Hanson Bridgett Secures Complete Victory and $19M Award After Years of Litigation

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July 6, 2021 (San Francisco, CA)Hanson Bridgett LLP, a preeminent law firm for all of California, secured a $19 million arbitration award arising out of a construction dispute for unpaid contract funds, delay damages, attorneys' fees, and interest for its long-time client Deacon Builders, LLC, a leading construction company with offices in California, Washington, and Oregon. Hanson Bridgett Partners Andrew Giacomini and Tyson Shower and Associate Neema Ghiasi led the firm's trial team.

The dispute arose out of Deacon's construction of The Turing – a 370 unit multi-use building in Milpitas, California. Disputes with the owner (Milpitas District 1 Associates LLC – a Lyon Communities company) were instant and continued throughout construction. Due to the owner's ever-changing vision, the building was completely redesigned multiple times during construction. In addition, during the framing activity, it was discovered that the owner had neglected to properly design the structural aspects of the project by omitting code-required seismic joints. These design changes and flaws delayed construction over a year and a half, resulting in significant delay and impact damages and other costs.

The owner refused to take responsibility for the impacts of its continuous design changes and flaws and would not grant time extensions. Instead, the owner falsely blamed Deacon for the project delays, stopped paying a year before the project was completed, and wrongfully assessed liquidated damages; at one time, the owner was seeking more than $26 million in damages, including $18 million in liquidated damages. Deacon sought the principal balance of $13 million for its unpaid contract funds and delay damages. The dispute also included well over a dozen unpaid subcontractors.

The arbitration hearings took place during September and November 2020 in San Francisco, CA, and presented unique challenges because of shutdowns and additional precautions due to the COVD-19 global pandemic. On June 28, 2021, the arbitrator issued her final award, in which she denied all of the owner's claims and awarded $19,031,339.08 to Deacon, which included virtually all of its principal balance of $13 million-plus almost all of its attorneys' fees and interest.

"The owners attempted to bully the contractors and failed to live up to their promises, but the arbitrator held them responsible. We're proud to help Deacon get what was owed along with interest and attorneys' fees," said Giacomini.

Shower commented, "This is such an overwhelming and complete victory secured for our long-time client. It is a wonderful reminder of why we practice law."

The award is the second major victory of the year for Giacomini, who in May obtained a $156 million jury verdict after decades of litigation. Hanson Bridgett lawyers broadly have been on a roll for litigation wins in 2021. These favorable verdicts come on the heels of a number of others, including Partner Alexandra Atencio's significant trial victory in a complex class action for the firm's long-time clients, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, and the Bay Area Toll Authority. That trial was the first to be held virtually in San Francisco Superior Court, and one of just a few virtual trials held nationwide at the time. The firm has seamlessly serviced clients virtually since March 2020 despite widespread business interruptions caused by the global pandemic.

About Hanson Bridgett LLP

Founded in 1958, Hanson Bridgett is a multidisciplinary law firm with 190 attorneys throughout the state. Our firm is deeply committed to diversity and inclusion initiatives and efforts, which is represented by the quality and caliber of our diverse workforce. Our attorneys consist of 46 percent women, 29 percent people of color, and 4 percent self-identified LGBTQ+ individuals. Our firm's partners are 39 percent women, 20 percent people of color, and 6 percent self-identified LGBTQ+ individuals.

For More Information

Brandi Hewlett
Marketing Project Manager
Hanson Bridgett LLP
425 Market Street, 26th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105