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Image of Andrea L. Petray, a partner and attorney at Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.

Andrea L. Petray

Partner

Andrea remains energized by the ever-changing challenges of the firm’s construction clients. Highly competitive by nature, she credits much of her success to her instinct for knowing which battles to fight and which to walk away from.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3113

(858) 737-3101

Andrea Petray is a pragmatic, results-oriented litigator and business advisor who works with company owners, presidents and CEOs, vice presidents of operations, and in-house counsel.  Her considerable construction litigation expertise includes public and private works collections; delay, extra work, disruption and impact claims; surety bond claims; course-of-performance strategies; and construction contracts review and negotiation.  Andrea’s clients include general and design-build contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, sureties, and high-value homeowners.

Prior to attending law school, positions for a residential land developer and general contractor captured Andrea’s interest in the construction industry.  More than a dozen years later as a practicing attorney, she remains energized by the ever-changing challenges of the firm’s construction clients.  Highly competitive by nature, Andrea credits much of her success to her instinct for knowing which battles to fight and which to walk away from.  Her expertise in statutory collection remedies for public and private works is superlative and the focus of her legal practice.

CLAIMS AND DISPUTES

The construction arena presents a myriad of challenges for local, state, and federal general contractors faced with pursuing project owners and project designers for costs incurred due to design changes, errors, and omissions.  Specialty subcontractors in electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and carpentry trades share similar payment pains caused by upstream project participants.  For over a decade, Andrea has assisted general contractors and subcontractors in prosecuting or defending hundreds of these extra work claims.  She has amassed an extraordinary level of skill and expertise along the way, which has consistently resulted in exceptional outcomes for our clients.

Methodically drafting and computing delay, disruption, impact, and inefficiency claims — and pursuing them through change orders, contract claims processes, and litigation — anchors Andrea’s legal know-how.  She understands the cause and effect of construction events and the calculation of resulting overages inside and out.  However, it is the care and effort Andrea puts into understanding precisely how clients actually lived the project that earns their trust.  It is this emphasis on thorough evidence gathering, detailed analysis, and confirmation of facts that separates Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP from other law firms.

Clients seeking to maximize their recovery of claims and disputes early in the process are encouraged to consider the early engagement of Ms. Petray and this firm.  There is no substitute for the value of experienced counsel and high quality leverage in diffusing the exaggerated or unrealistic positions of adversarial parties.  Nor is there a substitute for getting paid the monies you are owed.

COLLECTIONS PROSECUTION

General contractors, design-builders, and construction managers often encounter payment delays from project owners.  In turn, trade subcontractors suffer from not being paid their contract balance or for extra work performed for the general contractor or owner.  It is a vicious cycle that usually demands legal intervention.  Andrea is highly experienced in the statutory remedies that assure aggressive collection of all amounts due and can provide creative solutions to correct client mistakes in statutory compliance.  Perhaps most importantly, Andrea is adept at securing collections payments through mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment bonds.  It all adds up to maximizing recovery through early resolution and fast collections.

COLLECTIONS DEFENSE

Andrea’s success in prosecuting collection matters makes her especially well suited to provide unique defense strategies for payment claims brought by lower-tier subcontractors — including presentation and proof-of-offset claims.  Once again, a high level of attention to detail, pragmatic cost analysis, and early identification of accounting and claim discrepancies are paramount.  So too are Andrea’s years of experience working with general contractors to reduce and avoid liability based on discrete fact patterns.  (In fact, our attorneys usually know the other side’s claim better than their own lawyers.)  Bottom line, experience, extreme due diligence, creative solutions, and the firm’s aggressive approach empowers Andrea’s ability to consistently minimize client liability and shorten the time to resolution.

  • Construction litigation
  • Drafting and computing delay, disruption, impact, and inefficiency claims
  • Mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment bond claims
  • Public and private works disputes
  • Subcontractor default issues
Structural Concrete Subcontractor Wins Verdict 12-0 v. General Contractor

The Firm represented the structural concrete subcontractor seeking recovery of payment for subcontract balance and extra work on a luxury mid-rise condominium project.

The Firm perfected its client’s mechanic’s lien and stop payment notice remedies, which were bonded off by the general contractor who contended nothing was due to the subcontractor because of defective work and delay caused by the subcontractor.  Despite the Firm’s efforts for settlement, the general contractor and its surety never made an offer to pay the Firm’s client any amount.

The dispute was tried to a San Diego jury over three weeks.

The Firm used building modeling to create 3-D demonstrative exhibits allowing the jury to see how a structural concrete building is built from the ground up, and better understand the testimony of the witnesses.  The Firm’s experts testified with demonstrative exhibits which summarized and simplified complex critical path method opinions.

The jury’s verdict was 12-0 in favor of the Firm’s client.

The jury awarded every penny the Firm asked for against both the general contractor and its surety.  Following post-trial motions, the judge awarded all requested pre-judgment interest, all expert witnesses fees, all court costs, and all attorneys’ fees incurred through the verdict.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Jennifer J. Griffin

General Engineering Contractor v. Local Public Agency (Riverside and Orange Counties)

The Firm began representing the prime contractor as project counsel concerning this unique cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) project.

The Firm helped position its client to declare owner default, stop work based on owner breaches of Public Contract Code section 1104 (lack of buildable plans), and avoid performance bond surety takeover, as well as mitigate risk with the client’s CIPP subcontractor, its surety, and liability insurers.  These tasks required a thorough understanding of the CIPP specifications, the CIPP industry players, and strong relationships with the sureties.

The project owner sought over $10 million from the Firm’s client and surety.

Post declaration of default, litigation commenced among the client, project owner, subcontractor, and sureties, with the project owner seeking more than $10 million from the Firm’s client and surety.  The Firm was able to shift defense costs to liability insurers and mitigate the out-of-pocket litigation costs to its client.  The project owner incurred over $1 million in attorneys’ fees.

The case settled for payment to the Firm’s client.

After two years of litigation, depositions of the key project participants and CIPP industry participants around the country, with a six-week jury trial looming, and following three mediation sessions over six months, the case settled for payment to the Firm’s client, hailed as an excellent result in this bet-the-company (and personal assets supporting the bonding line) case.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Nowell A. Lantz, and Andrea L. Petray

Structural Concrete Subcontractor v. General Contractor (Luxury Mid-rise Condo Project)

The Firm represented the structural concrete subcontractor seeking recovery of payment for subcontract balance and extra work.

The Firm perfected its client’s mechanic’s lien and stop payment notice remedies, which were bonded off by the general contractor who contended nothing was due to the subcontractor because of defective work and delay caused by the subcontractor.  Despite the Firm’s efforts for settlement, the general contractor and its surety never made an offer to pay the Firm’s client any amount.

The dispute was tried to a San Diego jury over three weeks.

The Firm used building modeling to create 3-D demonstrative exhibits allowing the jury to see how a structural concrete building is built from the ground up, and better understand the testimony of the witnesses.

The jury’s verdict was 12-0 in favor of the Firm’s client.

The jury awarded every penny the Firm asked for against both the general contractor and its surety.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Jennifer J. Griffin

Subcontractor Payment Claim on a Public Project

The Firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for recovery of amounts due for scope and extra work performed on a publicly funded construction project.  The Firm was brought in after the subcontractor had completed work, but prior to completion of the project to enforce contract, payment bond, and stop notice release bond claims.

The Firm filed suit against the contractor and sureties for the payment and stop notice release bonds, after which the contractor claimed some of the Firm’s client’s work was defective.  After the Firm propounded discovery, the matter settled with payment to the client of the full subcontract balance, including extra work claims, and a release of the contractor’s claim for defective work.

Counsel: Andrea L. Petray and Christopher D. F. Foster

Supplier Payment Claim on Public Project

The firm represented a material supplier in a claim for recovery of amounts due for materials it furnished to a subcontractor on a publicly funded construction project. The firm was brought in prior to completion of the project to enforce stop notice, payment bond, and contract claims. After the firm filed suit against the subcontractor, general contractor, project owner and payment bond surety, the matter settled with payment to the firm’s client of the full principal amount due, plus attorneys’ fees.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Christopher D. F. Foster

Commercial Openings, Inc. v. Southwest General Contractors, Inc.

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.
Read More


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.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00052831-CU-BC-NC

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

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 $1.0 million

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.

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

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 basis for the subcontractor’s claims, the subcontractor settled for a fraction of its initial demand.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Dustin R. Jones

Urata & Sons Cement, Inc. v. Lodi Unified School District et al.

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.

San Joaquin Superior Court Case No. CV033417

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

Blackinton Airport Property Owners Association v. Dino DeLuca et al.

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.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. GIN056722

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Andrea L. Petray

Time And Alarm Systems v. Edge Development, Inc. et al.

A 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.

Read More
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.

San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. SCVSS 143134

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 the 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.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Christopher D. F. Foster

Barnhart-Balfour Beatty, Inc. v. Oxnard School District

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.

Ventura Superior Court Case No. 56-2012-00414736-CU-BC-VTA

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

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.

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

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.

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

RePipe – California, Inc. v. W I T Pipeline Rehab et al.

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, and after mediation, the firm recovered $336,000.00 for its client via settlement, more than the principal claim.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00090723-CU-BC-CTL

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

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. 

Read More
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.
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.

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

Jaynes Corporation of California v. Encina Wastewater Authority

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.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00102134-CU-BC-NC

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Dustin R. Jones

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.

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

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.  As a likely result of the firm’s Freedom Of Information Act request strategy, the case promptly settled for payment to the firm’s client.

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

Andrea Petray is a pragmatic, results-oriented litigator and business advisor who works with company owners, presidents and CEOs, vice presidents of operations, and in-house counsel.  Her considerable construction litigation expertise includes public and private works collections; delay, extra work, disruption and impact claims; surety bond claims; course-of-performance strategies; and construction contracts review and negotiation.  Andrea’s clients include general and design-build contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, sureties, and high-value homeowners.

Prior to attending law school, positions for a residential land developer and general contractor captured Andrea’s interest in the construction industry.  More than a dozen years later as a practicing attorney, she remains energized by the ever-changing challenges of the firm’s construction clients.  Highly competitive by nature, Andrea credits much of her success to her instinct for knowing which battles to fight and which to walk away from.  Her expertise in statutory collection remedies for public and private works is superlative and the focus of her legal practice.

CLAIMS AND DISPUTES

The construction arena presents a myriad of challenges for local, state, and federal general contractors faced with pursuing project owners and project designers for costs incurred due to design changes, errors, and omissions.  Specialty subcontractors in electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and carpentry trades share similar payment pains caused by upstream project participants.  For over a decade, Andrea has assisted general contractors and subcontractors in prosecuting or defending hundreds of these extra work claims.  She has amassed an extraordinary level of skill and expertise along the way, which has consistently resulted in exceptional outcomes for our clients.

Methodically drafting and computing delay, disruption, impact, and inefficiency claims — and pursuing them through change orders, contract claims processes, and litigation — anchors Andrea’s legal know-how.  She understands the cause and effect of construction events and the calculation of resulting overages inside and out.  However, it is the care and effort Andrea puts into understanding precisely how clients actually lived the project that earns their trust.  It is this emphasis on thorough evidence gathering, detailed analysis, and confirmation of facts that separates Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP from other law firms.

Clients seeking to maximize their recovery of claims and disputes early in the process are encouraged to consider the early engagement of Ms. Petray and this firm.  There is no substitute for the value of experienced counsel and high quality leverage in diffusing the exaggerated or unrealistic positions of adversarial parties.  Nor is there a substitute for getting paid the monies you are owed.

COLLECTIONS PROSECUTION

General contractors, design-builders, and construction managers often encounter payment delays from project owners.  In turn, trade subcontractors suffer from not being paid their contract balance or for extra work performed for the general contractor or owner.  It is a vicious cycle that usually demands legal intervention.  Andrea is highly experienced in the statutory remedies that assure aggressive collection of all amounts due and can provide creative solutions to correct client mistakes in statutory compliance.  Perhaps most importantly, Andrea is adept at securing collections payments through mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment bonds.  It all adds up to maximizing recovery through early resolution and fast collections.

COLLECTIONS DEFENSE

Andrea’s success in prosecuting collection matters makes her especially well suited to provide unique defense strategies for payment claims brought by lower-tier subcontractors — including presentation and proof-of-offset claims.  Once again, a high level of attention to detail, pragmatic cost analysis, and early identification of accounting and claim discrepancies are paramount.  So too are Andrea’s years of experience working with general contractors to reduce and avoid liability based on discrete fact patterns.  (In fact, our attorneys usually know the other side’s claim better than their own lawyers.)  Bottom line, experience, extreme due diligence, creative solutions, and the firm’s aggressive approach empowers Andrea’s ability to consistently minimize client liability and shorten the time to resolution.

  • Construction litigation
  • Drafting and computing delay, disruption, impact, and inefficiency claims
  • Mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment bond claims
  • Public and private works disputes
  • Subcontractor default issues
Structural Concrete Subcontractor Wins Verdict 12-0 v. General Contractor

The Firm represented the structural concrete subcontractor seeking recovery of payment for subcontract balance and extra work on a luxury mid-rise condominium project.

The Firm perfected its client’s mechanic’s lien and stop payment notice remedies, which were bonded off by the general contractor who contended nothing was due to the subcontractor because of defective work and delay caused by the subcontractor.  Despite the Firm’s efforts for settlement, the general contractor and its surety never made an offer to pay the Firm’s client any amount.

The dispute was tried to a San Diego jury over three weeks.

The Firm used building modeling to create 3-D demonstrative exhibits allowing the jury to see how a structural concrete building is built from the ground up, and better understand the testimony of the witnesses.  The Firm’s experts testified with demonstrative exhibits which summarized and simplified complex critical path method opinions.

The jury’s verdict was 12-0 in favor of the Firm’s client.

The jury awarded every penny the Firm asked for against both the general contractor and its surety.  Following post-trial motions, the judge awarded all requested pre-judgment interest, all expert witnesses fees, all court costs, and all attorneys’ fees incurred through the verdict.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Jennifer J. Griffin

General Engineering Contractor v. Local Public Agency (Riverside and Orange Counties)

The Firm began representing the prime contractor as project counsel concerning this unique cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) project.

The Firm helped position its client to declare owner default, stop work based on owner breaches of Public Contract Code section 1104 (lack of buildable plans), and avoid performance bond surety takeover, as well as mitigate risk with the client’s CIPP subcontractor, its surety, and liability insurers.  These tasks required a thorough understanding of the CIPP specifications, the CIPP industry players, and strong relationships with the sureties.

The project owner sought over $10 million from the Firm’s client and surety.

Post declaration of default, litigation commenced among the client, project owner, subcontractor, and sureties, with the project owner seeking more than $10 million from the Firm’s client and surety.  The Firm was able to shift defense costs to liability insurers and mitigate the out-of-pocket litigation costs to its client.  The project owner incurred over $1 million in attorneys’ fees.

The case settled for payment to the Firm’s client.

After two years of litigation, depositions of the key project participants and CIPP industry participants around the country, with a six-week jury trial looming, and following three mediation sessions over six months, the case settled for payment to the Firm’s client, hailed as an excellent result in this bet-the-company (and personal assets supporting the bonding line) case.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Nowell A. Lantz, and Andrea L. Petray

Structural Concrete Subcontractor v. General Contractor (Luxury Mid-rise Condo Project)

The Firm represented the structural concrete subcontractor seeking recovery of payment for subcontract balance and extra work.

The Firm perfected its client’s mechanic’s lien and stop payment notice remedies, which were bonded off by the general contractor who contended nothing was due to the subcontractor because of defective work and delay caused by the subcontractor.  Despite the Firm’s efforts for settlement, the general contractor and its surety never made an offer to pay the Firm’s client any amount.

The dispute was tried to a San Diego jury over three weeks.

The Firm used building modeling to create 3-D demonstrative exhibits allowing the jury to see how a structural concrete building is built from the ground up, and better understand the testimony of the witnesses.

The jury’s verdict was 12-0 in favor of the Firm’s client.

The jury awarded every penny the Firm asked for against both the general contractor and its surety.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Jennifer J. Griffin

Subcontractor Payment Claim on a Public Project

The Firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for recovery of amounts due for scope and extra work performed on a publicly funded construction project.  The Firm was brought in after the subcontractor had completed work, but prior to completion of the project to enforce contract, payment bond, and stop notice release bond claims.

The Firm filed suit against the contractor and sureties for the payment and stop notice release bonds, after which the contractor claimed some of the Firm’s client’s work was defective.  After the Firm propounded discovery, the matter settled with payment to the client of the full subcontract balance, including extra work claims, and a release of the contractor’s claim for defective work.

Counsel: Andrea L. Petray and Christopher D. F. Foster

Supplier Payment Claim on Public Project

The firm represented a material supplier in a claim for recovery of amounts due for materials it furnished to a subcontractor on a publicly funded construction project. The firm was brought in prior to completion of the project to enforce stop notice, payment bond, and contract claims. After the firm filed suit against the subcontractor, general contractor, project owner and payment bond surety, the matter settled with payment to the firm’s client of the full principal amount due, plus attorneys’ fees.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Christopher D. F. Foster

Commercial Openings, Inc. v. Southwest General Contractors, Inc.

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.
Read More


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.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00052831-CU-BC-NC

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

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 $1.0 million

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.

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

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 basis for the subcontractor’s claims, the subcontractor settled for a fraction of its initial demand.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Dustin R. Jones

Urata & Sons Cement, Inc. v. Lodi Unified School District et al.

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.

San Joaquin Superior Court Case No. CV033417

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

Blackinton Airport Property Owners Association v. Dino DeLuca et al.

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.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. GIN056722

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Andrea L. Petray

Time And Alarm Systems v. Edge Development, Inc. et al.

A 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.

Read More
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.

San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. SCVSS 143134

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 the 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.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Christopher D. F. Foster

Barnhart-Balfour Beatty, Inc. v. Oxnard School District

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.

Ventura Superior Court Case No. 56-2012-00414736-CU-BC-VTA

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

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.

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

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.

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

RePipe – California, Inc. v. W I T Pipeline Rehab et al.

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, and after mediation, the firm recovered $336,000.00 for its client via settlement, more than the principal claim.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00090723-CU-BC-CTL

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

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. 

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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.
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.

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

Jaynes Corporation of California v. Encina Wastewater Authority

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.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00102134-CU-BC-NC

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Andrea L. Petray, and Dustin R. Jones

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.

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

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.  As a likely result of the firm’s Freedom Of Information Act request strategy, the case promptly settled for payment to the firm’s client.

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

Andrea remains energized by the ever-changing challenges of the firm’s construction clients. Highly competitive by nature, she credits much of her success to her instinct for knowing which battles to fight and which to walk away from.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3113

(858) 737-3101

A. Elisa Moreno
  • Construction Law
    • Claims & Disputes
    • Local Agency, Municipal & State Contracts
    • Federal Procurement & Claims
    • Project Counsel
    • Prime Contracts & Subcontracts
    • Labor & Employment
    • Collections
  • Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Real Estate
  • California: State Courts
  • U.S. District Court of California: Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern
  • University of California Los Angeles School of Law, J.D.
  • University of California at Davis, B.A., Political Science
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association
  • 2015 Best of the Bar by the San Diego Business Journal
  • 2012 Top 10 San Diego Construction & Real Estate Law Attorney by the San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity, San Diego
  • Women of Influence, Women Build 2018, Habitat for Humanity, San Diego

Ms. Petray is an accomplished public speaker and regularly addresses the construction community on a range of legal, training and educational topics:

Collection Strategies and Practical Advice

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

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

Image promoting "Collection Strategies for Public & Private Works Projects" seminar presented by Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.
Banner promoting Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP partner Andrea Petray's participation in Habitat for Humanity Women's Build Day.
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