About Mario

Mario Nicholas is a member of Stoel Rives’ Construction and Design group with experience litigating a range of construction disputes and drafting a variety of construction agreements. Mario has trial and arbitration experience and has assisted clients before federal and state courts, domestic and international arbitration panels, and administrative bodies. Mario is licensed in Oregon, Washington, and California.

Before joining Stoel Rives, Mario was an associate at Stewart Sokol & Larkin LLC in Portland, Oregon (2014–2018), and an associate with Valle Makoff LLP in San Francisco, California (2010–2013). Mario previously worked as a summer associate for Oracle Corporation in Redwood Shores, California (2009), and as a judicial extern for the Honorable William Q. Hayes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, California (2008).

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Construction Claims/Lien Disputes Litigation

  • Won AAA arbitration as part of two-attorney litigation team after one-week hearing representing general contractor against subcontractor’s change order, delay, and total cost claims for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
  • Representation of owner in $10+ million litigation matter involving change order and productivity claims and forum disputes (arbitration versus litigation).
  • Representation of subcontractor in $30 million+ litigation matter involving delay/impact and total cost (abandonment) claims.
  • Representation of owner of luxury condominium project in multimillion-dollar dispute regarding defective work, liquidated damages, and multiple subcontractor liens.
  • Representation of owners of multi-use apartment project in multimillion-dollar dispute involving defective work, change order claims, and multiple subcontractor liens.
  • Representation of owner of new apartment project in dispute with general contractor involving liquidated damages, defective work, delay and change order claims.
  • Representation of prime contractor against subcontractor’s delay and change order claims regarding commercial facility.

Construction Defects Litigation

  • Representation of national nonprofit organization in construction defect matter against construction and design teams involving structural defects to large store and warehouse.
  • Representation of contractor/developer of high-end home in construction defect litigation.
  • Representation of homeowners regarding million-dollar construction defect litigation regarding newly constructed, high-end home.
  • Representation of homeowners regarding multimillion-dollar construction defect litigation regarding renovated 1920s two-unit condominium.
  • Defense of mechanical engineer against million-dollar design defect claims regarding hospital remodel.


  • Drafted and negotiated numerous types of AIA contract forms on behalf of Owners/Developers and Contractors on apartment buildings, wineries, condominiums, and other commercial projects.
  • Prepared manuscript EPC Agreement on behalf of Owner for $35 million alternative energy facility.
  • Drafted and negotiated DBIA Design-Build Agreement for $70 million proprietary biomass-to-energy facility.
  • Prepared architect agreement for public entity courthouse project.

Public Contracting Disputes and Litigation

  • Representation of large underground piping contractor in bid protest in Oregon.
  • Representation of prime contractor in bid protest in Oregon.

Experience Gained Prior to Joining Stoel Rives

  • Drafted briefing, managed discovery, and assisted with two-day international arbitration hearing in multihundred-million-dollar construction dispute on behalf of surety clients.
  • Drafted briefing in successful interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit regarding enforcement of arbitration agreement in EPC contract, resulting in a published decision.
  • Defense of manufacturer in three-week jury trial filed by subcontractor by examining lay and expert witnesses, arguing motions, and advancing successful counterclaim for breach of contract.
  • Achieved favorable settlement on behalf of defendant engineering firm in million-dollar construction dispute after independently handling all depositions, document discovery, motion practice, and mediation.
  • Managed all aspects of complex construction arbitration to successful resolution on behalf of subcontractor advancing million-dollar claim against general contractor and large manufacturing corporation.
  • Successfully defended architect from defective design claims on state university athletic facility project.
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Honors & Activities

Professional Honors and Activities

  • Included in Best Lawyers®: Ones to Watch in America (Construction Law), 2022–2024
  • Member of practice group nationally ranked in Best Law Firms®, 2010–2023
  • Listed among Rising Stars (Construction Litigation), Oregon Super Lawyers®, 2017–2020
  • Member, Associated General Contractors, Oregon-Columbia Chapter
  • Member, Multnomah Bar Association
  • Member, Oregon Hispanic Bar Association (OHBA)

Civic Activities

  • Committee Member, LEAP Wilderness Programs
  • Stoel Rives LLP Pro Bono Night Clinic
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Insights & Presentations

Insights & Presentations

  • “Can Artificial Intelligence Be Trusted to Draft a Construction Contract?” Daily Journal of Commerce, June 15, 2023
  • “Can We Avoid Court? Construction Mediation Agreement Considerations,” Daily Journal of Commerce, December 15, 2022
  • “Inflation: The Elephant in a Construction Dispute or Contract Negotiation,” Daily Journal of Commerce, June 16, 2022
  • “Don’t Be Late! (But Assume That Your Project May Be),” Daily Journal of Commerce, June 17, 2021
  • “Navigating COVID-19 Part I: Executing Contracts in the Time of COVID-19,” AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter, 2020
  • “Doubting Your Database,” 25th Annual Oregon Construction Law, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, 2020
  • “When to Prepare for Project Disputes? Always.” Daily Journal of Commerce, June 19, 2020
  • “Unique Issues for Engineers to Consider in EPC Agreements and Subconsultant Agreements,” Engineering Law Seminar, HalfMoon Education, Portland, OR, 2020
  • “Recession warnings piling up: a harbinger of liens?” Daily Journal of Commerce, September 19, 2019
  • “Managing the Risk in CMAR Contracts: Guidance for Owners, Contractors and Subs,” Webinar, Strafford, 2019
  • “The Latest Trends, Threats and Solutions in the Construction Defect World,” 24th Annual Oregon Construction Law, The Seminar Group, Portland, OR, 2019
  • “Do We Have To? Arbitrating the Complex Surety Case,” American Bar Association, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee, Santa Fe, NM, 2018
  • “Arbitrating the Complex Surety Case” (co-author), Managing and Litigating the Complex Surety Case, ABA Book Publishing, 2018
  • “Expert Witnesses,” Oregon Claims Adjusters Association, Portland, OR, 2017

Related News & Publications

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