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Image of Jason R. Thornton, a partner and construction law attorney at Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.

Jason R. Thornton

Partner

Jason credits over twenty years of near exclusive construction industry focus on private and federal, state, and local projects among the keys to his successful litigation practice. Always contemplating creative solutions that will deliver the greatest value to the firm’s clients, Jason is expert in all aspects of mediation, arbitration, trials, civil writs, and appeals.

(858) 737-3100; Ext. 3111

(858) 737-3101

Smart prime contractors and subcontractors understand the legal and business benefits that accrue by having Jason Thornton in their corner.  Others sometimes learn the hard way that not all construction lawyers are alike.  Jason credits more than twenty years of near exclusive construction industry focus on private and federal, state, and local projects among the keys to his successful litigation practice.  Owners, presidents, vice presidents, and operations and project managers faced with delay, disruption, inefficiency, and extra work claims, contract disputes, and bid protests rely on his proven counsel.  Always contemplating creative solutions that will deliver the greatest value to the firm’s clients, Jason is expert in all aspects of mediation, arbitration, trials, civil writs, and appeals.

Another of Jason’s great strengths is his ability to help clients minimize risk through a variety of dispute avoidance strategies.  Early intervention is critical.  Comprehensive knowledge of construction law, industry practices, and company operations empowers Jason to provide informed legal advice and recommendations.  His anticipation of future legal ramifications and business impacts is especially insightful — and is something frequently overlooked by less experienced attorneys.  The unforeseen effects of making the wrong decision can have damaging consequences down the road.

Of special note, Mr. Thornton represented the appellants in three precedent-setting cases:

Additionally, Jason represented the respondents in three important published opinions; the latter two of which upheld the framework for award of lease-leaseback contracts:

Jason also serves as in-house counsel for Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP legal matters.

DELAY, DISRUPTION, AND INEFFICIENCY CLAIMS

Early assessment of the most practical strategies for handling claims is essential.  Prolonged delays in resolving these matters can result in unnecessary project setbacks and expenses and weaken leverage.  Jason excels in the prosecution and defense of delay, disruption, and inefficiency claims for both prime and subcontractors.  Working closely with company owners and senior managers, he methodically prioritizes objectives and evaluates client business resources.  Only then do his two decades of experience take over to assist Jason in pursuing the prompt recovery of monies owed or in avoiding payments on false or unfounded claims.

CONTRACT INTERPRETATION DISPUTES AND EXTRA WORK CLAIMS

Given the complex legal and regulatory environment that characterizes the construction industry generally, contract disputes between prime and subcontractors are unavoidable.  Seemingly subtle differences of contract interpretation can have costly and profound implications; extra work claims are common.  The expertise that Jason brings to the review and evaluation of contracts, plans, and general conditions is exhaustive and precisely directed.  His advice and recommendations are candid and straightforward.  No learning curve is required.  So when the burden of paying — or receiving — hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars hangs in the balance, many of the firm’s clients seek Jason’s counsel.

BID PROTESTS

All too frequently, the call arrives mid-afternoon on a Friday.  The bids have been opened and reviewed.  A protest is warranted and due within days; necessary investigative work must begin immediately.  With his thorough knowledge of specialized construction processes from beginning to project sign off, Jason doesn’t waste a moment.  He knows exactly what to do.  Been there, done that, many times over.  The client’s last-ditch effort to secure a project award is in good hands.

  • Construction litigation
  • Public works of improvement and government contracts, including projects with local public agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, and the federal government
  • Delay, disruption, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Coordination with schedule, design, accounting, and subject matter experts on construction claims
  • Foreclosure litigation
  • Construction activity related to personal injury defense
  • Mechanic’s liens
  • Construction defect defense
  • Requests for equitable adjustments (REAs)
  • Contract Disputes Act claims
  • 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
  • Strategic counseling and compliance advice on general business, construction, and employment and labor issues
California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc.

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreement for HVAC modernization at fourteen campuses was illegal.  Both the contractor and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety.  The trial court dismissed the case.

The First District Court of Appeal agreed with the contractor and the District and upheld the demurrer as to “all of the lease-leaseback related claims that attempt to engraft requirements on the transaction that are not part of the applicable Education Code.”  This was another important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 115

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

McGee v. Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Torrance Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreements for two schools were illegal.  Both Balfour Beatty and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety. The trial court dismissed the case.

The Second District Court of Appeal agreed with Balfour Beatty and the District, followed the plain language of Education Code Section 17406, and concluded competitive bidding was not required for a lease-leaseback contract at that time.  In so doing, the court expressly rejected the contrary holding in Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 261.  This was an important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 235

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

West Coast Air Conditioning Co., Inc. v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

The Firm represented the second bidder in a procurement dispute concerning a $100 million HVAC improvement project at Ironwood State Prison.  The Firm’s client challenged the low bidder and successfully obtained a writ of mandate (declaring the contract awarded to the low bidder illegal) and a permanent injunction (barring further work and forcing the job to stop).

The Firm also prosecuted a promissory estoppel claim for recovery of bid preparation costs resulting in a judgment after trial of nearly $300,000.00 in bid preparation costs, court costs, and interest.  The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation appealed the promissory estoppel judgment.

In a precedent setting case, the appellate court unanimously affirmed the judgment holding the grant of a writ of mandate and injunction, not followed by an award of the contract to the challenging bidder, is ineffective relief entitling the challenging bidder to recover bid preparation costs.

(2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 453

Counsel: Representing attorneys include P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Jason R. Thornton.

Subcontractor v. General Contractor, Breach of Contract and Wrongful Termination

The firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for breach of contract and wrongful termination with a general contractor.  The firm alleged the general contractor improperly terminated the subcontractor in bad faith and without notice.  The subcontract did not contain a termination for convenience clause.  The firm brought the claim to mediation without having to file a lawsuit.  The matter settled at mediation with a substantial payment to the firm’s client.​

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

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

Community College Subcontractor Substitution Hearing

The firm’s client requested substitution of a listed subcontractor based on its failure to prosecute its work in a timely manner. The subcontractor’s failure to advance the work was delaying the project’s completion. The subcontractor opposed substitution contending it had not been paid for work performed. Following a contested evidentiary hearing, the college’s appointed hearing officer granted the substitution.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Litigation Of Subcontractor And General Contractor Mechanics Liens And Stop Notices Against Commercial Project Owner And Lender

The firm represented a general contractor relating to a multi-use private development in Rancho Cucamonga, California, which included a hotel, gas station, retail stores, and offices.  The project was bank financed with loans over $36 million and construction costs over $24 million.  After litigation had been pending for nearly a year, inclusive of over 25 subcontractor lien claimants, complaints and cross-complaints by and against the developer, lenders, general contractor and subcontractors, and a failed mediation and three weeks before the phase one priority-of-title trial, the firm was retained to represent the general contractor.

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The firm tried the phase one case and established all mechanics lien claimants had priority over the construction lender subject only to a $2.5 million land purchase loan.  The firm steered the consolidated actions into mediation and resolved the entirety of the lien cases to the benefit of the general contractor.  The firm’s role included representation of the contractor in the owner’s related bankruptcy, trustee foreclosure proceedings, pending subcontractor claims and litigation among lenders for the project.
Subdivision Development Bond Exoneration

The firm was retained by a multi-home developer to obtain a partial release of surety bonds securing a large subdivision development.  The client’s goal was to perform a reduced scope of work and obtain exoneration of the bonds from the public entity as the development was no longer economically viable.  The firm devised a plan and through litigation obtained complete exoneration of bonds with penal sums in excess of $6.5 million, with no work required by the firm’s client.​

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Jason R. Thornton

Settlement Of Federal Termination For Convenience

The firm’s client was terminated for convenience on a Federal project. The firm assisted the client in preparing a termination settlement proposal. Ultimately, the firm negotiated a settlement of the client’s claim against the Air Force on the terms favorable to the client.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

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.

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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

Quiet Title Re Commercial Property

The firm identified a significant cloud on title to valuable real property owned by its client in the City of San Diego.  The cloud on title was the result of an unrecorded 1996 quitclaim deed which conveyed full ownership of the property to the client.  The original deed was lost and two of the three signers of the original were dead by the time the error was discovered.  Thus, record title to the property continued to reflect a divided, 50/50 ownership between the firm’s client and another corporate entity that by the time of discovery was a reorganized debtor in bankruptcy proceedings.  The reorganized debtor claimed it continued to own a valuable 50 percent interest in the property.  The firm prepared a lawsuit and negotiated a settlement with the bankruptcy estate which resolved the title dispute for a fraction of the property’s value.  The firm’s client is now the 100 percent fee simple owner of the property.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr and Jason R. Thornton

Protest Of Municipal Project

The firm represented the low bidder on a street and bicycle path improvement project for a large California city. The city rejected the low bid on its assertion the bid was non-responsive and the bidder was non-responsible, due in large part to a subcontractor listing error. The firm filed a comprehensive protest of the rejection and represented the client in a bidder responsibility hearing before the City Attorney. After the hearing, the city reversed its initial bid rejection and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Dustin R. Jones

City of San Diego Subcontractor Substitution Hearing

The firm’s client requested substitution of a listed subcontractor due to the subcontractor’s failure to comply with contractual safety requirements. The subcontractor opposed substitution contending it had complied with all safety requirements. Following a contested evidentiary hearing, the City’s appointed hearing officer granted the substitution.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

ProUsys, Inc. v. Taisei-T&K Joint Venture

The firm represented the programming subcontractor in complex, multi-party litigation arising from the expansion of Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 4 for the Inland Empire Utility Agency. In total, the claims in the litigation included 800 days of delay, design changes, extra work, unforeseen site conditions and false claims allegations. The firm’s client sought payment of its contract balance and for change order work, and to avoid liability for delay damages. The case resolved globally at mediation on terms that included payment to the firm’s client.

San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. CIVRS 910476 (Lead Case)

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Caltrans-Response To Proposed Final Estimate

Following completion of construction, Caltrans notified the firm’s client that it had re-calculated the final pay quantities and that the firm’s client had been overpaid. Caltrans demanded reimbursement. In evaluating the claim by Caltrans, the firm’s client determined the pay quantities had been underestimated and it was owed additional compensation. The firm assisted the client with a detailed response to the proposed estimate, disputing Caltrans’ quantities. The response to the PFE led to settlement negotiations which resulted in Caltrans agreeing to pay the firm’s client additional compensation.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

In re: University of California Los Angeles Westwood Replacement Hospital Cases

The firm represented the mechanical subcontractor in claims arising from the University of California’s construction of the Westwood Replacement Hospital. The litigation involved the owner, prime contractor and over 20 various subcontractors and lower tier subcontractors, and included claims by all parties in excess of $100,000,000. After multiple days of mediation, the firm’s client was paid over $25 million — the largest settlement payment to any of the subcontractors.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

JBH Structural Concrete, Inc. v. Cleanline Concrete, Inc., et al.

The firm represented the structural concrete prime trade contractor in litigation arising from the construction of the expansion to the Larry D. Smith correctional facility. The firm initiated litigation against the place-and-finish subcontractor and the concrete supplier as a result of defective wall panels that had been constructed. The firm’s client alleged the wall panels were defective as a result of a combination of improper finishing and an incorrect concrete mix design. The case settled prior to trial for payment to the firm’s client.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2010-00084120-CU-BC-CTL

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Valdivia v. CertainTeed Corp.

The firm defended a client in this multimillion dollar product defect lawsuit involving the installation of replacement windows in stucco construction homes.  In connection with this action, the firm filed a cross-action against the manufacturer for indemnity based on the client’s reliance on the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the installation of replacement windows sold by it.  In the face of joint motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff and class representative settled in exchange for a nominal amount from the manufacturer.  As a result, the firm’s client obtained a complete release and dismissal of a potentially devastating lawsuit against it with no contribution from the client.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. GIC885749

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jason R. Thornton, and David W. Smiley

Engineered Structures of San Diego, Inc., dba Cairo Construction Company v. CH2M Hill Constructors, Inc. et al.

The firm represented a subcontractor in litigation arising from the construction of a large wastewater treatment plant in North San Diego County. The firm initiated a lawsuit on behalf of the subcontractor against the design-build-operate contractor who had not paid the subcontractor in full for contract work performed. The subcontractor also sought damages for disruption to its work, resulting in labor inefficiency, and for change order work for which it had not been paid. The design-build-operate contractor disputed the subcontractor’s claim and asserted a cross-complaint in the lawsuit against the subcontractor seeking affirmative relief. After a two-week jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the firm’s client in the amount of $443,884.26. The firm’s client then asserted post-verdict claims for interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees, and was paid $750,000.00.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00057648-CU-8C-NC

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

C & L Coatings, Inc. v. Apex Development, Inc. et al.

The firm represented a contractor against a defaulting subcontractor for breach of contract and indemnity relating to its work on a public work of improvement. During the project the contractor obtained the consent of the public agency to substitute its listed subcontractor with another subcontractor. At the end of the project the replacement subcontractor’s supplier sued the subcontractor and the contractor’s payment bond.

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In the action initiated by the firm against the subcontractor for breach of contract and express indemnity, the subcontractor moved for summary judgment arguing that its contract with the contractor was void because the public agency failed to give the original subcontractor notice of the substitution and an opportunity for a substitution hearing. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and the firm appealed the decision to the California Court of Appeal on petition for writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal agreed with the firm that the contract was valid because the failure to comply with the notice and hearing requirements of the Public Contract Code was not caused by the contractor who obtained public entity consent. Accordingly, it reversed the summary judgment order and allowed the contractor to proceed to trial on its breach of contract and express indemnity claims against the defaulting subcontractor.

Court of Appeal of the State of California, 2nd Dist. Case No. B215701

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

California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc.

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreement for HVAC modernization at fourteen campuses was illegal.  Both the contractor and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety.  The trial court dismissed the case.

The First District Court of Appeal agreed with the contractor and the District and upheld the demurrer as to “all of the lease-leaseback related claims that attempt to engraft requirements on the transaction that are not part of the applicable Education Code.”  This was another important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 115

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

McGee v. Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Torrance Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreements for two schools were illegal.  Both Balfour Beatty and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety. The trial court dismissed the case.

The Second District Court of Appeal agreed with Balfour Beatty and the District, followed the plain language of Education Code Section 17406, and concluded competitive bidding was not required for a lease-leaseback contract at that time.  In so doing, the court expressly rejected the contrary holding in Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 261.  This was an important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 235

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

West Coast Air Conditioning Co., Inc. v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

The Firm represented the second bidder in a procurement dispute concerning a $100 million HVAC improvement project at Ironwood State Prison.  The Firm’s client challenged the low bidder and successfully obtained a writ of mandate (declaring the contract awarded to the low bidder illegal) and a permanent injunction (barring further work and forcing the job to stop).

The Firm also prosecuted a promissory estoppel claim for recovery of bid preparation costs resulting in a judgment after trial of nearly $300,000.00 in bid preparation costs, court costs, and interest.  The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation appealed the promissory estoppel judgment.

In a precedent setting case, the appellate court unanimously affirmed the judgment holding the grant of a writ of mandate and injunction, not followed by an award of the contract to the challenging bidder, is ineffective relief entitling the challenging bidder to recover bid preparation costs.

(2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 453

Counsel: Representing attorneys include P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Jason R. Thornton.

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

Wagner Construction Co. v. Pacific Mechanical Corp.

The California Supreme Court agreed with the firm’s argument that an arbitrator, not court, decides a statute of limitations defense, after the firm’s lawyers created a new legal argument to resurrect the client’s aged claims.

(2007) 41 Cal.4th 19

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

San Diego Unified Port District v. Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc.

In a construction case, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the firm’s client could not be forced to pay for destructive testing requested by others.

(2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1400

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Smart prime contractors and subcontractors understand the legal and business benefits that accrue by having Jason Thornton in their corner.  Others sometimes learn the hard way that not all construction lawyers are alike.  Jason credits more than twenty years of near exclusive construction industry focus on private and federal, state, and local projects among the keys to his successful litigation practice.  Owners, presidents, vice presidents, and operations and project managers faced with delay, disruption, inefficiency, and extra work claims, contract disputes, and bid protests rely on his proven counsel.  Always contemplating creative solutions that will deliver the greatest value to the firm’s clients, Jason is expert in all aspects of mediation, arbitration, trials, civil writs, and appeals.

Another of Jason’s great strengths is his ability to help clients minimize risk through a variety of dispute avoidance strategies.  Early intervention is critical.  Comprehensive knowledge of construction law, industry practices, and company operations empowers Jason to provide informed legal advice and recommendations.  His anticipation of future legal ramifications and business impacts is especially insightful — and is something frequently overlooked by less experienced attorneys.  The unforeseen effects of making the wrong decision can have damaging consequences down the road.

Of special note, Mr. Thornton represented the appellants in three precedent-setting cases:

Additionally, Jason represented the respondents in three important published opinions; the latter two of which upheld the framework for award of lease-leaseback contracts:

Jason also serves as in-house counsel for Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP legal matters.

DELAY, DISRUPTION, AND INEFFICIENCY CLAIMS

Early assessment of the most practical strategies for handling claims is essential.  Prolonged delays in resolving these matters can result in unnecessary project setbacks and expenses and weaken leverage.  Jason excels in the prosecution and defense of delay, disruption, and inefficiency claims for both prime and subcontractors.  Working closely with company owners and senior managers, he methodically prioritizes objectives and evaluates client business resources.  Only then do his two decades of experience take over to assist Jason in pursuing the prompt recovery of monies owed or in avoiding payments on false or unfounded claims.

CONTRACT INTERPRETATION DISPUTES AND EXTRA WORK CLAIMS

Given the complex legal and regulatory environment that characterizes the construction industry generally, contract disputes between prime and subcontractors are unavoidable.  Seemingly subtle differences of contract interpretation can have costly and profound implications; extra work claims are common.  The expertise that Jason brings to the review and evaluation of contracts, plans, and general conditions is exhaustive and precisely directed.  His advice and recommendations are candid and straightforward.  No learning curve is required.  So when the burden of paying — or receiving — hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars hangs in the balance, many of the firm’s clients seek Jason’s counsel.

BID PROTESTS

All too frequently, the call arrives mid-afternoon on a Friday.  The bids have been opened and reviewed.  A protest is warranted and due within days; necessary investigative work must begin immediately.  With his thorough knowledge of specialized construction processes from beginning to project sign off, Jason doesn’t waste a moment.  He knows exactly what to do.  Been there, done that, many times over.  The client’s last-ditch effort to secure a project award is in good hands.

  • Construction litigation
  • Public works of improvement and government contracts, including projects with local public agencies, cities, counties, state agencies, and the federal government
  • Delay, disruption, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Coordination with schedule, design, accounting, and subject matter experts on construction claims
  • Foreclosure litigation
  • Construction activity related to personal injury defense
  • Mechanic’s liens
  • Construction defect defense
  • Requests for equitable adjustments (REAs)
  • Contract Disputes Act claims
  • 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
  • Strategic counseling and compliance advice on general business, construction, and employment and labor issues
California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc.

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreement for HVAC modernization at fourteen campuses was illegal.  Both the contractor and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety.  The trial court dismissed the case.

The First District Court of Appeal agreed with the contractor and the District and upheld the demurrer as to “all of the lease-leaseback related claims that attempt to engraft requirements on the transaction that are not part of the applicable Education Code.”  This was another important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 115

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

McGee v. Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Torrance Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreements for two schools were illegal.  Both Balfour Beatty and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety. The trial court dismissed the case.

The Second District Court of Appeal agreed with Balfour Beatty and the District, followed the plain language of Education Code Section 17406, and concluded competitive bidding was not required for a lease-leaseback contract at that time.  In so doing, the court expressly rejected the contrary holding in Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 261.  This was an important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 235

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

West Coast Air Conditioning Co., Inc. v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

The Firm represented the second bidder in a procurement dispute concerning a $100 million HVAC improvement project at Ironwood State Prison.  The Firm’s client challenged the low bidder and successfully obtained a writ of mandate (declaring the contract awarded to the low bidder illegal) and a permanent injunction (barring further work and forcing the job to stop).

The Firm also prosecuted a promissory estoppel claim for recovery of bid preparation costs resulting in a judgment after trial of nearly $300,000.00 in bid preparation costs, court costs, and interest.  The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation appealed the promissory estoppel judgment.

In a precedent setting case, the appellate court unanimously affirmed the judgment holding the grant of a writ of mandate and injunction, not followed by an award of the contract to the challenging bidder, is ineffective relief entitling the challenging bidder to recover bid preparation costs.

(2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 453

Counsel: Representing attorneys include P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Jason R. Thornton.

Subcontractor v. General Contractor, Breach of Contract and Wrongful Termination

The firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for breach of contract and wrongful termination with a general contractor.  The firm alleged the general contractor improperly terminated the subcontractor in bad faith and without notice.  The subcontract did not contain a termination for convenience clause.  The firm brought the claim to mediation without having to file a lawsuit.  The matter settled at mediation with a substantial payment to the firm’s client.​

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

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

Community College Subcontractor Substitution Hearing

The firm’s client requested substitution of a listed subcontractor based on its failure to prosecute its work in a timely manner. The subcontractor’s failure to advance the work was delaying the project’s completion. The subcontractor opposed substitution contending it had not been paid for work performed. Following a contested evidentiary hearing, the college’s appointed hearing officer granted the substitution.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Litigation Of Subcontractor And General Contractor Mechanics Liens And Stop Notices Against Commercial Project Owner And Lender

The firm represented a general contractor relating to a multi-use private development in Rancho Cucamonga, California, which included a hotel, gas station, retail stores, and offices.  The project was bank financed with loans over $36 million and construction costs over $24 million.  After litigation had been pending for nearly a year, inclusive of over 25 subcontractor lien claimants, complaints and cross-complaints by and against the developer, lenders, general contractor and subcontractors, and a failed mediation and three weeks before the phase one priority-of-title trial, the firm was retained to represent the general contractor.

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The firm tried the phase one case and established all mechanics lien claimants had priority over the construction lender subject only to a $2.5 million land purchase loan.  The firm steered the consolidated actions into mediation and resolved the entirety of the lien cases to the benefit of the general contractor.  The firm’s role included representation of the contractor in the owner’s related bankruptcy, trustee foreclosure proceedings, pending subcontractor claims and litigation among lenders for the project.
Subdivision Development Bond Exoneration

The firm was retained by a multi-home developer to obtain a partial release of surety bonds securing a large subdivision development.  The client’s goal was to perform a reduced scope of work and obtain exoneration of the bonds from the public entity as the development was no longer economically viable.  The firm devised a plan and through litigation obtained complete exoneration of bonds with penal sums in excess of $6.5 million, with no work required by the firm’s client.​

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Jason R. Thornton

Settlement Of Federal Termination For Convenience

The firm’s client was terminated for convenience on a Federal project. The firm assisted the client in preparing a termination settlement proposal. Ultimately, the firm negotiated a settlement of the client’s claim against the Air Force on the terms favorable to the client.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

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.

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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

Quiet Title Re Commercial Property

The firm identified a significant cloud on title to valuable real property owned by its client in the City of San Diego.  The cloud on title was the result of an unrecorded 1996 quitclaim deed which conveyed full ownership of the property to the client.  The original deed was lost and two of the three signers of the original were dead by the time the error was discovered.  Thus, record title to the property continued to reflect a divided, 50/50 ownership between the firm’s client and another corporate entity that by the time of discovery was a reorganized debtor in bankruptcy proceedings.  The reorganized debtor claimed it continued to own a valuable 50 percent interest in the property.  The firm prepared a lawsuit and negotiated a settlement with the bankruptcy estate which resolved the title dispute for a fraction of the property’s value.  The firm’s client is now the 100 percent fee simple owner of the property.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr and Jason R. Thornton

Protest Of Municipal Project

The firm represented the low bidder on a street and bicycle path improvement project for a large California city. The city rejected the low bid on its assertion the bid was non-responsive and the bidder was non-responsible, due in large part to a subcontractor listing error. The firm filed a comprehensive protest of the rejection and represented the client in a bidder responsibility hearing before the City Attorney. After the hearing, the city reversed its initial bid rejection and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Dustin R. Jones

City of San Diego Subcontractor Substitution Hearing

The firm’s client requested substitution of a listed subcontractor due to the subcontractor’s failure to comply with contractual safety requirements. The subcontractor opposed substitution contending it had complied with all safety requirements. Following a contested evidentiary hearing, the City’s appointed hearing officer granted the substitution.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

ProUsys, Inc. v. Taisei-T&K Joint Venture

The firm represented the programming subcontractor in complex, multi-party litigation arising from the expansion of Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant No. 4 for the Inland Empire Utility Agency. In total, the claims in the litigation included 800 days of delay, design changes, extra work, unforeseen site conditions and false claims allegations. The firm’s client sought payment of its contract balance and for change order work, and to avoid liability for delay damages. The case resolved globally at mediation on terms that included payment to the firm’s client.

San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. CIVRS 910476 (Lead Case)

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Caltrans-Response To Proposed Final Estimate

Following completion of construction, Caltrans notified the firm’s client that it had re-calculated the final pay quantities and that the firm’s client had been overpaid. Caltrans demanded reimbursement. In evaluating the claim by Caltrans, the firm’s client determined the pay quantities had been underestimated and it was owed additional compensation. The firm assisted the client with a detailed response to the proposed estimate, disputing Caltrans’ quantities. The response to the PFE led to settlement negotiations which resulted in Caltrans agreeing to pay the firm’s client additional compensation.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

In re: University of California Los Angeles Westwood Replacement Hospital Cases

The firm represented the mechanical subcontractor in claims arising from the University of California’s construction of the Westwood Replacement Hospital. The litigation involved the owner, prime contractor and over 20 various subcontractors and lower tier subcontractors, and included claims by all parties in excess of $100,000,000. After multiple days of mediation, the firm’s client was paid over $25 million — the largest settlement payment to any of the subcontractors.

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

JBH Structural Concrete, Inc. v. Cleanline Concrete, Inc., et al.

The firm represented the structural concrete prime trade contractor in litigation arising from the construction of the expansion to the Larry D. Smith correctional facility. The firm initiated litigation against the place-and-finish subcontractor and the concrete supplier as a result of defective wall panels that had been constructed. The firm’s client alleged the wall panels were defective as a result of a combination of improper finishing and an incorrect concrete mix design. The case settled prior to trial for payment to the firm’s client.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2010-00084120-CU-BC-CTL

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Valdivia v. CertainTeed Corp.

The firm defended a client in this multimillion dollar product defect lawsuit involving the installation of replacement windows in stucco construction homes.  In connection with this action, the firm filed a cross-action against the manufacturer for indemnity based on the client’s reliance on the manufacturer’s installation instructions for the installation of replacement windows sold by it.  In the face of joint motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff and class representative settled in exchange for a nominal amount from the manufacturer.  As a result, the firm’s client obtained a complete release and dismissal of a potentially devastating lawsuit against it with no contribution from the client.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. GIC885749

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jason R. Thornton, and David W. Smiley

Engineered Structures of San Diego, Inc., dba Cairo Construction Company v. CH2M Hill Constructors, Inc. et al.

The firm represented a subcontractor in litigation arising from the construction of a large wastewater treatment plant in North San Diego County. The firm initiated a lawsuit on behalf of the subcontractor against the design-build-operate contractor who had not paid the subcontractor in full for contract work performed. The subcontractor also sought damages for disruption to its work, resulting in labor inefficiency, and for change order work for which it had not been paid. The design-build-operate contractor disputed the subcontractor’s claim and asserted a cross-complaint in the lawsuit against the subcontractor seeking affirmative relief. After a two-week jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the firm’s client in the amount of $443,884.26. The firm’s client then asserted post-verdict claims for interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees, and was paid $750,000.00.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2008-00057648-CU-8C-NC

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

C & L Coatings, Inc. v. Apex Development, Inc. et al.

The firm represented a contractor against a defaulting subcontractor for breach of contract and indemnity relating to its work on a public work of improvement. During the project the contractor obtained the consent of the public agency to substitute its listed subcontractor with another subcontractor. At the end of the project the replacement subcontractor’s supplier sued the subcontractor and the contractor’s payment bond.

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In the action initiated by the firm against the subcontractor for breach of contract and express indemnity, the subcontractor moved for summary judgment arguing that its contract with the contractor was void because the public agency failed to give the original subcontractor notice of the substitution and an opportunity for a substitution hearing. The trial court granted the motion for summary judgment and the firm appealed the decision to the California Court of Appeal on petition for writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal agreed with the firm that the contract was valid because the failure to comply with the notice and hearing requirements of the Public Contract Code was not caused by the contractor who obtained public entity consent. Accordingly, it reversed the summary judgment order and allowed the contractor to proceed to trial on its breach of contract and express indemnity claims against the defaulting subcontractor.

Court of Appeal of the State of California, 2nd Dist. Case No. B215701

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

California Taxpayers Action Network v. Taber Construction, Inc.

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreement for HVAC modernization at fourteen campuses was illegal.  Both the contractor and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety.  The trial court dismissed the case.

The First District Court of Appeal agreed with the contractor and the District and upheld the demurrer as to “all of the lease-leaseback related claims that attempt to engraft requirements on the transaction that are not part of the applicable Education Code.”  This was another important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2017) 12 Cal.App.5th 115

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

McGee v. Balfour Beatty Construction, LLC

The Firm represented a lease-leaseback contractor performing work for the Torrance Unified School District.  A third party filed a lawsuit against the contractor and the District claiming the lease-leaseback agreements for two schools were illegal.  Both Balfour Beatty and the District challenged the complaint by demurrer, seeking to dismiss the lawsuit in its entirety. The trial court dismissed the case.

The Second District Court of Appeal agreed with Balfour Beatty and the District, followed the plain language of Education Code Section 17406, and concluded competitive bidding was not required for a lease-leaseback contract at that time.  In so doing, the court expressly rejected the contrary holding in Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 261.  This was an important decision protecting contractors who provided lease-leaseback services at the request of public entities.

A copy of the published decision can be viewed here.

(2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 235

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton and Louis J. Blum

West Coast Air Conditioning Co., Inc. v. California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation

The Firm represented the second bidder in a procurement dispute concerning a $100 million HVAC improvement project at Ironwood State Prison.  The Firm’s client challenged the low bidder and successfully obtained a writ of mandate (declaring the contract awarded to the low bidder illegal) and a permanent injunction (barring further work and forcing the job to stop).

The Firm also prosecuted a promissory estoppel claim for recovery of bid preparation costs resulting in a judgment after trial of nearly $300,000.00 in bid preparation costs, court costs, and interest.  The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation appealed the promissory estoppel judgment.

In a precedent setting case, the appellate court unanimously affirmed the judgment holding the grant of a writ of mandate and injunction, not followed by an award of the contract to the challenging bidder, is ineffective relief entitling the challenging bidder to recover bid preparation costs.

(2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 453

Counsel: Representing attorneys include P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Jason R. Thornton.

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.

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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

Wagner Construction Co. v. Pacific Mechanical Corp.

The California Supreme Court agreed with the firm’s argument that an arbitrator, not court, decides a statute of limitations defense, after the firm’s lawyers created a new legal argument to resurrect the client’s aged claims.

(2007) 41 Cal.4th 19

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

San Diego Unified Port District v. Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc.

In a construction case, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the firm’s client could not be forced to pay for destructive testing requested by others.

(2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1400

Counsel: Jason R. Thornton

Jason credits over twenty years of near exclusive construction industry focus on private and federal, state, and local projects among the keys to his successful litigation practice. Always contemplating creative solutions that will deliver the greatest value to the firm’s clients, Jason is expert in all aspects of mediation, arbitration, trials, civil writs, and appeals.

(858) 737-3100; Ext. 3111

(858) 737-3101

Jennifer Dawson
Legal Secretary
  • Construction Law
    • Claims & Disputes
    • Local Agency, Municipal & State Contracts
    • Federal Procurement & Claims
    • Project Counsel
    • Prime Contracts & Subcontracts
    • Labor & Employment
    • Collections
  • Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Liability Defense
  • California: State and Federal Courts
  • U.S. District Courts of California: Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern
  • U.S. District Court of Colorado
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., cum laude
    • Order of the Coif
    • Appellate Moot Court Board
  • University of California, San Diego, B.S., Economics
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Construction Law Section
  • California Super Lawyer 2007–2013 by the San Diego Daily Transcript 
  • San Diego Super Lawyer for Construction Litigation 2007–2019 by Super Lawyers Magazine
  • Top 10 San Diego Construction Law Attorney 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2013 by the San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Received American Jurisprudence Awards for outstanding achievement in Real Property and Evidence

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

Performance & Closeout: Project Management Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Contracts: Project Management Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

How To Prove And Recover Your Losses – Change Orders And Claims – Costing And Management

Latest Trends For Recovery Of Lost Productivity And Delay Claims

Contract/Subcontract Review Strategies

Contract Negotiation Best Practices

Indemnity And Defense Obligations In Construction Contracts: The Impact Of SB474

The Little Red School House: Alternatives To Hard Bid Construction In California

Image of Published Decision for client West Coast Air Conditioning Co., Inc.
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