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About Us - Joseph G. McGuiness

McGuinness & Associates lawyers practice law throughout the state of California and nationally. Our firm lawyers are:

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Click Above Our Bio 

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Mr. McGuinness is recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as an AV rated attorney, which is the highest available rating.


J.D., Loyola Marymount University Law School ("Loyola"), Deans List Honors A selected member of Loyola's trial team, engaging in competitive multi-school trial tournaments. 

B.S., Business Finance & Management, California State University of Northridge.



American Bar Association, Trial Lawyers Association

California State Bar Association, Litigation and Real Property Sections, Construction Subsection

Associated General Contractors, Legal Advisory Committee

  • Served as a contributing member of a subcommittee tasked with the creation of AGC lien, stop notice and release forms

  • Served as group moderator for the reporting and discussion of developing construction law issues

  • Speaker for seminar presentations

Admitted to practice before all federal courts in California.


"Equal bidders"

"A dealer's malice; damages designed to punish"

"Don't bank on it; a banking industry defense analysis"

Fifty State Construction Lien and Bond Law, Vol. 3, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1995

"Avoiding, Mitigating and Resolving Construction Claims," High-Point seminar publication

AGC Construction Law Manual, Mechanics lien and release forms, 1994 and September 1995

"Construction Law Remedies," a general construction industry seminar publication

"Project Documentation," a client's in-house publication

"Prompt Payment Act," article and reference chart, for a seminar presentation

"Duty of care"

"Identifying a standard for measuring due care"

"Scope of engagement; avoiding missteps"


"Business Documentation," an in-house seminar concerning the proper practice and policies for the maintenance and destruction of business documents and media.

"Creating Evidence, a business person's guide to avoiding unwarranted liability." This presentation addresses the importance of truthfully documenting facts as they arise and events as they occur. Participants explore the peril of words written in haste, anger or desperation (examples displayed).

"Construction Law Remedies," a construction industry seminar on project payment remedies.

"Avoiding, Mitigating and Resolving Construction Claims," for a public seminar sponsored by High-Point.

"Construction Project Documentation," seminar presented to a client group. This seminar addresses all aspect of construction project documentation including: bid documents, claims, intent letters, contracts, meeting notes, job reports, communiques, remedy notices, as well as, waiver and release documents.

"Roundtable Exercise," a general construction industry learning exercise at which participants, representing all tiers of a fictitious construction project gone awry, confront legal and practical
issues to resolve conflict.

"Construction Issues for the 90's," Association of General Contractors, legal seminar presented to Association members.

"Construction Industry Prevailing Wage Requirements," seminar presented to a client group.

"Construction Management - A Legal Roadmap," seminar presented to a client group.


  • Won a 30 million dollar bid protest trial against the City of Los Angeles ("City") and the County of Los Angeles ("County"). My client estimated the cumulative business value of the action, to exceed 50 million dollars.

    The Trial Court issued a Writ of Mandate and Judgment directing the City and the County to cancel and vacate a contract which emanated from the contested bid. The Trial Court also awarded my client a full recovery of its litigation costs.

    By promptly conducting an effective discovery plan, I obtained an interim injunction against the City and County avoiding efforts by these entities to expedite the completion of illegal transactions. Such efforts included advanced payments for undelivered product and an acceleration of product delivery. Based on evidence developed and presented at hearing, the Court found that it had been misled by prior County representations and that my client had established the basis for extraordinary relief. The Court, therefore, granted my client's application for the interim injunction.

    I then uncovered evidence of pricing formulas which the Court found to be illegal and performance evaluation practices which the Court found to be both "unfair" and a "misuse" of the established evaluation methodology. The Court granted my client's request for a Writ of Mandate, independently, on each of these grounds.

  • Won a $8.4 million trial verdict in a construction defects and 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. 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. Claims brought on behalf of the Church were then pursued 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


  • Obtained 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


  • Won an unanimous $1.5 million jury verdict in a fraud action, on a case in which our client's original counsel had tendered a statutory settlement offer of $25,000. Defendant had rejected that $25,000 statutory offer. Significant punitive damages were awarded against the defendant for his wrongful and malicious conduct.
    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, our client was proven to be without fault.
    See featured case story


  • Prevailed on appeal to overturn a judgment against our client. Prior to our engagement, plaintiffs sought a court order, dispossessing our clients from the Church in which they worshiped. This order was granted and became a judgment. An appeal was then filed, oral argued and granted which overturned that judgment. Subsequently, a summary judgment in favor of our client was granted. 
    See featured case story


  • Defended the manufacturer of a chemical fire suppression system which serviced a deep fryer appliance. The deep fryer appliance failed resulting in a catastrophic fire which destroyed an entire restaurant building. Although our client's fire suppression system failed to activate, evidence was developed which proved that our client was without fault.
    See featured case story


  • Obtained a full settlement recovery of $750,000 from a major California Bank for negligent payment of fraudulent checks, which had been wrongfully drafted on the business account of our client. The Bank failed to recognize and respond to classic fraud indicators inherent in these embezzlement transactions. An additional judgment against the employee embezzler for an amount of $499,000 was also obtained.
    See featured case story

  • Favorably resolved an industrial accident case involving the collapse of a scissor lift resulting in severe personal injuries to employees, including debilitating paraplegic injuries to one of the employees. Our client, a major overnight mail and freight shipping company, was the employer of the injured workers and owned, operated and supervised scissor lift activity. Our client obtained a complete liability release, while other case defendants fully paid a settlement sum.
    See featured case story


  • Received a $500,000 settlement payment for a racial discrimination case against a municipality. In addition, our clients remained employed and an agreement was obtained that unfavorable performance reviews pertaining to our clients would be reevaluated by specific supervisors not implicated in the racial discrimination activity. The municipality also agreed to provide elevated positions and job benefits based upon the merit of the amended performance evaluations.
    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. Evidence 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. The effectiveness of such programs has been consistently defended. This defense is established 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.

  • Obtained injunction orders to prevent employees of our client from disclosing confidential company information, including trade secrets, customer lists and proprietary materials. The orders also prevented the former employees from recruiting other of our client's employees. 

  • Successfully defended against a multi-million dollar defective specification and delay claim. Evidence was established 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. Evidence 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.

  • 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. 

  • Successfully defended an international freight shipping company against claims of negligence relating to customer allegations of excessive tariff charges.

  • 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.

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

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

  • Successfully defended a music industry business from a disability discrimination complaint.  Client’s manager fired employee who claimed to have been injured at work. Manager expressly stated in a written letter to employee that the termination was based on the employee’s work place disability.The employee sued our client based on a disability discrimination claim. Extensive discovery and follow-up investigation produced evidence that the worker had been injured outside of the work place, and had staged a false injury incident at work in order to seek workers’ compensation benefits.  Our firm prevailed in the legal action.

  • A terminated employee brought an action against a company, alleging violations of whistleblower statutes.  Our firm developed evidence that the employee’s complaint was false and fraudulent, and the company was justified in terminating employee for making false allegations.  During the course of the lawsuit, our firm also developed evidence that the plaintiff had routinely disclosed confidential information to unauthorized persons, creating a successful after-acquired evidence defense.

  • Successfully defended an unemployment claim and a sexual harassment and discrimination claim brought by an employee whose job was eliminated in a company restructuring event.  The employee possessed substantial evidence of demeaning and discriminatory sexual preference comments texted about him among supervisors. Our firm was able to demonstrate that his termination was, however, entirely unrelated to the work place bias.  

  • Enabled corporate client to invoke trade secret protections against departing employee who had wiped clean all information from his company computer and the company phone, and maintained the only existing copy of proprietary materials.  Our firm obtained an agreement from the new employer to: (1) return all of the proprietary information, (2) ensure against any duplication of the proprietary materials, and (3) ensure that former employee would not approach client customers for a one-year period.

  • A client hired a new manager from a competitor company.  The new manager had signed a non-solicitation clause at his former employment.  This clause covered the non-solicitation of both customers and employees of the former employer.  The new manager, a member of the client’s management team, violated this agreement by soliciting and hiring several of the former employer’s employees.  Former employer sued manager and client alleging they had conspired to illegally solicit members of his work force. At trial, our firm defeated the former employer’s claims, persuading the court that such a contractual anti-solicitation provision violated both California law and public policy, and could not be enforced.

  • Former employee alleged a right to unemployment benefits and damages, asserting that he had been injured at work and terminated because of the work place injury.  Our firm developed evidence that this former employee: (1) had been fully compensated for the same work injury at a prior time, (2) had not worked for the client for years after the actual injury occurred, and (3) had fabricated evidence in an effort to establish later injury and termination dates.

  • Prevailed at a bench trial on a breach of oral contract claim, after the court determined that a written contract between the parties was invalid.  Firm lawyers persuaded the court that sufficient evidence of an oral agreement existed, even though the written contract could not be enforced.


  • Obtained multimillion-dollar settlement on breach of oral contract claim.  Defendant contended that no contract had ever been formed and the claim was entirely fabricated.  A videotaped deposition of defendant became dispositive evidence in favor of our client. The defendant’s testimony was inconsistent and generally lacked credibility as compared to other witness accounts.

  • A client manufacturer incurred multimillion-dollar losses from product failures attributed to a subcontractor supplier’s defective component parts.  Our client manufactured water purification systems. The litigation involved the supplier’s improper sale of defective component parts. The supplier had changed its material provider and then began providing a defective and unsafe supply of component parts which were essential to the end unit.  Supplier refused to accept responsibility for defects, asserting the client was misapplying the component parts. Matter settled just before trial with a full payment by supplier.

  • Obtained a million dollar settlement for client employee against former employer based on claims for failure to pay earned wages, unlawful business practices, conversion and fraud. Our firm developed evidence that the employee's former employer had wrongfully labeled employee's commissions as a "bonus" to withhold payment, and further, had wrongfully undervalued and fraudulently concealed the true value of employee's ownership interest in company, to deprive employee of full value. Successfully defended employee against former employer's cross-claim for misappropriation of trade secrets, fraud and negligent misrepresentation.

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