JONATHAN J. DUNN
Mr. Dunn concentrates his practice in construction law, government and public contracts, creditor’s rights and complex commercial law matters, including real estate, collections and bankruptcy. Mr. Dunn has over twenty years’ experience in addressing complex legal and factual matters, especially those that arise out of construction disputes and defaults on federal, state (public works) and private construction projects in the United States. In particular, Mr. Dunn has significant experience in complex construction disputes, including performance, changes, administration, delay, impact, disruption, inefficiency, extra-work, design scope, errors and omissions, differing site conditions, false claims, bid-protests, subcontractor substitutions, and other construction claims.
Mr. Dunn also has numerous successes in complex commercial and bankruptcy / creditor cases, including collections involving fraud, trusts, family limited partnership and other asset-shielding devices, workouts - pre-bankruptcy and post-petition, fraudulent transfers and preferences, indemnity, pre-judgment remedies (writs of attachment, restraining orders, preliminary injunctions) and other collection issues.
Mr. Dunn has successfully represented clients in trial, litigation, arbitration, and mediations, and handles a multitude of complex commercial litigation, construction and bankruptcy matters at any given time. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Dunn was a senior partner at Sedgwick LLP, and in-house counsel for two national bonding companies, where he had management responsibilities for various construction and commercial default matters in the Western United States. Prior to practicing law, Mr. Dunn was an active participant in his family’s construction business.
- Seattle University School of Law, J.D., 1992.
- University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), B.A. Economics, 1989.
- California, Washington State (inactive), United States Supreme Court, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, various United States District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts in California, United States Claims Court, and United States District Court, District of Arizona
Results & Representative Matters:
- Defended surety in multi-million dollar month-long delay and termination jury trial, where the jury found the principal defaulted, but awarded no damages against the surety. In interviews afterward, the jury commented the surety was “blindsided and blameless.” (2013).
- Tried a number of cases, including a unanimous jury verdict (12-0) regarding a multi-million dollar contested construction dispute and delay case involving mechanical piping work on a water treatment plant for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, where the client received its damages, costs and fees, and the opposing party received nothing (2013).
- Bankruptcy court trial finding exception to discharge judgment for fraudulent transfers in in the Central District of California in a case involving fraudulent transfers.
- Assisted numerous clients establish entitlement and favorable cost terms for change orders on public, private, and government contracts, including entitlement to extra time, delay damages, omissions and deficiencies in plans and specifications, differing site conditions, conflicting utilities, increased security needs, constructive and other changes, and pursuit of government code claims, administrative claims, and contractual pre-claim requirements.
- Obtained orders for preliminary injunction, temporary restraining orders, writs of attachment, and other prejudgment remedies in creditor / collection litigation matters, including an emergency TRO after serving a defendant in line to depart from the airport with the assistance of TSA officers after the defendant denied his identity and sought to evade service.
- Successfully argued Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Contractors Equipment Maintenance Company, Inc., v. Bechtel Hanford, Inc., Slip Copy, 2005 WL 2033307 (unpublished opinion), on challenging the issue of attorneys' fees awarded in a District Court matter.
- Victorious in appeal against an equipment vendor's claim on a public work's payment bond. Pro-Cast Products v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., Ct. App., 4th App. Dist., No. E030462 (un-published opinion), 2002 WL 31484576; 2002 Cal. App. Unpub. Lexis 10291 (Nov. 7, 2002).
- Argued and obtained un-published opinions from United States District Court recognizing a client's priority in rights to millions of dollars in securities posted in lieu of retention vis a vis competing creditor claims by a contractor's lender, an issue without prior published precedent (Dec. 2001).
- Obtained entry of order for relief after partial trial of involuntary bankruptcy case, where debtor attempted to sell all assets and flee to Florida to take advantage of Florida's unlimited homestead exemption. In re Taha, C.D. Cal., Bankr. 2006, case no. SA05-13103 JR.
- Prepared prime contracts, purchase orders, subcontracts, employment / consulting agreements, and numerous other construction and debtor-creditor agreements, including an approved form for the California Associated General Contractors Association (AGC - California).
- Successfully negotiated millions of dollars in change orders, financing, takeover, tender, buy-out, work-out, completion and other agreements on favorable terms for clients in numerous transactional matters.
- Represented clients in private, JAMS, and American Arbitration Association (AAA) arbitration proceedings relating to various disputes, including performance of pipelines, delays, compliance with construction plans and specifications, and mitigation of damages.
- • Represented clients in subcontractor substitution hearings in California public works projects, in Department of Labor Standard Enforcement Hearings for alleged prevailing wage violations, and in various administrative and local public entity hearings arising out of construction agreements, including bid protests for city and county council and board hearings.
Recent Articles & Presentations:
- Article: "The Rumble in the Jungle: Letters of Credit, Bonding, and Default Insurance - Hedging Bets in a Roller-Coaster Market," The Construction Lawyer, American Bar Assoc., Fall 2012, vol. 32, No. 4.
- Presentation: Private conference of invited in-house counsel from EPC Design & Construction firms entitled "the Joint EPC In-House CLE Conference," in Kansas City, California's New Indemnity Laws, May 2012.
- Mr. Dunn presented at the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC-CA) Legal Advisory Committee retreat: "To Kill a Contractor: The Biggest Traps in California Public Contracts," Fall 2011.
- Mr. Dunn spoke at the 2011 American Bar Association Joint Midwinter Meeting of the Forum on Construction and TIPS Surety & Fidelity Law Committee in New York on the "scope of work," and also co-wrote a paper entitled "Defining the Remaining Scope of Work in the Surety's Investigation of a Performance Bond Claim: Hardly Elementary," published as part of the book entitled "When the Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Critical Construction Issues Facing the Performing Surety."
- Mr. Dunn spoke at the Associated General Contractors - Construction Financial Management Association annual meeting in Las Vegas in October 2010, on "Legal Tips on Profits: How to Keep Profits Growing on Green Jobs and Prevent Them from Bleeding Red."
- Mr. Dunn co-presented and co-authored a paper on the topic of "The New Reality in Getting Paid: Strategies for Managing Receivables from Owners with Thin Wallets," at the Pearlman Association Meeting in Seattle, Washington (September 2010).
- Mr. Dunn co-presented a webinar for the American Bar Association, Litigation Section, entitled "Are Those Your Fingerprints on the Prints? Litigating Responsibility Over Designs in Approved Shop Drawings as Between the Design and Construction Teams," in April 2010.
- Mr. Dunn co-authored the article entitled "So You 'Won' an ARRA Funded Project, Now What? Five Tips for Making Music with the Strings of ARRA," published in the AGC's California Constructor Magazine (April 2010)
- Mr. Dunn spoke in the fall 2009 for the American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry, in its regional education seminar on Schedules and Time Impact Issues; Changes and Differing Site Conditions in construction projects.
- Mr. Dunn is a regular periodic presenter of National teleconferences and webinars on "The Dilemma of Dealing with Bad Plans and Specifications …," "Differing Site Conditions," and various other topics presented through industry focused educational services (2008-2013).
- On several occasions, Mr. Dunn gave National teleconferences on "The Design Professional's Exposure for Design Errors and Omissions," presented through Lorman Educational Services (2008).
- Co-Author, "Letters of Credit in Construction Projects," Winter 2009 article in The Construction Lawyer. Mr. Dunn also spoke on this topic at the ABA Forum on Construction Law's annual meeting in 2008.
- Speaker at the 2007 Construction Super Conference (San Francisco), session entitled "Remedies for dealing with performance issues during an ongoing construction project - How will the new AIA or Consensus Docs help or hurt?"
- Speaker at the 2006 Construction Super Conference (San Francisco), session entitled "The Construction Project and Claims: Emerging Methods and Technology (Digital Representation, 3-D/4-D Modeling), and the 'Daubert' Challenge."
- Author and speaker on the construction process in all day seminar entitled "Real Estate Development from Beginning to End in California," a Lorman Education Services program.
- Author and speaker, California Government Code Claims against public entities: A Trap for the Unwary (2005), presentation to various clients.
- Author and speaker, 2006 paper published as part of the Western States Surety Conference, entitled: "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act: What You Need to Know," (May 2006).
- Numerous client in-house presentations on various topics, including enforcing creditor rights, pursuing construction related claims, and company compliance with regulations.
- Speaker and co-author, "Mega Claims: Help!, and Case Law Updates," Western States Surety Conference - Seattle, WA (May 2005) .
- Speaker, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Construction subsection of the Real Estate Section, re Current Issues in Surety Law (March 2005).
- Speaker, Aggressive Third-Party Tort Claims Against the Performing Surety, presented at a meeting of the Surety Claims Association of Los Angeles (Nov. 2002).
- Co-Author, "Discovery Sanctions as an Independent Case Strategy: An Alarming Trend in Litigation," Tort and Insurance Practice Committee News, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee Newsletter (Winter 2002).
- Co-Author, Ch. 10 of "California Mechanics' Liens and Related Construction Remedies," (3d Ed.), on Bond Claim Procedures, Attorney Practice Book published by California's Continuing Education (CEB) of the Bar, UCLA (2002 - 2013).
- Author, Ch. 10, Mechanics' Lien Discharge Bonds, "The Law of Miscellaneous and Commercial Surety Bonds," American Bar Association (2001, 2012).
Affiliations, Activities & Accomplishments:
Mr. Dunn is a member of the ABA’s Forum on Construction Law; the Legal Advisory Committee for the Associated General Contractors of California (AGC-CA); (former) vice-chair of the Fidelity & Surety Law Committee of the American Bar Association; the ABA’s Public Contract Law Section; the ABA’s Litigation Section; and the Orange County Bar Association (Construction Law and Commercial Law & Bankruptcy Sections). Mr. Dunn is also a certified mandatory fee arbitration arbitrator for the Orange County Bar Association for attorneys’ fee disputes.
Mr. Dunn has been named one of “OC’s Top Lawyers,” for Construction & Development, by OC Metro magazine in each of the years it has published a list of top lawyers (2009 – 2013), and is also listed in Continental Who’s Who.