Partner Andrea L. Petray

Andrea L. Petray, Partner

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Andrea L. Petray practices in the areas of construction law, business litigation, commercial litigation, and real estate. Her practice includes representing clients in public and private works disputes, subcontractor default issues, commercial sales and other business litigation, and land use and planning/development issues, including through trial and arbitration.

Ms. Petray is admitted to practice before all California state courts and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. She received her juris doctor from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law. Ms. Petray received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California at Davis. She was named a Top 10 San Diego Construction and Real Estate Law Attorney in 2012. Ms. Petray was honored by the San Diego Business Journal as Best of the Bar in 2015. She also serves on the Board of Directors for San Diego Habitat for Humanity

Representative Experience

Recovery Against School District Following Discovery of Asbestos

The firm represented a Trade Contractor who discovered unanticipated asbestos in the walls and ceilings of school classroom buildings while performing technology infrastructure upgrades pursuant to a contract with a School District. To ensure the safety of the crew, the Trade Contractor shut down the project and demanded payment for the work performed to date, which the District refused. The firm submitted a claim to the District and successfully negotiated payment to the Trade Contractor without a termination of the contract and short of filing a lawsuit.

Subcontractor v. General Contractor, Payment Bond Surety and Public Agency Project Owner

The firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for recovery of subcontract balance and extra work performed on a publicly funded construction project. The firm was brought in at the conclusion of construction to prepare stop payment notice, payment bond and contract claims and file suit to recover the balance due for work performed by subcontractor on the project. The matter settled after mediation with payment to the firm's client for the full subcontract balance, attorneys' fees and interest.

General Engineering Contractor v. Inland Empire City

The firm was retained by the general engineering contractor at the end of a public work construction project to pursue a claim against the City for differing site conditions. A Disputes Review Advisor had opined the claim had no merit. In order to overcome the claim denial, the firm took a fresh look at the factual and legal bases for the claim, and evaluated available public records as well as the project files. The firm re-packaged the claim and proved that utility poles had been moved post-bid and pre-construction by others causing a differing site condition, and that the City knew of these facts and had not disclosed them. The claim settled following an evaluative mediation process where the mediator was asked to opine on the merits of the claim.

Lower Tier Subcontractor v. General Contractor and Miller Act Payment Bond Surety

The firm represented a subcontractor on a federal work of improvement in Arizona. The firm filed suit against the general contractor and its Miller Act payment bond surety in the United States District Court, District of Arizona, and prosecuted the claims, resulting in payment to the firm’s client of more than $1.5 million.

Subcontractor v. General Contractor, Payment Bond Surety and Public Agency Project Owner

The firm represented subcontractor in a claim for recovery of subcontract balance and extra work performed on a publicly funded construction project. The firm was brought in at the conclusion of construction to prepare stop payment notice, payment bond and contract claims and file suit to recover the balance due for work performed by subcontractor on the project. Despite a cross-complaint against the firm’s client, the case settled after mediation with payment to the firm’s client of the full subcontract balance, interest and attorneys’ fees.

Federal Contracting – Teaming Agreement Member v. Prime Contract Awardee

The firm represented a member of an oral teaming agreement who was not awarded a contract despite the teammate being awarded the prime contract. The firm filed suit for its client alleging six causes of action, after obtaining documents from the federal government awarding agency to prove its claims. A likely result of the firm’s Freedom Of Information Act request strategy, the case promptly settled for payment to the firm’s client.

Local Agency Public Work – Inspection Firm v. Design-Builder

The firm represented the Design-Builder in defense of an inspection firm’s claim for extra testing and inspection costs. After analyzing the cost data in comparison to the project records, the firm rebutted the merits and accounting support of the claims resulting in an early settlement without litigation.

Trade Contractor v. Construction Manager (Public Works)

The firm represented the construction manager for a public school construction project. A trade contractor filed suit against the School District and the construction manager. The firm prevailed on its motion to dismiss all claims against its client based on precedent holding a construction manager is not a proper defendant in a claim by a trade contractor and the construction manager owes a duty to only its School District client.

Dissolution And Accounting Of Limited Liability Company

The firm represented two members of a limited liability company against a third member in a dissolution and accounting action arising from deadlock and internal dissension. The firm negotiated a settlement of the action pursuant to which the parties agreed to dissolve and wind up the company, and the third member agreed to release his claims against the company and reimburse the company for his portion of unpaid operating expenses. The settlement also included a provision allowing the firm’s client, acting alone, to negotiate a sale of the company’s real property.

Defense Of Contract And Fraud Claims

The firm represented a construction company and its president in defense of breach of contract and fraud claims asserted by a former shareholder of the corporation. The firm negotiated a mutual release of all claims between the parties without payment of any money to the former shareholder.

Commercial Openings, Inc. v. Southwest General Contractors, Inc. San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00052831-CU-BC-NC

The firm represented a construction manager in defense of a cross-complaint filed by a prime trade contractor. The prime trade contractor sought damages from the client for fraud, intentional interference with a contract, interference with business, equitable indemnity, express indemnity and implied indemnity related to the processing and payment of deductive change orders related to the prime trade contractor’s work. The firm filed two demurrers, obtaining dismissal of all indemnity and fraud claims. After eliminating more than half of the prime trade contractor’s causes of action through demurrer, the case was settled at mediation without payment by the firm’s client.

Protest of International Airport Electrical Upgrade Project

The firm’s client was the second low bidder on a $17 million electrical upgrade project at San Diego International Airport. The firm evaluated the low bid and identified multiple bases for protest. Although the airport had already deemed the low bid responsive, the firm filed a comprehensive bid protest detailing the deficiencies. The Airport reversed its finding of responsiveness and elected to rebid the project. The firm's client won the job on rebid.

Los Angeles Area Community College District v. Construction Management Firm

The firm represented the construction manager for three community college construction projects. The owner of the projects claimed the construction manager was responsible for liquidated damages and project close out costs in excess of $1,000,000.00. Before a lawsuit was filed, the firm worked diligently to explore alternative resolutions to the dispute including a proposal to assist with the closeout of all three projects which the firm showed was the responsibility and obligation of other than its client. Through a series of meetings and exchange of position statements over a span of years, the firm negotiated a mutual release with no payment by its client.

Barnhart-Balfour Beatty, Inc. v. Oxnard School District Ventura Superior Court Case No. 56-2012-00414736-CU-BC-VTA

The firm represented the general contractor relating to a contract balance and claim by the school district that a second floor concrete deck was not built to the contract requirements. The firm’s client settled with its concrete subcontractor allowing the subcontractor to prosecute the claim for its subcontract balance directly against the District. However, when the District cross-complained, the firm was re-engaged to challenge the pleading by the District. With the firm’s special motion to strike the cross-complaint pursuant to California’s Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute pending, the case was settled in mediation for a payment by the District to the firm’s client for more than 50 percent more than the firm’s client had offered to accept from the District four years earlier.

Barnhart-Balfour Beatty, Inc. v. Roofing Subcontractor, Roofing Manufacturer and Their Insurers

The firm represented the Design Builder concerning a roof failure on a classified military base project. After asserting the claim against the subcontractors, their sureties, insurers and suppliers, but without filing litigation, the firm negotiated a resolution of the dispute in its client’s favor which included repair of the roof, extension of warranties and payment of the firm’s fees.

Aage Specialty Piping v. Barnhart-Balfour Beatty, Inc.

On behalf of a general contractor, the firm filed suit against a defaulted subcontractor and its performance bond surety for damages arising out of the default. The firm achieved a full recovery for its client including delay damages. Displeased with the $246,000.00 payment by its surety, the subcontractor sued the firm’s client in an alternate forum. Unfortunately for the subcontractor, the firm’s demurrer and motions for sanctions were granted, resulting in a further recovery by the firm for its client.

Claims of High-Light Electric, Inc. - Southern California

The firm represented the prime contractor on a more than $100 million freeway expansion project in southern California. The electrical subcontractor on the project submitted extensive delay and disruption claims and subsequently filed a lawsuit. The firm responded to the lawsuit and forced the case to mediation prior to expending significant resources on discovery. After the firm’s comprehensive mediation presentation attacking the bases for the subcontractor’s claims, the subcontractor settled for a fraction of its initial demand.

Jaynes Corporation of California v. Encina Wastewater Authority San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00102134-CU-BC-NC

The firm represented the general contractor in pursuit of delay and disruption claims arising out of construction of a wastewater treatment facility. The firm managed project closeout and submission of Government Code claims and, ultimately, filed suit against the owner. The firm then performed critical discovery and pushed the case to mediation. The case was settled with payment to the firm’s client after the firm presented a comprehensive critical path schedule and cause-effect disruption analysis to the owner and mediator.

Submission of Proposed Final Estimate Caltrans Contract No. 07-117844

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a five-year project to widen Interstate 405 in the Culver City/Santa Monica area. The project suffered from numerous delays, disruptions, scope changes and differing site conditions, which resulted in more than $40 million in claims against Caltrans. The firm worked on the contractor’s comprehensive Response To Proposed Final Estimate, which detailed the dozens of prime contractor and subcontractor claims. The claims were later settled.

RePipe - California, Inc. v. W I T Pipeline Rehab et al. San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00090723-CU-BC-CTL

The firm initiated litigation on behalf of a pipeline rehabilitation subcontractor on a City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater Department sewer rehabilitation project. The firm sued the general contractor, its payment bond surety, and the project owner to recover the principal amount due of $270,000.00 via claims for breach of contract, recovery on payment bond, and recovery on public works stop notice. The general contractor alleged it was entitled to an offset from subcontractor due to delays on the project and liquidated damages assessed by the owner. One month before trial, the firm recovered $336,000.00 for its client via settlement, more than the principal claim.

Urata & Sons Cement, Inc. v. Lodi Unified School District et al. San Joaquin Superior Court Case No. CV033417

A trade contractor on a public works new high school construction project filed suit against the firm’s construction manager client for breach of contract as an alleged third party beneficiary and negligence seeking in excess of $3.8 million dollars for alleged contract balance and delay and disruption damages. Following nearly two years of litigation and after the court granted the firm’s summary judgment and summary adjudication motions, the District and trade contractor settled with no contribution by the firm’s client.

GBC Concrete and Masonry, Inc. v. Altadena Lincoln Crossing, LLC et al. Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. GC037960

The firm’s trade contractor client sued the project owner and lender to recover $311,000.00 for improvements to the project. The firm’s client’s early litigation offer to accept $336,000.00 was rebuked by the defendants. After obtaining a pre-judgment writ of attachment and summary adjudication of its breach of contract and lien foreclosure causes of action, and attaching rents due the project owner, the case settled with the firm’s client being paid $475,000.00.

Blackinton Airport Property Owners Association v. Dino DeLuca et al. San Diego Superior Court Case No. GIN056722

The firm represented a homeowners association that sued to foreclose on a lien to collect delinquent assessments in the amount of $154,000.00. Defendant asserted a cross-claim for declaratory relief seeking to invalidate the homeowners association’s allocation of airport landing rights. After the second day of the client’s case-in-chief at trial, and testimony by sitting Justice MacDonald (who drafted the operating documents for the association), defendant agreed to pay the full amount of the lien plus $150,000.00 in attorneys’ fees and costs; and judgment validating the allocation of landing rights.

Time And Alarm Systems v. Edge Development, Inc. et al. San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. SCVSS 143134

Second-tier subcontractor initiated litigation to collect the contract balance on a $42 million dollar new high school project which was completed over one year behind schedule with delay and disruption claims by more than a half dozen subcontractors totaling over $8 million dollars. After serving as project counsel since 2004, the firm represented the general contractor in responding to the subcontractor claims and pursuing the owner for payment of the legitimate amount of the same, as well as the additional costs of the general contractor. Through a series of liquidation agreements, mediations, and negotiations with the owner and its counsel, the firm’s client avoided liability to the subcontractor claimants beyond the amount paid by the owner, and recovered additional compensation for its work, with the District paying the firm's client over $2.6 million dollars to resolve the consolidated lawsuits.

Seminars

What You Must Know To Get Paid – Collection Requirements and Practical Advice

September 21, 2016: Presented by Jason R. Thornton and Andrea L. Petray. Find out more here.

Collection Remedies: Lien Law, Payment Bonds, Stop Payment Notices & Beyond

January 29, 2015: Presented by Jason R. Thornton and Andrea L. Petray. What you need to know to ensure you are paid for the work you perform. Contractors are still adjusting to the 2012 revisions to the civil code. Make sure you know how to protect your rights and GET PAID! We will cover public and probate collection remedies and strategies.