting in a temporary interruption of electricity and steam to the chemical plant. The owner alleged that the chemical plant sustained damage to its equipment as a result of the temporary interruption of electricity and steam. After investigating the claim and conducting limited discovery, we obtained dismissal of the owner’s lost profit claims and subsequently settled the case favorably in mediation.
  • Obtained a successful result for our client in a $10 million insurance coverage dispute brought by its excess insurer, stemming from an explosion at the Hawthorne Generation Station in Kansas City. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed the trial court ruling that the insured owed no part of the $10 million to the insurer.
  • Represented industrial coatings contractor in the preparation and negotiation of a request for equitable adjustment to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers seeking payment for delay damages and costs overruns resulting from differing site conditions and contract changes on a significant canal wall painting project.
  • Represented 2nd tier subcontractor in connection with request for equitable adjustment in compensation arising from delays and inefficiencies arising from alleged poor project management by general contractor. Claims submitted under the Miller Act and favorable resolved in settlement.
  • Represented owner in connection claims for defectively designed and installed new ammonia refrigeration system for expanded cold storage plant. Successfully resolved in several mediations with owner, design-builder and its insurance companies.
  • Defended a general contractor in a lawsuits relating to the construction of wind farms and defended against mechanic's lien claimants regarding claims for unpaid work and disputes over scope of work. Claims were favorably resolved in settlement.
  • Successfully defended mechanical subcontractor in response to claims of improper design and installation of cooling and heating units in downtown multi-story condominium complex. Received 100% value on mechanics lien.
  • Represented general contractor in defense of claims of improper installation of 30-foot high retaining wall around a multi-story office building and parking lot.
  • Represented roofing contractor in connection with two successful bid protests concerning roofing projects for county water department.
  • Represented demolition contractor in the preparation and negotiation of a request for equitable adjustment [termination settlement proposal] to the U.S. Army seeking payment for delay damages stemming from discovery of high levels of asbestos that caused the project to be shut down for months and ultimately terminated for convenience.
  • Assisted woman-owned construction contractor in connection with mandatory disclosure relating to small business size status and affiliation rules on Bureau of Interior and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracts.
  • Serves as a certified arbitrator for American Arbitration Association for more than 25 years on AAA's National Large Complex Cases.
  • Advise clients through all kinds of project delivery systems—from design-bid-build and construction management to design-build and Public-Private Partnerships.
  • Develop programs to assist construction companies in satisfying their obligation to comply with federal and state laws, and we provide training to assure that the company is complying with its own contract terms and best practices. Our attorneys have also drafted job descriptions, policies, manuals and training programs for Chief Compliance Officers.
  • Work with clients on projects involving highways, bridges, refineries, industrial plants, schools, hospitals, high-rise buildings, power plants, facilities for Native American tribal entities, and energy efficiency and performance contracts.
  • Represented an architectural firm in the landmark Minnesota Supreme Court case of Helmberger v. Johnson Controls, successfully overturning a lower court ruling that had required architects and engineers performing work for a school district to allow public access to their files under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
  • Conducted a construction cost audit on behalf of an owner in a $12 million residential project. After a two-week arbitration hearing, the arbitrator ruled in favor of our client on every issue in the case and required the contractor to repay substantial overbillings that the owner had paid.
  • Represent commercial owners in connection with drafting and negotiations of Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts for industrial projects.
  • Provided guidance to specialized supplier concerning handling of increased costs arising from China imposed tariffs on materials.
  • Advised general contractors and subcontractors regarding the recovery of escalating material costs not anticipated at the time of the bid.
  • Advised owners, general contractors, and subcontractors regarding recovery of additional time and costs incurred arising from COVID-19 pandemic.  
  • Represented municipality concerning claims for defective flooring work in community recreation hall.
  • Defended a subcontractor in federal court against claims of defective work and schedule delays. After a three-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client and against the general contractor on all claims. The court also awarded our client attorney’s fees and costs.
  • Represented the owner of a bio-diesel facility in a dispute over additional work claims. After a one-week arbitration hearing, the arbitrator found in favor of our client and against the general contractor on all claims.
  • Served as counsel to the power division of a large architectural/engineering firm in various litigation matters arising from international power generation projects, including coal-fired, gas-fired and hydroelectric plants.
  • Represented a subcontractor pursuing claims for delay, disruption, inefficiencies, accelerated work and extra work on a $120 million expansion project for San Antonio’s convention center. We ultimately negotiated a $3 million payment from the owner without further need for litigation and helped preserve a profitable service contract and a good relationship between our client and the owner.
  • Represented a subcontractor pursuing a construction impact claim of $8.85 million on a $1 billion microchip fabrication facility project in Colorado. The project was built on a super-fast-track basis and our client suffered severe impacts to its programming and installation work for the facility monitoring system. We achieved a favorable settlement for our client.
  • Defended a subcontractor against claims arising from a 42-story commercial office complex project in Jersey City, New Jersey. Our client’s lower-tier electrical sub-subcontractor and its supplier initiated a $4 million claim against our client for extra work costs and other damages regarding fire alarm system work. We resolved the entire case successfully after settling with the sub-subcontractor, which severely undercut the supplier’s ability to maintain the lawsuit without its co-party.
  • Also representing a national restoration client, we recently defeated a flooring subcontractor's mechanic's lien claim for unpaid remediation work, by pressing for voluntary early exchange of documents and by crafting legal arguments that drove the damage claim down to a nominal amount and led to a successful, early settlement that was well within the client budget.
  • Represented one of the largest restoration companies in the U.S. on matters including defending against claims of poor workmanship and defective work, litigating issues regarding the scope of work to be performed, collection work, and defending against employment claims. Collection work included filing mechanic's liens for completed work and pursuing claims against a property owner for misuse of insurance proceeds intended to pay for restoration work.
  • Persuading the Arizona Supreme Court to reverse prior unfavorable precedent, we obtained summary judgment for the client regarding the anti-deficiency statute's applicability to construction loans. The published opinion is BMO Harris Bank, N.A. v. Wildwood Creek Ranch, LLC, 236 Ariz. 363, 340 P.3d 1071 (2015).
  • Breaking new legal ground, we won a case that clarified subrogation and other legal doctrines for discharging liens, options, and other encumbrances. The published appellate opinion is Brimet II LLC v. Destiny Homes Marketing, 231 Ariz. 457.
  • Employing a first-of-its-kind analysis, we were able to place a construction issue on a referendum ballot despite admitted defects in the petition. The published appellate decision is Forszt v. Stop Oro Valley Outrageous Giveaways, 212 Ariz. 263
  • Successfully litigating the expansive scope of arbitrators’ powers, we helped the client avoid court in a commercial construction dispute. The published appellate decision is Sun Valley Ranch 308 v. Robson, 231 Ariz. 287.
  • Suing a structural engineer for defective designs affecting multiple homes in a development, we obtained a judgment for the entire claim, including an award of all attorneys’ fees and costs and monetary sanctions against the design engineer.
  • Defended owners against wrongful turn-over demands in bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Our attorneys represented a senior executive at a national architectural, engineering and environmental design-build company.  We provided advice regarding company and ownership governance, entity formation, specific state laws regarding professionals and professional service companies and agreement re-structuring and negotiation. Our advice assisted the executive and the company in developing its scope of services and geographical footprint in numerous states throughout the United States.
  • Obtained a summary decision defeating a contractor’s claim in arbitration for amounts claimed for unauthorized work injurious to the property; successfully sued to unwind toxic contractor-investor joint venture and in various matters (obviously wearing different hats!) recovered warranty damages, defeated warranty damages, prevented recovery for undocumented change orders, defeated lien claims, enforced lien claims, prevented foreclosure and recovered deficiencies from guarantors.

TRANSACTIONAL AND CORPORATE EXPERIENCE

  • Negotiated contracts for the original construction of the Mall of America and represented the general contractor in connection with numerous expansion and tenant build-out projects, including disputes over subcontractor defaults, personal injury claims and alleged construction defects.
  • Represented a large commercial owner in the drafting, development and negotiations of template master agreements for design and construction manager services along with drafting and negotiation of service orders relating to the design and construction of data centers throughout the county.
  • Drafted template subcontract form for specialty subcontractor to use with lower tier subcontractors.
  • Authored CLE books for Missouri Bar concerning topics of: mechanic's liens and private and public prompt payment acts.
  • Represented owner in connection with drafting and negotiations of data center project in the Netherlands.
  • Handle day-to-day issues for owners, general contractors and subcontractors, such as insurance coverage disputes, bid mistakes/bid protests, contract negotiations, prevailing wage issues and satisfaction of applicable MBE/WBE requirements.
  • Representation of physicians, groups, hospitals, and health care facilities in development of physician compensation plans, individual employment agreements, equity buy-ins and buy-outs, construction projects, mergers and practice acquisitions, with attention to compliance with the Stark Law and Anti-Kickback Statutes.
  • Representation of developers, investors and operators in organizing, building and operating Ambulatory Surgical Centers offering service lines in ENT, Gastroenterology, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pain Management, Plastic Surgery, Ophthalmology, Podiatry, Radiotherapy, and Surgery.
  • Represented developer and operator of critical access hospitals operating facilities in five states, including corporate structure, financing, CON, acquisition of existing facilities, construction of new hospitals, development, operating, licensing, and recruiting of physicians.
  • Organized joint ventures between not for profit hospitals and physician practice groups to provide medical oncology services, and radiation oncology services.
  • Acted as outside general counsel for three different hospital groups during periods they did not have adequate in-house staff.
  • Preparing, negotiating and reviewing legal documents, agreements and contracts (e.g., leases, employment agreements, UCC matters, etc.)
  • Counseling on corporate organizational, employee ownership and governance issues
  • Counseling on employment issues (termination, compliance)
  • Counseling on employee benefit programs and taxation
  • Counseling on copyright and trademark matters
  • Counseling on licensing and special industry regulatory matters
  • Attending various management and board meetings, as requested
  • Assistance in establishing domestic and foreign branch offices

REGULATORY EXPERIENCE

  • Represented providers in connection with IRS and Board of Healing Arts audit of medical practice after embezzlement by practice manager and physician.
  • Represented principal investigators in connection with FDA audit of hospital and practice based research studies.
  • Represented providers before Boards of Healing Arts and peer review committees on issues of medically unnecessary services, substance abuse, negligence, failure to document services or inadequate medical records, disruptive physician allegations, inappropriate sexual activity, mental health issues, failure to supervise, corporate practice of medicine and fee splitting with unlicensed individuals, credentialing of foreign medical graduates.
  • Represented providers defending qui tam, suspension, and exclusion proceedings involving Medicare, Medicaid, Department of Justice, Department of Defense, and Office of the inspector General.


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