Quinn emanuel trial lawyers

Construction Litigation

Introduction Print

We have deep experience representing land owners, developers, lenders, investors, tenants, operators, engineers or other construction professionals in high value construction disputes including construction defect class actions. Complex construction, engineering, and architectural disputes often are complicated, expensive and frustrating—multiple parties, millions of documents, technical issues that are hard to simplify and explain, and numerous lay and expert witnesses grappling with it all.  We bring order to the chaos. We move aggressively to create a workable strategy early in the case focused upon the business objectives of our client. We focus on what matters to the exclusion of what does not. 

Our firm is known for our trial prowess.  The same is true in construction cases.  This not only provides our clients an advantage if a case is tried, but it also provides leverage in achieving optimal settlements.   

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Recent Representations Print

  • We represent an African National Oil Company (NOC) in three large construction arbitrations:

    1) An arbitration in relation with the construction and exploitation of an oil and gas plant. The dispute arose out of additional costs allegedly incurred by the contractor during the execution of the project. The dispute exceeds USD 310 million and relates to an infrastructure project which value is in excess of USD 1.7 billion. The seat of the arbitration is Paris.

    2) An arbitration initiated against a French multinational company of the energy industry specialized in project management, engineering, and construction. The dispute pertains to delays in a contract for the rehabilitation and adaptation of a refinery in North Africa. The seat of the arbitration is Geneva and the language is French. A parallel procedure was filed also with the ICC by the French company. Consolidation was requested and obtained. The amount claimed is in excess of EUR 1.8 billion.

    3) An arbitration initiated by a European global company specialized in defense and aerospace. The dispute relates to two EPC contracts for the installation of security systems designed to ensure the security of pipelines and revolves around scheduling and delays. The seat of the arbitration is Paris.

  • We represent several Brazilian insurers in an ICC arbitration in Geneva regarding the alleged breach of a NDA in the context of a coverage dispute relating to the construction of a hydroelectric facility known as Jirau, located in Brazil.  French law applies.

  • We represent an Italian energy company in an ICC arbitration against the Republic of Albania.  The dispute arose out of a concession agreement for the construction of a power plant in Albania.  The dispute stems from respondent’s refusal to provide refunds for taxes paid by the claimant and the imposition of additional taxes on them, as well as repeated lengthy tax audits and penalties.

  • We represented an energy company in a breach of contract dispute with a supplier that contractually committed to build a plant to produce materials needed for our client to create and supply its customers with energy. The supplier failed to construct the plant by the contractual deadline, and in further breach of the parties’ contract attempted to instead supply the required materials from other plants located in areas around the world that entailed high levels geopolitical and economic risks.

  • One of our partners represented a group of defendants in a highly publicized dispute in connection with the project to rebuild the Soviet-era Moskva hotel just off the Red Square. The dispute involved a multi-party Cyprus litigation and a number of separate LCIA arbitrations. The value of each of them was over US$2 billion. We dismissed injunction in Cyprus, took a novel approach to challenge LCIA's jurisdiction (which led to the termination of the proceedings against our clients in Cyprus), removed one of the clients (a prominent Russian businessman) and a key claimant from the proceedings, obtained a multimillion dollar counter security for arbitration costs, etc. The arbitration took almost 5 years, and the Tribunal ruled in favor of our clients. 

  • One of our partners acted for a major international construction and real estate company in a construction case against a prominent CIS holding, involving a complicated contractual structure and an ICAC arbitration (the value of the dispute exceeded US$100 million). The dispute arose out of construction of a major sport facility for an international sport event in a CIS country. We threatened to launch proceedings in the West against the UBOs of the opponent, and the matter settled on terms favorable to the client.

  • One of our partners represented one of the largest Russian shipyards in an SCC arbitration regarding an alleged breach of several construction contracts with a Scandinavian counterparty.

  • One of our partners represented a major international company on a construction dispute against a Russian counterparty which involved an ICC arbitration and a number of Russian proceedings. Among other things, we obtained the first-ever security from a Russian court over a state-owned land plot in the center of Moscow in support of the ICC construction arbitration, which led to prompt payment from the adversary after the tribunal ruled in favor of the client.

  • One of our partners represented a major foreign engineering conglomerate in construction disputes relating to contracts in Russia, including a multimillion ICC arbitration and related Russian proceedings regarding construction and fit-out works in a business center in Moscow.

  • One of our partners advised a U.S. luxury hotel company in a dispute with a leading Russian real estate group owned by a prominent Russian billionaire. The dispute was connected with operation of a luxury hotel in Moscow and was developing towards a Stockholm arbitration and several court proceedings in Russia against the counterparty, its affiliates and third parties. 

  • One of our partners acted as an arbitrator in an ICC arbitration concerning the construction of a large oil refining plant in Eastern Russia. Claims and counterclaims were around $100 million.

  • We are representing a Russian company in a dispute with a German contractor arising out of construction of a $1 billion modern plant in Russia. The dispute involves ICC and SCC arbitrations which deal with almost every issue of construction project (quality of project documentation and works, delays in implementing the project, penalties for breaches, termination issues, etc.).

  • We represent a US-owned Rwandan company in ICC arbitration proceedings against engineering and construction companies concerning the construction of a gas extraction facility and associated electricity generation plant.

  • We are acting for a South East Asian based contractor in connection with a dispute arising from the alleged repudiation of a contract for the construction of large-scale processing modules for an LNG plant. The repudiation arose when the employer sought to remove the work on the grounds of delay (LCIA London).

  • We won a complete dismissal for UniCredit of all claims brought against it in a long-running real estate dispute.

  • We represented Pontiac Land in a $1.6 billion arbitration dispute against Hines and Whitehall over a construction project in New York City, and obtained a favorable settlement in its dispute.

  • We advised Dubai Ports World (“DPW”) in negotiating an optimal settlement with the Republic of Yemen and its state-owned company the Yemen Gulf of Aden Ports Corporation (“YGAPC”), whereby the U.A.E.-based port operator recovered 80% of the value of its claims and divested its entire interests in the troubled joint venture company established with Yemen and YGAPC to develop, operate, and manage two container terminals in Aden, Yemen.

  • We represented Infinity World, a subsidiary of Dubai World, one of the world’s largest holding companies, in its dispute against MGM MIRAGE over the funding of the $8.5 billion CityCenter project in Las Vegas. A little over one month after we filed a complaint against MGM in the Delaware Chancery Court, MGM and CityCenter’s lenders capitulated to Dubai World’s demands. MGM agreed to fund its remaining equity contributions, to be solely responsible for potential cost overruns, and to pledge additional collateral as security for its funding obligations. CityCenter’s lenders agreed to fund the full $1.8 billion promised under CityCenter’s senior credit facility.

  • More than a week after trial began, after having no prior involvement in the case, we assumed the role of lead trial counsel for Caruso Affiliated Holdings, a Southern California developer of “lifestyle” shopping centers, against General Growth Properties, the nation’s then-second largest mall developer. Our client alleged interference with prospective business relations based on threats General Growth made against a prominent nationwide restaurant chain to discourage the chain from becoming an anchor tenant in Caruso Affiliated’s new shopping center across the street from the super-regional mall in Glendale, California owned by General Growth. We obtained jury verdict of $89 million, $15 million of which was punitive damages.

  • We represented Hot Creek Developers in a breach of contract action against the Town of Mammoth Lakes. It was for breach of a statutory development agreement under California law executed in 1997. Our client had agreed to invest millions of dollars to improve the infrastructure at the Mammoth Yosemite Airport. In exchange, our client received the right to construct a 250 unit hotel and residential condominium project on 25 acres at the airport, along with an option to purchase the property. In 2004, the Town told our client that the project could not proceed and the option to purchase would not be recognized because of objections by the FAA pursuant to the Town’s FAA grant assurance contracts. Because satisfaction of FAA grant assurance objections was not a condition of the contract, this was a repudiation and breach. The jury agreed and awarded our client $30 million.

  • We represented KB Home in one of the largest arbitrations in its history, with claims collectively valued at over $1 billion, in an action brought by Focus South Group seeking to halt development of a 1,940-acre planned community in Henderson, Nevada. We successfully defeated claims seeking specific performance and damages in excess of $520 million against KB and its co-respondents. We also represented KB in a series of 14 related lawsuits brought by JPMorgan in connection with an additional $585 million financing and in involuntary bankruptcy proceedings against the Nevada LLC developer, which were initiated by JPMorgan.

  • We represented a real estate developer in a dispute with its joint venture partner/contractor regarding structural defects in a substantial condominium project.

  • We represented Penn National Gaming and its subsidiary in a civil rights lawsuit against Columbus, Ohio in an effort to proceed with a constitutionally authorized casino development in the City of Columbus. After threatening to withhold water and sewer services to any casino development, on the eve of a preliminary injunction, the parties settled with a multi-million dollar payment to the client and agreement to provide water and sewer services for the development going forward.

  • We represented Penn National Gaming and its subsidiary in a dispute with land owners over a casino development in Kansas. We obtained summary judgment on the $47.5 million dollar claim and an award of attorneys fees, affirmed by the Tenth Circuit.

  • We represented Parsons-Dillingham, a joint venture between Parsons Corporation and Dillingham Construction, in a long-running dispute with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority in connection with the Dillingham construction management of the Red Line subway line in Los Angeles.

  • We represented GE Energy in a suit brought by the New York Power Authority claiming in excess of $75 million in damages arising out of the construction of an electrical generating plant.

  • We represent Fannie Mae in a dispute resulting from a landslide under an apartment complex in Southern California. The issues involve scope-of-repair questions, unreimbursed impairment to the security and potential insurance coverage shortfalls. 

  • We represent a Southern California real estate developer in a dispute with a national developer over a parcel of property the two entities contracted to develop. The issues involve the parties’ obligations under the development agreements in light of changing economic circumstances.

  • We represent a national mall developer in a dispute with two trade contractors over alleged deficiencies in systems that were installed at a mall site in Southern California.

  • We represent the owner of a steel factory in Algeria in an ICC arbitration arising out of the construction of a turnkey factory which was never completed. The issues involve the scope of the parties obligations under the turnkey contract and the application of the arbitral agreement to parties who did not sign the arbitral agreement but actively took part in the performance of the turnkey contract. The amount claimed is in excess of $300 million.

  • We obtained a $15 million settlement in a real estate dispute involving large, multi-use development in Los Angeles County.

  • We represented Marine Power & Equipment Co. and the State of Washington arising out of a design and build contract for six 300-plus foot ferries. The principal allegation was that the State ordered changes to the design but sought to avoid paying the additional costs associated with the change orders. We settled the case for $3 million.

  • We represented GE Energy in a suit brought by Calpine claiming that the $28 million termination fee for canceling a contract to purchase a combined cycle gas turbine for a power plant was an unlawful and unenforceable “penalty.” We settled the case on satisfactory terms for GE.

  • We represented a real estate company responsible for the development of major commercial structures in downtown Los Angeles in a dispute of the alleged right to share in the profits of such ventures. After bifurcated jury and judge trials, we settled the case on grounds favorable for the client.

  • We represented Jacobs Engineering in related domestic and international arbitrations involving alleged defective design and manufacture of a semiconductor facility located in the south of France. We obtained an award exonerating Jacobs from liability and awarding costs and attorneys’ fees.

  • We represented the Parsons Corporation in an ICC international arbitration in Lima, Peru, arising out of the construction of a large multi-purpose development in Lima. We successfully limited plaintiff to the minimum contractually agreed upon damages.

  • One of our partners represented the New York State Housing Finance Agency as lead counsel in a $150 million arbitration brought by Riverbay Corpover regarding alleged design and construction defects and delays in the building of seven huge multi-levels garages located in Co-Op City in the Bronx, New York. After a two-month long, politically charged arbitration, the panel rejected the owner’s primary claims, saving the State approximately $100 million.

  • One of our partners represented Inepar, a Brazilian-based construction and telecom company, in a surety dispute arising out of alleged construction defects and delays on two off-shore oil conversion platforms in the Campos Basin.

  • We represented Hanes Properties, a condominium developer, in a suit against a prominent civil engineering company over its failure to properly and timely perform their contractual obligations. After obtaining a jury verdict on all claims, including a finding of intentional fraud warranting punitive damages, the case settled for payment of the full jury award and all attorneys fees and costs incurred.

  • We obtained summary adjudication of $50 million in implied warranty claims asserted in claims action against KB Home based upon the waiver of all implied warranties included in KB Home sales documentation.

  • We represented the Los Angeles Times in a dispute over the design and construction of its state-of-the-art Los Angeles printing plant.

  • A member of our arbitration team was counsel for Sonatrach in an UNCITRAL arbitration against Repsol and Gas Natural arising from the termination by Sonatrach of a contract for an integrated project including the development of existing gas fields, the construction of a liquefaction gas plant and upstream facilities, and the commercialization of the liquefied gas. The Arbitral Tribunal held that the termination was valid, allowed Sonatrach to retain at no cost the works completed before the termination of the agreement, and dismissed the Respondents’ $3.1 billion counterclaim in its entirety.

  • A member of our arbitration team was counsel for Thales and Thales Naval S.A in an ICC arbitration in Paris against the Navy of the Republic of China and the Republic of China following the sale of six frigates by Thales to Taiwan in 1991. The amount claimed was in excess of $1 billion dollars.

  • One of our partners represented a multinational construction company in an ICC arbitration governed by Swiss law with the arbitration seated in Switzerland in a dispute arising from a joint venture agreement.


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