Construction and Design

Stoel Rives’ nationally recognized construction and design group is a leader in the industry. Our seasoned team of professionals represent public agencies, private owners and developers, contractors, design professionals, and sureties in diverse matters on both public and private projects — and for good reason. Our attorneys pride themselves on providing business-savvy legal solutions that result in more cost-effective project administration, contract documentation, risk management, and avoidance of costly claims.

Overview

Our team stands out for bringing exceptional talent, proactive thinking, and a partnering mentality to our clients. We will work with you from concept through completion as we design the contracting structure, arrange financing, advise on tax issues, secure regulatory approvals, negotiate and administer contracts, advise on risk management and mitigation, and fiercely advocate on claims that may arise during or following construction.

We understand and appreciate the differing characteristics of public and private construction projects, regularly representing clients throughout North America and abroad, including major public works, infrastructure projects, power and fuel generating facilities, industrial projects, office towers, hotels, resorts, shopping malls, and all categories of residential development.

Our services

  • Project partnering risk management, including entity formation and structures, insurance counseling, contract documentation, course of construction claims through warranty wrap-up, and dispute resolution
  • Contract advice, drafting, and negotiation, including DBOF, D-B, CMGC, IPD, and all industry standard form documents (AIA, Consensus Docs, DBIA, EJCDC)
  • Public procurement, including exemptions, alternative delivery methods, bid documents, and bid disputes and bid protests (state and federal)
  • Claims based on delay, impacts, design error, estimating, and scope disputes
  • Claims based on defects in construction, design, and product manufacturing, compatibility and performance failures, and lien and bond claims, including priority disputes involving lenders and competing claimants
  • Financing strategies and transactions, environmental remediation, and bankruptcy and insolvency

We have been recognized nationally as a “Tier 1” firm for Construction Law and Construction Litigation in U.S. News – Best Lawyers.® We have also been named one of the “Best Law Firms” in U.S. News – Best Lawyers—a significant measure of quality we’ve achieved since the awards were instituted.

Members of our team have experience working as developers, project managers, and engineers for leaders in the construction industry. This provides an invaluable business perspective that informs our counsel and provides a deep, practical understanding of how complex projects are structured and built. We also actively participate in a variety of construction-related industry associations including AGC, ABC, AIA, BOMA, CSI, NAPA, NAIOP, and ULI. This involvement keeps us close to our clients and current on issues such as industry trends, delivery methods, contract provisions, financing structures, dispute mitigation measures, and regulatory obstacles. We monitor, advocate, and lead in legislative actions aimed at strengthening construction and public contracting statutes.

Transactional and Litigation Mindset

All members of our team have experience in both transactions and litigation, providing a significant advantage to our clients. In transactions, we think strategically about dispute mitigation or avoidance and common liability pitfalls when developing and negotiating contracts. When litigating, we know exactly where to look when mining lengthy contracts for favorable provisions that could make our case, and we focus on client goals in each instance to best address the ultimate outcome.

If needed, we offer a deep bench on complex disputes, including claims for changed work, defective work, differing site conditions, and delays. We have extensive experience in filing, prosecuting, and defending lien and bond claims and in bid protests and other public contracting disputes. Knowing that your goal is to dispose of disputes quickly and effectively, we are proficient at handling claims in mediation, in arbitration, and through other alternative dispute resolution strategies aimed at reducing costs and improving results.   

Matters

Transactions

  • Represented public owner on construction and design procurement and CM/GC contracting issues related to large bridge project.
  • Represented school districts in negotiating design and construction contracts for schools, including general contractor and construction manager agreements ranging from $20,000 to $35 million.
  • Drafted, negotiated, and administrated several complex construction contracts for a Fortune 500 technology company in connection with the multibillion-dollar renovation of its main campus.
  • Represented healthcare providers in negotiating design and construction contracts for hospitals and healthcare facilities, including general contractor and construction manager agreements ranging from $100,000 to $200 million.
  • Represented international food processor in the drafting and negotiation of a design-build owner-contractor agreement, including flow-down rights and lien protections of owner, as well as risk management for over $130 million in improvements to its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility.
  • Represented numerous multifamily mixed-use project owners in Guaranteed Maximum Price and design-build contract negotiations ranging from $10 million to $80 million.
  • Represented multi-national manufacturing client in the drafting and negotiation of a multimillion-dollar professional services agreement with international engineering firm for improvements to a cutting-edge paper manufacturing facility.
  • Counseled energy clients regarding state-specific construction, lien, and licensing law issued in connection with EPC and drilling agreements for mining, wind, solar, and geothermal developments.

Dispute Resolution

  • Represented top-10 condominium developer in connection with potential defect lawsuits for several 150-300+ unit projects through proactive risk management, and successfully negotiated settlements to at or below $2 million OCIPS with use of proactive construction practice and warranty programs, and in role as “monitoring” counsel of insurer-retained counsel and as personal counsel for owner/developer in coverage disputes.
  • Currently serving as Special Assistant Attorney General for the Washington State Department of Transportation (“WSDOT”) prosecuting and defending claims in excess of $600 million emanating from the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project in Seattle. After a nine-week trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of WSDOT for the full amount of its claims, $57.2 million, and denied the contractor’s claims of $670 million. The case is currently pending appeal.
  • Served as Special Prosecuting Attorney for King County, Washington in relation to multiple claims and disputes, including but not limited to claims emanating from the Brightwater wastewater treatment project near the King County/Snohomish County border. After a 13-week trial, the jury awarded King County $155.8 million in damages.
  • Served as lead trial counsel in two separate cases representing developers of privatized Army base housing under the MHPI in constitutional challenges to the local taxation of the private interest, with approximately $100 million at stake in each case.
  • Successfully represented an international technology leader in defense of over $70 million in claims asserted by prime contractors that constructed a new manufacturing and research facility.
  • Defended owner in its termination of a pre-construction agreement with a joint-venture prime contractor concerning an over $1 billion expansion project. The contractor sought, among other things, an order enjoining the project from proceeding with another contractor. Successfully defended the injunction and settled the dispute, allowing the project to move forward.
  • Systematically settled owner-client’s multimillion-dollar defect claims against contractor and design team over the design and construction of a corporate data center project following dozens of depositions and motion practice as part of a multi-faceted litigation team.
  • Served as lead trial and appellate counsel successfully defending an asphalt plant operator and its parent company in a trespass action brought by a gold dredging company seeking disgorgement damages in excess of $100 million.
  • Successfully represented a city concerning construction, land use, and road access issues against a developer seeking to gain access to a city road located partially outside the city’s jurisdiction. In a unanimous Court of Appeals ruling, the Court overturned the trial court and agreed with the city that it had the right to deny access.
  • Won California Court of Appeal decision affirming judgments obtained via dispositive motions in favor of community college district and a large general contractor against a subcontractor’s claims for additional compensation.
  • Successfully represented international developer in easement dispute with adjacent property owner, avoiding project delays and increased construction costs estimated to be tens of millions of dollars in connection with the construction of a high-rise tower project in Seattle.
  • Successfully obtained defense verdict and recovery of fees for developer in connection with multimillion-dollar claims arising from the complete renovation of a hotel project.
  • Won multimillion-dollar construction defect damages award for residential and commercial developer clients in arbitration.
  • Represented a federal contractor in a bid protest challenging the legality of $260 million procurement by a federal agency. Represented the contractor in numerous venues, including the Government Accountability Office, the Court of Federal Claims, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court. The agency withdrew the procurement and agreed to comply with an order issued by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that it had adopted the position advocated by the contractor.
  • Represented more than a dozen Alaska Native Corporations, providing expert government contract and SBA advice and counseling, trial representation, and defense and prosecution of size protests at the SBA and bid protests at the Government Accountability Office and the Court of Federal Claims.
  • Successfully defended the award of a $90 million Navy construction contract in Guam in multiple Court of Federal Claims bid protests.
Team
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