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Image of Christopher R. Sillari, a partner at Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.

Christopher R. Sillari

Partner

Attention to detail is part of Chris’s DNA and he applies that thoroughness when reviewing and negotiating construction contracts and pursuing claims and protests. Peers frequently turn to Chris for his specialized knowledge and watchful eye.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3040

(858) 737-3101

Chris Sillari is an experienced litigator and business advisor who works with federal contractors, general contractors, subcontractors, and commercial development owners.  His expertise includes federal contractor disputes and procurement protests, construction contract negotiation, and general business litigation.  Attention to detail is part of his DNA and Chris applies that thoroughness when reviewing and negotiating construction contracts and pursuing claims and protests.  Internally, peers frequently turn to Chris for his specialized knowledge and watchful eye.

FEDERAL PROCUREMENT AND CLAIMS

The highly regulated federal construction domain presents frequent challenges to federal prime contractors and subcontractors alike.  Payment disputes with the government or between subcontractors and prime contractors are common.  So too are disputes surrounding the awarding or non-awarding of procurements that often lead to the filing of bid protests.  Chris Sillari’s knowledge of the federal procurement protest process, Federal Acquisition Regulations, and experience pursuing disputes under the Contract Disputes Act is extensive.  This experience proves invaluable when the resolution of claims or reconsideration of procurements is the goal.

CONSTRUCTION LAW

The nature of the relationships between prime contractors and subcontractors is of vital importance in determining the outcome of every construction project.  The same is true of the relationships between owners and general contractors.  Resolving payment disputes and obtaining fair, or favorable, construction contracts are among the many client problems Chris routinely faces.  The solution?  Customized and thoroughly negotiated contracts that can go a long way toward enhancing a client’s position going into a project.  By affecting a practical approach to dispute resolution, Chris is often able to achieve win-win outcomes for all parties involved.

BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION

In addition to legal counsel provided to the firm’s construction clientele, Chris also works with owners and C-suite executives of non-construction businesses.  This work frequently centers on payment disputes for local service providers and commercial property owners.  Again, experience and level-headed advice are invaluable.  It is Chris’s ability to get opposing parties to first agree on what is practical that often puts them on the path to expeditiously achieving fair and equitable outcomes.

  • Construction litigation
  • Federal claims and procurement disputes including Miller Act claims, Contract Disputes Act Claims, and GAO protests
  • Course-of-performance counsel
  • Mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment bond claims
  • Delay, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Public and private works disputes
  • Public works of improvement and government contracts, including projects with local public agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, and federal government
  • Local, state, federal, and private collection and bond actions
  • Transactional matters specializing in the drafting, reviewing, and negotiating of construction agreements
  • General business litigation
  • General business counseling
Project Counsel for Resolution of $100 Million in Extra and Changed Work Claims

​The firm was engaged pre-contract through project closeout to assist a key trade contractor with this unique government contract over a four years duration.  Significant legal issues included demobilizing from the project when a key milestone was not met, return to work with guaranteed payment funding by the general contractor, and negotiation of over 40 change orders which expanded the subcontract scope of work and price from $250,000 to nearly $100 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jason R. Thornton, and Christopher R. Sillari

Prime Contractor v. Receiver – Public Works

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a California public works project.  After paying one of its subcontractors nearly 80% of the subcontractor’s total contract price for the scheduled manufacturing and delivery of fabricated steel parts, the subcontractor was taken over by a court-appointed receiver.  The receiver initially refused to complete the job because of an unrelated payment dispute between the firm’s client and the subcontractor on a separate project.  The firm, faced with a rapidly approaching delivery deadline that would have triggered project-breaking liquidated damages, successfully negotiated a favorable resolution with the receiver while avoiding litigation that would have prevented timely performance of the project.  In analyzing our client’s rights and potential remedies, the firm persuasively argued that under the public agency’s contract and California Commercial Code, the public agency became title owner of the portions of the steel parts already paid for by our client, even though the parts were never transferred to the possession of our client or the public agency.  This argument provided our client with the leverage it needed to settle with the receiver to allow it to timely deliver the steel parts and complete its performance of the project.

Counsel: Christopher R. Sillari

Brewer Corporation, et. al. v. Point Center Financial, Inc.

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.

Read More
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.

(2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 831

Groundbreaking GAO Protest of Department of Veterans’ Affairs Solicitation

The firm successfully protested to the GAO the VA’s award of a $23 million solar project in Las Vegas to R.E.M. Construction Co. The project was to be awarded by the VA on the basis of price and technical considerations deemed most advantageous to the government. After the firm’s client, SPINT, submitted the second lowest priced proposal, the VA awarded the project to R.E.M., with a higher priced proposal than SPINT, ostensibly because of R.E.M.’s superior technical rating.

In the fall of 2011, the firm protested the award arguing the VA improperly evaluated SPINT’s technical proposal. The VA took immediate corrective action and re-evaluated the proposals. After the VA’s re-evaluation, the project was again awarded to R.E.M in March 2012. At that time, the VA failed to notify SPINT of the re-award and also did not post notice of the re-award on FedBizOpps. After SPINT received word of the re-ward to R.E.M. in May 2012, it requested a debriefing from the VA, which the VA refused to provide. The firm then protested the re-award, once again challenging the VA’s evaluation of SPINT’s proposal. In response, the VA filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that SPINT was notified of the re-award via e-mail in March 2012, and therefore its protest two months later was untimely. The firm defeated the motion to dismiss with a novel argument of the sufficiency of electronic notice, and then eventually supplemented its protest to challenge the VA’s utter failure to conduct a tradeoff analysis of all of the responsive proposals, as is required by the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

In a published decision, the GAO determined that the VA unreasonably evaluated SPINT’s proposal and fundamentally failed to perform a best-value tradeoff analysis. Accordingly, the GAO recommended that the VA re-evaluate all of the proposals, properly document its evaluation, perform a proper tradeoff analysis, and reimburse SPINT for the fees it incurred pursuing the protest. A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

GAO File No. B-406024.4

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

GAO Protest of Department of Veterans’ Affairs Solicitation

The firm successfully protested the VA’s solicitation for the upgrade and renovations at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System before the GAO. Since early 2006, the VA has been incorporating Information Letter (IL) 049-06-4 into all of its solicitations. However, this IL conflicts with the Veterans First Contracting Program enacted in December 2006. The firm challenged the inclusion of the IL on this Los Angeles project, arguing that the IL jeopardized open and fair competition, and discouraged participation by legitimate veteran owned small businesses. Promptly following receipt of the firm’s protest, the VA took corrective action by cancelling the solicitation so that the project could be re-solicited without reference to the conflicting and superseded information letter. SDVOSB and VOSB enterprises should consult with legal counsel with any questions as to the VA’s implementation of these important programs which must be protected for the benefit of our veterans.

GAO File No. B-407092

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

Architectural Aluminum Window Systems, Inc. v. Dick Pacific Construction Co., Ltd.

The firm’s client was a window subcontractor on a federal project at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. As one of the first federal projects to be bid in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, disputes arose over who was responsible for the enhanced blast requirements. Upon completion of its work, the firm’s client pursued change order and contract balance claims against the general contractor and the Army. After reserving its client’s Miller Act claim, the firm pursued a certified pass-through claim to the Army.

Read More
Approximately fifty percent of the certified claim was paid after the parties engaged in informal discussions. The remainder of the certified claim was denied and the firm then appealed the contracting officer’s decision to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. Under ASBCA guidelines, the parties engaged in mediation and the firm’s client reached a negotiated settlement with the Army on the appealed claims. The firm’s client subsequently reached a negotiated settlement with the general contractor on the contract balance.

Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals No. 57172; United States District Court, District of Hawaii Civil No. 07-00603 DAE LEK

MHS Customer Services, Inc. V. South Central Valley Mortgage Services, Inc.

The firm’s client performed property inspection and preservation services for SCVMS throughout Southern California. Disputes arose over the non-payment or underpayment of more than 400 work orders performed by the firm’s client. Upon the firm’s initial demand, SCVMS was only willing to compensate the firm’s client for approximately fifteen percent of the total amount in dispute. The firm eventually filed a lawsuit on behalf of its client for breach of contract, reasonable value, and open book account. At mediation, the parties reached a negotiated settlement in which the firm’s client obtained payment for the entire principal amount it disputed.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2011-00084104-CU-BC-CTL

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Christopher R. Sillari

DC Painting, Inc. v. Michael S. Summers

The firm’s client was a painting contractor that was awarded a contract to repaint a commercial building. Upon completion of the work, the owner refused to pay the firm’s client based on a number of alleged defects in performance. The firm proceeded to trial and successfully obtained a verdict in favor of its client for the full value of its client’s services, as well as a substantial attorneys’ fee award. The owner appealed the attorneys’ fee award and the firm successfully briefed and argued the appeal, which resulted in the upholding of the trial court’s ruling and the subsequent granting of additional attorneys’ fees related to the appeal.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2007-00074199-CL-BC-CTL; Court of Appeal of the State of California, 4th Dist. Case No. D055330

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

The Weitz Company I, Inc. v. Brethren Hillcrest Homes

The firm’s client was the general contractor charged with expanding and renovating a large retirement community. The project was delayed for more than one year. The parties disputed liability for the delay. The owner sought over $1.5 million in liquidated damages from the general contractor. A five day arbitration resulted in the firm successfully defending the owner’s delay claims and the litigation resulted in a net recovery for the firm’s client.

Arbitration Proceeding Case No. 1240019438

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird, David W. Smiley, and Christopher R. Sillari

Cease and Desist of Trademark and Copyright Infringement

The firm represents a multi-national manufacturer and retailer of luxury clothing goods. The firm’s client was notified that an unauthorized website existed that appeared to be associated with the client’s product, and which used the client’s trademarks and copyrighted images to re-direct potential business to another company’s website. The firm immediately took action and successfully shutdown the operation of the misleading website and procured the abandonment of the infringing domain name. The firm accomplished its client’s goals without the need of litigation.

Counsel: Christopher R. Sillari

Cease and Desist of Copyright Infringement

The firm represents a local ecotourism and adventure company. The firm’s client is well known in the San Diego region for its highly successful whale-watching kayak tours, led by “Big Wave Dave.” The firm’s client was therefore shocked when it received a daily deal from Groupon that offered a whale-watching kayak tour from a direct competitor and included a picture of Big Wave Dave in a kayak next to a gray whale breaching the surface off the shores of La Jolla, which was taken directly from the client’s website. The firm immediately took action against the competitor and Groupon based on the copyright infringement, and successfully obtained the removal of the infringing image and correction of the daily deal without the need of litigation.

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

Client v. Family Member – Real Estate Dispute

The firm’s client owned a property that was initially titled as a joint tenancy between the client, the client’s spouse, and another family member. Disputes between the parties led to litigation that culminated in a verbal agreement on the record for the property to remain in joint tenancy, but the family member was only to have a right of first refusal to purchase the property at a discounted price. Years later, after the client’s spouse passed away, the client retained the firm to assist the client with the sale of the property. The family member refused to exercise their right of first refusal, yet also refused to deed over their interest in the property, contending they were a fifty percent title owner of the property because the client’s spouse passed away. The firm filed an action for specific enforcement of the verbal agreement, breach of contract, quiet title, and partition of the property. After a negotiated settlement, the firm’s client obtained full title to the property without the family member receiving an interest in the property.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Christopher R. Sillari

Dhando Investments, Inc. v. Staley, Inc.

The firm’s client was an Arkansas corporation that was sued in Los Angeles for various business torts that allegedly occurred in Arkansas. The firm successfully obtained a dismissal of the lawsuit by establishing that its client was not subject to California’s jurisdiction because of its limited contacts to California and the foreign nature of the plaintiff’s claims. The lawsuit was dismissed at little cost and inconvenience to the firm’s client. The litigation has not been pursued by the plaintiff in a different jurisdiction.

Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. KC058493

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Christopher R. Sillari

Chris Sillari is an experienced litigator and business advisor who works with federal contractors, general contractors, subcontractors, and commercial development owners.  His expertise includes federal contractor disputes and procurement protests, construction contract negotiation, and general business litigation.  Attention to detail is part of his DNA and Chris applies that thoroughness when reviewing and negotiating construction contracts and pursuing claims and protests.  Internally, peers frequently turn to Chris for his specialized knowledge and watchful eye.

FEDERAL PROCUREMENT AND CLAIMS

The highly regulated federal construction domain presents frequent challenges to federal prime contractors and subcontractors alike.  Payment disputes with the government or between subcontractors and prime contractors are common.  So too are disputes surrounding the awarding or non-awarding of procurements that often lead to the filing of bid protests.  Chris Sillari’s knowledge of the federal procurement protest process, Federal Acquisition Regulations, and experience pursuing disputes under the Contract Disputes Act is extensive.  This experience proves invaluable when the resolution of claims or reconsideration of procurements is the goal.

CONSTRUCTION LAW

The nature of the relationships between prime contractors and subcontractors is of vital importance in determining the outcome of every construction project.  The same is true of the relationships between owners and general contractors.  Resolving payment disputes and obtaining fair, or favorable, construction contracts are among the many client problems Chris routinely faces.  The solution?  Customized and thoroughly negotiated contracts that can go a long way toward enhancing a client’s position going into a project.  By affecting a practical approach to dispute resolution, Chris is often able to achieve win-win outcomes for all parties involved.

BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL LITIGATION

In addition to legal counsel provided to the firm’s construction clientele, Chris also works with owners and C-suite executives of non-construction businesses.  This work frequently centers on payment disputes for local service providers and commercial property owners.  Again, experience and level-headed advice are invaluable.  It is Chris’s ability to get opposing parties to first agree on what is practical that often puts them on the path to expeditiously achieving fair and equitable outcomes.

  • Construction litigation
  • Federal claims and procurement disputes including Miller Act claims, Contract Disputes Act Claims, and GAO protests
  • Course-of-performance counsel
  • Mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment bond claims
  • Delay, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Public and private works disputes
  • Public works of improvement and government contracts, including projects with local public agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, and federal government
  • Local, state, federal, and private collection and bond actions
  • Transactional matters specializing in the drafting, reviewing, and negotiating of construction agreements
  • General business litigation
  • General business counseling
Project Counsel for Resolution of $100 Million in Extra and Changed Work Claims

​The firm was engaged pre-contract through project closeout to assist a key trade contractor with this unique government contract over a four years duration.  Significant legal issues included demobilizing from the project when a key milestone was not met, return to work with guaranteed payment funding by the general contractor, and negotiation of over 40 change orders which expanded the subcontract scope of work and price from $250,000 to nearly $100 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jason R. Thornton, and Christopher R. Sillari

Prime Contractor v. Receiver – Public Works

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a California public works project.  After paying one of its subcontractors nearly 80% of the subcontractor’s total contract price for the scheduled manufacturing and delivery of fabricated steel parts, the subcontractor was taken over by a court-appointed receiver.  The receiver initially refused to complete the job because of an unrelated payment dispute between the firm’s client and the subcontractor on a separate project.  The firm, faced with a rapidly approaching delivery deadline that would have triggered project-breaking liquidated damages, successfully negotiated a favorable resolution with the receiver while avoiding litigation that would have prevented timely performance of the project.  In analyzing our client’s rights and potential remedies, the firm persuasively argued that under the public agency’s contract and California Commercial Code, the public agency became title owner of the portions of the steel parts already paid for by our client, even though the parts were never transferred to the possession of our client or the public agency.  This argument provided our client with the leverage it needed to settle with the receiver to allow it to timely deliver the steel parts and complete its performance of the project.

Counsel: Christopher R. Sillari

Brewer Corporation, et. al. v. Point Center Financial, Inc.

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.

Read More
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.

(2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 831

Groundbreaking GAO Protest of Department of Veterans’ Affairs Solicitation

The firm successfully protested to the GAO the VA’s award of a $23 million solar project in Las Vegas to R.E.M. Construction Co. The project was to be awarded by the VA on the basis of price and technical considerations deemed most advantageous to the government. After the firm’s client, SPINT, submitted the second lowest priced proposal, the VA awarded the project to R.E.M., with a higher priced proposal than SPINT, ostensibly because of R.E.M.’s superior technical rating.

In the fall of 2011, the firm protested the award arguing the VA improperly evaluated SPINT’s technical proposal. The VA took immediate corrective action and re-evaluated the proposals. After the VA’s re-evaluation, the project was again awarded to R.E.M in March 2012. At that time, the VA failed to notify SPINT of the re-award and also did not post notice of the re-award on FedBizOpps. After SPINT received word of the re-ward to R.E.M. in May 2012, it requested a debriefing from the VA, which the VA refused to provide. The firm then protested the re-award, once again challenging the VA’s evaluation of SPINT’s proposal. In response, the VA filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that SPINT was notified of the re-award via e-mail in March 2012, and therefore its protest two months later was untimely. The firm defeated the motion to dismiss with a novel argument of the sufficiency of electronic notice, and then eventually supplemented its protest to challenge the VA’s utter failure to conduct a tradeoff analysis of all of the responsive proposals, as is required by the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

In a published decision, the GAO determined that the VA unreasonably evaluated SPINT’s proposal and fundamentally failed to perform a best-value tradeoff analysis. Accordingly, the GAO recommended that the VA re-evaluate all of the proposals, properly document its evaluation, perform a proper tradeoff analysis, and reimburse SPINT for the fees it incurred pursuing the protest. A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

GAO File No. B-406024.4

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

GAO Protest of Department of Veterans’ Affairs Solicitation

The firm successfully protested the VA’s solicitation for the upgrade and renovations at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System before the GAO. Since early 2006, the VA has been incorporating Information Letter (IL) 049-06-4 into all of its solicitations. However, this IL conflicts with the Veterans First Contracting Program enacted in December 2006. The firm challenged the inclusion of the IL on this Los Angeles project, arguing that the IL jeopardized open and fair competition, and discouraged participation by legitimate veteran owned small businesses. Promptly following receipt of the firm’s protest, the VA took corrective action by cancelling the solicitation so that the project could be re-solicited without reference to the conflicting and superseded information letter. SDVOSB and VOSB enterprises should consult with legal counsel with any questions as to the VA’s implementation of these important programs which must be protected for the benefit of our veterans.

GAO File No. B-407092

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

Architectural Aluminum Window Systems, Inc. v. Dick Pacific Construction Co., Ltd.

The firm’s client was a window subcontractor on a federal project at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. As one of the first federal projects to be bid in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, disputes arose over who was responsible for the enhanced blast requirements. Upon completion of its work, the firm’s client pursued change order and contract balance claims against the general contractor and the Army. After reserving its client’s Miller Act claim, the firm pursued a certified pass-through claim to the Army.

Read More
Approximately fifty percent of the certified claim was paid after the parties engaged in informal discussions. The remainder of the certified claim was denied and the firm then appealed the contracting officer’s decision to the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. Under ASBCA guidelines, the parties engaged in mediation and the firm’s client reached a negotiated settlement with the Army on the appealed claims. The firm’s client subsequently reached a negotiated settlement with the general contractor on the contract balance.

Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals No. 57172; United States District Court, District of Hawaii Civil No. 07-00603 DAE LEK

MHS Customer Services, Inc. V. South Central Valley Mortgage Services, Inc.

The firm’s client performed property inspection and preservation services for SCVMS throughout Southern California. Disputes arose over the non-payment or underpayment of more than 400 work orders performed by the firm’s client. Upon the firm’s initial demand, SCVMS was only willing to compensate the firm’s client for approximately fifteen percent of the total amount in dispute. The firm eventually filed a lawsuit on behalf of its client for breach of contract, reasonable value, and open book account. At mediation, the parties reached a negotiated settlement in which the firm’s client obtained payment for the entire principal amount it disputed.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2011-00084104-CU-BC-CTL

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Christopher R. Sillari

DC Painting, Inc. v. Michael S. Summers

The firm’s client was a painting contractor that was awarded a contract to repaint a commercial building. Upon completion of the work, the owner refused to pay the firm’s client based on a number of alleged defects in performance. The firm proceeded to trial and successfully obtained a verdict in favor of its client for the full value of its client’s services, as well as a substantial attorneys’ fee award. The owner appealed the attorneys’ fee award and the firm successfully briefed and argued the appeal, which resulted in the upholding of the trial court’s ruling and the subsequent granting of additional attorneys’ fees related to the appeal.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2007-00074199-CL-BC-CTL; Court of Appeal of the State of California, 4th Dist. Case No. D055330

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

The Weitz Company I, Inc. v. Brethren Hillcrest Homes

The firm’s client was the general contractor charged with expanding and renovating a large retirement community. The project was delayed for more than one year. The parties disputed liability for the delay. The owner sought over $1.5 million in liquidated damages from the general contractor. A five day arbitration resulted in the firm successfully defending the owner’s delay claims and the litigation resulted in a net recovery for the firm’s client.

Arbitration Proceeding Case No. 1240019438

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird, David W. Smiley, and Christopher R. Sillari

Cease and Desist of Trademark and Copyright Infringement

The firm represents a multi-national manufacturer and retailer of luxury clothing goods. The firm’s client was notified that an unauthorized website existed that appeared to be associated with the client’s product, and which used the client’s trademarks and copyrighted images to re-direct potential business to another company’s website. The firm immediately took action and successfully shutdown the operation of the misleading website and procured the abandonment of the infringing domain name. The firm accomplished its client’s goals without the need of litigation.

Counsel: Christopher R. Sillari

Cease and Desist of Copyright Infringement

The firm represents a local ecotourism and adventure company. The firm’s client is well known in the San Diego region for its highly successful whale-watching kayak tours, led by “Big Wave Dave.” The firm’s client was therefore shocked when it received a daily deal from Groupon that offered a whale-watching kayak tour from a direct competitor and included a picture of Big Wave Dave in a kayak next to a gray whale breaching the surface off the shores of La Jolla, which was taken directly from the client’s website. The firm immediately took action against the competitor and Groupon based on the copyright infringement, and successfully obtained the removal of the infringing image and correction of the daily deal without the need of litigation.

Counsel: David S. Demian and Christopher R. Sillari

Client v. Family Member – Real Estate Dispute

The firm’s client owned a property that was initially titled as a joint tenancy between the client, the client’s spouse, and another family member. Disputes between the parties led to litigation that culminated in a verbal agreement on the record for the property to remain in joint tenancy, but the family member was only to have a right of first refusal to purchase the property at a discounted price. Years later, after the client’s spouse passed away, the client retained the firm to assist the client with the sale of the property. The family member refused to exercise their right of first refusal, yet also refused to deed over their interest in the property, contending they were a fifty percent title owner of the property because the client’s spouse passed away. The firm filed an action for specific enforcement of the verbal agreement, breach of contract, quiet title, and partition of the property. After a negotiated settlement, the firm’s client obtained full title to the property without the family member receiving an interest in the property.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Christopher R. Sillari

Dhando Investments, Inc. v. Staley, Inc.

The firm’s client was an Arkansas corporation that was sued in Los Angeles for various business torts that allegedly occurred in Arkansas. The firm successfully obtained a dismissal of the lawsuit by establishing that its client was not subject to California’s jurisdiction because of its limited contacts to California and the foreign nature of the plaintiff’s claims. The lawsuit was dismissed at little cost and inconvenience to the firm’s client. The litigation has not been pursued by the plaintiff in a different jurisdiction.

Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. KC058493

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Christopher R. Sillari

Attention to detail is part of Chris’s DNA and he applies that thoroughness when reviewing and negotiating construction contracts and pursuing claims and protests. Peers frequently turn to Chris for his specialized knowledge and watchful eye.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3040

(858) 737-3101

  • Construction Law
    • Claims & Disputes
    • Local Agency, Municipal & State Contracts
    • Federal Procurement & Claims
    • Project Counsel
    • Prime Contracts & Subcontracts
    • Collections
  • Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Business & Commercial Transactions
  • California: State Courts
  • U.S. District Courts of California: Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • Boards of Contract Appeals
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., cum laude
    • Law Review
    • Order of the Coif
  • James Madison University, B.S., Public Administration and Political Science
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Appellate Court Committee
  • San Diego Rising Star in 2015, 2016, and 2017 by Super Lawyers Magazine
  • 2016 Best of the Bar by San Diego Business Journal

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

Indemnity in Construction Made Simple

Construction Project Management Best Practices: A Legal Perspective

Contract/Subcontract Review Strategies

Bid Protest Basics: Local, State and Federal

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