Our Practices

Construction Law

To build anything one must properly prepare, carefully perform and timely execute delivery. The same is true for every construction project. All the interrelated components require coordination and allocation of risk so each party proceeds according to plan. As construction counsel, we provide counseling and representation during all project phases from procurement to delivery and/or dispute resolution in both public and private sectors.

Like all industries, the construction industry has realigned to adjust to the challenges of the financial and commodities markets. In order for projects to be successful, owners and contractors alike concentrate on properly planning to balance this claim-conscious environment. Each side is in search of securing more value for its investment. The same is true for the law firm you choose. Sills Cummis & Gross is that firm.

As construction counsel, we serve the client at various stages of the Project:

Project Delivery Systems
With a variety of delivery systems available to owners/developers, the first step is to determine the project delivery method, whether it will be traditional design-bid-build, multiple prime or the more integrated system of design-build. The choice of the project delivery system depends upon the nature of the project and the primary objectives of the owner/developer.

Contracts/Project Documentation/Risk Allocation
Throughout the years, we gained expertise in different methods of construction and the various contracts that aim to allocate the risk between the parties. From traditional design-bid-build to the more integrated design-build system, we have counseled owners and contractors during the bidding and procurement stages to best allocate risk.

Claims Avoidance
As counsel during the performance of the project, we assist the client in preparing and addressing potential claims in order to facilitate the resolution of claims before project delivery, while both sides remain vested in the project. Counseling during project performance can reduce the likelihood of the need for dispute resolution, litigation or arbitration post project delivery.

Delay/Defect Claims
In some instances, delay and defect claims are unavoidable. Our attorneys have a proven track record of successfully pursuing and defending claims in litigation and/or arbitration here and abroad.

Financial Structuring and Restructuring
Our legal team has provided representation in negotiation and documentation of financial structuring and restructuring for project funding.

Trial Advocacy
Our attorneys provide aggressive and cost efficient representation during litigation, arbitration and/or mediation. From international arbitration, state/federal litigation, to local arbitration/mediation, our construction team has litigated both large and small matters efficiently and effectively, evaluating and considering both the potential reward and the reasonable risk.

Surety Claims/Defense
We have successfully prosecuted and defended claims on behalf of and against sureties in connection with both performance and payment bonds.

The Sills Cummis & Gross Construction Law Practice Group attorneys have a proven track record of successfully handling domestic and international representations for our construction industry clients. The Group approaches all issues from both a business and legal perspective.  This enhances the value of our services, which are aimed at enabling our clients to control the risks associated with project construction and contain their exposure post-completion.

Global Reach with a Local Flavor
From energy plants oversees to domestic transportation projects, shopping malls, and redevelopment projects around the corner, our construction attorneys draw on a wealth of experience to guide your project through a successful course to completion. We will advise you of the risks and benefits associated with each of the choices you will face in the construction process, from procurement to completion.

Depending on your needs, our attorneys have the knowledge and ability to successfully handle any litigation or transactional matter that may arise. We take an innovative and aggressive approach to resolving disputes. Our goal is to serve our clients and assist them in achieving their objectives. Whether in litigation, arbitration or mediation, we persuasively present the dispute using the most sophisticated dispute resolution techniques to move the matter to a favorable resolution remaining ever mindful of the risk-reward matrix of each case.

We have successfully represented clients involved in construction disputes arising from industrial, commercial and residential projects in a variety of locales. These matters range in size from multi-billion dollar energy facilities to modest local developments. Even before a dispute arises, we help our clients structure legal proposals and advise them on relevant issues such as contracts, delivery, scheduling and cost control so they can avoid the issues that lead to litigation in the first place.

Expand All

Representative Matters

Power Projects

  • Representation of one of the world’s largest heavy machinery manufacturers in connection with international and domestic arbitration and litigation matters on large power station projects in the U.S., Europe, the Pacific Rim and South America.
  • Representation of an engineering, design and management services company in an arbitration involving a $4.3 million wrongful termination claim arising from the construction of a cogeneration facility at the GM assembly plant in Linden, New Jersey.
  • Representation of an EPC contractor in an arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce involving claims arising from the design and construction of a power plant.

Troubled Projects

  • Representation of a turbine manufacturer in the restructuring of two international power projects impacted by the Enron bankruptcy.
  • Representation of a major telecommunications company in a series of contractor bankruptcies that could have seriously impacted construction of its fiber optic network, crafting a unique structure to protect the client from subcontractor mechanic’s lien claims while allowing the projects to be completed without significant time impact from the bankruptcies.
  • Representation of a global engineering and construction firm as debtor in possession where the Chapter 11 proceeding was the result of thousands of personal injury claims arising from alleged asbestos exposure and negotiating resolutions of those claims with the claimants committee and insurance carriers that will allow the client to successfully reorganize.

Industrial Projects

  • Representation of an engineering project delivery company­ in multi-jurisdictional litigation and arbitration arising from $30 million in claims against the prime contractor and subcontractors related to a paper plant in Cape Girardeaux, Missouri.
  • Representation of an engineering firm in a dispute regarding ownership of design for biodiesel plants.
  • Representation of a baggage-handling system company in litigation arising from the installation of the luggage handling system at the Terminal One Project at JFK Airport in New York City.
  • Representation of major airlines in renovation and construction projects at airport locations.

General Construction

  • General counsel to several of New Jersey’s largest heavy road construction contractors and suppliers of construction materials, including asphalt and stone.
  • General counsel to large northeast regional specialty flooring contractor.
  • Representation of numerous trade associations in connection with the World Trade Center Disaster Site litigation.
  • Representation of the developer of a proposed sports arena in Newark, New Jersey in connection with advice on project delivery and cost control alternatives.
  • Representation of the electrical subcontractor in an arbitration involving over $9 million in claims arising from construction of the Elkton Federal Prison in Ohio.
  • Representation of the engineering consultant in an $8 million arbitration claim arising from an asbestos abatement project at the corporate headquarters of a major toy retailer.

Infrastructure Projects

  • Representation of a public transportation corporation in a $250 million cost overrun and delay dispute with the design/build contractor of the Southern New Jersey Light Rail System.
  • Representation of a general contractor for a public/private partnership for the Hudson County Light Rail in connection with preparing a legal structuring proposal.

In The News

In The News Items