About Us

Construction Law is a specialty that requires appreciation of the physical realities of the work, the limitations of the materials, and an understanding of the interplay between the Owners and the trades.  Demonstrated experience with all of these is our firm's key attribute.

In our transactional work, we provide Owners, Builders and Designers the ability to craft agreements that fit the project, the people and the goals, while complying with the virtual minefields which regulations, statutes, and insurance realities inject. A good agreement clearly communicates the duties and makes sure that everyone involved has appropriate and realistic expectations.

Construction claims and disputes can arise between Generals, Subcontractors, Architects, Engineers and Suppliers, or between Owners, licensing agencies, permitting and planning agencies and any or all of them, either during or long after a project has been completed. 

Since 1983 Kate Warner has handled and resolved all such types of claims, and in doing so has formed solid relationships with respected industry experts. From that group she can assemble an experienced and targeted team that can quickly, candidly and accurately advise regarding practical and efficient solution options, and provide the factual and evidentiary support necessary to address insurance coverage, funding issues and provide critical litigation input. Over the years, opposition consultants that have earned our firm's respect have reciprocated, and many now regularly consult for our clients' benefit. She is an invited member of WestCon, Northern California's leading construction consultant's trade organization, AGC (Associated General Contractors) and the Marin Builders Exchange.

When a lawsuit has been brought or is necessary, the Construction litigation bar has underused tools available to it that are unique in the dispute resolution arena.  These include use of stipulated or compelled Pre-Trial Orders, either with or without the retention of a Special Master with expertise in the construction and insurance coverage fields.

That process can substitute for the time consuming and wasteful litigation processes like formal discovery, and properly employed can allow the parties to get from claim and damage verification to settlement and resolution negotiations more quickly.

If an issue is caught early, before expenses, damages and positions themselves become part of the dispute, use of one or more agreed neutral construction experts is an option that can successfully end run the expense, delay and relationship damage that later litigation can cause.

These and other "out of the box" options are the kind of tools our office offers results focused clients and opponents.

Representative Past and Present Special Masters we've worked with:

Tom Castle, William Nagle, Peter Dekker, Sarah Burke, Claudia Hagadus Long, Lawrence Baskin, Gary Ragghianti, Bruce Edwards, Jonathan Margolis, Jerry Spolter, Randolph Wallace, Gordon McClintock, William Pagano, Judge Ronald Sabraw; Judge Margaret Kemp, Judge Alfred Chiantelli, Michael Ornstil, Ron Kelly, and  John Griffiths.


Staff Bios.:

Kate Warner:

Kate Warner received her B.A. in Government and Communications in 1980 from Sacramento State University. While a Student at CSUS Kate worked as the Legislative Liaison for the California Housing and Information Network, and was the Student Senate Chair of both the Deans and President’s Search Committees.

Kate received her law degree with honors in 1983 from Hastings College of the Law where she co-founded the Environmental Law Society, worked with and published in the Communications & Entertainment Law Journal, and received the American Bar Association's Land Use Award. While a student at Hastings she worked at the California State Lands Commission, focusing on accessibility modifications of State-owned buildings, and at the Los Angeles Law firm of Daniels, Baratta and Fine.

Kate clerked for central staff of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and then joined Carroll, Burdick and McDonough as a defense litigator in 1983.  There she handled a broad range of cases and practiced extensively before numerous state and federal agencies, and in the State and Federal Courts.

The defense of municipalities and engineering firms from claims arising from the catastrophic Bay Area landslides of 1982 reinforced her interest in the science of building and related claims, including insurance coverage.

In 1988, Kate moved her practice to Marin County, defending cases with the firm of Hoskins & Ropers.

In 1991, Kate opened her own office, representing private, business and entity clients, and in litigation, representing both plaintiffs and defendants, with an emphasis on Construction.

MEMBERSHIPS/LISTINGS/ORGANIZATIONS

California State Bar Association (Litigation, Real Property and ADR Sections)
American Bar Association (Litigation, Real Property and ADR Sections)
San Francisco County Bar Association (Litigation/ADR Section)
Marin County Bar Association (Real Estate, Construction Law and ADR sections)
Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution
Construction Dispute Resolution Boards of America (Certified Panelist Member)
AGC ( Associated General Contractors of California)
WestCon (Western Construction Consultants Association)
DRI (Defense Research Institute)
Solano/Napa Builders Exchange
Marin Builders Exchange
(And just about every Horticultural Society in Northern California)

ADMISSIONS

California Supreme Court (and all state courts in California)
United States District Court, Northern District of California
United States District Court, Eastern District of California

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Kate has completed over 150 hours of mediation training, including the Special Master’s and Advanced Mediator's Forum, sponsored by JAMS and Pepperdine University, and the Institute of Construction Management, LLC.  She also received certification after completion of a written examination from National Center Associates in Washington.  Since then, she has arbitrated and mediated a wide range of disputes, including construction, real estate, personal injury, and other commercial disputes.

Kate is on the panel for the mediation program of the Marin County Courts and the San Francisco Superior Court Early Settlement Program and San Francisco's Office of Citizen's Complaints.  Memberships include the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, Northern California Mediation Association, B.A.S.F.'s Alternative Dispute Resolution and California Dispute Resolution Council.  She has participated in Senate Subcommittees evaluating proposed legislation dealing with mediator certification and immunity issues.


LaRae Pearson:

LaRae Pearson is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and the Sonoma State University Attorney Assistant Program.  She has over 30 years of experience as a legal secretary, working both in San Francisco and Marin Counties. She worked for the San Francisco County Courts on large and complex criminal matters, including the Zebra murder trial, is a certificated paralegal (since 1995), and is a licensed Notary Public. LaRae’s continuing education has focused on Electronic Discovery, with an emphasis on litigation efficiencies.

She is a past president of the Marin Association of Legal Assistants (MALA), a member of the San Francisco Paralegal Association, and a volunteer director and secretary of the Arques Maritime Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to the preservation and teaching of the art of wooden boatbuilding.