Construction

Construction

Overview

Cox, Castle & Nicholson offers integrated legal solutions to project development. Our extensive experience allows us to find cost-effective, creative, and timely solutions to advance projects to completion successfully. We counsel and problem solve for clients at every phase of the construction process, from project delivery selection, contractor licensing, design and construction contract drafting, developing risk management programs, pursuing bid challenges, performing claims evaluations, seeking insurance recoveries, to rescuing troubled projects and resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. 

Extensive Experience With A Variety Of Construction Projects

We have experience representing developers, owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, investors, lenders, and others on a wide range of project types, some complex and some not so complex, involving a variety of project delivery systems, including public, private, and a mix of both, including:

  • Commercial, including high-rise and mixed use
  • Condominiums and apartments
  • Government buildings
  • Hospitality (hotels and resorts)
  • Hospitals, senior care facilities medical buildings
  • Highways and bridges
  • Industrial projects including refineries
  • Infrastructure
  • Port facilities
  • Police stations
  • Residential (attached, detached, and affordable)
  • Schools (elementary to university)
  • Shopping centers
  • Solar
  • Sports facilities
  • Transportation (high speed rail)

Transactional And Litigation Construction-Related Experience

Our transactional attorneys develop, negotiate, and prepare construction contracts, architect agreements, engineering and design agreements, professional services agreements, purchase orders, payment and performance bonds, mechanics' liens, stop notices, notices of completion, consulting agreements, and construction management agreements.

Our litigation attorneys have addressed hundreds of complex claims and litigation matters involving all aspects of the construction process. These matters have included:

  • Bid disputes
  • Change order issues
  • Delay and disruption
  • Defective and nonconforming work
  • Design professional performance
  • Differing and unforeseen site conditions
  • Indemnification and insurance claims
  • Labor agreements
  • Mechanic's liens, stop payment notice and bond claims
  • Payment and pricing disputes
  • Scope of work disputes
  • Terminations

A Unique Interdisciplinary Team Approach

Like every project, every problem we confront poses unique challenges. Because of the breadth of experience of our attorneys, we are familiar with the full range of the legal issues that may arise in the construction process. We carefully evaluate the complexities of every situation and devise strategies to achieve our clients' objectives. We routinely collaborate with our colleagues from outside the Construction Practice to tap into our vast expertise, adding significant value to the services and perspective we bring to each engagement. 

Experts Among Our Peers

Our construction attorneys regularly lecture and publish articles about construction issues. We are actively involved with various industry trade associations, including the Building Industry Association and the Associated General Contractors.

Representative
Matters

Assisted construction project participants in the negotiation of project closeout disputes before and during litigation.

Assisted in the representation of contractor in connection with claims at Corona Community Hospital and project suspension. Simultaneously prosecuted claims against the project architect and its design consultants.

Defended a solar energy generator against extensive claims by prime contractor over construction of solar energy generating stations in desert.

Defended a developer of multi-family development located in San Pedro, California in connection with a breach of construction contract action, which converted into a cross-claim for construction defects against the general contractor. Additionally, defended multiple subcontractor claims.

Defended the interests of a major Asian contractor in connection with complex litigation over a large residential project.

Defended a national general contractor against defective construction claims by water district arising from nitrification facility at Torrance oil refinery.

Defended an owner/developer of Burbank high-rise office building in connection with lien and various contract claims arising from restaurant/tenant improvement project.

Defended a publicly traded residential developer in series of arbitrations with homeowners in San Diego County.

Defended a subsidiary of publicly traded EPC firm in a four-year bench trial against subcontractor arising from City of Glendale C.E. Perkins administration building project. Received defense judgment and received award of all requested attorney's fees and expert costs.

Defended a large national contractor at trial on seven-figure total cost claim by mechanical subcontractor arising from project at Eisenhower Medical Center. Judge threw out total cost claim.

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Defended a national general contractor against subcontractor claims arising from expansion and modernization of Orange County Sanitation District sewage treatment facilities.

Defended a national homebuilder in complex multi‑party action against homeowner claims arising from large residential development in San Diego County.

Defended a subsidiary of publicly traded EPC firm against construction defect claims arising from construction of a Yokohama Tire warehouse. Client prevailed on summary judgment and was awarded its attorney's fees.

Prosecuted claims by a general contractor against the owner of large multi-story nightclub and restaurant. Defended claims of nightclub owner.

Prosecuted complex claims including for impacts/delay and design deficiencies, among many others, by the owner of residential lofts development in Long Beach against design professionals and the general contractor. Recovered substantial damages through mediated settlements.

Prosecuted multi-million dollar claims on behalf of a national contractor against subcontractor and performance bond surety arising from defective work on an Indian hotel and casino.

Recovered multi-million dollar settlement from a city on behalf of a general contractor in connection with claims for unpaid contract balance, improper termination, defective design, and impact/delay claims against a city arising from $18 million sports facility. Defended against alleged False Claims Act violations.

Represented an EIFS subcontractor in connection with payment claims arising from hotel/casino project.

Represented a well-known juice retailer in connection with numerous claims stemming from defaulted and insolvent contractor on several stores.

Represented a design-builder over claims arising from sewage treatment and cogeneration facilities constructed for the City of Stockton.

Represented a program manager, in connection with claims arising from North Hollywood Police station project.

Represented an international clothing retailer in connection with various construction claims arising from the build-out of California stores.

Represented a New York based real estate investment fund in complex multi-party litigation in Los Angeles arising from mixed-use project in San Pedro. Case involved project abandonment by general contractor and resulting claims by investor partner, which took over and completed project with replacement forces.

Successfully represented the owner of a five star resort in Rocky Mountains in connection with substantial claims against design professionals.

Successfully defended a low bidder contractor in writ proceedings (bid protest) in Alameda County Superior Court arising from $25 million highway project.

Successfully defended the owner of desert solar power project against multi-million dollar claims by an EPC contractor. Claims were resolved through mediation.

Tried action to verdict in North San Diego County on behalf of a prime cathodic protection contractor. Received defense verdict on complaint by subcontractor and prevailed on cross-complaint. Achieved full recovery of judgment following marshall's seizure of subcontractor's heavy equipment.

Trial in federal district court on claims by oil rig operator arising from failed wire rope and damage to fallen oil rig mast.

Recovered a substantial settlement for the general contractor in connection with the Big League Dreams project in Chino Hills. The project included six claims arising out of the construction of replica major league stadiums, turnstile entrance, restaurants, bars, batting cages, corporate offices, indoor soccer arena, volleyball courts, skateboard park, and other features.

Successfully defended an owner against a $3.4 million claim by a trade contractor on high-rise, multi-prime project following rulings on motions that because contractor was not licensed for substantial scopes of work it performed it must disgorge payments.

Represented an owner designing a luxury resort in Utah in its efforts to remove a mechanic's lien via a lien release bond on the grounds that the consultant had not served a preliminary notice as required under Utah law and could not simultaneously seek to recover on the lien release bond and to foreclose on the property. Utah trial court first ruled that the bond was substitute security and consultant could not simultaneously proceed on its claim to foreclose on the lien, and later ruled that the lien was invalid since a preliminary was required – resulting in exoneration of the lien release bond and the recovery of attorney's fees.

Defended a major construction lender against mechanic's lien priority claims and bonded stop notice claims arising from borrower-owners' failures to manage projects.

Defended various lessor-owners against mechanic's lien and other claims against tenants, including restaurants and big box retailers.

Represented an office building owner in mechanic's lien lawsuits by general contractor and subcontractors when tenant failed to pay contractor for work for restaurant to be opened at the client's office building.

Assisted in the successful prosecution of claims by a general contractor against CalTrans in connection with freeway seismic retrofitting program.

Protested invalidation of low bid by Port of Long Beach on behalf of a national dredging contractor.

Represented a general contractor, in successfully withdrawing from a public contracting bid it had submitted to UCLA after realizing that errors in its bid calculation spreadsheet had caused it to drastically underbid, and that it would lose millions if awarded the contract.

Obtained favorable settlement in favor of a homebuilder client against subrogation claims brought by insurer of purchaser of client's home arising out of alleged leaks in walls of home.

Obtained settlement whereby the public entity client did not pay any money toward the settlement of claims brought by another public entity and by a general contractor for payment allegedly due for work performed to install a water pipeline.

Successfully liquidated claim of subcontractor against general contractor through a liquidation agreement even though general contractor was still in litigation with owner to obtain final settlement of sums due.

Obtained dismissal in favor of an owner in defense of a mechanic's lien lawsuit brought by subcontractor who was not paid by general contractor.

Litigated mechanics' lien claim on behalf of subcontractor against school district.

Co-chaired 8-week jury trial in California state court defending national homebuilder in a class action involving claims of fraud, negligence and breach of warranty, with monetary exposure of approximately $55 million. Secured favorable rulings during trial which resulted in favorable settlement for client prior to jury deliberation.

Successfully settled a construction defect claim brought by numerous homeowners against a developer of tract homes, utilizing proceeds from the insurance carriers and subcontractors.

Represented the Nauru government in resolving complex construction defect case relating to the building of the civic center, including a trial in San Francisco against the roofing manufacturer.

Lead trial counsel in a case brought in Texas state court over the failure of a geotechnical engineer to properly disclose adverse soils conditions prior to development.

Lead trial counsel in obtaining a successful jury verdict for a national homebuilder in a state court action in Colorado involving fraudulent soils reports and widespread construction damage.

Represented a developer in a $15 million dispute with the contractor and various subcontractors over delays in the construction of a ski resort.

Represented a national homebuilder in a lawsuit against a developer and geotechnical engineers, in which the homebuilder alleged fraud, negligence, and breach of contract.

Defended contractor in lawsuit brought by high-end homeowner for breach of guaranteed maximum construction contract and construction defects.

Represented the builder of two condominium towers in disputes with multiple contractors and subcontractors in dispute over construction defects.

Represented a builder/architect in action by owner over designs and construction dispute.

Represented a developer client in connection with the mismanagement of a construction project located in San Pedro, California, asserting claims for breach of contract, express contractual indemnity, and declaratory relief.

Represented homeowners in suit against tile contractors for construction defects arising in their high-end home.

Represented an owner in reverse build-to-suit action against builder regarding weatherproofing.

Represented the owner of condominium project in pre-litigation settlement negotiations with builder regarding defects.

Represented a management company in dispute with HOA over duty of management company to repair construction defects on decking of 84 high-end condominium units.

Obtained a mediated settlement for a national public homebuilder under its umbrella liability policies on a Chinese drywall coverage claim involving over 200 homes, despite adverse law on the pollution exclusion in the forum state.

Successfully negotiated a settlement for a national homebuilder of complex insurance coverage litigation in U.S. District Court concerning underlying construction defect class action involving over 400 homes, with parallel actions in out-of-state court.

Obtained a favorable settlement for a national REIT under its permanent property insurance policy for a substantial water intrusion loss involving multiple dwelling units and common area in a major mixed-use development.

Obtained a mediated settlement for a bank and its homebuilding subsidiary under multiple CGL and umbrella liability policies in a $350 million reformation and bad faith action arising out of soils and concrete conditions in several hundred homes.

Prevailed on a motion for summary judgment by our client, a general contractor, against a subcontractor's CGL insurer in a complex fatality action and shifted liability for a $6 million underlying judgment to the subcontractor's insurer under an additional insured endorsement, recovered the client's defense costs, and obtained substantial Brandt fees for the insurer's bad faith.

Recovered 100% of defense costs and indemnity payments for a regional private homebuilder as an additional insured in a construction defect bad faith action against a subcontractor's CGL insurer.

Achieved a substantial settlement for Chinese drywall losses in a declaratory relief action on file in a state where the Supreme Court has held that the Total Pollution Exclusion applies to claims resulting from indoor exposure to noxious fumes.

Obtained partial summary judgment that Chinese drywall losses in over 200 homes constituted a single occurrence. As a result, the insured developer had to pay only one self insured retention to access coverage, and the insurance company quickly settled the action.

Represented construction manager in obtaining dismissal from construction defect litigation.

Obtained favorable settlement for a national construction company against the owner of a major polluted site which had hired our client to do extensive work preparing a comprehensive guaranteed maximum price contract for the construction of a major mall on the site, and against the labor union which was the lender to the project based upon our client's bonded stop notices.

Obtained favorable settlement on the eve of trial on behalf of a contractor in breach of contract, mechanic's lien and stop notice action against owner where owner failed to go forward with shopping center project.

Represented a builder of high-end custom homes using prefabricated modular technology in a dispute with its primary fabricator who was claiming that it was still owned money for various services rendered in connection with a custom home. After extensive mediation, the fabricator abandoned its claims.

Represented a custom homebuilder in construction defect action involving a home in Ladera Heights. Litigated non-payment claim on behalf of builder. Defended against construction defect action against builder by homeowners. Lawsuit involved contractor's licensing allegations and other Business & Professions Code violations, in addition to construction defects and punch list work.

Litigation counsel for a regional developer in defense of homeowners' association suit and obtained 100% coverage of defense and indemnity payments through enforcement of contractual indemnity and additional insured coverage.

Represented a mixed-use developer in recovering from its builders' risk carrier its repair and soft costs associated with significant course of construction damage through negotiation without need for litigation.

Secured defense of a developer by insurer under liability policy in large construction defect action after carrier's initial denial based on claimed application of multiple, rather than a single, self-insured retention.

Represented a large developer/homebuilder in state court action filed by multiple plaintiffs alleging construction defects in homes.

Represented numerous developers as defendants with respect to mechanic's lien claims filed against projects by contractors or subcontractors.

Obtained significant recovery from contractors and insurers resulting from settlement of defect action involving an apartment building.

Obtained significant recovery from a developer and contractors for failure to address flooding from rising underground water table.

Prosecuted defect and fraud claims against a general contactor and subcontractors for high-end luxury residence located in Santa Barbara. Variety of significant construction defects involved. Obtained multi-million settlement in favor of homeowners from general contractor and subcontractors.

Represented a construction lender in litigation resulting from catastrophic landslide on ocean front golf course. Handled disputes involving the cause of the slide, possible fixes, insurance coverage, loan defaults, bankruptcy, and all related issues.

Represented a general contractor in $6 million contract close out dispute on high-end condominium and commercial project in Santa Barbara.

Represented a national hotel chain in major construction defect suit involving residential portion of large development in Santa Rosa.

Represented one of California's largest residential/commercial developers in defending and prosecuting numerous multi-million dollar delay and disruption claims in projects throughout Southern California, including multiple luxury high-rise condominium projects, mixed-use projects and townhomes. The litigation included the prosecution (and defense of) claims against general contractors, subcontractors, engineers, architects, and others involved in the projects.

Successfully defended a large residential developer in dispute over alleged defects in roof construction for thousands of homes in numerous developments.

Recovered millions of dollars prosecuting non-disclosure claims and defect claims on behalf of owners of high-end homes throughout Southern California. Targets included insurance carriers (first and third party), sellers, and brokers who failed to disclose material information, as well as general contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and others involved in the design and construction of the homes.

Obtained a favorable settlement for an owner of a multi-million dollar home in litigation against the builder for failure to maintain a contractor's license and against the builder and the numerous subcontractors in a complex construction defect action.

Represented a residential builder in multi-million dollar construction claims case against major general contractor. The project involved condominiums in residential towers in Marina Del Rey. The lawsuit involved mechanic's lien claims, as well as delay claims, change order claims, claims involving completion of construction and punch list work, and a smoke transfer claim. Obtained substantial settlement with general contractor and numerous additional settlements with subcontractors and suppliers.

Represented an office building owner regarding defective build out.

Obtained settlements for a builder as builder's personal counsel, providing risk management counseling on construction, warranty, and insurance issues in all aspects of construction defect and warranty issues.

Represented a national builder in multi-million dollar construction defect action brought by owners of attached townhomes in Camarillo. Variety of significant defects alleged, including failing retaining walls, leaking pot-shelves, etc.

Represented a developer in construction claims lawsuit involving construction of concrete curb and gutter median on a public roadway. Lawsuit involved mechanic's lien dispute and dispute over change order work, delay damages and defective construction. Lawsuit also involved contractor's license issues and fraud claims. Defended against alter ego claims against a number of other defendants.

Represented a developer in fraud lawsuit brought by homeowners in Thousand Oaks. Lawsuit involved fraud claims relating to non-disclosure of contractor license issues at the time of sale. Also defended against alter ego claims against a number of other defendants.

Defended a multi-state private homebuilder in 400-plus home owner class action concerning alleged soils and structural code and other deficiencies.

Settled case for a private homebuilder in a several hundred single-family detached home development with homeowner allegations involving alleged defects in soils, roofs, siding, stucco, windows, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, structural, and other components.

Settled case on behalf of public homebuilder in 300-plus unit condominium project design and construction defect action brought by the homeowners association.

Defended a private developer of a large master-planned multiple condominium community against design and construction defect claims brought by homeowner associations pertaining to buildings placed on 100-foot fill material which failed. Second chaired the 9‑month jury trial that ensued.

Personal litigation defense and risk management counsel for numerous private homebuilders in California's Central Valley in cases involving design and construction defects.

Served as personal litigation and risk management counsel to a private homebuilder in Nevada in a case involving more than 50 homeowners suing for multiple design and construction defects.

Obtained defense verdict after a four-month class action jury trial alleging fraud and defective construction in a high-rise luxury condominium project.

Received a court judgment after a three-month trial awarding $5.9 million for delay damages to the owner of a 23-story office building. The owner was assessed 20% of the fault for delay. The contractor received nothing on its $2 million claim. In addition, attorney's fees and costs of almost $1 million were awarded.

Represented a building owner with respect to construction of a new high-rise office building in Los Angeles which had been delayed for 8 months due to errors of the architect, contractor, and elevator subcontractor. The contractor and subcontractors cross-claimed for $2 million. After a five-month court trial the owner was awarded $6.5 million for delay damages together with in excess of $1 million in attorney's fees, all of which was collected, and the contractor and subcontractors were awarded nothing on their claims.

Represented a developer in action for declaratory relief against buyers of property refusing to purchase based on purported failure by developer to strictly comply with plans and specifications for construction of the residence.

Represented a high-end ski resort hotel owner in a construction dispute over delays and disputed requests for change orders, against general contractor and subcontractors.

Represented developers of large communities as well as luxury single family residences and condominiums in numerous construction defect cases throughout the State of California.

Represented the developer of a luxury high-rise condominium project in a class-action for claims for fraud and defective construction. After a four-month jury trial, a defense verdict was rendered in favor of the developer.

Represented a hotel owner in construction defect litigation against general contractor and subcontractors involving electrical and other defects.

Negotiated the architect agreement for a client's Corporate Headquarters Campus Project in Orange County.

Negotiated the construction contract for a luxury high-rise condominium project in Marina del Rey.

Negotiated the construction contract for a luxury high-rise condominium project in San Francisco.

Negotiated the construction contract for a mixed-use project in Hollywood.

Negotiated the construction contract for a new retail building on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

Negotiated the construction contract for the Museum of the Holocaust in Los Angeles.

Negotiated the construction contract for the remodel of a synagogue.

Negotiated the construction contract for the Sherman Oaks Galleria Remodel Project.

Negotiated the design contracts and the construction contract for a remodel and new congregate care facility.

Negotiated the design contracts and the construction contract for the remodel of a movie studio and a new office tower and parking structure.

Negotiated the Design-Build Agreement for the Oakland Army Base Project.

Represented the State Bar of California in connection with a number of construction projects, including the preparation and negotiation of design, engineering, and construction contracts for the remodeling of the State Bar's Los Angeles office, and the earthquake retrofit of its San Francisco office.

Represented various owners of hotels: Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California; negotiated the construction contract, Montage Hotel in Deer Valley, Utah; negotiated the construction contract, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Half Moon Bay, California; negotiated the design contracts and the construction contract, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Beaver Creek, Colorado; negotiated the construction contract, Four Seasons Hotel, Big Island, Hawaii; negotiated the design contracts and the construction contract, Peninsula Hotel, Beverly Hills, California; negotiated the construction contract in connection with a remodel, The Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills, California; and negotiated the construction contract in connection with a remodel

Represented an owner partnership in the $115 million construction financing of a 430 unit apartment project in Southern California and subsequent $150 million permanent financing.

Prosecuting and defending claims on behalf of owner of substantial apartment complex project in San Jose, California.

Recovered more than $4.3 million for a national contractor in federal court following claims against subcontractor and performance bond surety arising from defective work and delay on an Indian hotel and casino.

Represented general contractor in obtaining substantial recovery from owner of Beverly Hills mega estate project.

Achieved favorable settlement for owner of high-rise on builder’s risk policy claims following lengthy arbitration.

Attorneys &
Paralegals

Name Title City Phone  
Briseño, Monica R. Associate Los Angeles 310.284.2242
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Campbell, Robert G. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2259
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Hamidi, Ali P. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5106
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Kitchen, Jonathan S. Partner San Francisco 415.262.5168
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Kranz, Frederick H. Partner Orange County 949.260.4626
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Masters, Jeffrey D. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2239
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Musitano, John R. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2212
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Padilla, Jose L. Senior Counsel Los Angeles 310.284.2297
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Potter, Trevor B. Associate Orange County 949.260.4624
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Quigley, Edward F. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2271
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Stewart, Sandra C. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2250
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Sullivan, Mark B. Senior Paralegal Los Angeles 310.284.2296
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Vaz, Alicia N. Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2273
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Williams, Kenneth Partner Los Angeles 310.284.2209
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