Construction

Industry knowledge and multidisciplinary skills that get results

The complexity of construction projects – large or small – requires expert legal advice to prevent or resolve problems that arise before, during, and after construction. Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP's construction practice helps clients confidently approach all phases of their construction ventures and resolve issues to minimize problems, expense and delays. We represent public and private owners, developers, contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers and suppliers at every phase of the construction process:

  • Advising on land use, labor, general business, tax and contract issues
  • Negotiating and drafting design and construction contracts and all construction loan documentation
  • Litigating and resolving defect and claims disputes, either through trial or alternative dispute resolution
  • Helping with project administration and management issues to control downtime and ensure that work disruption is avoided or kept to a minimum

Comprehensive services

Many law firms focus only on construction litigation or land use issues. JMBM is distinguished by our capability to handle all facets of a construction project, for any party involved. From entitlements and environmental issues to tax and financing concerns, we address and resolve the details of projects.

Our experience in the real estate and building materials industries means we know brick and mortar as well as zoning and leasing. Add our experience dealing with employment issues (including discrimination claims, wage and hour laws, ERISA and union concerns) and complex entity-formation, and you have a team structured to ensure projects are completed successfully.

Handling every aspect of real estate matters – development deals through loan documentation – is at the heart of our construction law capability. Our lawyers are skilled at handling all kinds of commercial, industrial, residential and retail property transfers. We serve as the watchdog on construction loan documentations, contract interpretations and negotiations.

We’ll also evaluate all covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), guaranty strategies, and title and priority issues. Many of our lawyers represent lenders and owners in traditional real estate matters. That enables us to successfully complete build-to-suit projects that work to the advantage of all parties.

Getting the necessary approvals

Using experience gained from working with the key players in the development process, we do what is necessary to make a project successful. This includes getting regulatory and land use approvals, negotiating development agreements, conducting environmental due diligence, securing loans and development incentives, and working to bring the construction and lease or sale of the project to completion. We combine detailed knowledge of all legal and business aspects of the development process with a thorough understanding of multi-jurisdictional development requirements.

Leadership in hospitality industry construction

JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® is the premier hospitality practice in a full-service law firm. Our firm has been in the vanguard of “hotel-enhanced mixed-use” projects—in which hotels combine with residential, office, retail, sports, spa, entertainment and retail uses to mutually enhance the entire project's success.

In just the past five years, we have assisted clients on more than 100 hotel-enhanced mixed-use projects in every major market in the U.S., throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. And if these or other projects are faced with defect claims, our knowledge of the industry enables us to effectively represent clients on any side of a project, and we have resolved tens of millions of dollars in claims effectively.

Litigating construction claims

Because of their complexity, even the best-planned construction projects can lead to litigation. JMBM lawyers work to proactively avoid or resolve disputes, and frequently use mediation and arbitration of claims involving cost, design error and project management.

All key players in the industry turn to us for representation:

  • Owners
  • General contractors
  • Subcontractors
  • Material suppliers
  • Architects
  • Engineers

We represent their interests in controversies involving bid protests and mistakes, cost disputes, design error, defective installation and contract disputes. These disputes typically involve multiple parties and are highly fact-intensive. We use our industry knowledge to resolve the problem in ways that minimize expense and time for our clients.

We believe that a lean team of one or two experienced litigators is better than an army of lawyers, and that belief gives our clients the attention they deserve without waste or bureaucracy. Our lawyers have successfully litigated numerous construction-related matters and cases in California state and federal trial courts, and all levels of appellate court.

Examples of clients we represent in disputes from major commercial projects (office buildings, shopping centers, hotel and resort properties) to multi-family and single-family residential developments include:

  • A major bank as the owner of a downtown Los Angeles office building on the insurance adjustment associated with a fire—a project requiring knowledge of both construction and insurance issues
  • One of the largest contractors in California in a multimillion-dollar dispute with one of the state’s largest developers of commercial properties over the developer’s obligations under a construction contract
  • The subsidiary of one of the nation’s largest lenders in a construction defect case brought by the purchasers of a major condominium project
  • A premier national lender in a construction defect case brought against the owner of a large commercial office building
  • The principal commercial developer in the San Francisco Bay Area in approximately 15 construction defect lawsuits brought by contractors and joint venture partners—with successful defense in the one suit that went to trial
  • A major California bank in alleging improper construction work, for which it was charged by the owner of a downtown Los Angeles office building in which the bank was a primary tenant
  • A major U.S. lender in fielding a competitor’s charges that the building developed and sold by our client had significant construction defects
  • A federal agency in a construction dispute related to alleged defects in a major Palm Springs hotel/condominium project developed by a California savings and loan company that was subsequently taken over by the agency
  • The owner of a building sued for improper construction, in a case that required a mastery of the design and installation of heating/ventilation/air conditioning systems, roofing installation and curtain wall installation
  • A bank that had foreclosed on a defaulted development loan against construction defect claims by the Homeowners' Association
  • A national hotel chain in multiple construction defect matters against contractors hired to build hotels throughout California
  • The owner of a casino and hotel in construction defect claims brought against the contractor and architect hired to build the hotel

Construction & Building Materials Industry

JMBM has a dominant position among California law firms in the Construction & Building Materials industry. We advise materials suppliers (including sand, gravel and cement companies) and manufacturers, as well as contractors and other industry players on their integrated corporate, regulatory and dispute-resolution issues. If you are involved in the construction & building materials industry, you can expect seamless service to meet any need.

Successes

  • JMBM Wins First Density Bonus Case Against the City of Los Angeles Under SB 1818 On December 8, 2008, JMBM attorneys successfully challenged an attempt by the City of Los Angeles to unlawfully impose conditions of approval on a proposed infill apartment project that was entitled to a height limit increase under SB 1818, the state density bonus law. Louise Apts. LLC v. City of Los Angeles is the first […]
  • For G.H. Palmer: JMBM completed litigation resulting in the demolition and reconstruction of a 1,000-unit Los Angeles apartment structure In Palmer v. City of Los Angeles, JMBM successfully litigated a contentious and highly controversial case arising out of the demolition of an old structure without permit in downtown Los Angeles. The settlement resulted in new development of nearly 1,000 apartment units.
  • For the California Mining Association: JMBM achieved a high wind exemption critical to large construction projects throughout Southern California JMBM attorneys, acting on behalf of the California Mining Association (CMA), filed suit against the South Coast Air Quality Management District challenging its adoption of a new regulation. As part of the settlement JMBM achieved for the CMA, the SCAQMD was required to amend the regulation and allow a high wind exemption critical to CMA […]
  • Getting Results - Handling hotel contract and accounting claims JMBM represented a major Japanese corporation as owner of a luxury Los Angeles hotel in multimillion-dollar construction defect litigation against one of the world's largest hotel chains as the developer, as well as multiple contractors. In pursuing the claim, our lawyers coordinated numerous experts and consultants to advise on all elements of construction—from the roofs […]
  • Getting Results - Resolving special zoning problems JMBM lawyers are skilled at resolving special zoning or other use restriction problems that complicate construction projects. On behalf of a developer client, we obtained the first successful approval under the new Los Angeles Mixed Use Ordinance for a project that included 540 apartments and 27,000 square feet of commercial space. In another instance, we […]
  • Getting Results - A complex build-to-suit deal A JMBM team representing real estate, construction, corporate, tax and land use capabilities advised the California State Automobile Association (CSAA) in a complex sale and leaseback transaction that allowed the organization to successfully move to new headquarters. We first advised CSAA in their negotiations for a 255,000 square-foot, six-story build-to-suit lease with a purchase option […]