Practice Areas & Industries: Hill, Farrer & Burrill LLP


Construction Litigation Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

The firm’s construction litigators have many years of experience representing owners, lenders, contractors and subcontractors in lawsuits and arbitrations encompassing the full spectrum of disputes that may arise from residential and commercial construction. This includes large multi-party lawsuits and class actions involving construction defects and/or conditions, covenants and restrictions in condominium, planned development and other multiple unit housing projects, single family residences, commercial office buildings and shopping centers. We also regularly try, arbitrate and compromise claims for interpretation or breach of construction contracts and subcontracts, construction loans, indemnity agreements, liability insurance coverage, and mechanic’s liens. 

Representative Matters

  • Represented a general contractor in a dispute with a project owner and its lender on a significant construction project in West Los Angeles. The project involved renovation and construction of an apartment tower and an adjacent mixed use building, and the lender sought to foreclose on the property. On behalf of his general contractor client, Mr. Porter mounted an attack against the construction lender on the issue of lien priority, asserting that the contractor’s mechanics lien was perfected before the construction lender recorded its lien. He ultimately filed a motion for judgment to establish the contractor’s mechanics’ lien priority. Throughout the case, Mr. Porter took on the lead role of coordinating a unified approach to the litigation, working with the numerous sub-contractor attorneys in an effort to control the litigation so as to maximize efficiencies for the contractors, and avoid unnecessary discovery and expense. While the motion for summary judgment was still spending, Mr. Porter negotiated a $1.3 million settlement for his general contractor client, with the settlement proceeds paid to the client and its subcontractors out of escrow in the sale of the building.
  • Persuaded the Court of Appeal to overrule a well established 15-year old precedent to find that that the voluntary release of a lapsed claim of mechanic’s lien does not preclude the claimant from filing a foreclosure action based on a new claim for the same work.
  • Defended major golf course owner/operator sued in a certified class action by current and former home owners and country club members seeking damages of over $40 million for allegedly void transfer fees arising from easement provisions in recorded CC&Rs. Was sole counsel for defendant at trial which resulted in judgment for defendant and was sole attorney for respondent on appeal which affirmed the judgment for the golf course owner.
  • Defended a general contractor in an arbitration against a property owner charging breach of contract, fraud, construction defects and bodily injury.  Defeated claims exceeding $4 million and limited contractor’s liability to $60,000.
  • In the area of construction defect matters,  representation of  a variety of pest control operators, general contractors and subcontractors in breach of contract and negligence claims.  Successfully defended numerous different trades in large, multi-party actions involving construction projects of more than ten million dollars.
  • Represented general contractor against commercial building owner and construction lender in claims for non-payment, and defended general contractor against related subcontractor claims.
  • Represented lessor in construction defect case, and obtained favorable pre-litigation settlement requiring contractor to immediately perform corrective work, and grant extensive indemnification obligations to property owner for any further defective work.
  • Successfully obtained dismissal, via sustained demurrer, of trade libel cross-claims against individual property owner arising out of construction defect action against general contractor. Thereafter, obtained favorable settlement obtained for property owner, including payments by general contractor to property owner for breach of contract and construction defects claims.
  • Represented drywall contractor in multi-party complex construction defect litigation action against developer, general contractor and various subcontractors in connection with residential developments in Santa Clarita, California.
  • On behalf of the owners of a custom estate home, successfully arbitrated a construction defect action against the home builder and its subcontractors, obtaining all claimed damages and attorneys fees, totaling more than $1 million.