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Image of P. Randolph Finch Jr, managing partner and construction law attorney at Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP.

P. Randolph Finch Jr.

Managing Partner

For over two decades, Randy has represented many leading companies listed on the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 400 Contractors and ENR Top 400 Specialty Contractors nationally, and seven of the ENR California Top 100 Contractors.

(858) 737-3100, Ext. 3110

(858) 737-3101

Randy Finch is relied on by business owners, C-suite executives, and in-house counsel for his unique ability to see the big picture, and to get the job done efficiently and with predicted results.  His expertise includes dispute resolution from early positioning and negotiation, to mediation, arbitration, trial, and appeal, as well as business planning and compliance.  He is known for unabashedly telling clients what he would do in their situation, rather than simply offering the pros and cons of options from which the client must choose.

The construction industry has been Randy’s focus for over twenty years, and clients including general engineering and building contractors, specialty trade contractors, project owners, suppliers, and sureties continue to anchor Randy’s legal practice.  However, his considerable success and experience in the highly regulated construction industry inevitably led to his representation of business owners in similarly regulated agriculture, automotive, clothing, and food and beverage industries.

DECADES OF GROUNDBREAKING CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE

Randy Finch regularly represents many of the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 400 Contractors and Top 400 Specialty Contractors — including seven of the ENR California 2017 Top 100 Contractors — as well as many of the regional firms that turn to Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP to handle nearly every type of legal or business issue imaginable.

From project procurement to closeout, he offers unrivaled experience in licensing, bidding, contracting, contract buyouts, performance disputes, scope of work disputes, and claims resolution.  For some, this means expeditious dispute management and a quick resolution.  For others, it means the application of methodical legal strategy and litigation to final judgment.

Randy attributes a healthy portion of his and the firm’s success to a shared passion for the construction industry, exemplified by decades of active participation, board leadership, and industry service to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), AGC of California, and AGC San Diego Chapter, Inc.  Highly knowledgeable about construction company operations and industry practices, bolstered by his keen awareness of the legal process and the firm’s aggressive representation approach, clients and industry leaders alike turn to Randy Finch about issues including:

  • Building Disputes
  • Engineering and Infrastructure Disputes
  • Operational Strategies
  • Growth and Divestiture Strategies
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Legislative Change Needs

BUSINESS DISPUTES AND MANAGEMENT

As is also true of the construction industry, the general business world displays ample need for skillful application of sound business judgment and legal counsel.  The regulatory issues confronting agriculture, automotive, clothing, and food and beverage industries present their own unique business challenges and legal hurdles — including the probability for disputes and misunderstandings.  It is exactly the type of environment in which Randy Finch thrives and is well-prepared to help clients succeed.

When circumstances permit, Randy’s early involvement in business disputes usually begets the greatest potential for swift, cost-efficient outcomes.  His ability to analyze, negotiate, and devise forward-looking strategies consistently produces positive outcomes.  He emphasizes a proactive approach to dispute avoidance and resolution based on early positioning and negotiation.  Equally important, Randy’s trial, arbitration, and appeal experience informs legal strategy development, gives credibility to negotiations, and lends leverage and horsepower when needed.

FOR MANY IN NEED OF A LIFE LINE, THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON TO CALL

Randy has always been a quick study.  Combined with his broad business and legal experience, clients value his deft ability to dispense informed responses and proven strategies to resolve matters quickly and efficiently.  They take comfort in knowing he will respond in their time of need.  They prize his unflinching readiness to make their problems his problems to resolve.  As a result, many clients have kept Randy on speed-dial for the entirety of his career.

As managing partner of the law firm and architect of its growth for the last twenty years, Randy is responsible for the strategic planning of firm operations and service delivery to meet client needs wherever, whenever, and whatever those may be.  Finch, Thornton & Baird’s respected reputation for quality legal work and the continued loyalty of many lifetime clients are testament to his business acumen and personal stake in our clients’ success.

  • Public and private works construction cases
  • Delay, disruption, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Impact and acceleration claims
  • Changed and differing site conditions claims
  • Mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment and performance bond claims
  • Contract defaults
  • Professional liability of architects and engineers
  • Latent and patent defects in construction and design
  • Federal, state, and local agency bid protests
  • Resolution of construction-related claims
  • Enforcement of creditors’ rights and defense of debtors
  • Business litigation including shareholder disputes, contract interpretation and enforcement, unfair business practices
  • California and federal False Claims Act litigation
  • Lender and vendor disputes
  • Representation of policyholders and their insurers in insurance covered and coverage disputes
  • Business transaction and pre-construction services, including insurance, licensing, and bonding matters
  • Joint venture issues and management
  • Construction management issues
  • Takeover and completion issues
  • Formation and counseling of corporations and limited liability companies
  • Shareholder and officer issues
  • Debt workouts
  • Development issues
  • General corporate counseling
  • Labor compliance
  • Real estate issues
Structural Concrete Subcontractor Wins Verdict 12-0 v. General Contractor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Contractor v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The Firm represented a general contractor in a bid protest for award of a $100mm project.  The Firm’s client protested the low bid based on subcontractor percentage irregularities, and alleged the low bidder had an unfair competitive advantage.  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation essentially ignored the protest resulting in the Firm filing a lawsuit for writ of mandate, injunction, and promissory estoppel.

After three separate hearings and a trial, the Superior Court issued a writ of mandate declaring the award to the low bidder illegal, issued a permanent injunction requiring the work on the project to stop, and awarding the Firm’s client nearly $300,000.00 in bid preparation costs, court costs, and interest.

The trial decision was upheld on appeal in a published decision addressing the promissory estoppel issue.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jason R. Thornton, and Dustin R. Jones

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.

ENR Top 20 Engineering Contractor v. Caltrans, District 7, OAH Arbitration

The firm represented an ENR Top 20 engineering contractor in recovery against Caltrans for delay, disruption, differing site conditions, and quantity adjustment claims through the Office of Administrative Hearing Arbitration process.  The firm recovered payment to its client of $8.79 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Dustin R. Jones, and Thomas F. Feerick Jr.

Engineering Contractor v. Caltrans

The firm represented an ENR Top 20 engineering contractor in recovery against Caltrans for delay, disruption, differing site conditions, and quantity adjustment claims.  The firm recovered payment to its client of $11.6 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Dustin R. Jones, and Thomas F. Feerick Jr.

ENR Top 30 Engineering Contractor v. Caltrans

The firm represented an ENR Top 30 engineering contractor in recovery against Caltrans for delay, disruption, differing site conditions, and quantity adjustment claims through the Office of Administrative Hearings Arbitration process.  The firm recovered payment to its client of $9.2 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Dustin R. Jones, and Thomas F. Feerick Jr.

Engineering Contractor v. City of Los Angeles

The firm represented the general contractor as project counsel with regard to a bridge replacement job in the City of Los Angeles.  The project was plagued with differing site conditions, environmental restrictions, extra work, and related issues.  The firm’s efforts over a three-year period, included managing consultants to assist with time impact analyses, impact pricing and presentations, and resulted in an increase to the contract price of $6.1 million and amicable closeout of the project.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Supplier Payment Claim on Public Project

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

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

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

Insurance Company – Collections and Judgment Enforcement

The firm represented an insurance company and filed multiple lawsuits against customers who failed to pay workers’ comp and bond premiums.  With the appropriate pressure, the firm obtained favorable settlements collecting significant returns where the insurance company’s collection efforts had failed.  Where the defendants failed to appear in the lawsuits, the firm obtained default judgments and expeditiously enforced the judgments through debtor’s examinations, liens, and bank levies.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Kelly A. Floyd

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

The firm represented a construction manager in defense of a cross-complaint filed by a prime trade contractor.  The prime trade contractor sought damages from the client for fraud, intentional interference with a contract, interference with business, equitable indemnity, express indemnity and implied indemnity related to the processing and payment of deductive change orders related to the prime trade contractor’s work.
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The firm filed two demurrers, obtaining dismissal of all indemnity and fraud claims.  After eliminating more than half of the prime trade contractor’s causes of action through demurrer, the case was settled at mediation without payment by the firm’s client.

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

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

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

General Engineering Contractor v. Inland Empire City

The firm was retained by the general engineering contractor at the end of a public work construction project to pursue a claim against the City for differing site conditions.  A Disputes Review Advisor had opined the claim had no merit. 

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In order to overcome the claim denial, the firm took a fresh look at the factual and legal bases for the claim, and evaluated available public records as well as the project files.  The firm re-packaged the claim and proved that utility poles had been moved post-bid and pre-construction by others causing a differing site condition, and that the City knew of these facts and had not disclosed them.  The claim settled following an evaluative mediation process where the mediator was asked to opine on the merits of the claim.
Subcontractor v. General Contractor, Payment Bond Surety and Public Agency Project Owner

The firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for recovery of subcontract balance and extra work performed on a publicly funded construction project. The firm was brought in at the conclusion of construction to prepare stop payment notice, payment bond and contract claims, and file suit to recover the balance due for work performed by the subcontractor on the project. The matter settled after mediation with payment to the firm’s client for the full subcontract balance, attorneys’ fees and interest.

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

Wrongful Termination Of Construction Manager By Public School District

The firm represented a construction manager who was wrongfully terminated from two school district projects and was owed substantial amounts for work performed.  The firm sued the school district and immediately served the district with aggressive discovery, while also pushing for an early mediation.  In preparation for mediation, the firm performed a detailed investigation of the facts supporting the construction manager’s case and prepared an effective mediation presentation.  At mediation, the firm obtained a favorable settlement that included a retraction of the terminations for cause and significant payment by the district.  Following the legally required waiting period for bringing such a claim against a government agency, the litigation was resolved in a matter of months.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Louis J. Blum, and Kelly A. Floyd

Subcontract Default And Surety Takeover

The firm was engaged by a prominent specialty constructor with a mixed backlog of bonded and unbonded work to work out of a severe negative cash flow and insolvency problem.  The client’s principals faced personally guaranteed debts of over $4.6 million.  Within just 90 days, the firm counseled its clients through a workout that resulted in payouts of less than half of the debt, allowing the principals to re-start their careers.​​

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Adam C. Witt

Bid Protest From Second Position – Interstate 5 Rehabilitation

The firm’s client was the second-low bidder on an Interstate 5 rehabilitation project (Engineer’s Estimate $38 million).  The firm identified defects in the low bidder’s subcontractor listing and prepared a protest to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) seeking award of the project to the firm’s client.  The low bidder disputed its subcontractor listing contained a defect and requested Caltrans waive the defect if it concluded otherwise.  The firm responded, detailing for Caltrans how California law and Caltrans’ precedent precluded a waiver.  Caltrans agreed, rejecting the low bid and awarding the I-5 rehabilitation to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Local Agency Public Work – Prime Contractor v. Water District

The firm’s client experienced cost overruns and changed conditions on a northern California waste water treatment plant project.  The firm was engaged to summarize the claim components, marshall evidence, and prepare a comprehensive presentation for a DRB.  The DRB ruled in favor of the firm’s client and it was paid nearly in full for the claim items.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Defense Of Qui Tam False Claims Act Lawsuit On Light Rail Project

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a regional light rail modernization project. A qui tam plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the name of the public entity owner, alleging the contractor had falsely substituted materials and cut corners on the project in violation of the California False Claims Act. The firm persuaded the owner to grant the firm the opportunity to rebut the plaintiff’s allegations prior to the owner’s intervention in the case.
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The firm investigated each of the dozens of allegations and refuted them in a comprehensive presentation to the owner and the qui tam plaintiff. After the presentation, the owner concurrently filed an intervention and motion to dismiss the case. The qui tam plaintiff opposed the request for dismissal, but the court agreed with the firm and the owner that the firm’s client did not violate the California False Claims Act. The court entered judgment for the firm’s client and against the qui tam plaintiff.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Subcontractor v. General Contractor and Project Owner

The firm represented a national electrical subcontractor in a claim for recovery of delay and disruption damages.  The firm was brought in after completion of construction to price and pursue the claim.  The matter settled after mediation for a seven figure payment to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Differing Site Condition, Cardinal Change, Liquidated Damages, Subcontractor Substitution Penalty Assessment – California Central Coast

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a flood control construction project involving the widening of a creek that flowed into a slough connected to the Pacific Ocean.  Shortly into construction, endangered fish species were spotted in the slough, which caused the federal government to forbid maintaining the slough—keeping it open.  When the slough mouth closed, slough waters rose into the creek and the construction project, resulting in flooded work areas and impossible dewatering.

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Construction was delayed and inhibited, and the firm’s client sought compensation from the municipal owner of the project.  The municipality responded by withholding potential liquidated damages for late delivery of the project.  The municipality also threatened penalties under the California Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act, contending an equipment supplier used by the firm’s client had been, in fact, a subcontractor added post-bid.

The firm was retained long after construction was complete to review and formalize claims and respond to each claim of the municipality.  This included preparing the Response To Proposed Final Estimate and providing a Critical Path schedule analysis to rebut the municipality’s liquidated damages assessment.  Via Public Records Act requests and Freedom of Information Act requests to federal agencies with overlapping jurisdiction, the firm obtained proof of a differing site condition/cardinal change—the slough mouth closing—and presented the proof to the municipality in a lengthy time lapse evidentiary presentation documenting cost impacts and entitlement to $12mm.  Thereafter, and prior to litigation, the firm obtained a settlement with payment to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Responsibility Challenge – Multi-Prime Public University Construction In Northern California

The firm’s client was the low bidder for the largest bid package on a public university construction project.  Another bidder and a union organization protested award of the bid package to the firm’s client, claiming the firm’s client was not a “responsible contractor” under California law.  The protester and union organization accused the firm’s client of being unsafe and failing to pay prevailing wage.  The firm’s response rebutted all of the allegations, and resulted in the awarding body voting to award to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Sole-Sourcing / Brand Name / “Or-Equal” Dispute – Public Procurement

The firm’s client was a prime contractor on a water treatment facility.  During the submittal stage of the project, the owner rejected the contractor’s valve submittal, claiming the proposed product was not “equal” to the product called for by brand name.  The firm’s client disagreed but was forced to provide the more expensive brand-name valves.  The firm prepared a claim for additional costs of the brand-name valves, contesting the sole-sourcing by the owner and rejection of the contractor’s proposed valves violated state law.  After evaluating the claim, the owner issued a change order compensating the firm’s client for supplying the brand-name valves.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Response To Bid Protest – West Coast Port Rehabilitation

The firm’s client was the low bidder on a $75 million port facility rehabilitation on one of the largest marine ports on the West Coast.  The second low bidder protested, contending the firm’s client submitted an inadequate Small Business Enterprise (SBE) outreach and commitment plan.  The firm responded to the protest and represented the low bidder at the award hearing before the port commissioners.  Based on the firm’s arguments, the commissioners rejected the protest and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Bid Protest Defense (24-Hour Subcontractor Listing) – Caltrans

The firm’s client was the low bidder on a $9 million Caltrans infrastructure rehabilitation project. The second low bidder protested, contending the firm’s client—in its post-bid 24-hour detailed subcontractor list—wrongly added traffic control to the scope of work for its striping subcontractor. Beginning 2014, Caltrans had repeatedly rejected bids based on similar claims, and the protester in this instance cited specific cases as precedent. The firm responded to the protest, distinguishing Caltrans’ past decisions and outlining how there was no unacceptable expansion of subcontractor scope in the post-bid subcontractor listing. Caltrans agreed, and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Appeal Of Good Faith Effort Determination (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) – Caltrans

The firm’s client submitted the low bid for a $105 million Caltrans highway project.  Caltrans rejected the bid, concluding the bidder failed to use sufficient good faith efforts to identify and involve Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).  The firm filed an appeal, detailing the extensive DBE outreach efforts by the bidder and how those efforts met the standards set forth by the Code of Federal Regulations, 49 C.F.R. 26, Appendix A.  The firm lead a hearing at Caltrans headquarters in Sacramento, after which Caltrans reversed its initial rejection of the bid.  Caltrans awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

False Claim Act Defense – Multiple Municipal Rail Projects, Western United States

Finch, Thornton & Baird represented two prime contractors that performed large-scale municipal rail projects for the same owner.  Both primes were sued for False Claims Act violations by a purported “whistleblower” plaintiff.  The plaintiff alleged the contractors had fraudulently substituted cheaper materials and construction methods. 

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The plaintiff sought damages and penalties in excess of $10 million.  The firm promptly investigated and refuted the claims—seeking both to win the case and to maintain the contractors’ reputations and relationships with their public entity clients.  The firm obtained a court-ordered dismissal of the case without the public entity owner joining the plaintiff’s allegations or the plaintiff having the opportunity to conduct any discovery.  The whistleblower plaintiff recovered nothing.  The firm also recouped litigation fees and costs from subcontractor insurers, so as to minimize out-of-pocket expense by its prime contractor clients.
Light Rail Construction – Western United States

The firm’s client performed an urban light rail project as a subcontractor.  The project suffered substantial design revisions, delays and impacts, with total claims in excess of $100 million.  Construction concluded with numerous subcontract, pass-through and prime contract claims.  After multiple years of project-level negotiation ending in stalemate, the firm was retained to prosecute $6.5 million in subcontract and pass-through claims (discrete changed work/extra costs, delay/extended general conditions, inefficiency/lost-productivity, etc.).  The firm’s client recovered on its claims and preserved its client’s relationship with the project owner.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

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

Defense Of Federal Miller Act Claim – Naval Base Fire Station

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a federal design-build construction project—a new fire station on a United States Naval Base.  A site work subcontractor submitted inflated time and materials billings for substantial work on the project.  The design-builder denied the billings and the subcontractor filed a Miller Act lawsuit in federal court.  The firm represented the design-builder and forced the case into arbitration pursuant to the subcontract. 

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After a four-day arbitration, the arbitrator agreed with the firm that the subcontractor’s claims were substantially inflated, awarded the subcontractor only a fraction of what it sought and denied the subcontractor’s claim to recover attorneys’ fees.  The subcontractor recovered less than the design-builder offered to pay to settle, and, after fees and costs, the subcontractor netted a negative return for its efforts.  Not satisfied with the result, the subcontractor petitioned the federal court to overturn the award—the firm opposed.  The federal court agreed with the firm that the arbitration award was proper and denied the subcontractor’s petition, vindicating the design-builder.
Bid Protest Defense (24-Hour Subcontractor Listing) – Caltrans

The firm’s client was the low bidder on a $47 million Caltrans infrastructure rehabilitation project.  The second low bidder protested, contending the firm’s client — in its post-bid 24-hour detailed subcontractor list — wrongly expanded the scope of work allocated to a listed Cold Planing subcontractor. 

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Beginning 2014, Caltrans had repeatedly rejected bids based on similar claims, and the protester in this instance cited specific cases as precedent.  The firm responded to the protest, distinguishing Caltrans’ past decisions and outlining how there was no unacceptable expansion of subcontractor scope in the post-bid subcontractor listing.  Caltrans agreed, and awarded the project to the firm’s client.
Dissolution And Accounting Of Limited Liability Company

The firm represented two members of a limited liability company against a third member in a dissolution and accounting action arising from deadlock and internal dissension.  The firm negotiated a settlement of the action pursuant to which the parties agreed to dissolve and wind up the company, and the third member agreed to release his claims against the company and reimburse the company for his portion of unpaid operating expenses.  The settlement also included a provision allowing the firm’s client, acting alone, to negotiate a sale of the company’s real property.

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

Recovery From Unlicensed Contractor

The firm successfully pursued claims for disgorgement for unlicensed contracting and for defective construction on a private construction project, resulting in settlements in excess of $1,100,000.00.  The firm’s client contracted with an unlicensed contractor to perform work.  After the contractor claimed to be a project manager, the firm pursued claims for disgorgement, fraud, negligence and violation of contractors’ license laws against various parties.  After investigation and discovery, settlements in excess of the amounts paid to the unlicensed contractor were obtained.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Nowell A. Lantz

General Contractor v. Owner/Lender – Quasi Public Works

The firm represented a general contractor client on a major rehabilitation project involving the redevelopment of historical land.  The project was funded by numerous entities and involved a variety of stakeholders.  During the course of the project, change orders and additional work were approved by the owner that were in excess of the scope of the project budget.  At the time of project closeout, the owners were unable to make payment and the lenders refused to release payments for work that was performed within budget.  At the firm’s direction, the client served a bonded stop notice on the lenders and pursued litigation.  Ultimately, despite the owners being unable to make further payments, the client recovered over $1.6 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Nowell A. Lantz

Carmel Cove Homeowners’ Association, Inc. v. Carmel Cove, LLC, et. al.

The firm represented a condominium developer in a construction defect action brought by the homeowners’ association.  The homeowners’ association was seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly unpaid reserve contributions and thousands of dollars in damages to repair alleged defects at the property.  The firm aggressively defended the developer on the grounds that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations and subject to mandatory arbitration in Las Vegas, Nevada as required by the governing CC&Rs.  The firm filed a petition to compel arbitration.  Prior to the court’s ruling on the petition to compel arbitration, the homeowners’ association dismissed the entire action with prejudice in exchange for a waiver of the developer’s fees and costs.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00086274-CU-CD-CTL

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and David W. Smiley

Protest of International Airport Electrical Upgrade Project

The firm’s client was the second low bidder on a $17 million electrical upgrade project at San Diego International Airport.  The firm evaluated the low bid and identified multiple bases for protest.  Although the airport had already deemed the low bid responsive, the firm filed a comprehensive bid protest detailing the deficiencies.  The Airport reversed its finding of responsiveness and elected to rebid the project.  The firm’s client won the job on rebid.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Protest Of Light Rail Transit Upgrade Project

The firm’s client submitted the low bid for a major Southern California light rail transit project valued in excess of $55 million.  The second low bidder protested award to the firm’s client, alleging the client lacked the required operating joint-use system (freight and passenger) rail experience to be awarded the project.  The firm responded to the protest, detailing the low bidder’s experience, and represented the client at a responsibility hearing before a multi-agency panel.  Based on the firm’s response and the responsibility hearing, the owner rejected the protest.  The second-low bidder appealed the initial rejection and the firm again responded.  Ultimately, the owner rejected the appeal and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Los Angeles Area Community College District v. Construction Management Firm

The firm represented the construction manager for three community college construction projects.  The owner of the projects claimed the construction manager was responsible for liquidated damages and project close out costs in excess of $1.0 million

Before a lawsuit was filed, the firm worked diligently to explore alternative resolutions to the dispute including a proposal to assist with the closeout of all three projects which the firm showed was the responsibility and obligation of other than its client.  Through a series of meetings and exchange of position statements over a span of years, the firm negotiated a mutual release with no payment by its client.

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

Declaration of Bid Non-Responsiveness

The firm’s general contractor client submitted a prime bid for a $9.3 million City of Riverside fire station project.  The City rejected the bid as non-responsive, contending the bidder failed to complete the City’s bid form.  Hours before the City Council was scheduled to award the project to a higher bidder, the firm convinced the City to rescind their bid rejection and recommend that the City Council award the project to the firm’s client.  The firm’s client was awarded the project.

City of Riverside Fire Station Project

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Subcontractor Default – Caltrans Highway Facility Rehabilitation

The firms’ client was the prime contractor on a highway facility rehabilitation project for the California Department of Transportation.  The plumbing subcontractor on the project defaulted after performing layout and initial rough-in, resulting in rework, takeover and delay costs to the prime contractor.  Notwithstanding the default, the subcontractor sought additional payment from the prime contractor, alleging it was constructively terminated and that the prime contractor violated Caltrans’ Buy America requirements.

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The firm promptly investigated and refuted the Buy America allegations, preserving the prime contractor’s relationship with Caltrans.  The firm also tendered the prime contractor’s costs (including time-related overhead) to the subcontractor’s general liability insurance carrier, based on property damage/rework arising out of improper rough-in by the subcontractor.  The insurer agreed to participate in an early mediation and, notwithstanding the subcontractor’s inability to pay, the firm obtained an insurance-funded recovery for the prime contractor without litigation.
General Contractor v. Commercial Project Owner/Developer

The firm successfully litigated and resolved a claim by its general contractor client for over $1 million arising from non-payment for construction of a $10 million mixed use retail/restaurant/office project.  The developer filed bankruptcy when his construction lender commenced foreclosure proceedings at the completion of construction.  The firm pursued remedies on behalf of its client for payment on stop notice, mechanic’s lien and breach of contract claims.  The firm also coordinated five separate actions pending in state and federal courts, including actions by the developer and lender against each other for loan foreclosure, and predatory lending, and against the firm’s client and its performance bond surety for delay, liquidated damages, consequential damages, and recovery on the bond.  Several subcontractors also recorded liens and filed suits.  The firm ultimately resolved the various cases with recovery for its client of more than its principal claim with no payment by its client or its surety.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Allison N. Lantz

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

The firm represented the general contractor relating to a contract balance and claim by the school district that a second floor concrete deck was not built to the contract requirements.  The firm’s client settled with its concrete subcontractor allowing the subcontractor to prosecute the claim for its subcontract balance directly against the District.  However, when the District cross-complained, the firm was re-engaged to challenge the pleading by the District.  With the firm’s special motion to strike the cross-complaint pursuant to California’s Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute pending, the case was settled in mediation for a payment by the District to the firm’s client for more than 50 percent more than the firm’s client had offered to accept from the District four years earlier.

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

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

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. State of California, Department of Transportation

The firm represented the general contractor in recovery of damages for inefficiency claims relating to methacrylate application and for return of wrongfully-assessed lane closure reopening delay penalties arising out of bridge rehabilitation work on the Los Angeles Interchange.  The firm recovered payment to the contractor through mediation.

Office of Administrative Hearings Case No. A-0020-2011

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Randy Finch is relied on by business owners, C-suite executives, and in-house counsel for his unique ability to see the big picture, and to get the job done efficiently and with predicted results.  His expertise includes dispute resolution from early positioning and negotiation, to mediation, arbitration, trial, and appeal, as well as business planning and compliance.  He is known for unabashedly telling clients what he would do in their situation, rather than simply offering the pros and cons of options from which the client must choose.

The construction industry has been Randy’s focus for over twenty years, and clients including general engineering and building contractors, specialty trade contractors, project owners, suppliers, and sureties continue to anchor Randy’s legal practice.  However, his considerable success and experience in the highly regulated construction industry inevitably led to his representation of business owners in similarly regulated agriculture, automotive, clothing, and food and beverage industries.

DECADES OF GROUNDBREAKING CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY EXPERIENCE

Randy Finch regularly represents many of the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 400 Contractors and Top 400 Specialty Contractors — including seven of the ENR California 2017 Top 100 Contractors — as well as many of the regional firms that turn to Finch, Thornton & Baird, LLP to handle nearly every type of legal or business issue imaginable.

From project procurement to closeout, he offers unrivaled experience in licensing, bidding, contracting, contract buyouts, performance disputes, scope of work disputes, and claims resolution.  For some, this means expeditious dispute management and a quick resolution.  For others, it means the application of methodical legal strategy and litigation to final judgment.

Randy attributes a healthy portion of his and the firm’s success to a shared passion for the construction industry, exemplified by decades of active participation, board leadership, and industry service to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), AGC of California, and AGC San Diego Chapter, Inc.  Highly knowledgeable about construction company operations and industry practices, bolstered by his keen awareness of the legal process and the firm’s aggressive representation approach, clients and industry leaders alike turn to Randy Finch about issues including:

  • Building Disputes
  • Engineering and Infrastructure Disputes
  • Operational Strategies
  • Growth and Divestiture Strategies
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Legislative Change Needs

BUSINESS DISPUTES AND MANAGEMENT

As is also true of the construction industry, the general business world displays ample need for skillful application of sound business judgment and legal counsel.  The regulatory issues confronting agriculture, automotive, clothing, and food and beverage industries present their own unique business challenges and legal hurdles — including the probability for disputes and misunderstandings.  It is exactly the type of environment in which Randy Finch thrives and is well-prepared to help clients succeed.

When circumstances permit, Randy’s early involvement in business disputes usually begets the greatest potential for swift, cost-efficient outcomes.  His ability to analyze, negotiate, and devise forward-looking strategies consistently produces positive outcomes.  He emphasizes a proactive approach to dispute avoidance and resolution based on early positioning and negotiation.  Equally important, Randy’s trial, arbitration, and appeal experience informs legal strategy development, gives credibility to negotiations, and lends leverage and horsepower when needed.

FOR MANY IN NEED OF A LIFE LINE, THERE IS ONLY ONE PERSON TO CALL

Randy has always been a quick study.  Combined with his broad business and legal experience, clients value his deft ability to dispense informed responses and proven strategies to resolve matters quickly and efficiently.  They take comfort in knowing he will respond in their time of need.  They prize his unflinching readiness to make their problems his problems to resolve.  As a result, many clients have kept Randy on speed-dial for the entirety of his career.

As managing partner of the law firm and architect of its growth for the last twenty years, Randy is responsible for the strategic planning of firm operations and service delivery to meet client needs wherever, whenever, and whatever those may be.  Finch, Thornton & Baird’s respected reputation for quality legal work and the continued loyalty of many lifetime clients are testament to his business acumen and personal stake in our clients’ success.

  • Public and private works construction cases
  • Delay, disruption, inefficiency, and extra work claims
  • Impact and acceleration claims
  • Changed and differing site conditions claims
  • Mechanic’s liens, stop payment notices, and payment and performance bond claims
  • Contract defaults
  • Professional liability of architects and engineers
  • Latent and patent defects in construction and design
  • Federal, state, and local agency bid protests
  • Resolution of construction-related claims
  • Enforcement of creditors’ rights and defense of debtors
  • Business litigation including shareholder disputes, contract interpretation and enforcement, unfair business practices
  • California and federal False Claims Act litigation
  • Lender and vendor disputes
  • Representation of policyholders and their insurers in insurance covered and coverage disputes
  • Business transaction and pre-construction services, including insurance, licensing, and bonding matters
  • Joint venture issues and management
  • Construction management issues
  • Takeover and completion issues
  • Formation and counseling of corporations and limited liability companies
  • Shareholder and officer issues
  • Debt workouts
  • Development issues
  • General corporate counseling
  • Labor compliance
  • Real estate issues
Structural Concrete Subcontractor Wins Verdict 12-0 v. General Contractor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Contractor v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The Firm represented a general contractor in a bid protest for award of a $100mm project.  The Firm’s client protested the low bid based on subcontractor percentage irregularities, and alleged the low bidder had an unfair competitive advantage.  The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation essentially ignored the protest resulting in the Firm filing a lawsuit for writ of mandate, injunction, and promissory estoppel.

After three separate hearings and a trial, the Superior Court issued a writ of mandate declaring the award to the low bidder illegal, issued a permanent injunction requiring the work on the project to stop, and awarding the Firm’s client nearly $300,000.00 in bid preparation costs, court costs, and interest.

The trial decision was upheld on appeal in a published decision addressing the promissory estoppel issue.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Jason R. Thornton, and Dustin R. Jones

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.

ENR Top 20 Engineering Contractor v. Caltrans, District 7, OAH Arbitration

The firm represented an ENR Top 20 engineering contractor in recovery against Caltrans for delay, disruption, differing site conditions, and quantity adjustment claims through the Office of Administrative Hearing Arbitration process.  The firm recovered payment to its client of $8.79 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Dustin R. Jones, and Thomas F. Feerick Jr.

Engineering Contractor v. Caltrans

The firm represented an ENR Top 20 engineering contractor in recovery against Caltrans for delay, disruption, differing site conditions, and quantity adjustment claims.  The firm recovered payment to its client of $11.6 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Dustin R. Jones, and Thomas F. Feerick Jr.

ENR Top 30 Engineering Contractor v. Caltrans

The firm represented an ENR Top 30 engineering contractor in recovery against Caltrans for delay, disruption, differing site conditions, and quantity adjustment claims through the Office of Administrative Hearings Arbitration process.  The firm recovered payment to its client of $9.2 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Dustin R. Jones, and Thomas F. Feerick Jr.

Engineering Contractor v. City of Los Angeles

The firm represented the general contractor as project counsel with regard to a bridge replacement job in the City of Los Angeles.  The project was plagued with differing site conditions, environmental restrictions, extra work, and related issues.  The firm’s efforts over a three-year period, included managing consultants to assist with time impact analyses, impact pricing and presentations, and resulted in an increase to the contract price of $6.1 million and amicable closeout of the project.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Supplier Payment Claim on Public Project

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

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

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

Insurance Company – Collections and Judgment Enforcement

The firm represented an insurance company and filed multiple lawsuits against customers who failed to pay workers’ comp and bond premiums.  With the appropriate pressure, the firm obtained favorable settlements collecting significant returns where the insurance company’s collection efforts had failed.  Where the defendants failed to appear in the lawsuits, the firm obtained default judgments and expeditiously enforced the judgments through debtor’s examinations, liens, and bank levies.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Kelly A. Floyd

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

The firm represented a construction manager in defense of a cross-complaint filed by a prime trade contractor.  The prime trade contractor sought damages from the client for fraud, intentional interference with a contract, interference with business, equitable indemnity, express indemnity and implied indemnity related to the processing and payment of deductive change orders related to the prime trade contractor’s work.
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The firm filed two demurrers, obtaining dismissal of all indemnity and fraud claims.  After eliminating more than half of the prime trade contractor’s causes of action through demurrer, the case was settled at mediation without payment by the firm’s client.

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

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

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

General Engineering Contractor v. Inland Empire City

The firm was retained by the general engineering contractor at the end of a public work construction project to pursue a claim against the City for differing site conditions.  A Disputes Review Advisor had opined the claim had no merit. 

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In order to overcome the claim denial, the firm took a fresh look at the factual and legal bases for the claim, and evaluated available public records as well as the project files.  The firm re-packaged the claim and proved that utility poles had been moved post-bid and pre-construction by others causing a differing site condition, and that the City knew of these facts and had not disclosed them.  The claim settled following an evaluative mediation process where the mediator was asked to opine on the merits of the claim.
Subcontractor v. General Contractor, Payment Bond Surety and Public Agency Project Owner

The firm represented a subcontractor in a claim for recovery of subcontract balance and extra work performed on a publicly funded construction project. The firm was brought in at the conclusion of construction to prepare stop payment notice, payment bond and contract claims, and file suit to recover the balance due for work performed by the subcontractor on the project. The matter settled after mediation with payment to the firm’s client for the full subcontract balance, attorneys’ fees and interest.

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

Wrongful Termination Of Construction Manager By Public School District

The firm represented a construction manager who was wrongfully terminated from two school district projects and was owed substantial amounts for work performed.  The firm sued the school district and immediately served the district with aggressive discovery, while also pushing for an early mediation.  In preparation for mediation, the firm performed a detailed investigation of the facts supporting the construction manager’s case and prepared an effective mediation presentation.  At mediation, the firm obtained a favorable settlement that included a retraction of the terminations for cause and significant payment by the district.  Following the legally required waiting period for bringing such a claim against a government agency, the litigation was resolved in a matter of months.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr., Louis J. Blum, and Kelly A. Floyd

Subcontract Default And Surety Takeover

The firm was engaged by a prominent specialty constructor with a mixed backlog of bonded and unbonded work to work out of a severe negative cash flow and insolvency problem.  The client’s principals faced personally guaranteed debts of over $4.6 million.  Within just 90 days, the firm counseled its clients through a workout that resulted in payouts of less than half of the debt, allowing the principals to re-start their careers.​​

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Adam C. Witt

Bid Protest From Second Position – Interstate 5 Rehabilitation

The firm’s client was the second-low bidder on an Interstate 5 rehabilitation project (Engineer’s Estimate $38 million).  The firm identified defects in the low bidder’s subcontractor listing and prepared a protest to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) seeking award of the project to the firm’s client.  The low bidder disputed its subcontractor listing contained a defect and requested Caltrans waive the defect if it concluded otherwise.  The firm responded, detailing for Caltrans how California law and Caltrans’ precedent precluded a waiver.  Caltrans agreed, rejecting the low bid and awarding the I-5 rehabilitation to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Local Agency Public Work – Prime Contractor v. Water District

The firm’s client experienced cost overruns and changed conditions on a northern California waste water treatment plant project.  The firm was engaged to summarize the claim components, marshall evidence, and prepare a comprehensive presentation for a DRB.  The DRB ruled in favor of the firm’s client and it was paid nearly in full for the claim items.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Defense Of Qui Tam False Claims Act Lawsuit On Light Rail Project

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a regional light rail modernization project. A qui tam plaintiff filed a lawsuit in the name of the public entity owner, alleging the contractor had falsely substituted materials and cut corners on the project in violation of the California False Claims Act. The firm persuaded the owner to grant the firm the opportunity to rebut the plaintiff’s allegations prior to the owner’s intervention in the case.
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The firm investigated each of the dozens of allegations and refuted them in a comprehensive presentation to the owner and the qui tam plaintiff. After the presentation, the owner concurrently filed an intervention and motion to dismiss the case. The qui tam plaintiff opposed the request for dismissal, but the court agreed with the firm and the owner that the firm’s client did not violate the California False Claims Act. The court entered judgment for the firm’s client and against the qui tam plaintiff.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Subcontractor v. General Contractor and Project Owner

The firm represented a national electrical subcontractor in a claim for recovery of delay and disruption damages.  The firm was brought in after completion of construction to price and pursue the claim.  The matter settled after mediation for a seven figure payment to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Differing Site Condition, Cardinal Change, Liquidated Damages, Subcontractor Substitution Penalty Assessment – California Central Coast

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a flood control construction project involving the widening of a creek that flowed into a slough connected to the Pacific Ocean.  Shortly into construction, endangered fish species were spotted in the slough, which caused the federal government to forbid maintaining the slough—keeping it open.  When the slough mouth closed, slough waters rose into the creek and the construction project, resulting in flooded work areas and impossible dewatering.

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Construction was delayed and inhibited, and the firm’s client sought compensation from the municipal owner of the project.  The municipality responded by withholding potential liquidated damages for late delivery of the project.  The municipality also threatened penalties under the California Subletting and Subcontracting Fair Practices Act, contending an equipment supplier used by the firm’s client had been, in fact, a subcontractor added post-bid.

The firm was retained long after construction was complete to review and formalize claims and respond to each claim of the municipality.  This included preparing the Response To Proposed Final Estimate and providing a Critical Path schedule analysis to rebut the municipality’s liquidated damages assessment.  Via Public Records Act requests and Freedom of Information Act requests to federal agencies with overlapping jurisdiction, the firm obtained proof of a differing site condition/cardinal change—the slough mouth closing—and presented the proof to the municipality in a lengthy time lapse evidentiary presentation documenting cost impacts and entitlement to $12mm.  Thereafter, and prior to litigation, the firm obtained a settlement with payment to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Responsibility Challenge – Multi-Prime Public University Construction In Northern California

The firm’s client was the low bidder for the largest bid package on a public university construction project.  Another bidder and a union organization protested award of the bid package to the firm’s client, claiming the firm’s client was not a “responsible contractor” under California law.  The protester and union organization accused the firm’s client of being unsafe and failing to pay prevailing wage.  The firm’s response rebutted all of the allegations, and resulted in the awarding body voting to award to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Sole-Sourcing / Brand Name / “Or-Equal” Dispute – Public Procurement

The firm’s client was a prime contractor on a water treatment facility.  During the submittal stage of the project, the owner rejected the contractor’s valve submittal, claiming the proposed product was not “equal” to the product called for by brand name.  The firm’s client disagreed but was forced to provide the more expensive brand-name valves.  The firm prepared a claim for additional costs of the brand-name valves, contesting the sole-sourcing by the owner and rejection of the contractor’s proposed valves violated state law.  After evaluating the claim, the owner issued a change order compensating the firm’s client for supplying the brand-name valves.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Response To Bid Protest – West Coast Port Rehabilitation

The firm’s client was the low bidder on a $75 million port facility rehabilitation on one of the largest marine ports on the West Coast.  The second low bidder protested, contending the firm’s client submitted an inadequate Small Business Enterprise (SBE) outreach and commitment plan.  The firm responded to the protest and represented the low bidder at the award hearing before the port commissioners.  Based on the firm’s arguments, the commissioners rejected the protest and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Bid Protest Defense (24-Hour Subcontractor Listing) – Caltrans

The firm’s client was the low bidder on a $9 million Caltrans infrastructure rehabilitation project. The second low bidder protested, contending the firm’s client—in its post-bid 24-hour detailed subcontractor list—wrongly added traffic control to the scope of work for its striping subcontractor. Beginning 2014, Caltrans had repeatedly rejected bids based on similar claims, and the protester in this instance cited specific cases as precedent. The firm responded to the protest, distinguishing Caltrans’ past decisions and outlining how there was no unacceptable expansion of subcontractor scope in the post-bid subcontractor listing. Caltrans agreed, and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Appeal Of Good Faith Effort Determination (Disadvantaged Business Enterprises) – Caltrans

The firm’s client submitted the low bid for a $105 million Caltrans highway project.  Caltrans rejected the bid, concluding the bidder failed to use sufficient good faith efforts to identify and involve Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs).  The firm filed an appeal, detailing the extensive DBE outreach efforts by the bidder and how those efforts met the standards set forth by the Code of Federal Regulations, 49 C.F.R. 26, Appendix A.  The firm lead a hearing at Caltrans headquarters in Sacramento, after which Caltrans reversed its initial rejection of the bid.  Caltrans awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

False Claim Act Defense – Multiple Municipal Rail Projects, Western United States

Finch, Thornton & Baird represented two prime contractors that performed large-scale municipal rail projects for the same owner.  Both primes were sued for False Claims Act violations by a purported “whistleblower” plaintiff.  The plaintiff alleged the contractors had fraudulently substituted cheaper materials and construction methods. 

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The plaintiff sought damages and penalties in excess of $10 million.  The firm promptly investigated and refuted the claims—seeking both to win the case and to maintain the contractors’ reputations and relationships with their public entity clients.  The firm obtained a court-ordered dismissal of the case without the public entity owner joining the plaintiff’s allegations or the plaintiff having the opportunity to conduct any discovery.  The whistleblower plaintiff recovered nothing.  The firm also recouped litigation fees and costs from subcontractor insurers, so as to minimize out-of-pocket expense by its prime contractor clients.
Light Rail Construction – Western United States

The firm’s client performed an urban light rail project as a subcontractor.  The project suffered substantial design revisions, delays and impacts, with total claims in excess of $100 million.  Construction concluded with numerous subcontract, pass-through and prime contract claims.  After multiple years of project-level negotiation ending in stalemate, the firm was retained to prosecute $6.5 million in subcontract and pass-through claims (discrete changed work/extra costs, delay/extended general conditions, inefficiency/lost-productivity, etc.).  The firm’s client recovered on its claims and preserved its client’s relationship with the project owner.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

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

Defense Of Federal Miller Act Claim – Naval Base Fire Station

The firm’s client was the prime contractor on a federal design-build construction project—a new fire station on a United States Naval Base.  A site work subcontractor submitted inflated time and materials billings for substantial work on the project.  The design-builder denied the billings and the subcontractor filed a Miller Act lawsuit in federal court.  The firm represented the design-builder and forced the case into arbitration pursuant to the subcontract. 

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After a four-day arbitration, the arbitrator agreed with the firm that the subcontractor’s claims were substantially inflated, awarded the subcontractor only a fraction of what it sought and denied the subcontractor’s claim to recover attorneys’ fees.  The subcontractor recovered less than the design-builder offered to pay to settle, and, after fees and costs, the subcontractor netted a negative return for its efforts.  Not satisfied with the result, the subcontractor petitioned the federal court to overturn the award—the firm opposed.  The federal court agreed with the firm that the arbitration award was proper and denied the subcontractor’s petition, vindicating the design-builder.
Bid Protest Defense (24-Hour Subcontractor Listing) – Caltrans

The firm’s client was the low bidder on a $47 million Caltrans infrastructure rehabilitation project.  The second low bidder protested, contending the firm’s client — in its post-bid 24-hour detailed subcontractor list — wrongly expanded the scope of work allocated to a listed Cold Planing subcontractor. 

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Beginning 2014, Caltrans had repeatedly rejected bids based on similar claims, and the protester in this instance cited specific cases as precedent.  The firm responded to the protest, distinguishing Caltrans’ past decisions and outlining how there was no unacceptable expansion of subcontractor scope in the post-bid subcontractor listing.  Caltrans agreed, and awarded the project to the firm’s client.
Dissolution And Accounting Of Limited Liability Company

The firm represented two members of a limited liability company against a third member in a dissolution and accounting action arising from deadlock and internal dissension.  The firm negotiated a settlement of the action pursuant to which the parties agreed to dissolve and wind up the company, and the third member agreed to release his claims against the company and reimburse the company for his portion of unpaid operating expenses.  The settlement also included a provision allowing the firm’s client, acting alone, to negotiate a sale of the company’s real property.

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

Recovery From Unlicensed Contractor

The firm successfully pursued claims for disgorgement for unlicensed contracting and for defective construction on a private construction project, resulting in settlements in excess of $1,100,000.00.  The firm’s client contracted with an unlicensed contractor to perform work.  After the contractor claimed to be a project manager, the firm pursued claims for disgorgement, fraud, negligence and violation of contractors’ license laws against various parties.  After investigation and discovery, settlements in excess of the amounts paid to the unlicensed contractor were obtained.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Nowell A. Lantz

General Contractor v. Owner/Lender – Quasi Public Works

The firm represented a general contractor client on a major rehabilitation project involving the redevelopment of historical land.  The project was funded by numerous entities and involved a variety of stakeholders.  During the course of the project, change orders and additional work were approved by the owner that were in excess of the scope of the project budget.  At the time of project closeout, the owners were unable to make payment and the lenders refused to release payments for work that was performed within budget.  At the firm’s direction, the client served a bonded stop notice on the lenders and pursued litigation.  Ultimately, despite the owners being unable to make further payments, the client recovered over $1.6 million.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Nowell A. Lantz

Carmel Cove Homeowners’ Association, Inc. v. Carmel Cove, LLC, et. al.

The firm represented a condominium developer in a construction defect action brought by the homeowners’ association.  The homeowners’ association was seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in allegedly unpaid reserve contributions and thousands of dollars in damages to repair alleged defects at the property.  The firm aggressively defended the developer on the grounds that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations and subject to mandatory arbitration in Las Vegas, Nevada as required by the governing CC&Rs.  The firm filed a petition to compel arbitration.  Prior to the court’s ruling on the petition to compel arbitration, the homeowners’ association dismissed the entire action with prejudice in exchange for a waiver of the developer’s fees and costs.

San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2012-00086274-CU-CD-CTL

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and David W. Smiley

Protest of International Airport Electrical Upgrade Project

The firm’s client was the second low bidder on a $17 million electrical upgrade project at San Diego International Airport.  The firm evaluated the low bid and identified multiple bases for protest.  Although the airport had already deemed the low bid responsive, the firm filed a comprehensive bid protest detailing the deficiencies.  The Airport reversed its finding of responsiveness and elected to rebid the project.  The firm’s client won the job on rebid.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Protest Of Light Rail Transit Upgrade Project

The firm’s client submitted the low bid for a major Southern California light rail transit project valued in excess of $55 million.  The second low bidder protested award to the firm’s client, alleging the client lacked the required operating joint-use system (freight and passenger) rail experience to be awarded the project.  The firm responded to the protest, detailing the low bidder’s experience, and represented the client at a responsibility hearing before a multi-agency panel.  Based on the firm’s response and the responsibility hearing, the owner rejected the protest.  The second-low bidder appealed the initial rejection and the firm again responded.  Ultimately, the owner rejected the appeal and awarded the project to the firm’s client.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Los Angeles Area Community College District v. Construction Management Firm

The firm represented the construction manager for three community college construction projects.  The owner of the projects claimed the construction manager was responsible for liquidated damages and project close out costs in excess of $1.0 million

Before a lawsuit was filed, the firm worked diligently to explore alternative resolutions to the dispute including a proposal to assist with the closeout of all three projects which the firm showed was the responsibility and obligation of other than its client.  Through a series of meetings and exchange of position statements over a span of years, the firm negotiated a mutual release with no payment by its client.

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

Declaration of Bid Non-Responsiveness

The firm’s general contractor client submitted a prime bid for a $9.3 million City of Riverside fire station project.  The City rejected the bid as non-responsive, contending the bidder failed to complete the City’s bid form.  Hours before the City Council was scheduled to award the project to a higher bidder, the firm convinced the City to rescind their bid rejection and recommend that the City Council award the project to the firm’s client.  The firm’s client was awarded the project.

City of Riverside Fire Station Project

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Subcontractor Default – Caltrans Highway Facility Rehabilitation

The firms’ client was the prime contractor on a highway facility rehabilitation project for the California Department of Transportation.  The plumbing subcontractor on the project defaulted after performing layout and initial rough-in, resulting in rework, takeover and delay costs to the prime contractor.  Notwithstanding the default, the subcontractor sought additional payment from the prime contractor, alleging it was constructively terminated and that the prime contractor violated Caltrans’ Buy America requirements.

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The firm promptly investigated and refuted the Buy America allegations, preserving the prime contractor’s relationship with Caltrans.  The firm also tendered the prime contractor’s costs (including time-related overhead) to the subcontractor’s general liability insurance carrier, based on property damage/rework arising out of improper rough-in by the subcontractor.  The insurer agreed to participate in an early mediation and, notwithstanding the subcontractor’s inability to pay, the firm obtained an insurance-funded recovery for the prime contractor without litigation.
General Contractor v. Commercial Project Owner/Developer

The firm successfully litigated and resolved a claim by its general contractor client for over $1 million arising from non-payment for construction of a $10 million mixed use retail/restaurant/office project.  The developer filed bankruptcy when his construction lender commenced foreclosure proceedings at the completion of construction.  The firm pursued remedies on behalf of its client for payment on stop notice, mechanic’s lien and breach of contract claims.  The firm also coordinated five separate actions pending in state and federal courts, including actions by the developer and lender against each other for loan foreclosure, and predatory lending, and against the firm’s client and its performance bond surety for delay, liquidated damages, consequential damages, and recovery on the bond.  Several subcontractors also recorded liens and filed suits.  The firm ultimately resolved the various cases with recovery for its client of more than its principal claim with no payment by its client or its surety.

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Allison N. Lantz

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

The firm represented the general contractor relating to a contract balance and claim by the school district that a second floor concrete deck was not built to the contract requirements.  The firm’s client settled with its concrete subcontractor allowing the subcontractor to prosecute the claim for its subcontract balance directly against the District.  However, when the District cross-complained, the firm was re-engaged to challenge the pleading by the District.  With the firm’s special motion to strike the cross-complaint pursuant to California’s Anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) statute pending, the case was settled in mediation for a payment by the District to the firm’s client for more than 50 percent more than the firm’s client had offered to accept from the District four years earlier.

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

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

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. v. State of California, Department of Transportation

The firm represented the general contractor in recovery of damages for inefficiency claims relating to methacrylate application and for return of wrongfully-assessed lane closure reopening delay penalties arising out of bridge rehabilitation work on the Los Angeles Interchange.  The firm recovered payment to the contractor through mediation.

Office of Administrative Hearings Case No. A-0020-2011

Counsel: P. Randolph Finch Jr. and Dustin R. Jones

Randy represents leading companies on the Engineering News-Record (ENR) Top 400 Contractors and ENR Top 400 Specialty Contractors, including seven of the ENR California Top 100 Contractors.

(858) 737-3100; Ext. 3110

(858) 737-3101

  • Construction Law
    • Claims & Disputes
    • Local Agency, Municipal & State Contracts
    • Federal Procurement & Claims
    • Project Counsel
    • Prime Contracts & Subcontracts
    • Real Estate
    • Corporate
    • Collections
    • Insurance Defense
  • Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Business & Commercial Transactions
  • Real Estate
  • Liability Defense
  • California: State and Federal Courts
  • U.S. District Courts of California: Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern
  • U.S. District Court of Colorado
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • University of San Diego School of Law, J.D.
  • University of San Diego, B.B.A., Business Administration
  • State Bar of California
  • San Diego County Bar Association, Construction Law Section
  • American Bar Association
    • Construction Industry Forum
  • Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter
    • Board of Directors
    • Government Relations Committee
    • Political Action Committee
    • Lecturer, construction law issues
  • The Beavers, Inc.
  • The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
  • Martindale-Hubbell A.V.-Preeminent, highest rating in recognition of high level of skill and integrity
  • San Diego Super Lawyer 2007–2010, 2012, 2013–2019 by Super Lawyers Magazine
  • Top 25 San Diego Construction Attorney in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011
  • Top 10 Real Estate / Construction Litigation Attorney in 2012 and 2013 by the San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Top 50 San Diego Attorney in 2015 by the San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Best of the Bar 2016 by the San Diego Business Journal
  • Top Lawyers In San Diego in Construction Law in 2013 by San Diego Magazine
  • 2010 Top Influential honors as one of San Diego’s Top Industry Leaders by the San Diego Daily Transcript
  • Board of Trustees, Gillispie School
  • Board of Directors, Voices for Children
  • Ex officio member of several clients’ boards of directors

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

Lease-Leaseback Construction Under AB 2316 Effective 1-1-17

New Developments In Public And Private Works Construction Law

Taming The Phone In Your Pocket: How To Harness Mobile Technology For Project Documentation And Risk Management

Construction Default Reprocurement

The Future Of K-12 Construction: Alternatives To Design-Bid-Build

Proving And Defending Construction Delay Claims

The Best Delivery Method For Your Project

Building A Foundation For Managing Complex Construction Law Issues In California

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

Mechanic’s Lien Law And Strategies In California

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