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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


Regional Program Announcement: Trying a Construction Case

The previously scheduled regional one-day program on trial practice entitled Yes, You Can Try a Construction Case: Planning and Handling a Construction Case from Voir Dire to Closing Arguments” has been rescheduled from the earlier September and October dates. We will hold the West Coast, San Francisco program on March 4, 2016. We will announce the date of the New York program in January, 2016.  Please watch for announcements with the registration materials.


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 Trial Practice Subcommittee;
One cochair for the Green, Sustainability and Regulatory Subcommittee;
One cochair for the Membership, Diversity, and Outreach Subcommittee;
One cochair for the Publications, Website, Social Media Subcommittee, specifically dealing with the website.

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.


Construction Super Conference

The committee is pleased to announce that we have been approved to present six programs over the course of the Construction Super Conference to be held in San Diego between December 7 and December 9, 2015. These programs are “The New AAA Industry Rules,” “Ethics in Alternative Dispute Resolution,” “Top Ten Ways Contractors Overstate Claims,” “Offshore Wind Farms— Emergence of Maritime / Admiralty Law and Construction Law,” “Cyber Security: How to Avoid Becoming the Next Contractor that Sets Off a Target-like Hacking,” and “The ‘Common’ But Unmanifested Defect: Implications of the Growing Construction Defect Class Action Movement.” Each of these programs will be presented by a highly experienced panel including many of our members. Further information and registration information can be obtained from the Construction Super Conference. We look forward to our members joining us during the conference for these and other highly topical programs and tremendous networking opportunities.

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: Winter 2015 Newsletter

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

Message from the Chairs

Dear Construction Litigation Committee Members:

We are pleased to announce that we have been reappointed as cochairs of the Construction Litigation Committee for the 2015-2016 bar year. This past year the Committee was able to accomplish a number of goals, providing valuable benefits to the members, including the presentation of multiple programs at the Construction Super Conference, the presentation of two programs at the Section Annual Conference and one workshop and a breakfast program at the Spring Annual Meeting of the Forum on the Construction Industry, a presentation of our first Round Table, the planning (unfortunately the actual presentation date was pushed back) for our regional programs on Trying a Construction Case, and most importantly the final publication of the second edition of the Construction Litigation Model Jury Charges.

While we are still in the process of developing full schedules for our activities and member benefits for 2015-2016, we have already scheduled a number of events: the New York City presentation of “Trying a Construction Case” will occur on September 9, 2015 and the San Francisco presentation is presently scheduled for March 4, 2016; we are again approved and will be making up to five program presentations at the Construction Super Conference to be held in San Diego on December 7-9, 2015; we are co-sponsoring the Forum on Construction Law’s Mid-Winter meeting and actively participating in the presentation of a plenary session entitled “Our Project Manager (and Key Witness) Just Left for our Biggest Competitor!” to be presented on January 21, 2016 (please go to the forum’s website for further information on the mid-winter meeting and membership discount information regarding the Program); and we are in the process of developing program proposals for the next Section Annual Conference, in Chicago on April 13-15, 2016. In addition to these events and programs, we are working on developing additional Round Tables as well as Sound Advice columns. If you have any ideas for a Round Table or Sound Advice program or are interested in participating in one, please contact us.

We are pleased to announce some changes among the subcommittee chair positions. As previously announced, Ken Levin will be chairing the newly formed Trial Practice Subcommittee. If you are interested in joining that subcommittee and participating in its activities, (you can review a description of the subcommittee above), please contact Ken. Karoline Jackson (Kari), in the Indianapolis office of Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, has been appointed as a cochair of the Programs Subcommittee. Joyce Hackenbrach of Philadelphia has been appointed as the chair of the Green, Sustainability and Regulatory Subcommittee. We are still seeking subcommittee chairs and look forward to hearing from you if you have interest in the Green, Sustainability, and Regulatory, the Membership, Diversity and Outreach (replacing Ken Levin), or the Website-Social Media Subcommittees, or want to be cochair of the Publications/Website/Social Media Subcommittee. Please contact either of us to express your interest in fulfilling one of these open subcommittee chair positions.

As always, we welcome your participation through articles for the newsletter or website, as well as your expressions of interest in speaking possibilities, active subcommittee involvement, and the development Round Tables and Sound Advice. Our goal is to provide our members with both the highest quality benefits, programs and publications as well as the opportunity to participate in programs, publications and other committee activities.

We look forward to working with you over the course of the bar year and welcome any comments or suggestions.

David Kurtz and Jim Landgraf

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 Cochairs Newsletter Editors

James Landgraf

Cherry Hill, NJ

M. David Kurtz

New Orleans, LA

Jeanne Barnum

Cherry Hill, NJ

Karen Layng

Countryside, IL

Web Editor

Patrick J. Greene, Jr.

River Edge, NJ



Bob Cox

Tysons Corner, VA

Eric Sparks

Chicago, IL