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The firm’s attorneys’ cutting edge practice often sets new law. In Published Decisions, you can view a listing of published cases in which clients were represented by attorneys in the firm. Select Representative Experience for recent case results.

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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.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray and Kelly A. Floyd

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.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Andrea L. Petray

Defense Verdict On Interference With Contract Claim Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. KC058493

The firm's client contacted with a software developer for a custom, cloud based software application to support the client's business. The developer failed to deliver working software despite the cost doubling from the original contract amount. The firm demanded arbitration on behalf of the client, and the developer defended claiming the client had released all claims as part of a negotiated termination of the development contract. The parties arbitrated the defense of release. After a tentative ruling in favor of the firm's client, the matter was mediated where it settled favorably for the client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Louis J. Blum

Extra Work Claims – Subcontractor v. General Contractor

While working on a large community park project for a Southern California city, the firm’s subcontractor client encountered multiple unforeseen conditions and was directed by the project’s general contractor to perform significant extra work and change work. When the general contractor refused to pay for the extra work, the firm sued the general contractor and the city. The general contractor initially refused to discuss a reasonable settlement. However, pressure from the firm’s written discovery and substantiation of the client’s claims produced the desired effect. Prior to costly depositions—and well short of trial—the firm obtained a favorable settlement for the client.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Kelly A. Floyd

In The Matter Of The Request For Review of ASM Affiliates, Inc. DIR Case No. 14-0418-PWH

In the first case of its kind under the California prevailing wage law, the firm successfully defended a Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment issued by the California Labor Commissioner against a cultural resources management firm (“CRM”). The Labor Commissioner sought over $200,000 in back wages, penalties and liquidated damages relating to archaeological monitoring and testing services that the CRM firm had performed prior to and during the construction of a rail improvement project. The firm successfully argued that none of archaeological work was covered by the California prevailing wage law because such work was not work performed in “execution of the [public works construction] contract.” After extensive briefing and a hearing, the Director of Industrial relations agreed with the firm and found that the archeological work performed by the firm’s client was not covered by the prevailing wage law. As a result, the entire assessment was dismissed. A copy of the Director’s decisions can be found here.

Brewer Corporation, et. al. v. Point Center Financial, Inc. (Cal.Ct.App., January 31, 2014)

2014: On January 31, the Fourth District Court of Appeal followed Familian Corp v. Imperial Bank, holding stop notice claimants have priority over the entire construction loan amount and lenders must make all fees, interest, and points they took from the loan available to stop notice claimants. This case should expedite recoveries and avoid the tired lender defenses that seek to distinguish Familian or assert it was wrongly decided. In the underlying action, four contractor claimants (two of which were represented by the firm) pursued bonded stop notice claims against the construction lender, Point Center Financial, Inc. After a bench trial, Point Center was found liable for the stop notice claims. Liability against Point Center was imposed not only for the construction funds undisbursed at the time of each stop notice, but also for all amounts that had already been spent on interest, loan fees, and real estate and escrow fees. The total judgment, including attorneys’ fees, was approximately $3 million.

Point Center appealed the judgment on a number of grounds, including whether the Familian decision should be applied. While the Court of Appeal remanded the judgment of one claimant based on a procedural defense raised by Point Center, the Court affirmed the judgment for the other claimants, including the firm’s two clients, and upheld the Familian decision. Point Center also appealed on the ground that one of the firm’s clients failed to serve Point Center with a notice of commencement after filing a lawsuit to enforce its stop notice, which Point Center argued was a jurisdictional requirement that should have entitled Point Center to a nonsuit. The firm’s client timely served its stop notice and timely filed its lawsuit, but did not serve a notice of commencement, pursuant to Civil Code section 3172, within five days of commencing its lawsuit. The firm represented the client at trial. At trial, it was undisputed Point Center suffered no prejudice as a result of the lack of notice of commencement. The trial court denied Point Center’s motion for nonsuit, finding no prejudice to Point Center and substantial compliance by the firm’s client. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s ruling and rationale. The Court of Appeal concluded that the requirement to serve a notice of commencement was not mandatory, unless the lender could show prejudice. Since there was no prejudice to the lender, the contractor claimant was not required to serve a notice of commencement. The firm’s clients will now return to the trial court to seek an award of their attorneys’ fees and costs incurred on the appeal, and will continue to enforce their substantial money judgment. A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton, Jon F. Gauthier, and Christopher R. Sillari

National Financial Lending, LLC v. Superior Court (Brewer Corporation) (Cal. Ct. App., Dec. 18, 2013) 13 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 13541

2013: The firm’s contractor client participated in a very troubled large scale condominium construction project, which culminated in the client obtaining a $2.7 million judgment against the construction lender. The firm’s aggressive collection efforts included levying on a large limited liability company managed by the judgment debtor. Notwithstanding the notices of levy served by the firm, the related company wrongly transferred $2.08 million to the judgment debtor. The firm filed a motion seeking to make the related company liable for the levy violation, and the related company responded with a motion to quash. The related company also filed a peremptory challenge of the judge—before whom the judgment debtor had previously lost—which was denied. The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the denial of the peremptory challenge, adopting the firm’s position that the firm’s motion on the levy violation and the responding motion to quash were merely incidental to the underlying action, such that the related company did not have a right to a peremptory challenge under Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6.

Kevcon, Inc. v. L.B. Contracting, LLC (S.D.Cal. January 3, 2013, Civ. A. No. 12-CV-2014 BEN) 2013 WL 78962

The firm successfully obtained the dismissal of a federal court action filed in California against an out-of-state subcontractor for lack of personal jurisdiction.