Jeffrey L. Hamera is vice chair of Duane Morris' Construction Group. He practices in the area of litigation with a focus on the construction industry. Mr. Hamera's clients include general contractors, design/builders, construction managers, subcontractors, suppliers, owners, architects, engineers and sureties. He represents clients on matters involving contract drafting and negotiation for design agreements, construction contracts, EPC contracts and design/build agreements. He also represents clients in arbitration and litigation of breach of contract claims, delay, disruption, loss of productivity, excessive change orders, out of scope work, mechanic's liens, errors and omissions, construction defects, and property damage and personal injury claims due to design errors and omissions or faulty construction.
Prior to entering the legal profession, Mr. Hamera worked as a professional engineer for clients in the nuclear power, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and manufacturing industries. In 2011, Mr. Hamera assisted Engineers Without Borders Chicagoland Professional Chapter (EWB-CPC) in an effort to provide the people of the remote town of Canchias, Honduras, with safe and efficient means to access vital farm and dairy land through the Canchias Agricultural Bridge Project. In 2009, Mr. Hamera was involved with EWB-CPC's Armenta project, which constructed a pedestrian bridge for the community of Armenta Lirios in Honduras.
Mr. Hamera is a 1994 cum laude graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (M.S., 1987; B.S., 1986).
Represented a joint venture which included an Engineering News-Record top five firm, managing the legal issues and relationship with a governmental agency owner during completion of major civil infrastructure that experienced significant delays and defects; then resolved a $40 million claim by the governmental agency owner against the client for a fraction of the claim, via an “early” mediation process, conducted virtually. This matter is thought to be the largest construction suit in Travis County/Austin history.
- Negotiated and drafted an EPC agreement for the installation of solar panels, LED lamps and a smart-grid system for a $30 million, 15,000 pole streetlight modernization project.
- Negotiated and drafted a series of agreements for a developer for commercial projects, including new construction, rehabilitation, tenant build-out and completion of abandoned structures.
- Negotiated project labor agreements.
- Negotiated a master project agreement for a general contractor performing office build outs for a national business enterprise.
- Negotiated and drafted design and construction agreements for a retailer for a series of new facilities throughout the United States.
- Defended a contractor against claims from an insolvent subcontractor's secured lender seeking recovery of subcontract payments.
- Represented a hotel developer/operator drafting a standard agreement for projects at existing facilities.
- Represented a hotel development/operator in negotiating construction agreements for new hotels.
- Obtained an arbitration award of over $1 million in favor of the owner of a continuing care retirement community against an architect and mechanical engineer arising from design errors and omissions and a poorly administered value engineering process that resulted in the owner making alterations to the HVAC system of a newly constructed facility. Despite not finding that the design violated applicable codes, the arbitrators awarded the direct cost of the alterations and attorneys' fees to the owner.
- Obtained a dismissal with prejudice for lack of personal jurisdiction for a wireless network services provider in an Illinois state court case arising from the construction of telecommunication towers in several states.
- Represented the construction manager on a $15 million claim involving the construction of a five-star hotel/condo in Chicago.
- Represented an at-risk construction manager on risk management, claims preparation and avoidance, subcontractor claims, delay and change-order claims and arbitration during construction of a mixed-use casino-anchored developments in Las Vegas with construction costs of $8 billion and $2 billion.
- Represented an at-risk construction manager on payment claims, change order claims and defense of construction defect and delay claims on a hotel and casino in Las Vegas.
- Represented a general contractor on an $8.5 million lien and contract claim, including delays, change orders and disruption on a hotel project on which construction was stopped.
- Represented a real estate and construction lender on numerous distressed commercial and multi-unit residential projects regarding mechanics' lien claims and completion of construction.
- Represented an architectural firm on several projects regarding payment claims, defense of errors and omissions claims and negotiation of completion terms for distressed projects.
- Defended contractors against claims by unions for contributions to ERISA funds.
- Represented the lender for a bankrupt home builder on claims in excess of $20 million including more than 400 lien claims on dozens of units in multiple subdivisions.
- Represented a restaurant owner regarding subcontractor lien claims and breach of contract and fraud claims against a general contractor who was paid by the owner but failed to pay its subcontractors.
- Drafted EPC contracts in excess of $100,000,000 for the addition of equipment and production facilities at cement manufacturing plants.
- Represented a power utility during the negotiation and drafting of contracts for the procurement of equipment and construction of facilities for 20 gas fired generators.
- Represented a concrete subcontractor in a claim and litigation for delay damages of $6,000,000 on a hotel project.
- Represented a pipeline contractor in over $5 million in claims and liens in four counties related to payment dispute.
- Defended a construction manager/designer against a $1,100,000 lost productivity claim on a chemical processing facility.
- Represented an electrical/mechanical contractor on $20,000,000 in claims, arbitration and litigation arising from construction of a power plant.
- Defended a general contractor against a $1,200,000 claim arising from alleged construction defects.
- Obtained a judgment in excess of $2,000,000 in favor of a general contractor in litigation arising from the construction of restaurant and retail facilities in Russia.
- Advised the owner of a property damaged by the 9/11 terrorist attacks during repair of the damage and remediation of environmental contamination and mold growth.
- Advised a general contractor/design builder during termination for convenience of a $40,000,000 rehabilitation project.
- Drafted environmental remediation contracts, advised on specifications, obtained insurance coverage, screened contractors and tracked potential work exposure for the remediation of hazardous material, construction debris and mold.
- Represented an owner during the negotiation and drafting of term sheets and EPC contracts for new cogeneration plants.
Areas of Practice
- Construction Law
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- American Bar Association
- Construction Industry Forum
- Associated General Contractors - Illinois
- Chicago Bar Association
- Chicago Building Congress
- Chairman, Services to the Industry Division
- Chi Epsilon Society of Civil Engineers
- Design Build Institute of America
- Illinois Society of Professional Engineers
- Illinois Road and Transportation Builders Association
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys
- Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 1994
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.S., Civil Engineering, 1987
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., Civil Engineering, 1986
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2008-present
- Associate, 2006-2007
- Jenkens & Gilchrist
- Counsel 2005-2006
- Associate, 2001-2005
- Baker & McKenzie
- Associate, 1996-2001
- Stein, Ray & Conway
- Associate, 1995-1996
- Engineers Without Borders – Chicagoland Professional Chapter
- Chicago Building Congress (Past Member)
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Member of Engineers Without Borders – USA, Chicagoland Professional Chapter
- Sustainability Commission, LaGrange Park, IL, 2016-2019
- Habitat for Humanity Volunteer
Honors and Awards
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2010-2021
- Listed in Leading Lawyers, 2011-2015
- Referenced in Legal 500 U.S.- Leading Lawyers for Construction 2014
- Listed in America's Leading Lawyers, 2008
- Co-author, "CARES Act Impacts Engineering and Construction Sector," Duane Morris Alert, March 30, 2020
- Co-author, "Jurisdiction Chapter: USA Construction Law," International Comparative Legal Guide to: Construction & Engineering Law 2016, July 2016
- Featured in "Engineer, Builder and Sought-After Construction Lawyer" by Mike Ramsey, Leading Lawyers Magazine, March 2016
- Featured in "Lawyer-Engineer Builds Bridges Pro Bono" by Jerry Crimmins, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, May 9, 2012
- "Illinois Decision on Lien Priorities," Building & Bonding: The Construction Group Newsletter, Fall 2011
- "Illinois Supreme Court Clarifies Rights of Lenders and Mechanics Lien Claimants to Proceeds of Foreclosure Sale," Duane Morris Alert, March 10, 2011
- "Healthcare Facility Construction Project: A Post-mortem," Building & Bonding: The Construction Group Newsletter, Fall 2010
- "Healthcare Facility Construction Project: A Post-mortem," Mondaq Business Briefing, November 2010
- "2007-2008 Construction Law Update: Case Law & Legislation Affecting the Construction Industry - Illinois," Winter 2008
- "Illinois Gets Into The Act", Building & Bonding: The Construction Group Newsletter, Spring 2008
- Co-author, "Subcontractors Dealt a Winning Hand by Nevada Legislature - Nevada's Prompt Payment Act," Construction Lawyer, Legislative Update, Spring 2007
- Co-author, "Private Funding for Transportation Project," Road & Transportation Builder, July/August 2003
- "New Laws and Retroactivity," Road & Transportation Builder, January/February 2003
- "No Good Deed ... Assisting a Subcontractor Can Release Its Performance Bond Surety," J&G Construction Law News, June 2001
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Guest Presenter, "Avoiding Construction Claims and Disputes," Baker Tilly Webinar, April 19, 2017
- "2016 Update of the Implied Warranty of Habitability in Illinois," Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys, Chicago, Illinois, December 20, 2016
- Panelist, "Avoiding Construction Disputes and Resolving Those that Occur," Roundtable presentation to Peer Group 31, September 20, 2016
- Speaker, "Fundamentals of Construction Contracts in Illinois: Understanding the Issues," Lorman Education Services Seminar, Naperville, Illinois, June 18, 2014
- Speaker, "Maximize the Benefit of Construction Damages Experts," CLLA 118th National Convention, Chicago, Illinois, May 3, 2012
- Speaker, "Construction Damages," AICPA Seminar, Chicago, Illinois, September 22, 2011
- Speaker, "Risk and Recovery 2009: The Changing Face of Bankruptcy in Today's Economy," ALI-ABA and Duane Morris LLP seminar, Chicago, Illinois, May 27, 2009
- Speaker, "What to Do When Construction Projects Go Bad," Lorman Education Services seminar, Schaumburg, Illinois, March 11, 2008