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John C. Theiss

John Theiss leads the firm’s Government Contracts and the Construction & Design Professionals practice groups. Mr. Theiss devotes his entire practice to representing public and private owners, contractors, engineers, architects, and construction managers in matters related to government contracts, construction, design, and manufacturing. He works on federal and state public infrastructure construction contracts from multiple perspectives, including serving as Vice President of Administration and General Counsel for a large government contractor in New York City. John’s practice focuses on resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Part of his practice includes transactions; he drafts agreements and counsels parties through the financing, bidding, procurement, administration, and closing of projects. Mr. Theiss has significant experience helping parties interpret complex drawings and technical specifications.

Mr. Theiss also defends design-build and other prime contractors in arbitration and mediation relating to public and private projects across the U.S., including matters in California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Washington. John has considerable experience dealing with parties and projects located abroad. Just within the last few years, these projects or parties included those located in South America, Japan, Philippines, New Zealand, India, Guam, Diego Garcia, Kwajalein, the Marshall Islands, Vietnam, Canada, England, France, Monaco, Qatar, Iraq, and Hawaii. Mr. Theiss is trained and certified to serve on dispute review boards (DRBs).

Practice Highlights


Representative Disputes
  • Defended design-build prime contractor against claims in state court by fabricator and supplier of wind fairings for a major urban bridge. (2004)
  • Prepared and successfully negotiated settlement of design-build contractor claims for delays and lost labor productivity during structural steel demolition, fabrication and erection activities for a large urban power plant project. (2009)
  • Defended claims against prime contractor concerning the supply and erection of structural steel for construction of international airport facilities. (2007)
  • Prevailed in New Mexico arbitration defending a multi-national corporation/federal government contractor relating to U.S. Department of Energy design and manufacturing project. Plaintiff, a manufacturer of steel nuclear waste containers and also a multi-national corporation, asserted modified total cost claims against our client which were defeated entirely. (2010)
  • Completed a three-week arbitration in Los Angeles related to a dispute arising from a design-build agreement under California law. The arbitration focused on structural engineering experts regarding the design of large floating concrete components. (2008)
  • Represented design-build contracting firm in an international arbitration under the International Chamber of Commerce Rules of Arbitration in Paris. Assisted the client with the detailed claim preparations and prepared the initial Request for Arbitration and nomination. The claim related to the design and construction of a sulfuric acid plant in Peru, South America. The matter settled successfully. (2007)
  • Obtained order of dismissal for engineering firm sued in state court relating to construction project safety issues. (1998)

Representative Transactions
  • Representing major airline in $200 million GM/CM contract drafting and negotiations for the design and construction of airport facilities and baggage handling system. (2012)
  • Represented owner during the design and construction activities for a $75 million renovation of a historical landmark in New York City. Drafted custom bid documents and construction contracts. Drafted and negotiated general contractor-construction manager agreement. (2008)
  • Representing hospitals in drafting and negotiating integrated project delivery agreements. (Ongoing)

  • Settled favorably claims raised by client against European naval architecture firm for damages due to faulty design work. (2012)
  • Successfully settled matter in defense of architect for claims related to design of large mixed-use high rise hotel. (2012)
  • Defended claims against design-build contractor in state court relating to a $60 million renovation of urban public schools. (2002)

  • Representing manufacturer of airplane components in defense of claims. (Ongoing)
  • Representing manufacturer in in the in the prosecution and defense of claims related to fabrication of nuclear waste equipment under USDOE operations and maintenance agreement. (Ongoing)
  • Represented manufacturer in claims against prime contractor relating to large USDOE project on the East Coast. (2012)
  • Settled favorably all claims in defense of contract manufacturer sued by its distributor. Distributor had initiated several arbitrations and multiple federal court actions in various venues across the United States. (2011)
  • Prevailed in all defenses and counterclaims on behalf of an aerospace industry manufacturer in arbitration at the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) in London, under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules. Hearing was administered by the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), and subject to New York law and the International Bar Association (IBA)Rules on the Taking of Evidence in International Commercial Arbitration. (2009)


Representative Disputes
  • Representing contractor in prosecution and defense of claims relating to construction of nuclear waste facilities for the Hanford Site. (Ongoing)
  • Defending Miller Act claims on behalf of federal government contractor relating to shipments to India, Asia and the South Pacific Islands. (Ongoing)
  • Represented municipality in litigation against civil engineering firm for project funded by federal grants. (Ongoing)
  • Represented federal design-build contractor in prosecuting differing site condition claims against the client. (2012)
  • Prevailed in all delay and other claims on behalf of federal government takeover contractor versus the performance bond surety in arbitration in Honolulu, Hawaii. The client's claims related to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers military construction project in Hawaii. (2009)

Representative Transactions
  • Represented contractor in negotiations with public owner for the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of power generation equipment. (2013)
  • Represented federal government contractors for the U.S. Department of Defense for projects in Guam, Diego Garcia, Kwajalein, Hawaii and Afghanistan. (Ongoing)
  • Represented contractor during the fabrication and erection of rail tunnels in New York City, Seattle and Pittsburgh. Drafted contracts and provided advice under applicable federal and state laws. (2011)
  • Represented prime contractor on U.S. Department of Transportation project during design, construction, and program management activities for the $500 million expansion of port facilities. Assisted client with issues concerning the Federal Acquisition Regulations. (2005)
  • Represented prime contractor in a $250 million design and construction of water treatment facilities under a grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Drafted custom construction and construction management agreements and incorporated applicable terms and principles of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act and the Federal Acquisition Regulations. (2005)
  • Advised prime contractor for the U.S. Department of the Interior concerning the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act, the Davis-Bacon Act, and U.S. Department of Labor regulations. (2005)
  • Represented prime contractor during the bidding, performance and/or closing of large infrastructure projects, including work on: the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia, Newark Liberty International Airport, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in New York City, the New York City subway system, and the Consolidated Edison East River Power Plant in New York City. (1999-2004)
  • Represented contractor during construction of cold-processing plant in Alaska; prepared custom public design-build agreement in compliance with state and federal procurement regulations. (2004)

Professional & Community Activities

  • Current Member and former Steering Committee Member, Forum on the Construction Industry, Division 4, Project Delivery Systems, American Bar Association
  • Current Member, Dispute Review Board Foundation