Advising and counseling our clients through every phase of even the most complex construction matters is what differentiates the lawyers in Gould & Ratner’s Construction Practice. As a group, our lawyers possess a unique blend of negotiating and drafting acumen, technical expertise, construction industry experience, and trial and arbitration skills.
Our lawyers are able to provide comprehensive services in all construction-related matters from the bidding, negotiation and drafting phase through project construction, and, in the event of a claim which cannot be settled, our experienced trial lawyers can litigate or arbitrate the claim.
Our Clients and Experience
Gould & Ratner represents developers, owners, large and small contractors, construction managers, design-builders, trade contactors, architects, and engineers. The firm has been involved in numerous projects throughout the country, including convention centers, bridges, government buildings, high-rise buildings, commercial office centers, coal-gasification sites, hospitals, parking structures, residential communities, schools, apartment complexes, retirement communities and nuclear power plants.
Our involvement in our clients’ construction matters begins well before ground-breaking. By counseling our clients in preconstruction matters, we can help prevent problems from occurring or minimize the consequences of any problems which develop early in the project. Our technical knowledge and practical construction experience enables us to provide counsel during the construction phase of the project.
While our construction lawyers do everything possible to assist our clients in preventing claims, when they do arise, we use our extensive knowledge and experience to work with our clients to analyze the costs and likely outcome of the claim, developing a strategy which, in some instances, may include a form of alternative dispute resolution, resolving the claim in an expeditious and cost-effective manner prior to litigation/arbitration.
When an issue arises that cannot be settled out-of-court, our experienced trial lawyers aggressively represent a client's claim through litigation or arbitration in both state and federal courts. Our involvement with our clients from before a project begins through its completion provides a cost-effective means to identify and prevent problems during the construction process resulting in a better outcome for all of the involved parties.
- Represented a joint venture in connection with an action seeking insurance coverage for damages occurring during construction of a municipal water plant.
- Represented contractor in connection with claims for changes and delay in the renovation of a wastewater treatment plant.
- Represented a major Midwest aggregate and construction material producer in a case that alleged construction defects in the exterior and interior of a 51-story residential building in downtown Chicago, Illinois. After substantial fact and expert discovery, we obtained an order of summary judgment in favor of our client.
- Represented a client involved in bidding on a public project – an addition to a grade school in Lyons School District. Our client was awarded the bid by Lyons and another contractor objected on the basis that its bid was approximately $34,000 lower. The arbitrator awarded the project to our client agreeing with our position that the competitor engaged in unfair tactics by substituting cheaper materials than were required by the bid documents.
- Represented a steel manufacturing company in a suit alleging defects in steel beams sold for use in the construction of a nuclear power plant. The jury found in favor of our client on all fraud and punitive damage claims
- Represented a cooperative building corporation which owned a high-rise residence in Chicago. As a result of certain design and construction defects pertaining to the roof, substantial water damage occurred. Obtained a settlement from the contractor and architect, as well as the insurance companies involved, which provided sufficient funds to repair all the damage and clean up the environmental problem.
- Represented an aggregate construction material producer, which had designed and constructed a commercial parking garage at the Apparel Center in Chicago, Illinois. The garage’s owner filed suit alleging construction defects. We settled the case on a favorable basis for our client on the eve of trial. Following the settlement, we obtained a judicial declaration of insurance coverage for the settlement and attorneys’ fees; the declaration withstood the insurance company’s appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court.
- Prepared a contract to be used by one of the largest health care providers in the country on all of its construction projects. The use of this contract substantially lessened claims.
- Lead trial counsel for owner in litigation involving, among other things, responsibility for construction defects at a multi-million senior development. Successful in developing a litigation strategy which led to the settlement of all of the litigation claims on terms acceptable to the owner during the trial.
- Lead trial counsel for a contractor in successful litigation with a public utility responsible for the contamination of a coal gasification site. A multi-million dollar award was obtained.
- Retained by the general counsel of a publicly traded company to conduct a “peer review” of a national law firm to assess the quality and cost of representation as well as analyze merits of a lawsuit to recover in excess of $20 million for alleged breaches of construction and service contracts for modifications to a nuclear power plant.
- Lead trial counsel representing the plaintiff joint venture in a claim for recovery of the contract price, plus the value of certain extra work, relating to a bridge over the Chicago River. Much of the work was done pursuant to oral change orders. The matter was settled before trial, after the City of Chicago agreed to pay the entire amount claimed by the plaintiff joint venture, including the amounts for extra work.
- Represented the contractor who was retained in connection with the renovation of the HVAC/temperature control system and its conversion to digital controls at a federal building. Prepared a claim for the contractor for unfinished work, unabsorbed overhead, change orders and delay against GSA. After extensive discovery concerning those issues, the claim was settled on favorable terms for our client before the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals.
- Lead counsel representing a general contractor in negotiating and reviewing the contract documents in connection with a $118-million, 1-million-square-foot convention center project in Seattle. At the conclusion of the construction contracts, prepared claim that was developed as a result of design deficiencies and schedule impacts, resulting in numerous change orders. The settlement structure for the claim totaled $60 million and was agreed to at a mediation hearing before litigation.
- Lead trial counsel for owner in litigation involving, among other things, responsibility for construction defects at a multimillion-dollar senior development. Successful in developing a litigation strategy that lead to the settlement of all of the litigation claims on terms acceptable to the owner during the trial.
- Lead trial counsel for a contractor in successful litigation with a public utility responsible for the contamination of a coal gasification site; obtained a multimillion-dollar award.
- Represented general contractor in connection with the construction contracts for a $90-million project for the construction of the high-level approaches and center span for a bridge crossing south of St. Petersburg, Fla. The bridge is the world’s largest cable-stayed pre-cast segment concrete-span bridge and the second-largest concrete-span bridge in the world. All claims, including claims for change orders and extra work, were settled before completion of the work.
- Represented an electrical subcontractor in the negotiation of a multimillion-dollar subcontract for the electrical work on the construction of the McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago. The project involved negotiation of the specific subcontract, as well as a review of the contract between the design builder and the owner of the project.
- Represented the general contractor in a $36-million project constructed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A multimillion-dollar claim was driven by incomplete plans, wrongful interpretation of the clean-down specifications, faulty owner-furnished design criteria for an equipment support system and a claim for acceleration. The claim was settled prior to a hearing before the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals.
- Represented subcontractor in perfecting and prosecuting its multi-million dollar mechanics lien claim on a high-rise construction project in Chicago.
- Represented a Fortune 500 company in defense against a mechanics lien.
- Represented owner in dispute involving construction defects and breach of warranty claim.
- Represented subcontractor in dispute involving an alleged joint venture for high-rise construction project.
- Represented national contractor in dispute involving alleged construction defect of municipal water plant.
- Represented subcontractor in breach of contract claim on high-rise construction project for acceleration damages.
- Underground surprises: When You Find Human Remains or Culturally Significant Artifacts on Your Construction Site, Stop, Call and Preserve, Law360, February 23, 2017
- Identifying "Acts of God" in the Age of Climate Change and Political Upheaval, Construction Update, April 2016
- Substituting a Bond to Remove a Mechanics Lien, Construction Update, April 2016
- Don't Get Trapped in the Coverage Gap: Additional Insured Under Commercial General Liability Policies - Recent Developments, GR Client Update, May 2014
- Pay-if-Paid Clause Held to Be Enforceable as a Contract Defense, Construction Bulletin, March 2014
- Evolution of Insured Endorsements, Construction Bulletin, February 2014
- Endorsement Forms Reduce Coverage & Owner Protected from Mechanics Lien, Construction Bulletin, June 2013
- Illinois Department of Revenue Releases Guidance on Exemption Certificates, Construction Bulletin, June 2013
- How to Handle Unexpected Archaeological Finds on the Job Site, Construction Dive, February 9, 2017
- The Dotted Line: How to Negotiate the Construction Bidding Process and Avoid a "Real Nightmare", Construction Dive, September 13, 2016
- Four Challenges to Repurposing Office Campuses, Law360.com, August 25, 2016