Richard L.

Biography

Rick Reed, board certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, focuses his practice on construction law and has significant experience drafting and negotiating all types of engineering, procurement, and construction contracts for major projects. He leverages his in-depth industry experience from his time as the assistant general counsel to a large privately owned construction firm – and his decades of practice – to help clients develop strategies for major construction projects and to manage complex construction disputes.

A Charter Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America, Rick has also served as an Arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Arbitration Panel of Neutrals since 2009. He was a Senior Lecturer/Adjunct Professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio, College of Architecture, Construction and Planning in the initial six years of the university’s Construction Management Degree Program, during which time he helped the University obtain accreditation for the program from the American Council for Construction Education.

Through his long-time involvement with the Texas State Bar Construction Law Section, including serving as Chair of the Section (2001-2002), Rick has established relationships with many highly competent construction litigators, arbitrators, and expert witnesses across the country. He is licensed to practice law in Texas, and has been admitted to appear before the bench in all Texas State Courts, the Southern Federal District Court, the Fifth and Eleventh Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.

Representative Experience

  • Represented a public owner in the procurement of new construction projects with a combined value in excess of $1.5 billion, to deliver several major health care facilities, including a new trauma tower, parking garage and central utility plant, significant renovations to another existing hospital, and a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Advice included analysis of procurement laws and methods; drafting of professional service and construction contracts and requests for qualifications and proposals; analyzing exceptions and qualifications; contract negotiations; review of insurance policies; and continued advice on all issues related to contract administration and warranty claims. The advice also included the use of a dispute review board process that successfully enabled the client to resolve several multi-million dollar disputes arising from defects in the design and construction of the trauma tower facility.
  • Represented a federally chartered credit union in connection with the development, design, and construction of its office headquarters complex, including the formation of a joint ownership entity to develop an adjacent multi-story office building on the developer landowner’s highly valuable downtown tract of land, with mixed-use retail and Class A tenant lease office space. The project included major sustainability elements, including solar and geothermal energy-saving features. Helped the client negotiate joint ownership, cost sharing, and development agreements, as well as design and construction contracts, and commercial leases for the client’s interest in the project.
  • Represented a major public owner on all aspects of procurement and contracting for the design and new construction of a $900 million construction project in Austin, Texas, including analysis of insurance policies of prospective project management, design, and construction firms. The project included new construction of 1,500,000 square feet of modern, high-performance office buildings connected by underground tunnels and parking facilities.
  • Represented water and wastewater systems contractor in arbitration of a dispute with a tunneling subcontractor on a major water pipeline over 100 miles in length. Within a matter of days after filing a highly detailed Motion to Dismiss on behalf of the Firm’s client, setting forth the subcontractor’s admissions in its own documents that it had assumed the risks inherent in the design and construction of the tunneling works, and demonstrating that the subcontractor had released its differing site conditions claims in several of its Pay Applications, the subcontractor agreed to settle on terms very favorable to the client, offsetting substantially all of the client’s its legal fees, and dismissing all claims against the client.
  • Represented a public owner in connection with the procurement of a water improvement project estimated to cost approximately $200 million, including advice on the use of alternative delivery methods for the procurement of construction services. This major civil construction project is a signature project for San Antonio and Bexar County because it will restore and result in major re-development along the banks of the original water way on which the city was founded.
  • Advised a large public utility on the use of the construction manager-at-risk and the design-build alternative delivery methods to develop several modern service center facilities for the client’s San Antonio operations, all valued at over $80 million. Continued to advice client to favorably negotiate the settlement of several contract disputes arising from the project.
  • Represented public utility owner in an administrative hearing on a contractor’s differing site conditions claims on a major sewer main project. Prepared a comprehensive analysis of the facts and case law to demonstrate the contractor’s claims failed under the then current Texas law providing the contractor impliedly warrants the sufficiency of the design documents. This analysis led to a mediated settlement agreement favorable to the Owner, which resulted in the client’s avoidance of liability and offset of the majority of its legal fees and costs in the dispute.
  • Represented a commercial contractor in connection with a $33 million multi-family apartment complex project financed through a tax credit based public-private partnership. Negotiated the terms of the owner’s heavily modified American Institute of Architects (AIA) contract form to obtain terms favorable to the client, including terms to protect the client against impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, and exposure to construction defects liability and sale and use tax liability in the event of a tax audit or assessment despite reliance on the owner’s tax exemption certification.
  • Represented a government owner in its pursuit of damages for design errors and omissions committed by the original architect and a mechanical engineer on a major data center project. The case required extensive analysis of the feasibility of the mechanical engineer’s mechanical and electrical system designs for the HVAC systems. A significant settlement was achieved and the client recovered essentially all funds paid for the failed design, enabling the client to successfully get the project back on track without having to file suit.
  • Defended a general contractor against multiple building construction defect claims asserted by a government owner. By coordinating an early mediation process, the client was able to avoid major multi-million dollar liability. Settlement of all claims left the client with virtually no out-of-pocket loss, and without a single deposition being taken. Appreciative of the favorable results, the client’s insurer agreed to reimburse the client’s out-of-pocket legal costs to secure a pre-litigation settlement.
  • Represented former and subsequent owners of a commercial facility damaged by a hurricane. The remediation contractor refused to accept the property insurer’s offer to pay for the repairs, and challenged the contractor’s billings as unjustified and unsupported by any backup documentation. The contractor filed suit against the client owners to foreclose its statutory and constitutional lien claims against the property. Convinced the Insurer in an early mediation to fund a settlement that covered the client’s legal costs and end the dispute with the contractor, who released its lien claims.
  • Utilized an early mediation to reach a settlement to avoid extensive discovery and litigation costs on behalf of a client whose commercial storage facility flooded as a result of the improper redevelopment of commercial facilities on the adjacent property.
  • Represented a construction company as independent counsel to assist in monitoring the defense of a multi-million dollar wrongful death case that threatened to expose the client to liability in excess of the client’s limits of insurance coverage under its primary and excess liability insurance policies. Evaluated coverage issues in connection with the matter, and demanded the client’s insurer honor its duties of defense and indemnification, ultimately helping the client to achieve settlement of the matter at mediation within the client’s policy limits.
  • Represented a construction contractor in a dispute relating to a defective design specification issued by a public owner. Although the client had raised the issue in writing, the owner insisted the specification had to be followed, later leading to significant construction defects. Unable to reach settlement in a failed mediation handled by prior counsel, careful legal research enabled the client to present a very strong position in a resumed mediation that the owner should bear full responsibility for failing to correct its defective design specifications. The client’s position was so strong that the owner agreed to accept the client’s first settlement offer previously rejected at the first failed mediation.
  • Represented a general contractor whose subcontractor installed a defective light pole that collapsed across the owner’s building. A manufacturing defect, not installation, was the clear cause of the collapse. The manufacturer went bankrupt, but the owner’s property insurer still sued the general contractor (the client) and its subcontractor, alleging they were strictly liable under Texas law as “sellers” of a “defective product.” Persuaded the subcontractor’s insurer to assume the cost of defense for the client and convinced all parties to non-suit the case against the client to allow early mediation of all claims. After briefing the law to establish the general contractor could not be a “seller” of a product, and thus was not liable as a matter of law, the general contractor client successfully avoided all liability and all costs of defense.
  • Represented a large mechanical contractor, successfully recovering most of its contract balance for completed work on a remodeling project for a major internet servicing and data center facility, including a retrofit of the facility’s air conditioning system.
  • Defended a general contractor and its surety against a suit brought by a government owner over a failed paving project. By asserting the owner had committed spoliation of evidence in refusing to permit the contractor to obtain samples of the failed pavement, and proceeding to repair and alter the paved surface, a settlement was successfully negotiated to avert an imminent trial. The general contractor client recovered nearly 90% of its unpaid contract balance.
  • Defended a siteworks subcontractor as a co-defendant in litigation involving multiple claims for damages due to site drainage issues on a large multi-family apartment complex project. The claims were asserted by the owner and the general contractor. The client subcontractor was a co-defendant with the architect, civil engineer, and all the other subcontractors. Monitored the case in collaboration with insurance defense attorneys, and developed legal arguments that succeeded in obtaining a favorable summary judgment on behalf of the general contractor and subcontractors, dismissing all claims and enabling the client and its insurer to successfully negotiate in mediation a favorable nominal settlement to end the litigation.
  • Served as the Chair of the Dispute Review Board for a convention center project valued at $300 million. Resolved several disputes by rendering formal preliminary determinations that resolved the disputes without appeal to the full Board and without further litigation.

Licensed In

  • Texas

Education

  • J.D. St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • B.S. University of Texas

Memberships

  • Board Certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2016
  • State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section (Chair, 2001-2002), Insurance Law Section, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal, former Advisor to Editorial Board
  • San Antonio Bar Association, Construction Law Section, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Construction Lawyers Society of America, Charter Fellow
  • American Bar Association, Construction Law Forum
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Texas Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • American Arbitration Association, Construction Arbitration Panel of Neutrals
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators
  • Associated General Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, Member of Board of Directors, 2009-2012
  • Associated General Contractors, Texas Building Branch Legal Affairs Committee, 2009-2019
  • Associated General Contractors of America, certified BIM Instructor for AGC’s Unit 3: Building Information Modeling-Contract Negotiation & Risk Allocation
  • Phi Delta Phi

Achievements

  • Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Construction (2018-present)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Construction Law (2010 – present)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year in San Antonio, Construction Law (2020)
  • Texas Super Lawyers (2012 – present)
  • San Antonio Magazine, “San Antonio’s Top Attorneys” (2020)
  • AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell, Top-Rated Lawyer in Construction
  • Associated General Contractors, San Antonio Chapter Moeller Award for Outstanding Services to AGC Members, 2008 and 2012

Speaking Engagements

  • Issues for Consideration in Using the New A102-2017 Exhibit A Insurance Exhibits, North American Construction Lawyers Symposium, November 2017
  • Walking the High Wire While Juggling: Strategies to Manage Litigation Costs and Meet Client Expectations, American Bar Association Annual Meeting, April 2010
  • Emerging (and some Not-so-New) Dispute Resolution Techniques, Construction Owners Association of America, February 2010
  • My Immersion into DRB World, 13th Annual Meeting and Conference of the Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, Houston, Texas, October 2009
  • Joint Venturing Issues for GCs and A/Es, 17th Annual Associated General Contractors/American Institute of Architects Building Communities Conference, South Padre, Texas, September 2009
  • ConsensusDocs: An Overview, International Facilities Management Association, San Antonio Chapter, May 2009
  • Termination of a Construction Contractor, “How to Keep Construction Projects from Going Bad – And What to Do When They Do” Lorman Seminar, San Antonio, Texas, January 2009
  • Associated General Contractors /American Institute of Architects Contract Series: Comparison of ConsensusDocs and AIA Forms on Key Issues, Topics included: (1) General Overview and Dispute Resolution Practices and Processes; (2) Traditional Roles & Responsibilities: Owner/Architect/Contractor/Subs; (3) Liability Risk Transfer: Consequential & Liquidated Damages, Limitations of Liability, Indemnity and Insurance; (4) Delays, Changes & Change Management; and (5) Default, Termination & Suspension, Associated General Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, August – December 2008
  • Following the Money: Managing the Risk of Owner Non-Payment Under the New Texas Statutory Restrictions on Contingent Payment Clauses, 21st Annual Construction Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2008
  • ConsensusDocs: Good for Owners?, Construction Owners Association of America, Texas Chapter, September 2008
  • Environmental Liability in Construction Contracts, Houston Bar Association, Construction Law Section, November 2007
  • The Basics of Contracts for Financial Managers, Construction Financial Management Association, November 2007
  • Termination of a Construction Contractor, Associated Builders & Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, August 2007
  • Expedited Arbitration Procedures – It Ain’t Just Plain Ole’ Arbitration Anymore, 20th Annual Construction Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2007
  • The Short Version: Can a Lead Person Vote in a Union Election? Associated Builders & Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, January 2007
  • Subcontract Guidance for the Contractor: How to Be Stuck in the Middle, Without Getting Stuck, 18th Annual Construction Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2005
  • Contractor Modifications to Standard Contract Clauses, Fourth Annual Basics in Construction Law Course, San Antonio, Texas, October 2004
  • The Ultimate Survival Strategy: The Limitation of Liability Clause, 13th Annual Construction Law Conference, Houston, Texas, 2000

Publications

  • A Practical Guide for Applying Rule 59 of the AAA Construction Industry Arbitrations Rules, Dispute Resolution Journal, Volume 74, Number 3, June 2020
  • The Economic Loss Doctrine as an Obstacle to Claims of Contractual Strangers 46 St. Mary’s L.J. 321 Saint Mary’s Law Journal, 2015; republished with permission in the Construction Law Journal published by State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal and which article was also republished in the Handbook entitled “Issues in Construction and Technology” associated with the annual publication of “Forms and Agreements for Architects Engineers and Contractors”, a five-volume Construction Law treatise published by Thomson/Reuters/West, New York, October 2016
  • Professional Liability Risk for the Contractor – Does Assisting with Design Cross the Line?, San Antonio Construction News, December 2009
  • Indemnity Clauses – Why so much Fuss?, San Antonio Construction News, November 2009
  • Consequential Damages – Waiving Them May be of No Consequence, San Antonio Construction News, October 2009
  • ConsensusDocs: There’s a New Kid in Town, Associated General Contractors, San Antonio Chapter Newsletter 2008
  • Bypassing the Low Bidder: An Examination of Texas Bidding Laws Applicable to Local Governmental Entities, State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal, September 2007
  • Enforceability of Contingent Payment Clauses in Texas (Co-Chaired Associated General Contractors ‚Äì Texas Building Branch drafting committee and served as primary author of this AGC publication, which focuses primarily on the 2007 Texas statute restricting the enforceability of contingent payment clauses in subcontracts.)
  • Lien Rights of Construction Managers; co-authored with law student Kerri Ranney, State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal, September 2007
  • The “Arranger” – Helping the Owner Deal with its Contaminants while Minimizing your Risk of being Contaminated with CERCLA Liability, San Antonio Construction News, September 2006
  • A Day Late and Two Million Dollars Short (How Intermediate Delay Leads to Major Consequences), San Antonio Construction News, August 2006
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance for the Temporary Worker, San Antonio Construction News, July 2006
  • Limitation of Liability – The Ultimate Survival Strategy, San Antonio Construction News, June 2006

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