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American Bar Association

Construction Litigation

Construction Litigation Committee


The Construction Litigation Committee strives to bring together litigators who primarily practice construction law. The committee sponsors programs on various topics at the Annual Meetings of the American Bar Association, the Section of Litigation, and the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. One of the Section of Litigation’s strongest committees, our membership brings together more than 2,100 construction litigators from diverse backgrounds, levels of experience, practices, and geographical areas. The committee offers its members varied opportunities to participate in committee activities ranging from opportunities to simply attend and network at its programs to the ability to substantively participate by publishing articles for the committee newsletter, contributing web content such as News and Development and Sound Advice, speaking opportunities, and leadership roles as active subcommittee members and chairs. It is our goal to provide our members with valuable content, benefits, and mentoring that will support all aspects of professional growth and development at every stage of their careers.


Join this Committee


Member Conference Call
There will be a committee conference call on November 2, 2016 at 3 p.m. CT/4p.m./ET. Please put this on your calendar and join us by dialing 866-506-1416 and using the pass code 504 566 5259.

We are looking for more member participation, especially from young lawyers, and we want to hear any ideas that you may have for the coming year. Please email us at jbarnum@schnader.com and/or dkurtz@bakerdonelson.com or share it with us on November 2.

Regional CLE Workshops

Construction Superconference, December 5 - 7, 2016
At the Wynn in Las Vegas, NV, CLC members will be presenting five of the more than 30 CLE programs offered and we encourage you to register and come. As a CLC member, you will receive a 20 percent discount on the registration fee. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Wynn for attendees. To find out more about the programs and register, click here.

West Coast Regional: “Trying a Construction Case”
Following on the success of our program in New York, “Yes You Can Try a Construction Case: Planning and Handling Construction Cases from Voir Dire to Closing Arguments,” the committee plans to hold the same program in San Francisco on Friday, January 27, 2017. We hope to see our committee members from the West Coast there. There are still a few speaker slots open. If you’re interested in participating, please contact our chair for that program, Scott Tate.

Sound Advice
Each month, CLC plans to post a Sound Advice on our web page on a topic of interest to our members. A SA is a 6-8 minute recorded message that is up loaded to the CLC web page. You can listen to a CLC SA by clicking here.

If there is a case, decision, statute, regulation or any other information that you would like to pass on to all members in the form of a sound advice, it is simple to do. Please contact Social Media Editor, Michael Zicherman at MZicherman@pecklaw.com.  
The CLC plans to publish its next Newsletter in February 2017. If you would like to be published, if there is an article that you would like to share with your fellow CLC members, please contact Bob Cox or Eric Sparks.
Articles should be from 1,500 to 2,000 words and can be on any topic related to construction law or the practice of law.

Subcommittee Chair Vacancies

The committee is looking to fill a few remaining vacancies for its subcommittee leadership positions.  Specifically, we are looking to fill the following subcommittee chair positions:

One cochair for the Green, Sustainability and Regulatory Subcommittee;
One cochair for the Membership, Diversity, and Outreach Subcommittee;

Please contact Dave Kurtz or Jim Landgraf to express your interest in filling any of these positions.


Formation of a New Trial Practice Subcommittee

The Construction Litigation Committee announces the formation of a Trial Practice Subcommittee. Chaired by Ken Levin of Pepper Hamilton in Philadelphia, this subcommittee will focus on developing articles, programs, Sound Advice recordings, and on litigation and trial practice involving construction practice issues. We anticipate that Ken and his subcommittee will address specific trial topics and techniques common in construction litigation including delay disputes, termination disputes, payment issues, and defects. They will work on developing further regional programs and roundtables focusing on best practices in handling these topics in court or ADR proceedings, as well as presenting trial technique articles for the website and newsletter for all construction attorneys from the novice to the 30-year practitioner. This is another opportunity for committee members to spread the word of their practice and expertise among our over 2,200 members and others. Please reach out to Ken to volunteer and offer your experience and thoughts as a member of this new subcommittee.

Model Jury Instructions for Construction Litigation

Model Jury Instructions

We are pleased to announce that the second edition of Model Jury Instructions for Construction Litigation is prepared to hit the “bookstores” any day, now! Updating the original book published in 2001, this edition supplies modifications to charges where the law has changed, and provides additional caselaw support where courts have issued new opinions and states that have now taken an opinon. As with the original edition, the instructions in this book have been prepared to allow construction litigators to present proposed instructions to the judiciary that either track verbatim these model instructions or are based upon the instructions.

These models accurately and impartially present the elements and critical definitions of construction law in language that is understandable and familiar to the average juror. The instructions allow for easy adaptation to particular cases or points. The instructions cover: contract formation, contractor’s obligations prior to bidding, bidding, implied terms of contract, changes and extra work, breach of contract, other types of claims, architect and professional liability, defenses, and damages general securities law, strict liability, negligence, fraud, accountants’ particular liability.

Get Involved

Involvement in our committee is a great way to keep your practice up-to-date and get more involved in the Section of Litigation. In addition to seeking contributions to our newsletter and website, we are looking for help with our subcommittees. If you think you might be interested in contributing an article, news & development, or case note; joining a subcommittee; or getting involved in leadership, please let us know.

Construction Litigation: Summer 2016 Newsletter

The latest edition of the Construction Litigation newsletter is now available.

Message from the Chairs

Dear Construction Litigation Committee Members:

The Construction Litigation Committee has several exciting events coming up!

Construction SuperConference
The Construction Litigation Committee is pleased to continue its relationship with the Construction SuperConference, which is being held at the Encore at Wynn in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada, December 5-7, 2016. This year the committee is presenting four programs:

  • Jury Selection in a Construction Case in the Era of Social Media: Who Do I Want, What Can I Do, and When Can I Do It? (Dec. 6, 11:15-12:30)
  • Physical Security in the Design and Construction of High-Risk Construction Projects (Dec. 6, 2:15-3:30)
  • Are Those Your Fingerprints on the Prints? (Dec. 6, 4:00-5:15)
  • Breaking Ground for Women in Construction: The Biggest Pool of Qualified Workers May Be Women (Dec. 7, 1:45-3:00)

We hope you’ll join us at the SuperConference and that you’ll plan to attend these programs. Even better, as a Committee member, you’re entitled to a 20 percent discount on the registration fee. Just enter the code “ABA” as you register online.
Check it out here: http://www.constructionsuperconference.com/

Planning Call
We didn’t hold the planning call when originally expected due to a series of conflicts, but the committee is still looking to plan its activities for the year. In anticipation of the Section of Litigation’s October planning meeting, we want to hear from you! To that end, we will hold a committee-wide conference call on October 5, 2016, at 4 p.m. EDT.

Phone: 800 784 0543
Password: 856 482 5728

West Coast Regional
Following on the success of our program in New York, “Yes You Can Try a Construction Case: Planning and Handling Construction Cases from Voir Dire to Closing Arguments,” the committee plans to hold the same program in San Francisco on Friday, January 27, 2017. We hope to see our committee members from the West Coast there. There are still a few speaker slots open. If you’re interested in participating, please contact our chair for that program, Scott Tate.

For the balance of this year, and heading into the 2016-2017 ABA year, we are looking for newsletter articles. Our next issue is scheduled to be published in October, so we are gathering articles now. If you have ideas please reach out to Bob Cox or Eric Sparks.

Round Tables and Sound Advice
We are always interest in presenting more Round Table conference calls and Sound Advice recordings on matters of interest to construction litigators. If you have interest in participating in either or if you have any ideas for either, please contact Jeanne Barnum or Dave Kurtz.

Jeanne Barnum and David Kurtz

Cochairs, Construction Litigation Committee




Minutes from Committee Meetings



Our active subcommittees include:

  • Courts, In-house Counsel, and Liaison to ABA Forum and ABA Sections
  • Damages, Defects, Scheduling and Experts
  • Green, Sustainability, Regulatory
  • Insurance and Surety Claims


  • Mediation, Arbitration, Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Membership, Diversity and Outreach
  • Professional Education and Ethics
  • Publications, Website, Social Media

Find contact information for committee and subcommittee chairs:




Construction Litigation Leadership

Cochairs Vice Cochair Newsletter Editors

Jeanne Barnum

Cherry Hill, NJ

M. David Kurtz

New Orleans, LA

Karen Layng

Countryside, IL

Web and Social Media Editor
Michael Zicherman

River Edge, NJ



Bob Cox

Tysons Corner, VA

Eric Sparks

Chicago, IL