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Professional Liability

The attorneys at LMM have an established track record of aggressively advocating for professionals in complex, high-stakes litigation throughout California and beyond. Put simply, years of experience and successful results in trials and arbitrations position us to drive successful outcomes for our clients and their insurers. This reputational credibility is key to delivering value to our clients—the fundamental principle upon which our firm is based.

Our practice specializes in representing a diverse range of professionals, including:

  • • Architects
  • • Engineers
  • • Construction Managers
  • • Consultants
  • • Lawyers
  • • Real Estate Professionals
  • • Insurance Professionals

We aggressively defend our professional clients against claims when they arise and also provide a full suite of pre-claim risk management services with the goal of avoiding litigation entirely. We have decades of experience guiding clients through complex and contentious issues surrounding their practice, including:

  • • Early Case Evaluation and Claim Avoidance
  • • Professional Liability Defense
  • • Insurance Coverage Disputes
  • • Professional Disciplinary Proceedings
  • • Risk Management Training and Education

These years of experience have taught us one thing: a professional negligence claim is more than just a lawsuit. It is an attack on an individual or firm’s reputation and status as a licensed professional and needs to be treated accordingly by your attorney. We understand this important principle and put it to work each and every day for our clients.

Full Defense Award for Engineering Client in Oregon Arbitration. LMM Partner Steve Litchfield represented a national structural engineering firm in front of a panel of arbitrators for claims arising out of a commercial mixed-use mass timber project in Portland, Oregon. During construction of the project, an adjacent property owner alleged a loss of lateral support to its building as a result of the on-going construction, and specifically alleged that the structural engineer failed to take adequate steps to underpin and support the adjacent structure. The plaintiff sought more than $5,000,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees. After a three-week hearing, during which Steve cross-examined the plaintiff’s structural expert and elicited admissions about the appropriateness of the design, the panel issued a full defense award in favor of Steve’s client.

Successful Defense of Developer Claim. LMM Partner Liam Malone represented a geotechnical engineer sued by a developer related to claims by over fifteen homeowners related to allegations of deficient construction, design, and inspections. Originally, the developer sought over seven figures from Liam’s client. After two years of litigation and a successful Motion for Summary Adjudication, the developer agreed to pay Liam’s client over six figures- more than double what was contributed in settlement to obtain a waiver and release.

Affirmative Recovery After Defense of Claim for Prime Architect. LMM Partner Liam Malone represented the prime design architect in a Design-Build project for a new commercial center in Northern California. The Design-Builder sought $4 million in damages from Liam’s client. After winning multiple critical discovery motions, Liam was able to obtain previously withheld evidence that turned the $4 million suit into the Design-Builder paying Liam’s client mid-six figures.

Legal Malpractice Lawsuit Successfully Resolved at Trial. LMM Partner Mike McDonald recently represented a highly experienced attorney against a multimillion-dollar legal malpractice lawsuit. In what was a very challenging case involving admitted liability and significant claimed damages, Mike focused on attacking the plaintiff’s claims in expert discovery, through aggressive pre-trial motions to exclude key evidence and witnesses, and through effective jury selection to posture the case for a remarkably successful resolution on the third day of trial.

Arbitration Award for Civil Engineering Firm. LMM Partner Steve Litchfield represented a civil engineering firm suing for unpaid additional services for a residential development at a major California university. A significant counterclaim was filed against the engineering firm, and after multiple attempts at settlement were unsuccessful, a two-week arbitration went forward. Mr. Litchfield’s client recovered 90% of the fees sought, received a full defense award on the counterclaim, and was deemed the prevailing party, able to recover all of its attorneys’ fees and costs.

Resolution of Dispute Over Mining Water Treatment Plant. Approximately six months before the scheduled arbitration date, LMM Partner Steve Litchfield was retained to parachute in as counsel for an ENR Top 5 AEC firm in a $150 million arbitration arising out of the design of a complex water treatment plant adjacent to a mining facility in New Mexico. On the eve of arbitration, Steve negotiated and structured a settlement that allowed his client to maintain its commercial relationship with the claimant—a multi-national oil and gas company—without paying anything on the claim.

Resolution of Oil and Gas Dispute. LMM Partner Steve Litchfield represented an engineering firm seeking payment for additional services provided in the design of an oil and gas facility for a large oil resource company. The oil company countersued for more than $3 million in damages it alleged were incurred due to the engineering firm’s negligence. After protracted litigation, the matter was resolved with Steve’s client receiving payment for all of its claimed additional services while paying nothing on the counterclaim.

Successful Application of Design Professional “Completed and Accepted” Defense. In a successful application of the “completed and accepted” doctrine, the LMM team successfully defeated a contentious personal injury case involving professional negligence. Agreeing that the subject condition giving rise to the alleged injury was completed and accepted by the owner before the subject incident occurred, the court granted LMM’s Motion for Summary Adjudication and dismissed the plaintiff’s professional negligence cause of action. LMM Partner Mike McDonald was then able to leverage the successful ruling into a complete dismissal with prejudice of the plaintiff’s action against the client.

Dismissal of Cross-Complaint against Engineer. LMM represented a structural engineering client sued by the architect on a cross-complaint in a multi-million-dollar dispute related to a public works project in Santa Barbara County. After a multi-state investigation into the architect, LMM determined that the architect had failed to maintain its ability to transact business in California, had been dissolved in the state where it was formed, and thus had no standing to sue LMM’s client. Through novel motion practice, first to dismiss the architect’s cross-claims, then to dismiss the intervening insurer’s claims, LMM secured orders dismissing the case entirely as to their client.

Find Out How We Can Help

Contacting a Litchfield Malone McDonald attorney is easy and fast. We invite you to contact any of LMM’s attorneys directly using the contact information on their profile pages or by scheduling a consultation below. Our staff will typically respond to your inquiry within a matter of minutes and will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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