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Practices - Construction Law - Litigation

Construction Law



McGuinness & Associates possesses a broad spectrum of construction law expertise and a great depth of experience in the litigation of construction project disputes, the preparation and defense of project claims and the identification of appropriate construction project delivery systems. The firm’s founder, Mr. McGuinness, is widely published on a variety of construction law topics ranging from the preparation and litigation of construction project claims to challenging contract awards governed by competitive bid statutes.

Our firm represents several Fortune 500 companies and has done so both prosecuting and defending against major construction defect claims and cross-claims. Our clientele also includes businesses at every tier level of a construction project. Our lawyers pursue claims and defend legal actions on behalf of contractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, private owners and local entities. Our lawyers litigate construction claims in arbitration, before private judges, and in both State and Federal Courts. Our construction law expertise extends through all of the many California contractor/supplier remedies and Federal Miller Act bond rights. (See Construction Remedies and Claims Advice.)

An international, Fortune 200 company retained M&A as its California building systems division counsel. The role expanded to the firm representing the company for all its California litigation and being engaged as its national claims counsel.  Eventually, M&A was appointed as claims counsel for the company’s entire North American business operations.

Mr. McGuinness has participated as a member of the Associated General Contractors and the Building Industry Association. He served as a member of the legal advisory committee for the Associated General Contractors. Mr. McGuinness has also co-authored AGC construction claim forms and served as a speaker for AGC seminars. Additionally, Mr. McGuinness has published articles, contributed to association manuals and has written a “Fifty State Construction Lien and Bond Law” book for Wiley Law Publications.

This firm is often engaged by its clientele at an early cycle of a construction project development plan. We can then identify and create the optimal project delivery system for an owner and/or a contractor through strategic contract requirements and incentives. In addition, this firm will review and/or negotiate contracts proposed by other project participants. (See Transactional Practice.)

M&A is outside counsel for the City of Torrance on all construction matters.  In addition, M&A represented the City in claims asserted after a fire damaged personal property stored at its airport.  M&A has also defended the City on defect claims, claims for additional payment on construction projects, and Labor Board actions involving contractors and subcontractors.  Our firm has also negotiated project completion agreements for the City, with sureties, after contractors failed to perform contract work.

M&A has represented national fire alarm and security companies in litigation matters involving alleged construction defects, delays to project completion, and personal injury claims.

Our lawyers have litigated the following representative construction law cases:

  • This firm won an $8.4 million trial verdict in a construction defects / insurance bad faith action. Initially, a general contractor filed a lawsuit against our client for payment concerning the construction of a Church gymnasium and community center. This firm’s fact finding efforts provided our client with both a complete defense to the general contractor’s claim and a multi-million dollar counter-claim.

    By engaging industry experts and conducting site examinations, significant latent construction defects and pervasive, dangerous mold growth were discovered. Our firm then pursued claims on behalf of the Church, against the general contractor, its subcontractors and their respective insurers, resulting in a settlement recovery from the insurance carriers and subcontractors of $4,800,000.
    See featured case story


  • Our lawyers won a defense verdict against a multi-million dollar delay and defects claim, involving a life/fire/safety system installation on a 54-story office building project (Private Judge Trial). 
    See featured case story


  • Established a complete defense to liability allegations for the failure of a smoke detector to activate in a student dormitory unit. The student occupant suffered burns throughout his body which penetrated to bone depth. Substantial grafting and reconstructive surgery over the course of several years was required to restore minimal functionality and appearance. Although our client’s smoke detector installed in the room did not activate, this firm proved our client to be without fault.
    See featured case story


  • Successfully defended against a lawsuit for alleged damages on a major co-generation installation project. Plaintiff sought multi-million dollar damages based on allegations that promised energy cost savings were unrealized. Our lawyers established that plaintiff had no actual savings deficit, based on operational factors such as the expansion of plaintiff’s structure by several trailer suites which had been connected to the structure’s grid after the savings program commenced. Expert analysis of plaintiff’s bills and a comparison of energy usage over time demonstrated that the promised cost savings were indeed realized.

  • Defended successfully against several separate multi-million dollar lawsuits arising from energy and operational cost savings programs, each of which provided a specific guaranteed savings amount. Our lawyers have repeatedly demonstrated the effectiveness of such programs. We do so by analyzing variables such as structure expansions, tenant population, operational hours, load demand and rate increases, all of which can result in higher energy costs while promised net cost savings are achieved.

  • Established a complete defense to a multi-million dollar toxic mold claim arising from the construction of six separate apartment buildings. Plaintiff alleged that our client provided and installed defective equipment which leaked water throughout the enclosed envelop in all of these buildings. The water leakage was also alleged to have caused toxic mold throughout the apartment complex. The buildings did have severe water damage and were replete with mold. Our client’s product, however, was proven to be intact and a separate water source was found to have caused the plaintiff’s damages. Our client acknowledged responsibility for a few installation defects, unrelated to either the water damage or mold. A dismissal of our client was obtained for a very nominal settlement payment.

  • Successfully defended against a multi-million dollar defective specification and delay claim. Our lawyers established evidence that design work provided by our client was appropriate. Claimant was persuaded to abandon this claim without litigation and without payment of any kind by our client.

  • Our lawyers won a substantial jury trial verdict in a defective roofing case involving leakage and severe water damage to the structure, flooring and property contained within. We represented the owner and demonstrated that the roofing design and installation methods were inadequate.

  • Achieved a successful summary judgment for a client in defense of a “sick building” case involving alleged lung damage and other injuries.

  • Successfully defended several separate actions for the allegedly defective installation of life/fire/safety system equipment.

  • Enjoined a municipality and contractors engaged by it from proceeding forward on a construction project. A court issued this order based on evidence that the municipality had failed to comply with competitive bidding statutes. 

  • Defended successfully against multi-million dollar claims asserted by a major Southern California hospital against our client for the replacement of allegedly defective industrial equipment, lost profits and utility expense impacts. 

  • Defended client against OSHA citations for unsafe construction site conditions. Our client prevailed at the hearing based on the evidence entered before the hearing judge. Significant OSHA evidence was excluded, leading to a defense judgment in favor of our client.

  • Obtained favorable negotiated resolutions for a corporate business client on several Department of Labor Standards Enforcement cases alleging breach of prevailing wage laws.

  • Defended many major construction defect cases and achieved resolution without any significant payments by our clientele to the claimants, either in settlement or through trial.

  • The firm successfully defended an air conditioner manufacturer that provided over 100 air conditioning units for hotel rooms at a major hotel franchise. The hotel became contaminated with mold, and the hotel owner alleged the air conditioning units were the source of the mold. The hotel owner claimed these units allowed water to intrude into the hotel structure causing mold to grow. This firm developed evidence that water intruded into the units because the hotel used decorative covers on the units, rather than the water resistant louvers required by the product literature. The decorative covers directed water into the hotel rooms. Additionally, the owner's installing contractor admitted during examination by this firm that the units were improperly installed. The units were designed to be installed on an angle, so any water intrusion would drain to the building exterior. The contractor, however, installed the units level, and water could not properly drain.  Our client’s units were found to be defect free.

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