Construction


Our construction law practice offers a broad range of services. From determining the type of project delivery system through design, engineering, financing, preconstruction, construction, and close-out services, our attorneys work closely with our clients to achieve the best results. Our residential and commercial clients range from locally owned contractors to some of the largest architectural firms in the region, as well as one of the ten-largest U.S. home builders. In addition, we have represented public and private owners on complex construction projects, including sports arenas and parking facilities.

Our attorneys assist clients through all phases of a construction project. We are experienced with providing all of the following services:

  • Determining the type of project, organization, and financing options
  • Drafting contracts for construction, design, engineering, subcontracts, and supply purchase orders
  • Construction financing – including representation of many national lenders
  • Prevailing wage requirements
  • Minority business enterprise requirements
  • Payment and performance bonding requirements
  • Bid challenges and change orders
  • Joint venture agreements
  • Mechanic’s liens
  • OSHA compliance and union issues
  • Development or defense of claims for additional compensation
  • Claims disputes through mediation, arbitration, or litigation

Ulmer is ranked in 39 categories in the 2017 U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers highest rankings in 21 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 15 categories. Firms included in the 2017 “Best Law Firms” are...

Ulmer & Berne announced the election of Frederic X. “Fritz” Shadley to the firm’s seven-member Management Committee. This role is effective January 1, 2016 for a two-year term. Ulmer & Berne’s Management Committee is responsible for guiding the operations and strategic direction of the firm. As Chair of Ulmer &...

Ulmer & Berne is ranked in 39 categories in the 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” rankings. Among these, the firm earns U.S. News – Best Lawyers highest rankings in 21 categories. The firm also ranks nationally in 16 categories. Firms included in the 2016 “Best Law...

This Client Alert updates Ulmer & Berne LLP’s May 2013 Client Alert: Cincinnati Changes Bidding Requirements Concerning Sewer District, Storm Water, and Water Works Construction Projects. Efforts to repeal Cincinnati’s controversial “Responsible Bidder” Ordinance were recently rejected by Cincinnati City Council 5 to 4, with Democrats voting to dismiss a separate...

May 2013 – Effective July 29, 2013, to bid a sewer district, storm water, or water works construction project to the City of Cincinnati (collectively, “City Work”), a bidder must employ apprentices from programs that have graduated apprentices for the past five consecutive years (the “Apprenticeship Requirement”). By a margin...

February 2013 – “Nullum tempus occurrit regi” (“Nullum Tempus”) – have you ever heard of this ancient phrase? It means “time does not run against the king,” the “king” being the State of Ohio through the University of Cincinnati (“UC”) in the case of University of Cincinnati v. Walsh Higgins...

Representative Experience

  • Currently representing architect in failed construction project allegedly causing over $75 million in damages.
  • Currently representing environmental consultant in $11 million negligence lawsuit.
  • Currently defending curtain wall fabricator and installer in New York state court against $15 million claim for alleged defective construction in a $90 million condominium complex in lower Manhattan.
  • Currently representing a state university in a claim against a general contractor for defective construction of a substantial multi-million dollar undergraduate building that has been required to undergo a $20 million renovation.
  • Currently representing engineering firm against $2 million claim of alleged defective design of data center’s cooling system.
  • Currently representing a state university in a $1.5 million dollar claim against an engineer and general contractor for loss of lateral support resulting from the negligent excavation on adjoining land in relation to a sewer line replacement project.
  • Currently representing civil engineering firm in Fair Housing Act case.
  • Represented a large, multi-national corporation in contract negotiation with a construction manager for a multi-million dollar addition to a facility.
  • Acted as counsel to a Fortune 500 owner in a multi-million dollar expansion of its product test facility in Alachua County, Florida, including drafting of detailed integrated contracts for the project.
  • Successfully represented a mid-sized regional general contractor on numerous significant collection cases in which owners’ have withheld payments and asserted construction defect claims.
  • Served as outside counsel for a commercial and residential roofing contractor, including drafting proposals, standard terms and conditions, and warranties/limitations of liability for the roofing contractor’s ongoing use in its business.
  • Represented owner in significant claims relating to improper construction of roofing system in high humidity environment, utilizing expert investigation and achieving significant settlement in mediation.
  • Represented owner in claims relating to improper installation and replacement of roofing system for large commercial building.
  • Representation of publicly traded homebuilder throughout Ohio, including but not limited to consumer protection and rescission claims.
  • Represented structural engineer in $2.5 million claim for deficient design of 12-story hospital addition by favorably settling claim prior to suit.
  • Represented architect in a $2 million acceleration and delay claim by subcontractor on a signature design building, resolving the case prior to suit through mediation for a small fraction of the claim.
  • Represented architect in allegedly defective construction of a $2.2 million home by facilitating suit against the home builder and not the architect.
  • Represented architect in alleged negligent design of a five-story parking structure, resolving the case immediately before trial for a small portion of the $2 million claimed.
  • Represented structural engineer in a $500,000 claim for defective plans, resulting in a pre-suit mediated settlement for less than 5% of the claimed amount.
  • Represented greenhouse designer and builder against $2 million claim alleging negligent design caused five acres of greenhouses to collapse under snow load. Claimant decided not to file suit after being persuaded that our client’s design could not have caused the collapse.
  • Secured summary judgment for architect in a negligent design of school building claim allegedly allowing pervasive water intrusion and mold contamination.
  • Represented the owner of a new potassium carbonate plant, the output of which did not meet specifications for a variety of reasons, including the designer’s lack of field verification of technical capabilities of the processing system.
  • Represented the installer of 12’ diameter fiberglass water recirculation pipe which failed at a nuclear power plant.
  • Represented a large architectural firm in connection with a claim brought by a public owner alleging a failure to timely submit grant application papers resulting in the loss of significant federal funding. We were able to work through this omission with the office of a United States Senator and secured an amendment to the federal budget within hours of Congressional passage of that annual budget.
  • Represented a museum owner and the entire design team in response to a subcontractor’s claim for $1.3 million on a $30 million project. We worked in unison with the general contractor throughout an eight-month mediation process, following the informal production of thousands of documents regarding the construction, but without incurring the significant expense of having an expert consultant review the delay and acceleration claim.
  • Represented the supplier of electric switch gear providing power to a new 30-story building in Cincinnati. The switch gear allegedly failed, causing fires throughout the building, the discharge of water thought the building’s sprinkler system on many floors, and the loss of use of the building for many weeks.
  • Represented a general contractor in relation to an addition placed on a hospital in central Ohio. During the construction of this addition, a three-story wall consisting of drywall had to be left exposed (except for a plastic covering) owing to construction sequence issues. Water intrusion and mold were identified throughout the face of this improvement, presenting the risk of contamination to the hospital itself and potential closure.
  • Represented the design engineer of a pollution abatement system on a glass manufacturing facility in central Kentucky. The client’s system did not work for a variety of reasons, causing the plant to violate EPA emission regulations. The plant owner sued the design engineer for approximately $2 million for damages incurred as a result of the allegedly deficient design.
  • Represented a major northeast Ohio city in the negotiation of construction manager/general contractor agreements for the construction of a $35 million convocation center.
  • Represented a general contractor in connection with the negotiation of construction contracts for more than 50 multi-family housing projects around the country with contract amounts for each project ranging from $4 million to $16 million.
  • Represented an office tenant in the negotiation of a construction contract with A.M. Higley Company for the build-out of 100,000 square feet of space.
  • Represented a general contractor in connection with the negotiation of approximately 20 construction contracts for commercial projects throughout Ohio.
  • Represented a wholesaler in connection with the negotiation of a design-build construction contract for a new distribution facility in Parma, Ohio.
  • Represented an FDA-licensed food products manufacturer in connection with the negotiation of a construction contract with the general contractor for a new facility in Avon, Ohio valued at $3.5 million.
  • Represented an automobile dealer in negotiations involving construction contracts with a general contractor for a new dealership.
  • Advised a world-class architect with regard to extras allegedly related to the design of the School of Business of Case Western Reserve University.
  • Resolved, on behalf of University Hospitals, significant architectural design error and omission claims which resulted in cost overruns on the Wolstein Research Building project.
  • Represented an internationally recognized designer of the helipad on top of University Hospital’s Lerner Tower in connection with a helicopter crash which resulted in two deaths and severe personal injury claims.
  • Represented a leading real estate development and investment company that served as owner’s representative to a large Cleveland-based hospital system and its ground lessee in negotiations regarding owner-contractor agreements for the construction of the Euclid Avenue Parking Garage and Office Building project.
  • Represented a design-build general contractor in design-build contract negotiations with a hospital located in New Castle, Pennsylvania, for the ground-up construction of a new MRI center. This matter also included advising the general contractor on the draw request and lien waiver process.
  • Represented a design-build general contractor in design-build contract negotiations with Medical Mutual of Ohio related to the construction of a new wellness center and cafeteria.
  • Advised a general contractor with respect to mechanic’s lien issues in connection with a construction project involving The Regional Cancer Center in Erie, Pennsylvania.
  • Represented an international medical equipment company in negotiations with a design-build general contractor for construction of a new facility in Twinsburg, Ohio.
  • Represented a hospital located in Cleveland, Ohio in a very large claim against a contractor involving a relatively new coal tar roof which failed and was replaced.
  • Counseled a Boston architect who designed the Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Vision Building, with regard to HVAC issues on that project.
  • Acted as lead counsel to the owner in connection with a $100 million plant expansion. This project involved fast track design and construction, technology implementation, equipment procurement and installation, sale/leaseback structure for tax purposes, tax abatements, financing through the Toledo Port Authority, State of Ohio development loans, and various other governmental grants and loans.
  • Represented the owner in connection with the development of its worldwide corporate headquarters facility in Cleveland, Ohio. This project involved site acquisition and construction, environmental brownfields (including the first covenant not to sue issued in the State of Ohio), tax abatements, job credits and various levels of financing, including port authority bonds, state and city loans.
  • Acted as lead counsel to the owner in the relocation and construction of a new corporate headquarters. This project cost $38 million and financing was done by the Cuyahoga-Cleveland Port Authority, the City of Cleveland, the State of Ohio, Cuyahoga County, and a private foundation.
  • Acted as lead counsel to a community college in connection with over $100 million of construction and renovation projects. In addition, we represented the public owner on several major real estate acquisition and construction projects, including a new west campus technology center and a new corporate college.
  • Represented a group of contractors in connection with contract negotiations and claims settlements for the Gund Arena (currently Quicken Loans Arena) project in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Provided representation with respect to a major construction claims case that involved the construction of a new hospital in Burlington, Iowa. After construction of the hospital was completed, the windows began to leak. The hospital asserted that the architect negligently designed the windows and that the general contractor and subcontractors negligently installed the windows.
  • Provided representation in a three-week trial involving numerous design and concrete issues related to the reconstruction of a parking lot for St. Luke’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Provided representation in a claim involving wiring and electronic issues in a newly constructed surgical suite of St. Vincent’s Charity Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Provided representation with respect to the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center Project (GCIC) for construction of a new $9 million facility to be known as the “Wright Mega-Center of Innovation.”
  • Prepared and negotiated a variety of agreements with architects, construction contractors, and construction managers on behalf of owners for new construction and renovation projects. Projects included: a $9.7 million Social Services Facility and County Services Center in the Fairfax Neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio; and a $6.5 million Social Services Facility and County Services Center in the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.
  • Represented a sewer district in a civil rights challenge to the district’s minority hiring goals for contractors on public works projects.
  • Assisted with the design and implementation of a school district’s “small and local business preference” (a non-race based construction contract set aside program) and represented the district in its meetings with disgruntled minority contractors.
  • Represented an Ohio school district in discussions with the Ohio School Facilities Commission, labor unions, construction representatives, and community activists as the district attempted to develop policies and procedures before and during the district’s construction projects. Construction-related matters included project labor agreements, apprenticeships through the local vocational schools and high schools, and city resident employment goals.
  • Defended a manufacturer of concrete blocks whose product was used in a commercial construction project for the Ohio Office of the Attorney General Office.
  • Defended an engineer who designed a subdivision in a dispute involving water and silt run-off into a neighboring property.
  • Prosecuted a breach of contract claim for a general contractor regarding the quality of the construction.
  • Represented a large retail chain in disputes over workmanship by various subcontractors.
  • Provided representation in connection with the construction of the new Cleveland Stokes Library. This work involved dewatering, pile driving, building damage, critical path timing, delay, etc.
  • Provided representation in the critical path construction of the Van Aken transit line.
  • Advised with respect to a project involving the construction and reconstruction of a large industrial plant roof.
  • Represented a subcontractor on a project involving the widening of a public road.
  • Represented a civil engineer against allegations of neglect causing allegedly two landslides and over $1 million in damages.
  • Represented a general contractor against allegations of defective construction of a $3.5 million, eight-story, Florida home that allegedly allowed water and mold to infiltrate the structure so much that it was no longer inhabitable.
  • Represented commercial contractor with substantial lien claim against the largest, mixed-use, commercial retail center in Ohio.
  • Represented an engineering company in a claim with respect to alleged negligent design of a glass manufacturing facility bag house.
  • Represented the building owner in a $1.8 million claim against a general contractor for defective construction of $3.4 million medical office building.
  • Represented a national bank in a million dollar claim against a general contractor for defective construction of a parking garage.
  • Obtained dismissal for a civil engineering firm in a lawsuit alleging that negligent design of an excavation caused settlement of adjacent structures.
  • Represented general contractors in a claim against Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) for payment of additional charges resulting from design changes imposed by CMHA through the design engineer.
  • Represented an electrical design engineer in connection with a claim involving faulty electrical wiring installed by a subcontractor.
  • Provided legal assistance to a school district in connection with its capital improvements/construction program, reviewing, revising and negotiating contracts with design professionals and construction contractors.
  • Represented hotel purchaser in $2 million claim against seller for fraud and against contractors for defective construction.
  • Represented architect against allegedly defective design of doorway to the outside on the third floor (for installation of large electrical equipment) through which person fell landing on concrete surface.
  • Represented the owner in connection with negotiation of prime construction contract for Euclid Avenue mixed use redevelopment.
  • Acted as counsel to a developer and contractor in the construction of more than 2,000 units of tax-credit housing in Cleveland, Arizona, Texas, Michigan and North Carolina.
  • Represented a community college in several major real estate acquisition and construction projects, including a campus technology center and a new corporate college.
  • Handled all the legal work for the purchase, construction and financing of a new headquarters office, and manufacturing and warehouse facility for a company.
  • Represented a nonprofit, private school in the acquisition of property for the construction of a new facility and related bond financing.
  • Represented the City of Youngstown in the land acquisition and construction of $35 million downtown convocation project.
  • Represented a large labor organization in the filing of a number of liens for unpaid wages and benefits on behalf of the organization’s members involving several government construction projects in Northeast Ohio.
  • Represented design/build contractor and drafted form contractual documents including builder/owner agreement, builder/subcontractor agreement, change order form/release and spreadsheet to monitor/prosecute/resolve change order issues.
  • Overturned defense verdict in multiday jury trial on Fraud and Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act claims brought against national homebuilder by homeowner seeking rescission due to alleged construction defects.
  • Represented Fortune 500 commercial contractor in multiple worksite injury claims.
  • Represented commercial subcontractor in the defense of claims related to the Fair Housing Act.
  • Represented homeowner in large construction defect case related to water infiltration and mold.
  • Represented architect in dispute over water infiltration at a large EIFS and brick clad apartment complex.
  • Represented architect and structural engineer in $30 million dispute related to the collapse of a three-story school wall.