Construction Law

Related Practices

Selman Breitman's experienced team of construction lawyers specializes in the representation of developers, general contractors, design professionals, product manufacturers and subcontractors in all areas of construction law. Our lawyers assist construction industry clients in California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, and across the United States with a variety of legal issues, including:

  • Insurance issues
  • Construction defect claims
  • Bodily injury claims
  • Property damage and mold claims
  • Contract drafting and disputes
  • Land use and zoning
  • Administrative proceedings
  • Building and municipal code issues
  • Competitive bidding
  • Development agreements
  • Indemnity
  • Leasing

Our attorneys have extensive experience with many types of projects and buildings, including single-family detached homes, common area developments, apartments, commercial and industrial structures, and government buildings.

Insurance And Indemnity Issues

Our knowledge of insurance law and contractual indemnity issues is another significant benefit to our clients. This specialized knowledge promotes a higher success rate in tendering claims to other insurers and parties, thereby either extricating our clients' involvement or significantly reducing their costs/exposure. We also ensure our clients obtain the full benefits of applicable insurance in order to minimize the overall cost of legal expenses.

Administrative Law Issues

A litany of administrative law issues can also arise before, during and after a construction project. Standard administrative procedures can become administrative logjams when laws, ordinances and government agencies slow down the progress of a construction project or halt it altogether. Administrative and insurance issues are not all that dissimilar in this regard. Indeed, insurance claims filed by or against your company can have a negative effect on project schedules if the legal issues are not handled properly and efficiently. The proper legal strategy provides for project completion on time and on budget.

We work closely with our clients to elicit their input and experience in defending these matters. We coordinate defense strategies with the insurer in order to develop the most effective and efficient defense. We understand cost pressures and liability exposure concerns. Our team works in the best interests of our clients, and we will pursue the cost-effective resolution that is best for your business. Nonetheless, our attorneys do not recoil when a favorable settlement cannot be reached or is impractical. We take cases to trial and achieve success.

Experience And Expertise In Complicated Legal Environments

Our firm has been guiding clients through construction law matters involving strategic planning, bidding, contracting, negotiations, transactions, litigation, dispute resolution and insurance claim procedures for more than 30 years. Selman Breitman attorneys understand the nuances, requirements and rules that can affect your business. We can represent your best interests and protect your rights.

In a subrogation action, plaintiff insurer contended that their insured had suffered water damage as a result of the negligent installation of home appliances by defendant motor carrier/installer. Obtained settlement of claim less than 30 days into litigation after establishing that plaintiff's insured's damages were excessive and not reasonably related to alleged water damage.

Developer sought $1.5 million in damages from client.  Obtained Summary Judgment in favor of client on claims for breach of contract, negligence, and indemnity.

While defending a construction company against a plaintiff claiming traumatic brain injury, plaintiff received a "net zero" verdict after trial because the award was less than the worker's compensation lien strategically purchased by the defense.

Retained as trial counsel for homeowners association. Following a bench trial, judgment entered in favor of client. Disputes involved interpretation of CC&Rs, alleged breach of fiduciary obligations by Board of Directors and architectural issues.

A defense verdict was secured in a breach of contract/duty to defend action brought by a nationwide general contractor against a concrete place and finish subcontractor. The lawsuit involved defective use of Fibermesh product in the parking garage of an office building. A defense verdict was obtained in a two-week-long bench trial in Sacramento County Superior Court. After the Court determined that the case brought by plaintiff building owner was barred by the four-year statute of limitations, the Court then decided that the general contractor had failed to present its case for costs of defense in second phase.

A defense verdict was obtained in a case that went to jury in Santa Clara County Superior Court, on behalf of client general contractor. Client was accused of abandoning the job to another contractor. A showing was made that the evidence was insufficient to establish that there was a contract between client and owner.

Defended a stainless steel column installer in a light industrial complex in a construction defect, breach of contract action brought by owner against general contractor and many other subcontractors. The month-long binding arbitration ended in a defense verdict for client. Represented roofing contractor in case against owners' association of a 56-unit apartment development involving multi-million dollar claims for construction defects and resulting damage.

Defended window subcontractor in case involving over $25,000,000 in claims for defective construction at an apartment complex.

Defended window subcontractor against claims made by general contractor for breach of contract, defense and indemnity. The complex lawsuit involves four condominium buildings, three related cases, and over thirty parties.

A multi-million dollar settlement was reached in a complex construction defect/landslide case wherein the carrier for client soils engineer and target defendant initially denied coverage. Recalcitrant carrier was convinced to come to the table with a significant contribution to resolve the matter via settlement, saving the client from an expensive trial and the risk of punitive damages.

Represented a construction subcontractor in consolidated actions involving a walkway collapse, with multiple defendants, insurers and claimants.

Summary judgment was obtained in a construction defect matter on behalf of concrete subcontractor wherein the court found plaintiffs could not meet their burden of showing that client's work was in any way defective.

Represented developer and general contractor in Nevada in complex, multi-party construction defect matter including prosecution of claims for contribution, indemnification and breach of contract against subcontractors. Plaintiffs' expert estimated the cost of repair at over $7 million; plaintiffs' claims, including fees and costs, were settled for $5 million. Client was responsible for funding less the 5% of the total settlement, as the remainder of the amount was recovered from the various subcontractors.

A claim was resolved on behalf of an architectural firm in connection with a tenant build-out of large commercial offices. The matter was resolved through extensive negotiations, without proceeding to litigation, thus avoiding substantial legal fees and potential exposure for significant damages.

In a claim involving waterproofing performed by defendant pursuant to a contract with plaintiff construction company during construction of a large resort, plaintiff alleged that the waterproofing failed, causing over $16 million in damages, including costs to repair and lost profits. Selman Breitman intervened to defend the case, which involved potential exposure of over $10 million. This matter was scheduled for binding arbitration, but the case was resolved prior to the beginning of the binding arbitration for 2.5% of the total exposure.

Summary judgment was obtained for a general contractor in a wrongful death case in which a dump truck ran over subcontractor's superintendent. A successful conclusion was negotiated to the largest construction defect action in the history of Oregon.

Defended major framing subcontractor in multiple construction defect matters, including ensuring the dismissal with prejudice of at least three dozen different residences by way of multiple successful summary judgment motions premised on the argument that the claims were stale due to foreclosure.

Obtained a defense jury verdict in favor of grading contractor client in the Orange County Superior Court. Plaintiff alleged both negligence and assault/battery in connection with a construction site accident claim.


News and Publications

Elaine Fresch Selected as NLJ Real Estate/Construction Law Trailblazer Four Selman Breitman Attorneys Selected as 2021 Northern California Super Lawyers Three Selman Breitman Attorneys Selected as 2021 Southern California Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2020 Southern California Rising Stars Announced Selman Breitman Attorneys Honored as 2020 Southern California Super Lawyers
San Francisco Attorneys Named 2019 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars 2019 Southern California Rising Stars Announced Construction Claims Magazine Publishes Article Co-Authored by Elaine Fresch Selman Breitman Welcomes New Associates DRI's For the Defense Publishes Article on Diversity Co-Authored by Angelica Zabanal Elaine Harwell Recognized for Volunteer Efforts with Lawyers Club of San Diego DRI's The Voice Features Selman’s Defense Win in David Copperfield/MGM Litigation San Francisco Attorneys Named 2018 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Thomas Vu Joins Selman Breitman's Los Angeles Office Adam Houtz Joins Selman Breitman's Los Angeles Office Seattle Partners Ranked in 2018 Washington Super Lawyers Las Vegas Attorneys Named 2018 Super Lawyers Two Associates Named to Key Positions With Filipino Bar Association of Northern California 2018 Southern California Rising Stars Announced Selman Breitman Seattle Office Moves to One Union Square Selman Breitman Again Ranked a Law360 Best Law Firm for Female Attorneys Law360 Announces 400 Largest U.S. Law Firms Bridget Moorhead & Elaine Harwell Named 2018 San Diego Super Lawyers Selman Breitman Attorneys Honored as 2018 Southern California Super Lawyers Former Sedgwick Partner Joins Selman Breitman Selman Breitman Names Eight New Partners Across Four Offices Angelica Zabanal Joins Selman Breitman's San Francisco Office Selman Breitman Continues to Grow With Three New Associates Four Selman Breitman Attorneys Named LCA Senior Fellows Welcome Adam Jones to Portland Matthew Quigg Joins Selman Breitman's Seattle Office Oregon High Court Clarifies How To Read the Four Corners of a Complaint Brendan Penney, Former Gibbs Giden Partner, Joins Selman Breitman's Commercial Litigation and Construction Practice MSJ Granted in Construction Defect Case Involving $10M+ Custom Built Home Elisabeth D'Agostino to Speak at OCBA April Meeting Elaine Fresch and Bradford Hughes Earn CLMP Designation from Claims & Litigation Management Selman Breitman Trial Team Wins After Jury Is Asked To Award $43 Million In Home Furnace Case Todd Duplanty And Ned Schroeder Host Seminar On Contracting Issues For The Construction Industry WCLA Updates And Regional Volunteers Wanted Gregory Newman to Speak at 2015 Combined Claims Conference Elaine Fresch, Linda Wendell Hsu and Peter Dye Score Significant Trial Victory Insurance Coverage 101: Essential Coverage Tips Every Defense Counsel Should Know When Representing a Client in Construction Defect Litigation Builders' Right To Repair Pre-Litigation Affirmed as Exclusive Remedy By Supreme Court SCOTUS Rules CA Courts Lack Specific Jurisdiction to Entertain Injury Claims by Non-Residents (Bristol-Myers) Arbitration Provision in Condo Association's CC&R's Enforceable for Construction Defect Litigation A Tune Up for Mechanic's Lien Laws

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