Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“There is no one I’d rather go to war with.”

Evans Barba – President and CEO, Barba Consulting

Judah Lifschitz

Judah Lifschitz

Tel 202.689.1900, ext. 3025
Cell 202.253.1539
lifschitz@slslaw.com
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Experience. Passion. Solutions.

Practice Areas:

  • Litigation and Trial Practice (including trial practice, appellate practice, arbitration, mediation and alternative dispute resolution) relating to Complex Commercial Litigation Matters
  • Energy & Power
  • Construction Law
  • Government Contracts

Bar Admissions:

  • U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth and Ninth Circuits (1985)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland )1983)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (1982)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit (1980)
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia; U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia; U.S. Claims Court (1978)
  • District of Columbia (1978)
  • Maryland (1977)

Education:

  • J.D., George Washington University, 1977
  • B.A., Yeshiva University, magna cum laude, 1974

Professional Memberships:

  • American Bar Association
  • ABA Construction Industry Forum
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Maryland Bar Association
  • International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

Experience.

Judah Lifschitz is Principal and Co-President of SLS and is an extraordinarily experienced trial attorney having tried cases to verdict in virtually every type of adjudicative forum – state and federal bench and jury trials, and arbitrations and Boards of Contract Appeals. In addition to general civil litigation, Judah has extensive experience in construction related matters, including significant experience in power and energy construction representing clients with regard to EPC contracts as well as disputes. Judah represents governmental and private owners, regional, national and international contractors, construction managers, subcontractors, design professionals, sureties and insurance companies in disputes, trials, ADR proceedings and negotiations.

His trial experience includes winning one of the largest liquidated damages awards in the history of the construction industry and his transactional experience includes negotiating and drafting multibillion-dollar EPC contracts for new power plants and industrial facilities.

Judah also represents clients in complex commercial litigation where he has a wealth of experience in every aspect of trial practice including shareholder/partnership disputes, real estate matters, contract disputes, civil RICO and general commercial disputes. Additionally, he has represented clients in civil fraud investigations and brings extensive experience to his clients in government procurement issues. Judah has tried cases across the country and has handled disputes from as far Northeast as Buffalo, New York and as far Southwest as San Diego and many places in between. He is an accomplished appellate advocate, having argued appeals in the 4th, 5th, 9th, District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court, the Federal Circuit and in many state appellate courts, as well.

A staunch believer in mediation, Judah has successfully resolved many complex multi-million dollar disputes through mediation, thereby saving his client the cost and risk of trial.

As a Martindale-Hubbell AV rated attorney, Judah represents clients in a variety of industries, including aerospace, construction, electronics, manufacturing, power and energy, shipbuilding, and technology. Judah’s clients consider him to be "top shelf," and one client claimed, "There is no one I'd rather to go to war with." Multiple appearances in leading listings such as "Super Lawyers" are objective testimony to Judah’s standing among his peer group and clients alike. Super Lawyers is a listing of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

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Passion.

A second-generation lawyer (Judah’s dad, Morris Lifschitz, was a distinguished lawyer in New York City), Judah dreamed of being a trial lawyer from childhood. He learned at an early age that to be a great lawyer it's not sufficient just to be knowledgeable and competent. Great lawyers are perfectionists, possess intense devotion to their clients and are passionate about their work. This is precisely what Judah brings to every client and every matter he handles. Ask anyone who has gone through a trial with Judah and they will tell you of his legendary preparation, his highly detailed planning, his unique talent and presence in the courtroom and his devastating cross-examinations.

Clients not only hire him for his exceptional level of hands-on skill and knowledge, but also because of his compassion and investment into their business. Judah has been described as a genuine practitioner who is willing to develop custom-tailored advice for his clients. One client recently stated, "he helps me be better in what I do and I find considerable value in that as a business owner."

Solutions.

Judah’s abilities as an advocate and trial lawyer are best attested to by his long and well-established record of success and solutions:
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  • Judah successfully represented New Athens Generating Company, LLC, in a series of complex arbitrations against Bechtel Power Corporation, resulting in one of the largest liquidated damages awards in the history of the construction industry. Bechtel was the EPC contractor, responsible for the design, equipment procurement, and construction of a 1,080-megawatt power plant in Athens, New York. The facility is a combined-cycle plant using three Siemens 501G combustion-turbine generators. Bechtel delivered the construction project more than 200 days late, and sued New Athens for an additional $70 million for alleged changes in the plant’s Siemens 501G generators, severe winter weather, and other alleged delays, changes, and force majeure events. New Athens denied liability for Bechtel’s claims and countersued for $33 million in liquidated damages on account of Bechtel’s completing the plant late. Because of the complexity of the case, the arbitrators divided the hearing into four phases, including extensive testimony on power-plant combustion-turbine engineering, construction scheduling, construction craft-labor productivity and ergonomics, meteorology/climatology, water chemistry, power industry economics, and construction cost accounting.

    The arbitration panel found Bechtel at fault for construction delays, including falling behind schedule from the start, delays from technology problems for which Bechtel had assumed responsibility in its EPC contract, Bechtel’s failure to satisfy water chemistry requirements, and Bechtel's delayed installation of equipment, including some redesigned and re-procured late in the project due to Bechtel’s design errors. The contract had express, negotiated provisions for liquidated damages. In the arbitrators’ final judgment, Bechtel’s claims were defeated and New Athens was awarded liquidated damages of nearly $27 million.

    Lead attorney Judah Lifschitz observed: "It’s important to note that New Athens did not back down in the face of such large claims from one of the world’s largest contractors. In fact, New Athens’s decision to vigorously defend itself and its refusal to be intimidated by Bechtel’s large claims proved extremely wise."

  • Judah represents AMP in American Municipal Power (AMP) v. Bechtel Power Corp. , in litigation involving a multibillion-dollar EPC contract between AMP and Bechtel Power Corporation in connection with the AMPGS coal plant, which was to be constructed in Meigs County, Ohio.

    After providing and confirming an indicative estimate of $2.1 billion for the project and advising AMP to enter into multimillion-dollar contracts for the major plant equipment, Bechtel, several months later, raised its estimate to over $3 billion. AMP sued Bechtel for $97 million for wanton and reckless breach of the EPC contract. In a motion to dismiss, Bechtel argued that the contract’s limitation-of-liability clause insulated it from any liability in excess of $500,000.

    The U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, denied Bechtel’s motion to dismiss and agreed with AMP that "the limitation of liability clause cannot be enforced if AMP proves that [the contractor] acted willfully or wantonly recklessly, or with gross negligence." The matter is now awaiting ruling on summary judgment. This case is likely to have important implications on EPC contracts and the viability of limitation-of-liability clauses in construction disputes involving EPC contracts and liability issues.

  • Judah represented a subcontractor in the construction of a combined-cycle plant in Albany, N.Y., in a suit with Bechtel Power Corp. in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colo. The multimillion-dollar dispute was resolved with a settlement found favorable by the client.
  • Judah represents a large Turkish contractor in a dispute with Bechtel International, Inc. over the construction of a U.S. military intelligence facility in Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • Judah represented the merchant owner of a combined-cycle plant near Albany, N.Y., faced with $40 million in construction claims. He developed a strategy and assisted the owner in negotiating a settlement and closeout of the project.
  • Judah represented National Energy & Gas Transmission, Inc. (NEGT) in a multimillion-dollar dispute with Babcock and Wilcox, which arose at the outset of a project to install scrubbers at the Brayton Point Power Station, a four-unit, 1,530-megawatt coal, natural gas, and fuel oil-fired facility in Somerset, Mass. Judah’s representation of NEGT in a mediation concluded in a settlement found highly favorable by the client.
  • Judah represented National Energy & Gas Transmission, Inc. (NEGT) against a $20-million claim by a contractor responsible for the water treatment portion of the four-unit, 1,022-megawatt, combined-cycle power plant, La Paloma Generating Facility in California. Judah defended against the contractor’s claims and represented the client in a mediation, resulting in a settlement found very favorable by NEGT.

    Judah provided representation and strategic advice to a California utility in disputes with the EPC contractor during construction of a combined-cycle generating station in Northern California.

  • Judah defended a California utility, in a retrofit of an existing power plant, against millions of dollars of claims by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)/EPC contractor. He analyzed the claims, represented the client in arbitration, and ultimately successfully resolved the matter in mediation.
  • Judah represented the owner of an activated-carbon plant in Louisiana, in a major dispute over the plant’s design and construction. The owner and the EPC contractor had claims against each other of more than $50 million. As problems arose during the project, he represented the owner and provided legal and strategic advice. After reviewing and analyzing the claims on both sides, he represented the owner in a multisession mediation that resulted in a settlement found very favorable by the client.
  • For a solid-waste energy-conversion pilot plant at Walt Disney World in Florida, Judah represented the design-build contractor in connection with disputes relating to performance testing and substantial completion. Partly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and owned by Disney subsidiary Reedy Creek Utilities Co., the plant also was testing the design of a radioactive-waste incinerator for the Idaho National Laboratory. The dispute was settled favorably.
  • Judah represents a major owner in the $1-billion construction of several U.S. hydroelectric plants.
  • Judah was hired by a hedge fund to study claims that a Florida Utility had against the Enron Corporation, providing the hedge fund with analysis and advice on the claims.
  • Judah provided analysis and advice on EPC contracts for the construction of new technology facilities.
  • For a major utility, Judah drafted procurement and EPC contract documents for a multibillion-dollar pipeline construction program.
  • Judah served as lead counsel for the general contractor on the San Diego Naval Hospital Project, a $100 million dollar hospital, where he successfully defended the general contractor in a three-month jury trial in federal court against multi-million dollar subcontractor claims and then sustained the victory by defending against an appeal in the 9th Circuit. Mai Steel Service, Inc. v. Blake Construction Co., Inc., 981 F.2d 414 (9th Cir. 1992).
  • Judah was lead counsel for a Navy contractor wrongfully terminated for default by the government. In this case, which involved multiple trials before the Armed Service Board of Contract Appeals, Judah prosecuted the contractor's multi million dollar affirmative claims while at the same time defended against the Navy's twenty-five million dollar claim against the contractor. After several trial victories, the Navy settled the case by paying the contractor 11 million dollars. Appeals of Blake Construction Co., Inc. Under Contract No. N68248.81-C-3021, Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.
  • Judah obtained the dismissal of a multi-million dollar RICO complaint and successfully sustained that dismissal at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Lyon v. Campbell, 28 F.3d 1210 (4th Cir. 1994).
  • Judah served as construction counsel to the Maryland Stadium Authority in connection with its construction of over 1 billion dollars in fast track projects, including Orioles Park at Camden Yard, Baltimore Convention Center, Ravens Stadium, and Comcast Arena. Judah put in place a claims resolution system, which resulted in the resolution by negotiation of every construction claim made on those multiple projects.
  • Judah was lead trial counsel for the State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, in Cacon, Inc. v. Rand Environmental Services, Inc., 2006 WL 2389553 (N.J. Super. A.D. 2006) where he successfully defended New Jersey against $60 million in claims on a Super Fund remediation project. As a result of Judah and his trial team's tenacity and strategy, the case was very favorably resolved on the eve of trial after major summary judgment rulings were obtained on behalf of the State of New Jersey.
  • Judah and his trial team made law in the State of Maryland when, in a derivative lawsuit brought by dissident shareholders in two closely held corporations, they obtained a dismissal of the suit and sustained that dismissal in a landmark decision at the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. Bender v. Schwartz, 172 Md. App. 648 (2007).

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?