Construction and Facilities
Meyers Nave’s Construction and Facilities Practice Group attorneys advise clients on all aspects of planning, procurement, design, construction, administration, completion, closeout, dispute resolution and complex litigation on projects varying from small, general projects to large, complicated projects such as airports, hospitals and seaports. Our services encompass everything from providing advice on bid disputes to contract compliance and representing clients in claims resolution, alternative dispute procedures and litigation. Our team includes one attorney who served as an Assistant Public Works Director for a public entity and another who has a degree in architectural design.
Our attorneys have frequently been selected as construction law Special Counsel to some of the largest projects in California. Many of our capital improvement programs involving new construction and renovations are in the $100 million to $350 million range, and several exceed $1 billion. For example, Eric Firstman, the Chair of Meyers Nave’s Construction and Facilities Practice Group, served as lead transactional counsel in the 1990s on the San Francisco International Airport Expansion Projects ($2.4 billion), the 2000s on the Oakland International Airport and Seaport $1.5 billion Vision 2000 Program and a 10-project hospital construction program valued over $2 billion, and is currently handling contracting and construction related matters for a $1.5 billion expansion project at Los Angeles International Airport.
Our Construction and Facilities Practice Group’s primary areas of specialty are complex litigation and counseling project owners and their professional advisors on challenging development projects.
Trial Practice: Our team is unique in the amount of in-court trial experience regarding complex construction disputes, which exceeds the combined experience in firms many times Meyers Nave’s size. Our attorneys have tried construction cases to final award and judgment in both jury and bench trials in state and federal courts, in addition to arbitrations. Our cases have involved irrigation facilities and tunnels, wastewater treatment plants, libraries, detention facilities, college facilities, power facilities, commercial facilities, office buildings, bridges and pumping stations. We have settled construction claim cases during trial by stipulated judgment as late as the trial’s sixth week and arbitration hearings as late as the third month. The vast majority of our cases are settled short of extensive litigation or trial based on claims analysis and our group’s credibility in settling cases during the negotiation process. Given our experience, we are efficient in preparing matters for trial during the discovery phase, and this has resulted in exceptional settlements for clients.
Construction Planning and Documentation: Another core area is the counseling, decision-making, documentation and closing of the business transaction on large project design and construction agreements. We represent owners of hospitals, airports, municipal ports, water facilities, power facilities, event centers and stadiums, as well as clients leading bond-funded capital improvement programs. Our success with contracts is measured by our results: in over 500 projects and $10 billion of construction, we have only litigated two of our own contracts in significant court or arbitration proceedings. The remaining cases involved contracts not prepared by our team. Using various project delivery methods, including alternative methods such as design-build, construction manager at-risk, and public-private partnership methods, our team works with project engineers to develop contract documents, determine appropriate procurement strategy for a given project and its systems, negotiate with contractors, and assist with claims.
Representative Litigation Matters
Our track record speaks for itself. Since 2013, we served as lead litigation counsel in the seven high-stakes matters listed below, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in claims on significant construction projects ranging from hospitals and highways to reservoirs, airports, colleges and libraries. We are hired for our well-proven ability to “hit the ground running” on any type of claim for any type of project. Our team has also demonstrated its ability to handle multiple cases simultaneously.
Highway Claims Litigation (2016): This is a litigation matter involving the construction of 5.8 miles of state highway. Meyers Nave represented the City in settlement negotiations and currently represents the City as defense counsel. The Contractor’s Complaint asserts claims exceeding $10 million based on theories of delay, disruption, and change orders. Meyers Nave serves as lead litigation counsel. The matter is in active litigation.
Reservoir Construction Litigation (2016): This matter involves a reservoir construction dispute involving contractor claims exceeding $12 Million, which was tried to a retired judge under California law in the California Office of Administrative Hearings. Meyers Nave served as lead trial counsel. The matter is under submission.
Hospital Design Dispute (2015): This matter involves a dispute over two design contracts, one requiring arbitration, the other not. The matter was tried to award before a panel of AAA arbitrators. Meyers Nave served as lead trial counsel. The trial court’s order finding arbitrability is fully briefed and awaiting oral argument before the First District Court of Appeal.
Airport Improvement Project Litigation (2015): In this matter Meyers Nave served as lead litigation counsel representing the City in close out negotiations and then as defense counsel in defense of claims exceeding $23 million arising from the City’s $114 million Taxiway S Improvements Project. Contractor claims included claims for differing site conditions, impacts on sequencing and productivity, disputes over equipment rates and efficiency, site and home office overhead.
Hospital Contractor Claim Litigation (2014): This was a hospital litigation matter involving contractor claims exceeding $8 Million in contract amounts, another $18 Million in time and material claims, and over $100 Million in lost profits and similar economic claims. After a 20-day arbitration before a retired judge under the California Code of Civil Procedure and California Evidence Code, relying on California public works case law, Meyers Nave, serving as lead trial counsel, succeeded in enforcing the contract limits of liability and change order limits and claim procedure limits, limiting the contractor to the contract amounts with the contractor receiving zero on its time and materials claims and lost profits claims.
Community College Program Management Contract (2013-2014): This matter involved a dispute stemming from a community college district’s program management contract, involving claims initially valued at over $1.5 million. Meyers Nave achieved a defense judgment in Phase 1 of the matter. After hearings in Phase 2 were suspended several days into testimony due to continuing jurisdictional and evidentiary issues, the matter settled in full. Meyers Nave served as lead trial counsel.
Library Construction Dispute (2006-2014): This matter involved a library construction dispute. After prevailing at the trial level twice only to be reversed by the court of appeal twice, the matter resolved in 2014, prior to the third trial, with the contractor receiving zero on its affirmative claims (exceeding $10 Million) and zero on its claims to recover its retention (over $2 Million). Meyers Nave served as lead trial counsel and secured the result by enforcing the contract claim procedures. The matter resulted in two published opinions: Arntz Builders v. City of Berkeley (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 276 and Westamerica Bank v. City of Berkeley (2011) 201 Cal. App. 4th 598.