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Image of Daniel P. Scholz, a partner at Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.

Daniel P. Scholz

Partner

Combined with a highly detailed strategic view of the law and the firm’s aggressive representation approach, Dan readily understands what needs to be accomplished to settle or win a dispute.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3035

(858) 737-3101

Dan Scholz is an effective negotiator and litigator who works with construction company owners, employers, and general contractors and subcontractors.  He has broad construction industry experience pertaining to claims, collections, lease-leaseback negotiations and disputes, and conflict of interest litigation and transactional matters.

The majority of Dan’s legal experience is exclusive to construction industry matters, so he is very knowledgeable about construction company operations, industry practices, and clients’ cost concerns.  Combined with a highly detailed strategic view of the law and the firm’s aggressive representation approach, Dan readily understands what needs to be accomplished to settle or win a dispute.

DELAY, INEFFICIENCY, AND EXTRA WORK CLAIMS

For general contractors and subcontractors, work delays and disputes over liquidated damages and cost overruns are common; together they can undermine the best intentions of either party.  Well-versed in the preparation of delay and extra work claims for public and private owners, Dan understands the facts and evidence necessary to prove such claims.  He also understands that maintaining healthy business relationships is often as important — if not more so — than purely resolving matters monetarily.  With Dan in your corner, client frustrations are minimized, disputes are mitigated, and amicable resolutions are achieved.

LIENS, STOP PAYMENT NOTICES, AND BOND CLAIMS

No business owner is immune from the frustrations caused by delayed, disputed, or withheld payments.  In the complex construction industry, however, they can prove disastrous if not promptly resolved.  Because Dan has experience pursuing stop payment notices and Miller Act payment bond claims on a daily basis, claims are usually settled quickly with a cost-effective strategy.  When they are not, Dan aggressively accelerates the matter to the next stage of the litigation process.

LEASE-LEASEBACK NEGOTIATIONS AND DISPUTES

The legal statutes that govern lease-leaseback provisions of school construction projects are complex.  It is why Dan’s successful track record in negotiating over $100 million in lease-leaseback contracts is so valuable; he was also involved in recent legislative amendments to California’s lease-leaseback laws.  His deep understanding of this unique delivery method — including options for best structuring these transactions so they are cost-effective and in accordance with the law — can be an education all its own.  It can also help to ensure your lease-leaseback project gets started on a solid foundation.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUES

Navigating California’s complicated conflict of interest laws between private parties and public entities are a challenge to contractors and consultants alike.  Dan’s experience defending these matters — at trial and appellate court levels — is invaluable.  Clients benefit in two ways.  First, they gain first-hand compliance knowledge about the potential risks and liabilities that can occur from conflicts.  Second, they benefit from the proactive strategies Dan can offer to help manage or minimize those risks.  If your business is wrestling with conflict of interest issues, a call to Dan Scholz and Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP should put your mind at ease.

  • Construction litigation
  • Public works of improvement and government contracts, including projects with local public agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, and federal government
  • Delay, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Coordination with schedule, design, accounting, and subject matter experts on construction claims
  • Contract defaults
  • Surety obligations
  • Mechanic’s liens
  • Stop payment notices
  • Payment bond claims
  • Performance bond claims
  • Requests for equitable adjustments (REAs)
  • Contract Disputes Act claims
  • Miller Act claims
  • Counsel on specialized delivery methods, including lease-leaseback and construction management at-risk projects
  • Transactional matters specializing in the drafting and review of construction project agreements and public procurement compliance
  • Local, state, and federal bid protests
  • General business litigation
  • Wage and hour class action defense
  • Conflict of interest claims
Defense of Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment By The California Labor Commissioner

The firm’s subcontractor client was served with a Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment by the California DLSE relating to a lower-tier subcontractor’s work at the San Diego Airport. The assessment included potential liability of over $100,000, for alleged unpaid prevailing wages, substantial Labor Code penalties, liquidated damages and interest. The firm successfully asserted the innocent general contractor “safe harbor” defense under the California Labor Code and was able to convince the DLSE to not assess any penalties against the firm’s client. The firm’s efforts saved our client significant costs as well as minimized its labor history for future public work prequalifications.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Bid Protest – San Diego Unified

The firm’s client was the low bidder for a San Diego Unified School District contract. The client had inadvertently failed to provide the correct license number for one of its listed subcontractors. The client provided the District with the correct number within 24 hours. However, the District found the client’s bid non-responsive and rejected it. The firm protested the District’s rejection based on California law that allows contractors to remedy such bid errors within 24 hours. Through the firm’s knowledge of bidding laws and persuasion, the District accepted the firm’s protest and rescinded its rejection of the client’s bid. The firm’s client was then awarded the $3 million project.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Firm Prevented A Former Corporate Officer Of A Claim From Misappropriating Trade Secrets And Other Proprietary Business Information

The firm represented a company against the company’s former high-ranking officer and other former employees who resigned abruptly to form a competing business. These former employees used removable hard drives, flash drives, and jump drives to copy sensitive company information and customer lists in violation of the law and non-solicitation and non-compete obligations. The firm filed a lawsuit alleging information theft, trade secret misappropriation, breach of the duties of loyalty and confidentiality, and related claims. With an aggressive and fast-moving litigation strategy, including the use of forensic computer experts who analyzed and imaged thousands of computer files and devices, the firm uncovered the full extent of the corporate espionage and brought it to an end. Ultimately, the firm obtained a court order requiring a complete inventory of all stolen documents and computer files, and forced the former employees to destroy all their ill-gotten computer equipment and files. In the process, the firm successfully defended our client against a counterclaim for unfair business practices.

Counsel: Chad T. Wishchuk and Daniel P. Scholz

Real Estate – Land Buyer v. Land Seller

The firm represented the purchaser of an automotive related property against the seller for costs related to remediation of hazardous materials found on the site during construction. The firm prepared and presented the claim to the uninsured seller and obtained a full recovery.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Defense of Employee Discrimination Claim

The firm defended a contractor in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee. The lawsuit alleged disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, wrongful termination, and the failure to pay prevailing wages. The former employee sought over $250,000 in alleged lost wages, plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The firm removed the case to federal court and convinced the judge to dismiss the punitive damages claims. Prior to significant discovery, the firm was able to negotiate a settlement for a small fraction of the amount initially demanded. This saved the firm’s client valuable time and expense that can now be better used productively in growing the contractor’s business.

Counsel: Chad T. Wishchuk and Daniel P. Scholz

Corona Summit, LLC v. GMI Construction Services, Inc.

The firm’s client was sued for alleged construction deficiencies on a commercial building that was substantially completed more than 10 years ago. The firm successfully demurred to the action on the basis that the claim was barred by the 10-year statute of repose. As a result, the client was dismissed by both the owner and developer in exchange for a waiver of costs.

Superior Court Case No. 30-2013-00639696-CU-BC-CJC

Counsel: David W. Smiley, and Daniel P. Scholz

Wage and Hour Class Action v. Contractor

The firm defended a contractor against a class action lawsuit based on alleged violations of wage and hour and prevailing wage laws. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of over 400 current and former employees. An object of the litigation was to force the contractor to sign a union contract. The lawsuit sought over $5 million in damages plus attorneys’ fees and Labor Code penalties. The firm successfully removed the lawsuit from state court to federal court, limited initial discovery, and successfully defended the plaintiffs’ attempts to remand the lawsuit to state court. To avoid costly depositions, a class certification motion, other discovery, and trial, the firm participated early in conferences with a federal magistrate judge. By addressing the issues and claims early in the litigation, the firm successfully defended the contractor from labor organization efforts and obtained a settlement agreement from plaintiffs including full releases of all claims for the prior four years. The firm provided an efficient and quick resolution of the complex matter, saving the client time and money.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

General Contractor v. Public Owner

The firm’s client was the general contractor on a local public works project.  The general contractor contended the project was delayed and disrupted by the public owner, the project architect and the project’s construction manager.  The general contractor claimed that the public owner’s sole source specifications were illegal and caused the delays to the project. 

Read More
The public owner claimed liquidated damages and that certain work items were either improperly or insufficiently completed and sought approximately $500,000 from the general contractor.  The firm represented the contractor in settlement conferences and mediation.  As a result of the firm’s efforts, the public owner released its claims against the contractor for liquidated damages and backcharges and agreed to pay the contractor $675,000 to resolve the claims.  The firm’s knowledge of legal limitations on public works specifications, project delay, and extra work claims allowed the general contractor to succeed in its claims without a lawsuit against the public owner, allowing the contractor to minimize its claims history.

General Contractor v. City of San Diego

The firm’s client was the general contractor for the construction of a City of San Diego lifeguard tower. The general contractor contended the project was delayed and disrupted by City’s management of the Project and the project plans. The City claimed liquidated damages of $107,000 and approximately $20,000 in backcharges from the general contractor. The firm represented the contractor in settlement conferences and mediation. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the City released all claims against the contractor for liquidated damages and backcharges and agreed to pay the contractor over $250,000 to resolve the contractor’s claims for additional work and delays.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

General Contractor v. Public Owner

The firm’s client was the general contractor on a local public works project. The general contractor contended the project was delayed and disrupted by the public owner and its construction manager. The public owner claimed liquidated damages and that certain work items were either improperly or insufficiently completed and withheld approximately $2.2 million owed to the general contractor. The firm represented the contractor in multiple settlement conferences, site inspections and mediation. The firm worked closely with the contractor to investigate and analyze each of the public owner’s claims and refuted them in a comprehensive presentation to the public agency’s representatives. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the public owner released the withheld amounts and executed an additional $1.2 million change order to compensate the general contractor for its delay, extra work, and disruption costs. The firm’s knowledge of delay and extra work claims allowed the general contractor to succeed in its claims without a lawsuit against the public owner, allowing the contractor to minimize its claims history.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

General Contractor v. Subcontractor

The firm successfully defended a general contractor and its surety against a lawsuit from a mechanical subcontractor. The subcontractor quit work on a construction project because of a dispute over payment with the general contractor. The subcontractor’s lawsuit sought approximately $200,000 plus attorneys’ fees for alleged contract and extra work. The firm brought a cross-complaint on behalf of the general contractor against the subcontractor for damages resulting from the subcontractor’s failure to complete its work on the construction project.

Read More
Early in litigation, the firm successfully obtained a writ of attachment against the subcontractor for its completion costs, which required the subcontractor to turn over the amount to the County Sheriff until the lawsuit was resolved. Additionally, the firm brought a motion for summary judgment against the subcontractor seeking to dismiss all of the subcontractor’s claims against the general contractor and surety and to award the general contractor damages against the subcontract. The court tentatively granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment. Prior to the motion for summary judgment being officially ruled upon, the subcontractor agreed to dismiss its lawsuit with prejudice with no liability or amount owed by the firm’s client or surety.

General Contractor v. Subcontractor

The firm successfully brought a lawsuit by a general contractor against a subcontractor. The subcontractor quit work on a construction project because of a dispute over payment and scope with the general contractor. The general contractor’s lawsuit sought damages for delays to the project and extra costs to supplement the subcontractor’s work. The subcontractor brought a cross-complaint against the general contractor for alleged damages resulting from a payment dispute on a separate construction project. Because of the firm’s knowledge of construction delays and project requirements, the firm successfully negotiated a settlement with the subcontractor with the general contractor receiving installment payments of least $300,000. Additionally, the subcontractor agreed to dismiss its cross-complaint with prejudice with no liability or amount owed by the firm’s client or surety.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Sprotte + Watson Architecture & Planning, Inc. v. Santee School District et al.

The dispute involved a nine school site construction project at a local school district, valued at over $100 million. After terminating the architect for convenience, the school district was sued for payment owed, lost profits, and bad faith termination. The architect also sued the former assistant superintendent personally for intentional interference with its contract. The matter culminated in a three and a half week jury trial in which the firm represented the local school district and was successful in excluding the claims for lost profits and bad faith termination, and the allegations against the individual district employee, totaling approximately $1.3 million. The firm also secured a jury verdict for damages against the negligent architect, and partially defended the claims for outstanding payments.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2009-00083936-CU-CO-CTL

Counsel: Nowell A. Lantz and Daniel P. Scholz

Echo Pacific Construction, Inc. v. Prism Designs & Services, Inc.

The dispute involved installation of casework at a local school district. After terminating the casework subcontractor, the subcontractor sought $61,650.00 plus attorneys’ fees for alleged project acceleration and nonpayment. The firm represented the general contractor and was successful in compelling the claim to arbitration. Prior to arbitration, the firm successfully negotiated a settlement agreement with no liability or amount owed by the firm’s client.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2010-00052793-CU-PA-NC

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Public Works: Dismissal After Demurrer Of General Contractor Claim Versus Subcontractor Performance Bond Surety

The Firm defended a performance bond, obtaining a dismissal of the client after filing a series of demurrers. A large general contractor sued a subcontractor and its performance bond surety alleging defects in work performed by the subcontractor. Subcontractor and general contractor had signed an agreement tolling the ten-year statute of repose, the surety had not. The general contractor argued the surety was bound by the subcontractor’s agreement to toll claim deadlines. The Firm argued the surety was not bound and all claims were barred in two demurrers, leading to dismissal of its surety client before any other litigation or discovery was required.

Counsel: Louis J. Blum and Daniel P. Scholz

Defense of Federal Miller Act Claim

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a federal design-build construction project on a military base in Northern California. The project plumbing and HVAC subcontractor submitted inflated billings for work on the project and claimed additional costs relating to delays and labor inefficiencies. The design-builder denied the subcontractor’s claim and the subcontractor demanded arbitration for approximately $1.9 million against the firm’s client and the client’s Miller Act surety. The firm represented the design-builder and the surety. After limited discovery, the firm worked closely with the contractor to investigate and analyze the subcontractor’s claims relating to delays and inefficiencies and refuted them in a comprehensive presentation during mediation. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the subcontractor realized the inflated nature of its claims and agreed to settle the action for barely a third of its original demand.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Litigation Of General Contractor Mechanic’s Liens Against Commercial Project Owner

The firm represented a general contractor relating to a construction of a charter school in San Diego, California. After failing to be fully paid, the general contractor turned to our firm for assistance. We assisted in recording a mechanic’s lien against the property and filed a lawsuit against the charter school and the property owner for approximately $136,000. Upon the recording of the lien and filing a lawsuit, the school went out of business and the firm successfully negotiated settlement with the property owner. The firm’s client received full payment in the matter.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Dan Scholz is an effective negotiator and litigator who works with construction company owners, employers, and general contractors and subcontractors.  He has broad construction industry experience pertaining to claims, collections, lease-leaseback negotiations and disputes, and conflict of interest litigation and transactional matters.

The majority of Dan’s legal experience is exclusive to construction industry matters, so he is very knowledgeable about construction company operations, industry practices, and clients’ cost concerns.  Combined with a highly detailed strategic view of the law and the firm’s aggressive representation approach, Dan readily understands what needs to be accomplished to settle or win a dispute.

DELAY, INEFFICIENCY, AND EXTRA WORK CLAIMS

For general contractors and subcontractors, work delays and disputes over liquidated damages and cost overruns are common; together they can undermine the best intentions of either party.  Well-versed in the preparation of delay and extra work claims for public and private owners, Dan understands the facts and evidence necessary to prove such claims.  He also understands that maintaining healthy business relationships is often as important — if not more so — than purely resolving matters monetarily.  With Dan in your corner, client frustrations are minimized, disputes are mitigated, and amicable resolutions are achieved.

LIENS, STOP PAYMENT NOTICES, AND BOND CLAIMS

No business owner is immune from the frustrations caused by delayed, disputed, or withheld payments.  In the complex construction industry, however, they can prove disastrous if not promptly resolved.  Because Dan has experience pursuing stop payment notices and Miller Act payment bond claims on a daily basis, claims are usually settled quickly with a cost-effective strategy.  When they are not, Dan aggressively accelerates the matter to the next stage of the litigation process.

LEASE-LEASEBACK NEGOTIATIONS AND DISPUTES

The legal statutes that govern lease-leaseback provisions of school construction projects are complex.  It is why Dan’s successful track record in negotiating over $100 million in lease-leaseback contracts is so valuable; he was also involved in recent legislative amendments to California’s lease-leaseback laws.  His deep understanding of this unique delivery method — including options for best structuring these transactions so they are cost-effective and in accordance with the law — can be an education all its own.  It can also help to ensure your lease-leaseback project gets started on a solid foundation.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST ISSUES

Navigating California’s complicated conflict of interest laws between private parties and public entities are a challenge to contractors and consultants alike.  Dan’s experience defending these matters — at trial and appellate court levels — is invaluable.  Clients benefit in two ways.  First, they gain first-hand compliance knowledge about the potential risks and liabilities that can occur from conflicts.  Second, they benefit from the proactive strategies Dan can offer to help manage or minimize those risks.  If your business is wrestling with conflict of interest issues, a call to Dan Scholz and Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP should put your mind at ease.

  • Construction litigation
  • Public works of improvement and government contracts, including projects with local public agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, and federal government
  • Delay, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Coordination with schedule, design, accounting, and subject matter experts on construction claims
  • Contract defaults
  • Surety obligations
  • Mechanic’s liens
  • Stop payment notices
  • Payment bond claims
  • Performance bond claims
  • Requests for equitable adjustments (REAs)
  • Contract Disputes Act claims
  • Miller Act claims
  • Counsel on specialized delivery methods, including lease-leaseback and construction management at-risk projects
  • Transactional matters specializing in the drafting and review of construction project agreements and public procurement compliance
  • Local, state, and federal bid protests
  • General business litigation
  • Wage and hour class action defense
  • Conflict of interest claims
Defense of Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment By The California Labor Commissioner

The firm’s subcontractor client was served with a Civil Wage and Penalty Assessment by the California DLSE relating to a lower-tier subcontractor’s work at the San Diego Airport. The assessment included potential liability of over $100,000, for alleged unpaid prevailing wages, substantial Labor Code penalties, liquidated damages and interest. The firm successfully asserted the innocent general contractor “safe harbor” defense under the California Labor Code and was able to convince the DLSE to not assess any penalties against the firm’s client. The firm’s efforts saved our client significant costs as well as minimized its labor history for future public work prequalifications.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Bid Protest – San Diego Unified

The firm’s client was the low bidder for a San Diego Unified School District contract. The client had inadvertently failed to provide the correct license number for one of its listed subcontractors. The client provided the District with the correct number within 24 hours. However, the District found the client’s bid non-responsive and rejected it. The firm protested the District’s rejection based on California law that allows contractors to remedy such bid errors within 24 hours. Through the firm’s knowledge of bidding laws and persuasion, the District accepted the firm’s protest and rescinded its rejection of the client’s bid. The firm’s client was then awarded the $3 million project.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Firm Prevented A Former Corporate Officer Of A Claim From Misappropriating Trade Secrets And Other Proprietary Business Information

The firm represented a company against the company’s former high-ranking officer and other former employees who resigned abruptly to form a competing business. These former employees used removable hard drives, flash drives, and jump drives to copy sensitive company information and customer lists in violation of the law and non-solicitation and non-compete obligations. The firm filed a lawsuit alleging information theft, trade secret misappropriation, breach of the duties of loyalty and confidentiality, and related claims. With an aggressive and fast-moving litigation strategy, including the use of forensic computer experts who analyzed and imaged thousands of computer files and devices, the firm uncovered the full extent of the corporate espionage and brought it to an end. Ultimately, the firm obtained a court order requiring a complete inventory of all stolen documents and computer files, and forced the former employees to destroy all their ill-gotten computer equipment and files. In the process, the firm successfully defended our client against a counterclaim for unfair business practices.

Counsel: Chad T. Wishchuk and Daniel P. Scholz

Real Estate – Land Buyer v. Land Seller

The firm represented the purchaser of an automotive related property against the seller for costs related to remediation of hazardous materials found on the site during construction. The firm prepared and presented the claim to the uninsured seller and obtained a full recovery.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Defense of Employee Discrimination Claim

The firm defended a contractor in an employment discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee. The lawsuit alleged disability discrimination, failure to accommodate, failure to engage in the interactive process, wrongful termination, and the failure to pay prevailing wages. The former employee sought over $250,000 in alleged lost wages, plus punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. The firm removed the case to federal court and convinced the judge to dismiss the punitive damages claims. Prior to significant discovery, the firm was able to negotiate a settlement for a small fraction of the amount initially demanded. This saved the firm’s client valuable time and expense that can now be better used productively in growing the contractor’s business.

Counsel: Chad T. Wishchuk and Daniel P. Scholz

Corona Summit, LLC v. GMI Construction Services, Inc.

The firm’s client was sued for alleged construction deficiencies on a commercial building that was substantially completed more than 10 years ago. The firm successfully demurred to the action on the basis that the claim was barred by the 10-year statute of repose. As a result, the client was dismissed by both the owner and developer in exchange for a waiver of costs.

Superior Court Case No. 30-2013-00639696-CU-BC-CJC

Counsel: David W. Smiley, and Daniel P. Scholz

Wage and Hour Class Action v. Contractor

The firm defended a contractor against a class action lawsuit based on alleged violations of wage and hour and prevailing wage laws. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of over 400 current and former employees. An object of the litigation was to force the contractor to sign a union contract. The lawsuit sought over $5 million in damages plus attorneys’ fees and Labor Code penalties. The firm successfully removed the lawsuit from state court to federal court, limited initial discovery, and successfully defended the plaintiffs’ attempts to remand the lawsuit to state court. To avoid costly depositions, a class certification motion, other discovery, and trial, the firm participated early in conferences with a federal magistrate judge. By addressing the issues and claims early in the litigation, the firm successfully defended the contractor from labor organization efforts and obtained a settlement agreement from plaintiffs including full releases of all claims for the prior four years. The firm provided an efficient and quick resolution of the complex matter, saving the client time and money.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

General Contractor v. Public Owner

The firm’s client was the general contractor on a local public works project.  The general contractor contended the project was delayed and disrupted by the public owner, the project architect and the project’s construction manager.  The general contractor claimed that the public owner’s sole source specifications were illegal and caused the delays to the project. 

Read More
The public owner claimed liquidated damages and that certain work items were either improperly or insufficiently completed and sought approximately $500,000 from the general contractor.  The firm represented the contractor in settlement conferences and mediation.  As a result of the firm’s efforts, the public owner released its claims against the contractor for liquidated damages and backcharges and agreed to pay the contractor $675,000 to resolve the claims.  The firm’s knowledge of legal limitations on public works specifications, project delay, and extra work claims allowed the general contractor to succeed in its claims without a lawsuit against the public owner, allowing the contractor to minimize its claims history.

General Contractor v. City of San Diego

The firm’s client was the general contractor for the construction of a City of San Diego lifeguard tower. The general contractor contended the project was delayed and disrupted by City’s management of the Project and the project plans. The City claimed liquidated damages of $107,000 and approximately $20,000 in backcharges from the general contractor. The firm represented the contractor in settlement conferences and mediation. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the City released all claims against the contractor for liquidated damages and backcharges and agreed to pay the contractor over $250,000 to resolve the contractor’s claims for additional work and delays.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

General Contractor v. Public Owner

The firm’s client was the general contractor on a local public works project. The general contractor contended the project was delayed and disrupted by the public owner and its construction manager. The public owner claimed liquidated damages and that certain work items were either improperly or insufficiently completed and withheld approximately $2.2 million owed to the general contractor. The firm represented the contractor in multiple settlement conferences, site inspections and mediation. The firm worked closely with the contractor to investigate and analyze each of the public owner’s claims and refuted them in a comprehensive presentation to the public agency’s representatives. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the public owner released the withheld amounts and executed an additional $1.2 million change order to compensate the general contractor for its delay, extra work, and disruption costs. The firm’s knowledge of delay and extra work claims allowed the general contractor to succeed in its claims without a lawsuit against the public owner, allowing the contractor to minimize its claims history.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

General Contractor v. Subcontractor

The firm successfully defended a general contractor and its surety against a lawsuit from a mechanical subcontractor. The subcontractor quit work on a construction project because of a dispute over payment with the general contractor. The subcontractor’s lawsuit sought approximately $200,000 plus attorneys’ fees for alleged contract and extra work. The firm brought a cross-complaint on behalf of the general contractor against the subcontractor for damages resulting from the subcontractor’s failure to complete its work on the construction project.

Read More
Early in litigation, the firm successfully obtained a writ of attachment against the subcontractor for its completion costs, which required the subcontractor to turn over the amount to the County Sheriff until the lawsuit was resolved. Additionally, the firm brought a motion for summary judgment against the subcontractor seeking to dismiss all of the subcontractor’s claims against the general contractor and surety and to award the general contractor damages against the subcontract. The court tentatively granted the firm’s motion for summary judgment. Prior to the motion for summary judgment being officially ruled upon, the subcontractor agreed to dismiss its lawsuit with prejudice with no liability or amount owed by the firm’s client or surety.

General Contractor v. Subcontractor

The firm successfully brought a lawsuit by a general contractor against a subcontractor. The subcontractor quit work on a construction project because of a dispute over payment and scope with the general contractor. The general contractor’s lawsuit sought damages for delays to the project and extra costs to supplement the subcontractor’s work. The subcontractor brought a cross-complaint against the general contractor for alleged damages resulting from a payment dispute on a separate construction project. Because of the firm’s knowledge of construction delays and project requirements, the firm successfully negotiated a settlement with the subcontractor with the general contractor receiving installment payments of least $300,000. Additionally, the subcontractor agreed to dismiss its cross-complaint with prejudice with no liability or amount owed by the firm’s client or surety.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Sprotte + Watson Architecture & Planning, Inc. v. Santee School District et al.

The dispute involved a nine school site construction project at a local school district, valued at over $100 million. After terminating the architect for convenience, the school district was sued for payment owed, lost profits, and bad faith termination. The architect also sued the former assistant superintendent personally for intentional interference with its contract. The matter culminated in a three and a half week jury trial in which the firm represented the local school district and was successful in excluding the claims for lost profits and bad faith termination, and the allegations against the individual district employee, totaling approximately $1.3 million. The firm also secured a jury verdict for damages against the negligent architect, and partially defended the claims for outstanding payments.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2009-00083936-CU-CO-CTL

Counsel: Nowell A. Lantz and Daniel P. Scholz

Echo Pacific Construction, Inc. v. Prism Designs & Services, Inc.

The dispute involved installation of casework at a local school district. After terminating the casework subcontractor, the subcontractor sought $61,650.00 plus attorneys’ fees for alleged project acceleration and nonpayment. The firm represented the general contractor and was successful in compelling the claim to arbitration. Prior to arbitration, the firm successfully negotiated a settlement agreement with no liability or amount owed by the firm’s client.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2010-00052793-CU-PA-NC

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Public Works: Dismissal After Demurrer Of General Contractor Claim Versus Subcontractor Performance Bond Surety

The Firm defended a performance bond, obtaining a dismissal of the client after filing a series of demurrers. A large general contractor sued a subcontractor and its performance bond surety alleging defects in work performed by the subcontractor. Subcontractor and general contractor had signed an agreement tolling the ten-year statute of repose, the surety had not. The general contractor argued the surety was bound by the subcontractor’s agreement to toll claim deadlines. The Firm argued the surety was not bound and all claims were barred in two demurrers, leading to dismissal of its surety client before any other litigation or discovery was required.

Counsel: Louis J. Blum and Daniel P. Scholz

Defense of Federal Miller Act Claim

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a federal design-build construction project on a military base in Northern California. The project plumbing and HVAC subcontractor submitted inflated billings for work on the project and claimed additional costs relating to delays and labor inefficiencies. The design-builder denied the subcontractor’s claim and the subcontractor demanded arbitration for approximately $1.9 million against the firm’s client and the client’s Miller Act surety. The firm represented the design-builder and the surety. After limited discovery, the firm worked closely with the contractor to investigate and analyze the subcontractor’s claims relating to delays and inefficiencies and refuted them in a comprehensive presentation during mediation. As a result of the firm’s efforts, the subcontractor realized the inflated nature of its claims and agreed to settle the action for barely a third of its original demand.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Litigation Of General Contractor Mechanic’s Liens Against Commercial Project Owner

The firm represented a general contractor relating to a construction of a charter school in San Diego, California. After failing to be fully paid, the general contractor turned to our firm for assistance. We assisted in recording a mechanic’s lien against the property and filed a lawsuit against the charter school and the property owner for approximately $136,000. Upon the recording of the lien and filing a lawsuit, the school went out of business and the firm successfully negotiated settlement with the property owner. The firm’s client received full payment in the matter.

Counsel: Jeffrey B. Baird and Daniel P. Scholz

Combined with a highly detailed strategic view of the law and the firm’s aggressive representation approach, Dan readily understands what needs to be accomplished to settle or win a dispute.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3035

(858) 737-3101

Christy Holliday
  • Construction Law
    • Claims & Disputes
    • Local Agency, Municipal & State Contracts
    • Federal Procurement & Claims
    • Project Counsel
    • Prime Contracts & Subcontracts
    • Real Estate
    • Labor & Employment
    • Collections
  • Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Labor & Employment
  • California: State Courts
  • U.S. District Courts of California: Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
    • International Law Journal
    • Recipient of several academic awards, including a CALI (AmJur) Award in Corporations and Criminal Law
  • University of Arizona, B.S., Political Science, summa cum laude
  • San Diego Rising Star 2015–2019 by Super Lawyers Magazine

Mr. Scholz 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 for Public & Private Works

Project Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them (Course of Performance)

Project Risk Allocation

Image promoting "Performance and Closeout: Project Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them" seminar presented by Nowell Lantz and Daniel Scholz of Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.
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