Call us today626.440.5200

Hunt Ortmann Palffy Nieves Darling & Mah, INC.

Menu

the cornerstone of construction law

Hunt Ortmann is one of the foremost authorities on California construction law, contracts, dispute resolution and litigation offering additional legal services in the areas of business and commercial law, employment matters and labor law compliance, real estate, insurance and suretyship.

receive the latest H+O Newsletter

Sign up now

Smart girls guide to construction law

Get Information

California-Mandated Training for Employers

Get Information

John D. Darling

SHAREHOLDER

phone626.440.5200

fax626.796.0107

email John | V-Card

print profile

Overview

Experience

John Darling is an effective senior commercial litigator with a nationwide practice focused on the resolution of construction and commercial real estate conflicts and on complex business litigation across numerous industry groups and business sectors. Mr. Darling has successfully represented large and small business entities, business owners and operators, construction companies and independent contractors and sub-contractors, financial institutions, and real estate investors and their affiliates. He serves as lead counsel on every case and efficiently manages a talented and well-respected team of attorneys who tirelessly support his clients’ efforts. A seasoned courtroom veteran, Mr. Darling has tried more than 100 cases throughout California and the United States.  Clients benefit from his keen understanding of what it takes to win at trial, whether in front of a judge or an impaneled jury. Mr. Darling is equally adept at alternative dispute resolution, with a significant portion of his clients’ successes coming from either mandatory or elective arbitration proceedings. Whether in court or out, Mr. Darling has adeptly handled everything from incidental matters to ones involving amounts in controversy exceeding  $150M. Mr. Darling has steadfastly partnered with clients to weather the unprecedented losses that the commercial real estate and construction industries experienced throughout the country, and particularly in Southern California during the Great Recession. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Darling owned a construction business,  giving him unique and valuable industry savvy and an intuitive business sense, all of which inform his counsel as he guides clients through damage and risk assessment while crafting a successful path forward. Mr. Darling regularly keynotes seminars and lectures on construction law topics for the Western Council of Construction Consumers, Associated General Contractors of California, the Los Angeles County Bar, and the Southern California Contractor’s Association. He has served as chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Subsection on Construction Law.

Education

  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D.
  • University of New Mexico, Bachelor of Arts

Bars + Courts

  • California
  • United States District Court of California, Northern
  • United States District Court of California, Southern
  • United States District Court of California, Western
  • United States District Court of California, Eastern
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
Practice Areas
  • Collection Actions
  • Business & Commercial Law
  • Disputes & Litigation, Commercial
  • Construction Consulting
  • Construction Contracts & Bid Documents
  • Disputes & Litigation, Construction
  • Insurance & Suretyship
  • Real Estate Law
  • Class Action Program (CAP)
Memberships
  • Los Angeles County Bar Association- Real Property Section and Construction Subsection Chair (2002-2004)
  • Southern California Contactors Association- Legislative Advisory Committee (2006-Present)
  • Santa Anita Soccer Club- Board of Directors (2010-Present)
Honors
  • Named 2019 Top Trial Attorney  by the Los Angeles Business Journal
  • Selected as Best Lawyer 2010 – 2019
  • Selected as Super Lawyer 2007 – 2019
  • AV Preeminent Rating 5.0 out of 5 – Martindale – Hubbell
  • Pasadena Top Attorney sponsored by Pasadena Magazine 2010 – 2014
  • Lorman Education Services Distinguished Faculty

Lorman Distinguished Faculty Member

Representative Work
  • Represented an owner of a 63-acre parcel in connection with a breach of lease case involving allegations of waste and defective seismic performance on behalf of the tenant. Obtained an award for the landlord in excess of $30 million dollars.
  • Represented an electrical contractor in a breach of contract proceeding seeking over $150 million dollars against a utility company.  The case was successfully settled prior to the commencement of hearings.
  • Represented local general contractor against a community college district in regard to a $34 million dollar new  campus construction.  The community college district agreed to settle the matter after only one week of a 4-week arbitration. Achieved a total recovery of nearly $15 million on behalf of the general contractor.
  • Represented a mechanical contractor on a high-profile $250 million concert hall project. Recovered $8 million for the client, which was the highest percentage of recovery among all contractors asserting claims on the project.
  • Represented both the general contractor and owner in a construction defect case arising from the construction of a 14-story high rise building in Hollywood.  The owner sought to recover damages in excess of $40 million dollars for subcontractors’ defective rebar and concrete work.  Obtained a successful settlement prior to trial.
  • Defended a large metropolitan water agency against contract termination claims of $30 million. Approximately one-half of the claims were resolved at mediation; the remaining claims proceeded to trial where the contractor recovered approximately 10% of the amount sought. The contractor’s claim was further reduced by substantial costs and expert witness fees recovered by the agency as a result of a statutory settlement offer that the contractor failed to accept. The litigation included issues regarding tunneling, alleged differing site conditions, propriety of contract termination, notice and waiver, and disputed methodology for determination of damages.
  • Represents a large hospital in connection with all of its ongoing construction projects, including with respect to litigation arising out of a large expansion project.  Before the project could be completed, a multi-million dollar litigation erupted involving the hospital, the general contractor, and a substantial number of subcontractors.  Successfully resolved the disputes between the hospital and all subcontractors.  The hospital and the general contractor will soon be trying their claims against each other in a judicial reference trial.  The general contractor seeks to recover in excess of $10 million dollars from the hospital.
  • Represented a real estate investor and developer in a lawsuit alleging breach of fiduciary duty and fraud against various defendants. Obtained a judgment for breach of fiduciary duty, and a separate judgment establishing fraud and awarding punitive damages. The case was tried as a complex matter in Orange County.
  • Represented the owner of a historic building in Venice, CA  defended against a million dollar mechanic’s lien claim brought by the general contractor. The owner countersued the contractor, subcontractors, and architect for defective work. After a 7-month long arbitration, the owner obtained an arbitration award in excess of $3 million dollars.
  • Represented a general contractor on a large student housing project at  a large public university.  The framing contractor sued the general contractor for $3 million, alleging delay and disruption.  The general contractor countersued for delay and back-charges.  Obtained a successful arbitration award against the framing contractor in excess of $2 million dollars.
  • Defended an HDPE pipe supplier against claims asserted by the general contractor of allegedly defective pipe installation and pipe fusing at a public works project in San Diego County. Obtained an arbitration award in favor of the pipe supplier after 6-week arbitration.
  • Represented a general contractor after it was sued for wrongful termination by a private school.  After a two-and-a-half-week arbitration, the general contractor recovered all of its damages and attorney’s fees. The net award was in excess of $2 million dollars.
  • Defended a property developer in a dispute arising from the construction of a sports facility near Downtown Los Angeles. The dispute involved claims alleging corporate malfeasance and excessive construction costs totaling over $30 million dollars.  Obtained dismissal of all plaintiff’s claims in successful pre-trial motion practice.
  • Defended a general contractor against over $10 million in claims of allegedly defective construction and resulting damages asserted by the owner of a very large custom home in Santa Monica.  The general contractor countersued seeking to recover the balance of its construction contract. After a three-and-a-half-week arbitration, the general contractor obtained an arbitration award in its favor together with attorney’s fees and costs.
  • Represented a Homeowner’s Owner’s Association in Beverly Hills alleging defective construction against a general contractor and several subcontractors. Obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for the HOA.
  • Represented a developer of a multi-story, multi-unit condominium project in Northern California.  The developer alleged defective construction involving several aspects of the project. The developer ultimately obtained a multi-million dollar settlement.
  • Represented one of the nation’s largest engineering and construction services firm and a subcontractor against a large general contractor for claims arising from a large construction project. Obtained a successful award in both clients’ favor after a multi-week arbitration.
  • Represented a plastering contractor in defense of a late public works bid withdrawal case brought by one of the nation’s largest design and construction firms.  The design firm alleged that the plastering contractor improperly withdrew its public works bid pursuant to the holding of Drennan vs. Star Paving.  After a week-long trial the contractor completely defeated the design firm’s claim by way of Court decision.
  • Represented a well-known art house in a fraud action against a well-known entrepreneur and businessperson for wrongful acquisition of art.  The case was successfully resolved.
  • Represented a publicly traded company and its affiliate defending against construction defect claims brought by owners of a condominium development. The matter was tendered to insurance defense counsel and is currently being litigated.
  • Successfully represented a civil and environmental engineering firm that sought to recover money due and owing arising from a general engineering contract. After a week-long arbitration the engineering firm recovered the full amount of its demand, prompt payment penalties, and attorney’s fees.
  • Represented an earthwork and paving contractor in a mechanic’s lien/breach of contract suit against a general contractor. After a week-long trial, obtained a judgment, together with attorney’s fees, in client’s favor.
  • Represented a structural steel contractor in a mechanic’s lien foreclosure action in San Diego. The owner claimed the structural steel contractor could not prove incorporation of its steel into the work of improvement.  After a week-long trial the Court found in favor of the structural steel contractor on all of its claims and awarded interest and attorney’s fees.
  • Represented general contractor in a dispute arising from a large public works grading project. The general contractor sought to recover back charges and cost overruns incurred as a result of alleged defective performance of its grading contractor. After a two-week arbitration the arbitrator ruled completely in the general contractor’s favor, but determined that it was improperly licensed and denied all recovery to the general contractor. Successfully reversed the arbitrator’s award in Superior Court and received full principal, interest, and attorney’s fees as a result.
  • Represented a window manufacturer and installer in connection with a foreclosure of a mechanic’s lien action. Client prevailed on all its claims after a successful 4-day trial.
  • Represented an owner/developer from a dispute arising out of a 60-acre development. The dispute involved claims of breach of management agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, and illicit insider dealings.  After many years of litigation the matter was successfully resolved in favor of the owner/developer.
  • Successfully represented large real estate developer on various projects in the state of California, both as an owner and through the developer’s construction entities.
  • Represented local general contractor in a number of matters, including in claims against publically-traded home improvement retailer.  Successfully negotiated a favorable settlement with the home improvement retailer.
  • Represented plaintiffs in a deed conveyance/fraud action involving a police murder investigation and allegations of coercion, wrongful deed transfers, and child abuse.  Obtained a successful judgment for plaintiffs after a lengthy trial.
  • Represented a local business in various aspects of its involvement with the second largest superfund site west of the Mississippi River. This representation involved civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, and efforts to develop the property notwithstanding the site’s superfund designation.
  • Represents a West Los Angeles property developer and owner of a high-end luxury hotel in Westwood. The general contractor sued the owner, alleging $3 million dollars in delay damages, and over $6 million dollars due and owing under the contract.  The owner has counterclaimed for defective work and lost revenues seeking damages in excess of $8 million dollars. The case is set to go to trial in summer of 2020.
  • Represents a Southern California general contractor in various matters, including one arising from the construction of a large public works project in Orange County. for the general contractor sued its subcontractor for defective rebar installation that caused cost overruns in excess of $1 million dollars. Prevailed in the bench trial portion of the case, which took place in the first quarter of 2019. The jury trial portion of the case takes place in the Fall of 2019.
  • Represents a partner/shareholder in various real property assets in Southern California and New Orleans. The plaintiff has alleged breach of fiduciary duty. The partner/shareholder has counterclaimed for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and punitive damages. The case is going to trial on December 2, 2019 in Los Angeles County.
  • Represented the heirs of a probated estate wherein an owner of a development constructed by the probated estate alleged defective construction. The case was settled in favor of the heirs.
  • Represented a concrete subcontractor on a money-due-on-contract claim. The owner cross-complained for defective work, alleging that the concrete was improperly laid and discolored.  After a 5-day trial, the court awarded full principal and interest to the concrete subcontractor.
  • In addition, Mr. Darling has represented clients involved in every aspect of construction from private developers, public entities, general contractors, subcontractors, as well as material suppliers. He has represented parties on construction projects in various aspects of disputes arising from construction projects, including to defective work claims, delay and disruption, scope disputes, bid disputes, public contract code disputes such as subcontractor bid listing, unauthorized substitutions, §3400 violations, and other public works disputes such as prompt payment claims.  Mr. Darling has also been involved in many proceedings alleging design failures that involve architectural, mechanical, plumbing, seismic, structural, and any other conceivable aspect of construction design.
  • Mr. Darling has also represented many parties involving non-construction cases such as dissolution proceedings, corporate malfeasance, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, business raiding, customer list theft, and breach of partnership and LLC agreements.
News + Publications
Speaking Engagements + Seminars

 

  • John Darling and Paul Rogoff to present at SCCA Legal Breakfast Briefing
  • Construction Law Update
  • Best Practices in Bidding Construction Contracts
  • Drafting Airtight AIA Contracts: Proven Strategies for Complex Projects
  • AIA Contracts Crash Course: Understand the Key Provisions Before You Sign the Contract
  • Stay Ahead of the Game: Mechanic’s Liens, Stop Payment Notices, and Payment Bond Claims in California
  • Changes in California Mechanics Lien Laws, Including SB 474 Indemnity Provisions- Pacific Southwest Chapter
  • Changes in California Mechanics Lien Laws, Including SB 474 Indemnity Provisions- Golden Gate Chapter
  • Fundamentals of Construction Contracts: Understanding the Issues in California
  • Joint Association Insurance Risk Transfer & Lien Law Seminar- Ontario
  • AIA Contracts: How to Negotiate Provisions and Mitigate Risk
  • Bids, Plans, & Specifications and Key Contract Terms
  • Claims: Liens, Stop Notices, Bonds, Delay & Disruption, Termination
  • AIA Contracts- Santa Ana
  • Bids, Plans, & Specifications and Key Contract Terms
  • Protect Your Lien Rights Under the New Law! Sponsored by the Southern CA Contractors Association
  • Bid Protests: A Legal Seminar
  • AGC of California- Legal Advisory Committee, Annual Legal Retreat
  • What Construction Lawyers Need to Know About the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) and What It Will Mean for Clients (Webinar)
  • Construction / insurance: The Instant Impact of Fortney & Weygandt, Inc. v. Am. Mfrs. Mutual Insurance Co. On Construction Lawyers and the Scope of Defective-Workmanship Exclusions in General Contractor CGL Policies (webinar)
  • Construction Contracts: The 10 Most Important Terms (Long Beach)
  • Construction Contracts: The 10 Most Important Terms (webinar)
  • AIA Contracts- Santa Ana
  • Effective Project Management – Addressing Risk Head On
  • AIA Contracts- Pasadena
  • Evaluation and Resolution of Delay and Extra Work Claims in California
  • Public Contracts and Procurement Regulations in California
  • Public Construction Contracts & The Bonding Process for Contract Bonds in California
  • California Public Works Construction: New and Dramatic Legal Changes
  • Construction Project Management
  • Continuing Education of the Bar- Construction Law and Disputes
  • AIA Contracts- Pasadena

How can we help you?