Member and Practice Department Manager: Construction, Municipal, Real Estate Litigation and Professional Liability
Stephen E. Richman practices in all phases of Construction Law, commercial and residential.
Mr. Richman is a past chair of the Construction Law Section of the State Bar and is a member of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. He is also active in the Arizona Builders Alliance, where he is a member of the Legislative Review Committee and the Legal Advisory Council. Mr. Richman is also a member of the Construction Law Attorney Forum of the National Association of Home Builders. He has written several articles and given seminars on such topics as managing construction defect risks, handling construction claims, design build construction, the AIA construction contract documents, risk-shifting contract clauses, lien laws, legislative amendments affecting the construction industry, alternative dispute resolution, and insurance/indemnification issues. Mr. Richman is also a member of the American Arbitration Association’s construction industry panel and has served as an arbitrator of construction disputes on numerous occasions. In addition to handling claims involving all aspects of real estate development, Mr. Richman’s practice includes the drafting and negotiation of construction agreements, both for developers and contractors.
- Successfully defended homebuilders in numerous construction defect mass actions brought by homeowners. These matters involve claims in litigation and in arbitration. Two examples are successful results in mass actions of a group of 29 homeowners who asserted drainage deficiencies leading to flooding and a group of 60 homeowners alleging improper roofs, stucco and concrete.
- Represented a large Arizona municipality in a claim against an international manufacturer and system designer of a membrane module filtration system used to treat potable water. Led a team of Dickinson Wright lawyers who evaluated the complex specifications relating to the treatment of water and worked with outside experts and the city’s water engineers to evaluate the claims against the manufacturer. The claim and demand preparation led to a favorable settlement by which the manufacturer provided at no cost to the city a new membrane system with an extended warranty tied to clearer and more specific performance criteria.
- Led the defense of a large nationwide homebuilder in a putative class action brought by homeowners alleging improper disclosure of utility expenses in a subdivision public report. The Dickinson Wright team successfully defeated the request for class certification. The case involved novel issues of the alleged disclosure of future utility expenses and an analysis of subdivision statutes and regulations.
- Frequently drafts and negotiates construction contracts for owners and general contractors. Recent examples include projects such as luxury condos, apartment complexes, solar panel generation facilities, schools, and office buildings. Has considerable experience with the family of documents of the American Institute of Architects®, Consensus Docs®, and the Design-Build Institute of America.
- Routinely handles commercial construction disputes involving improper design, delays, loss of productivity, and change orders. A representative case involves the defense of a general contractor for claims involving reconstruction of a 60 foot retaining wall adjacent to a large parking structure that includes allegations of improper construction practices, delays, and increased design costs.
- Has handled several appeals that have been critical to the development of Arizona construction law, such as:
- the enforcement of arbitration provisions (Harrington v. Pulte Home Corp., 211 Ariz. 241, 245, 119 P.3d 1044 (App. 2005));
- the enforceability of Arizona’s construction statute of repose (Albano v. Shea Homes Ltd. Partnership, 227 Ariz. 121, 254 P.3d 360 (2011));
- the scope of the economic loss doctrine and tort duties owed by contractors for economic losses (Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., 231 Ariz. 53, 290 P.3d 446 (App. 2012), vacated in part, 232 Ariz. 344, 306 P.3d 1 (2013); Sullivan v. Pulte Home Corp., 232 Ariz. 344, 306 P.3d 1 (2013)).
Recent Seminar Presentations:
•Sponsor: State Bar of Arizona:
◦February, 2011: Mastering Construction Law
◦February, 2010: Examining Emerging Construction Trends Over the Past 10 Years
◦June, 2009: Working With Experts in Construction Disputes
◦February, 2009: A Close Inspection of Recent Arizona Construction Law Cases
◦February, 2009: Warranty Law Update
◦February, 2008: Significant Changes in New AIA Documents
◦February, 2008: Reinforcing The Foundation: Emerging Issues for Construction Lawyers
◦November, 2007: Arizona’s Prompt Pay Act
◦September, 2007: Procedural Motions to Dismiss
◦April, 2007: Private Arbitration Updates
◦February, 2006: Litigating the Multi-Party Construction Case
◦December, 2005: Payment Claims Through the Registrar of Contractors
◦January, 2004: Building a Construction Case From the Ground up
•Sponsor: Arizona Builders Alliance:
◦September, 2011: Payment Seminar for Contractors
◦November, 2009: Steps to Improve Collections
◦December, 2008: Payment and Collections for Contractors
◦ April 2008: Insurance and Indemnity Issues for Contractors
◦April, 2007: Change Orders: Best Practices
◦April, 2007: Arizona Lien and Stop Notice Law
◦December, 2005: A Primer on Oral Change Orders
•Sponsor: Arizona Society of Certified Public Accountants:
◦October, 2004: Hidden Ownership Exposure
•Sponsor: Construction Financial Management:
◦June, 2009: Contractor Strategic Boot Camp: Ins and Outs of Bankruptcy
•Sponsor: Lorman Education Services:
◦May, 2008: Construction Litigation in Arizona: Application of the Economic Loss Rule to Claims Against Design Professionals
•Sponsor: National Builders Institute:
◦January, 2007: Resolving Disputes on Construction Projects