Construction Recent Experiences

The firm’s Construction Group represents a number of prominent national and regional general contracting companies that perform traditional (vertical) construction work and others that work in the electric power generation and industrial construction industries. The Group assists the Firm’s traditional construction clients in all aspects of contract development, administration, and dispute representation on projects such as hospitals, schools, institutions, commercial buildings, shopping centers, retail build-outs, condominiums, restaurants, and office projects.

The Chicago office represents a number of specialty contractors that perform work nationally and locally in the following specialties: curtain walls, glazing, fixturing, excavation, site utilities, plumbing, steel erection, carpentry, electrical, and HVAC work.

The Group represents national manufacturers in the exterior cladding, metal roofing, and cabinetry industries. The Group also represents ownership interests in the healthcare, manufacturing, retail, and private development industries.

We are outside general counsel for specialty contractors, an international external cladding manufacturer, a zinc roof manufacturer, and several significant regional general contractors. We handle a broad range of legal issues for these clients including materials procurement, marketing relationships, warranty development, and claims.

We have been involved in dispute representation during the past five years in the following types of matters:

  • Co-arbitration counsel in five multi-million-dollar defects claims (curtain wall, roofing, fire protection and flooring) against the designers and prime trade contractors of a new, state-of-the-art, high-rise hospital building with an original construction cost of more than $500 million. After leading the investigation of the construction defects and coordinating the repair designs and construction objectives, we reached conclusions as to responsibility and developed evidence (including the testimony of five expert-witness teams) as to the resulting costs and losses. Ultimately, we established a dual-mediator mediation that featured six meetings over 15 months, involving 20 parties and insurers. In 2016, the parties reached a confidential settlement.
  • Assisted in the prosecution of the mechanics lien, constructive trust, and alter ego claims exceeding $34 million in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, arising out of a high-rise condominium project on Chicago’s Gold Coast. We obtained a favorable settlement of the mechanics lien portion of the case based in large part on the application of unique legal issues concerning amendment, enforceability, apportionment, and construction of mechanics liens on condominium projects in Illinois.
  • Defending successor developer against original developer’s performance-bond surety and the municipal body in which the subdivision was located, seeking to force client to complete $3.7 million in unfinished infrastructure improvements. The suit involves a sophisticated legal interplay between statutory, contractual, common law, and municipal authorities, including antiquated surety theories.
  • Represented a general contractor on an $18 million school building project. Multiple subcontractors recorded mechanics liens against the project and asserted payment bond claims. We worked out a multi-party transaction in which the owner and lenders paid $6.2 million into a title indemnity account, the title company insured title over the mechanics liens, and a series of graduated payments were made to subcontractors as punch list work was completed and disputes were resolved. In 2016 we conducted a three-week arbitration against the owner on the primary design, construction, and flood disputes. 
  • Trial of complex condominium mechanics lien foreclosure involving delay, disruption, design defects, workmanship, and fraud issues.
  • Defense of claims against a design-builder for the failure of a “green” roof system on a one million square foot distribution center. The system permitted warm, moist air to condense on the underside of the roof membrane, freeze, thaw, and rain on the inside of the building.
  • Secured complete statute-of-limitations summary judgment on behalf of contractor client against condominium association owner suing for fraud and breach of warranty.
  • Tried a suit by general contractor client against a former project manager who induced the client to participate in a limited liability corporation, used the client’s bond, equipment, employees, and support staff, and pocketed the profits on multi-million-dollar federal jobs.
  • Represented a general contractor client in closing out a failed carpentry/drywall subcontract on a $134 million hospital project in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. The failed subcontractor filed for bankruptcy, leaving unfinished work and multiple unpaid claimants including sub-subcontractors, fringe and welfare benefit funds, and suppliers which have all claimed an interest in the project funds held by our client. This matter involved a mechanics lien, bond, insurance, constructive fraud, and bankruptcy issues among multiple parties, including the owner, sureties, sub-subcontractors, fringe and welfare benefit funds, and other suppliers. In 2016, we resolved all known claims.
  • Water intrusion and mold infestation disputes. Seven of these matters involved condominiums, hospitality, distributorship, senior care, schools, and manufacturing projects.
  • Six serious structural-failure matters involving wood trusses, steel trusses, structural concrete, precast concrete, and concrete slabs.
  • Several material-failure disputes involving: (1) flooring and insulation materials at condominium and industrial projects; (2) fenestration materials at a church; (3) roofing materials at residences, schools, universities, and a courthouse; (4) insulation materials in electric power generators; and (5) insulation and flooring materials in condominium projects.
  • At least 10 delay, disruption, and acceleration dispute representations involving almost every segment of the construction industry.

The Group has significant experience in prosecuting and defending mechanics liens in Illinois and elsewhere. Approximately one-half of the disputes listed above involve the prosecution or defense of mechanics liens.

We have assisted our clients in developing and negotiating numerous contracts, including, over the last five years, the following projects:

  • Advocated for a design-builder in the negotiation of a $250 million contract to construct 10 commercial buildings on a 98-acre site, in a western state. The project involved particularly challenging engineering and risk-allocation issues.
  • Developed all construction documents for a $96 million five-building office park and commercial campus in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • Negotiated several capital equipment contracts (design, procurement, installation, and commissioning) from $24 million to $280 million with several of the largest U.S. energy companies. We negotiated service agreements with various other utilities and power generating entities.
  • Developed and negotiated all design and construction contracts for a $490 million manufacturing plant in Jiujiang, China. The design was developed in the UK and completed in China. The construction occurred in China.
  • Negotiated the prime contract for a $94 million senior care facility developed by an international hotel concern.
  • Advised a venture constructing several replica major league baseball parks on a Little League scale in Branson, Missouri, prepared and negotiated the design and construction contracts, and developed the program and project-delivery framework on a $20 million project.
  • Developed fabricator, distributorship, and product representation agreements, and commercial terms and conditions, for an international exterior cladding manufacturer.
  • Developed multiple warranty programs for a metal roof manufacturer.