Construction Attorneys
Hunt Ortmann Palffy Nieves Darling & Mah, INC.

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.

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John D. Darling




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John D. Darling, a Shareholder of Hunt Ortmann Palffy Nieves Darling and Mah, Inc., has dedicated the better part of two decades to growing a successful commercial litigation practice. He focuses on the resolution of construction and commercial real estate conflicts and on complex business litigation across numerous industry groups and business sectors nationwide. Mr. Darling has represented large and small business entities, business owners and operators, construction companies and independent contractors and sub-contractors, financial institutions, real estate investors and their affiliates. He serves as lead counsel on every case and manages a talented and well-respected team of up-and-coming attorneys who tirelessly support his efforts.

A seasoned courtroom veteran, Mr. Darling has tried more than one hundred cases throughout California and the United States, developing a keen understanding of what it takes to win at trial, whether in front of a judge or an impaneled jury. And while his courtroom accomplishments are well known, Mr. Darling is equally adept at alternative dispute resolution, with a significant portion of his group’s success coming from either mandatory or elective arbitration proceedings. Whether in court or out, Mr. Darling has successfully handled everything from incidental matters to ones where the amount in controversy exceeded $70,000,000.

With the commercial real estate and construction industries currently experiencing unprecedented and devastating losses throughout the country and particularly in Southern California, Mr. Darling’s industry savvy and intuitive business sense have helped clients assess damage and risk while crafting a path forward– benefits only an experienced attorney with a thorough understanding of this down-but-not-out industry sector could provide. Some of his most notable clients include Huntington Hospital, Sotheby’s, Hanil Construction, Inc., Quanta Services, Inc., PAR Electrical Contractors, Inc., Hutton Companies, Fassberg Construction Company, H.L. Moe Company, Inc., P & F Distributors, Upside Investments, Inc., Xcel Mechanical Systems, Inc., Palmer Steel, R.Y. Properties, Irwindale Partners, Mnoian Management, JSM Construction and Amcal Housing LLC.

Listed as a “Super Lawyer” by Law and Politics Magazine and a “Best Lawyer” by Woodward/White, Inc., the depth of Mr. Darling’s knowledge of the construction business and of construction law is unmatched and have made him one of the most sought after construction attorneys in California. As a former business owner himself – he owned and operated a construction business before switching gears to law – an entrepreneurial spirit and an aggressive, no-holds-barred pursuit of success still inform his approach to client service. But it is the commitment to excellence, unbridled enthusiasm and an assertive yet disarmingly convivial style that make him a frequent referral and an appropriate choice for any business conflict, regardless of industry.

Mr. Darling began and grew his legal career with Hunt Ortmann, starting with the firm as a law clerk prior to passing the California Bar. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico and earned his Juris Doctor from the McGeorge School of Law at the University of The Pacific. He regularly keynotes seminars and lectures on construction law topics for the Western Council of Construction Consumers, Associated General Contractors of California and the Los Angeles County Bar and he has served as chair of the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Subsection on Construction Law.

Often cited or interviewed for legal trades, he has also authored several articles including “Delay of Game” The Construction Lawyer Volume 26 Number 2, Spring 2006 and Los Angeles Lawyer, January 2005; “Design/Build: Changing Notions of Liability and Risk Management” Los Angeles Lawyer, January 1999; “The New AIA A201 Document (1997) the Basic Changes,” Real Property Section Review June 1998; and “The Constitutionality of Mechanic’s Lien Remedies,” Los Angeles Lawyer, January 1994.

Mr. Darling is admitted to practice in the state of California and before the United States District Court for the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Southern Districts of California and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


  • University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., 1991
  • University of New Mexico, Bachelor of Arts, 1987

Bars + Courts

  • California (1999)
  • United States District Court of California, Northern (1991)
  • United States District Court of California, Southern (1991)
  • United States District Court of California, Western (1991)
  • United States District Court of California, Eastern (1991)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Selected as Best Lawyer 2010 – 2015
  • Selected as Super Lawyer 2007 – 2015
  • AV Preeminent Rating 5.0 out of 5 – Martindale – Hubbell
  • Pasadena Top Attorney sponsored by Pasadena Magazine 2010 – 2014
News + Publications
  • Send a Raven: More CEQA Litigation is Coming
  • Guirguis Added to Hunt Ortmann Super Lawyers in 2015
  • 2013 Super Lawyers Announced! Hunt Ortmann Holds Ground
  • Hunt Ortmann Sponsors Huntington Hospital Charity
  • 2012 Pasadena Top Attorneys Announced!
  • Ortmann and Darling Named 2013 U.S. News Best Lawyers!
  • 2012 “Super Lawyers” Released- Hunt Ortmann Continues to Dominate Construction Category for Third Straight Year!
  • Hunt Ortmann Launches New Class Action Practice Division
  • Hunt Ortmann is Honored with 2011 Pasadena Top Attorney Selection
  • Hunt Ortmann Scores Again With 2012 U.S. News “Best Lawyers” Rankings
  • Hunt Named 2011 Los Angeles Construction Lawyer of the Year!
  • Hunt Ortmann Continues to Support Pasadena Community in 2011
  • 2011 “Super Lawyers”- Hunt Ortmann Leads Construction Category for the Second Straight Year!
  • Hunt, Ortmann and Darling named 2011 “Best Lawyers”
  • 2010 “SuperLawyers” – Hunt Ortmann Tops Construction Category
  • Hunt, Ortmann and Darling Named 2010 “Best Lawyers”
  • Darling appointed to AYSO Board
  • Seven (7) Hunt Ortmann attorneys named as 2008 “SuperLawyers” by Law and Politics
  • Pasadena construction litigation boutique changes name and re-brands as Hunt Ortmann
  • Hunt Ortmann set to present “Construction Law Update” seminar for SCCA
Speaking Engagements + Seminars
  • 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

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