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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Thomas Palffy

SHAREHOLDER

phone626.440.5200

fax626.796.0107

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Overview

Experience

Mr. Palffy is a founding shareholder of the firm and a construction law specialist, who has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” in California since 2007 for his success and expertise in the area of complex construction litigation.

For the past thirty years, Mr. Palffy has built his practice on his core belief that a lawyer’s primary function is to fully assess a client’s needs, and provide a prompt and cost effective solution to those needs. In Mr. Palffy’s words, “Lawyers serve their clients by solving their problems, and doing so as though the problem was their own. That means you want the problem to be solved as quickly as possible, for the least amount of money as possible, and as successfully as possible.”

Consistent with that philosophy, Mr. Palffy has represented numerous owners, contractors, geotechnical firms and other businesses in state and federal court actions, arbitrations, mediations and appellate proceedings in connection with construction disputes involving a broad spectrum of projects, in which the amounts in dispute have ranged in value from many thousands, to many millions of dollars, including disputes over one hundred million dollars.

Mr. Palffy has also negotiated and drafted numerous construction contracts, including contract documents for complex, multi-phase hospital projects, all with a view towards managing the client’s legal risks and minimizing the potential for expensive and protracted disputes by anticipating issues that are likely to lead to such disputes, and addressing them in the contract documents.

In addition to being admitted to practice in California, Mr. Palffy has handled construction disputes in many other states including Alaska, Missouri, Nevada and Washington.

Education

  • Southwestern University School of Law, J.D., 1981
  • University of Southern California , Bachelor of Arts, 1978

Bars + Courts

  • California (1982)
  • United States District Court of California, Central (1983)
  • United States District Court of California, Southern (1983)
  • United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit (1983)
  • United States District Court of California, Northern (1984)
  • United States District Court of California, Eastern (1984)
  • United States Supreme Court (1986)

Areas of Expertise

Mr. Palffy’s expertise in construction law arises from his depth of experience with a wide variety of private and public construction projects involving apartments, canals, condominiums, custom homes, entertainment facilities, golf clubhouses, grading projects, healthcare centers and hospitals, hotels, industrial facilities, mixed-use facilities, multi-family dwellings, parking structures, resorts, restaurants, shopping centers and toll roads, among others. In the context of such projects, Mr. Palffy has successfully handled and resolved a multitude of claims involving mechanic’s liens, stop notices, payment and performance bonds, delay, disruption and acceleration, concealed conditions, construction defects, design deficiencies, design professional negligence, abandonment, termination for default and/or convenience, bid disputes, false claims, as well as insurance coverage and surety disputes.

 

Practice Areas
  • Business & Commercial Law
  • Construction Disputes & Litigation
  • Pre-Construction Consultation
  • Construction Contracts & Bid Documents
  • Construction Insurance & Suretyship
  • Mediation and Dispute Resolution
Memberships

Memberships

American Bar Association – Construction Industry, Litigation, and Law Practice Management Subsections
California Bar Association – Litigation and Real Property Law Subsections
Los Angeles County Bar Association

Civic Activities

Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association (1985-2002)
Santa Anita Little League, Board Of Directors (1995-2003)
Holy Angels Church, Parish Council Chair (2006-2009)

 

Honors
  • Selected as Super Lawyer 2007-2017
  • AV Preeminent Rating 5.0 out 5 – Martindale-Hubbell

Representative Work
  • Counsel to an owner in connection with the resolution of a multi-party construction defect matter arising out of a multi-million dollar residential project involving the design consultants, the general contractor, the subcontractors and suppliers, and their respective insurance carriers;
  • Counsel to a public entity in connection with the resolution of a prevailing wage dispute arising out of the construction of a large multi-million dollar hotel project;
  • Counsel to major Southern California hospitals in connection with the resolution of multi-million dollar claims arising out of the construction of their new care facilities;
  • Counsel to a large general contracting firm in connection with the resolution of its multi-million dollar claims arising out of the construction of a canal project in California and Arizona;
  • Counsel to another general contracting firm in connection with the resolution of a multi-million dollar complex construction dispute predicated on delay, disruption, acceleration, design deficiency and construction defect claims involving the owner, its design consultants, the general contractor, numerous subcontractors and their respective insurance carriers;
  • Counsel to a nation-wide entertainment chain in connection with the resolution of its claims against a general contractor and its plumbing subcontractor for construction deficiencies at the company’s entertainment facility;
  • Counsel to a geotechnical engineering firm in connection with the resolution of various professional negligence claims.

Reported Appellate Decisions

Budavari v. Barry (1986) 176 Cal. App. 3d 849
Henry v. Amrol, Inc. (1990) 222 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 1
Great Western Bank v. Converse Consultants (1997) 58 Cal. App. 4th 609

News + Publications
Speaking Engagements + Seminars
  • “Managing Risk by Using or Avoiding Certain Contract Terms”

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