Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“I have confidence that my guys are at least as good as the opposing counsel – always!”

Skip Kriss – Executive Vice President, The Richmond Corporation

Case Studies - Construction & Trial

  • Representation of General Contractor in Complex Construction Lawsuit

    We represented the general contractor on the San Diego Naval Hospital project in connection with a complex lawsuit brought by two subcontractors against the structural steel supplier, our client and various sureties in Federal Court in San Diego. The claims included claims of mismanagement, compensable delays and changes. After two years of extensive discovery, we were able on motion for partial summary judgment to obtain the dismissal of a multi-million dollar claim against our client. Then, after a three-month jury trial, the structural steel supplier was found liable to the plaintiffs for $3 million and our client was vindicated. We argued the appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and prevailed in that court as well.

  • Massive Default Termination Case Requiring Development and Usage of State of the Art Systems

    We represented the general contractor to the U.S. Navy in a massive default termination case tried before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. Our client, the general contractor on the Trident Training facility in King’s Bay Georgia, was terminated by default by the Navy after completing 85% of the project. In this bet-the-company-litigation the Navy was seeking $25 million in damages from the contractor and the contractor was seeking a like amount from the Navy. After employing state of the art systems to manage the millions of pages obtained in discovery and taking many depositions throughout the United States, we developed a case management and trial schedule to maximize both the likelihood of securing early victories and pressuring the Navy to settle. After several very successful trials before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, the Navy commenced settlement discussions, which ultimately led to a complete settlement in which the Navy withdrew its default termination and paid our client $11 million.

  • Landmark Decision in Shareholder Derivative Suit

    We represented several corporate officers and directors, and partnership managing partners, in a case that combined two shareholder derivative actions and a number of partnership rights actions. Minority shareholders and partners sought more than $200 million in damages for alleged mismanagement and abuse of corporate offices and partnership positions. Separate claims involving transactions over a 30-year period were advanced by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs’ claims related to companies incorporated in two different states and a number of partnerships in a third jurisdiction, so that the law of several jurisdictions was applicable to the various claims. Several motions, hearings and trial court rulings resulted in the plaintiffs abandoning their partnership claims and waiving their position that shareholder demand upon the two corporate boards of directors should be excused as futile. The plaintiffs then made demand upon the two boards to file suit against several officers and directors. We counseled our clients to form disinterested director “demand committees” to undertake, on behalf of the corporations, independent evaluations of the shareholder demands. The demand committee’s report, which found no mismanagement or abuse, was accepted by the trial court; the attempted shareholders derivative action was summarily dismissed; and the result was affirmed on appeal in a precedent setting and now frequently cited decision in the State of Maryland.

  • Multimillion Dollar Jury Verdict in Fraud Case

    Our client was one of two principal owners of a closely-held corporation in the building aggregates industry. Following the sale of the corporation on highly profitable terms, several lawsuits were filed alleging claims by our client against the other former owner for breach of fiduciary duty and alleging claims by the other former owner against our client for fraud and self-dealing. We tried the case before a jury for 90 days. The jury returned a verdict for our client for more than $2 million actual damages plus punitive damages and denied all of the claims against our client.

  • Cutting Edge TOPA Litigation Victory

    SLS represented a commercial developer who entered into a letter of intent that we negotiated with a tenants association, under which the tenants association agreed to in good faith negotiate and enter into a definitive agreement to assign to our client the tenants association’s rights, under the District of Columbia Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (“TOPA”), to purchase a large apartment complex that was offered for sale by the owner.  After the tenants association subsequently voted not to enter into the assignment agreement that we negotiated, we filed suit on behalf of our client against the tenants association, alleging that the tenants association breached its contractual obligation under the letter of intent to in good faith negotiate and enter into the assignment agreement, and seeking specific performance of that obligation, as well as a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction enjoining the tenants association from assigning its TOPA rights to purchase the apartment complex to any other party.  The Court, after hearing oral argument, granted our motion for temporary restraining order and, after an evidentiary hearing lasting several days, granted our motion for preliminary injunction, which then led to a favorable settlement for our client.

  • Double Win Dismissing Wrongful Discharge Actions

    SLS represented a commercial real estate brokerage company and its President who were sued by a former employee alleging that the company had wrongfully discharged him from his position as leasing agent and that the President had tortiously interfered with the former employee’s contract with the company.  We successfully moved to dismiss the complaint on grounds that the plaintiff was an at-will employee, whose employment was terminable for any reason or no reason at all.  After the former employee proceeded to file another suit against our clients seeking the recovery of unpaid commissions under different theories of liability, including quantum meruit, unjust enrichment and tortious interference with prospective advantage, we again successfully moved to dismiss the complaint, this time under the doctrine of res judicata.

For more information regarding Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram’s Construction & Trial Practice, contact Department Chair Judah ("Judd") Lifschitz at

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Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?