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Hanson Bridgett Secures $7.75 Million Victory for Independent Construction Company

April 1, 2024 (San Francisco, CA)Hanson Bridgett LLP is pleased to announce that a team of appellate attorneys, including partner Gary A. Watt and senior counsel Rosanna Gan and David Casarrubias, secured an all-out victory on behalf of client D.A. McCosker Construction Co., dba Independent Construction Co. (ICC). California's Department of Water Resources (DWR) agreed to drop any further litigation and paid the firm's client $7.75 million in costs and interest related to the construction of Dyer Reservoir near Livermore, CA.

"The appellate opinion rejected every single argument asserted by DWR for upholding the trial court's order vacating the award," said Watt, referring to the Superior Court's prior proceeding that vacated ICC's $5.2 million arbitration award. "Our team, which included trial attorneys Steven Copeland and John McGill, obtained a reversal of that order, one effectively gutting DWR's prospects and resulting in DWR’s ultimate capitulation." 

The DWR paid the entire $5.2 million arbitration award plus $2.55 million in statutory interest. The decision marks the end of a complex, multi-year battle, and a successful collaborative effort between Hanson Bridgett, Copeland Law Firm, and McGill Law Firm. 

Background on the Case

The DWR and ICC entered into a contract for the construction of Dyer Reservoir near Livermore, CA. ICC completed the project three years later, in 2012. When DWR refused to pay ICC the proper contract price, ICC took the dispute to arbitration. Among other defenses, DWR sought to avoid paying by alleging that the company was effectively unlicensed at the time of the project. Steven Copeland of Copeland Law Firm and John McGill of McGill Law Firm defeated DWR in arbitration, obtaining the $5.2 million award plus interest.

However, in protracted litigation that followed, the DWR convinced the Superior Court to vacate the award based on its licensing argument, leading ICC to hire Hanson Bridgett LLP. In March of 2023, appellate attorneys Watt, Gan, and Casarrubias – in collaboration with Copeland and McGill – obtained the reversal firmly rejecting such arguments, gutting DWR's prospects for any further challenges, and compelling it to pay the full amount of the arbitration award and statutory interest. As Watt put it, “This win is extremely satisfying for everyone on the McCosker legal team. Defeating what was a long, and in our view, unwarranted scorched earth campaign by DWR.”

About Hanson Bridgett LLP 

Hanson Bridgett LLP is a full service AmLaw 200 law firm with more than 200 attorneys across California. Creating a diverse workforce by fostering an atmosphere of belonging and intentional support has been a priority at Hanson Bridgett since its founding in 1958. We are dedicated to creating an environment that provides opportunities for people with varied backgrounds, both for attorneys and administrative professionals. As the first law firm recognized as a certified B Corp, we are committed to the communities where our employees live and work and consider it part of our professional obligation to serve justice by encouraging and supporting pro bono and social impact work.

For media inquiries contact:

Patrick L. Clos
Communications Manager
Hanson Bridgett LLP


Gary A. Watt
Gary Watt
San Francisco, CA