Robert C. Hendrickson


  • Robert C. Hendrickson
  • Phone: +1 415 957 3125

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  • Duane Morris LLP
    Spear Tower
    One Market Plaza, Suite 2200
    San Francisco, CA 94105-1127

Robert C. Hendrickson practices in the areas of construction law, business litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Hendrickson has more than 30 years of experience in construction law, including experience with all phases of engineering and construction contracting, design, bidding, change orders and claims, errors and omissions claims, mechanic's liens and bond claims, public and private work, litigation and alternative dispute resolution; insurance claims and disputes regarding design and construction coverage; and arbitration, mediation and other forms of ADR. He has diverse project experience ranging from large civil industrial and commercial projects to failed real estate development projects and construction defect litigation, and has established working relationships with the top consultants in these areas. He has a balanced practice, representing owners, developers, contractors and design professionals both as plaintiffs and as defendants. He is actively involved as a speaker and participant in a number of construction industry trade groups.

Mr. Hendrickson has substantial experience in business and commercial litigation, having represented a wide range of business entities from start-up companies to established financial institutions. He has successfully litigated, tried, and arbitrated a significant number of business cases, including sales of goods, business torts, insurance coverage, and real estate development, including related financial services.

Mr. Hendrickson has served as a neutral arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association (Construction Panel) for over 20 years and has participated as an advocate representing clients in over 50 arbitrations, mediations, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Legal Advisory Committee of the California Associated General Contractors, and a construction panel arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.

Licensed as a Professional Engineer (Civil) in California, Mr. Hendrickson is a 1979 graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, and a graduate of the College of Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley (M.S. Civil Engineering; B.S. Civil Engineering, with honors).

Representative Matters

  • Defended design engineer against claims of defective design in connection with nuclear power plant in the Pacific northwest.
  • Successfully enforced limitation of liability provision in favor of engineer to defend against and defeat claims of improper inspection of windmills.
  • Represented developer of biomass power plant project in connection with negotiations with Southern California Edison over the viability of its SO4 contract.
  • Successfully defended general contractor in action arising out of cracked structural steel welds following the Northridge earthquake.
  • Defended design engineer in action by owner for cost overruns in connection with design and construction of hydroelectric project and powerhouse in Alaska.
  • Defended large telecommunications installation contractor against lawsuit brought by site-acquisition subcontractor alleging that it was unable to timely perform and complete its work on hundreds of sites due to client's alleged delays in providing necessary site-specific information. Settled the case for a small fraction of the claim.
  • Successfully arbitrated contract dispute on behalf of water agency against its partner under Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement.
  • Successfully defended large international EPC contractor against claims by electrical supplier involving a major telecommunications facility.
  • Recovered increased costs for owner/developer of a commercial high-rise building arising from structural errors that led to costly overruns.
  • Recovered $1.5 million arbitration award (including attorneys fees) for master real estate developer against builder.
  • Successfully defended large national engineering firm from catastrophic gas-pipe-line explosion cases that have resulted in nearly $100 million in total settlements.
  • Recovered $1 million arbitration award on behalf of international combustion boiler firm against EPC contractor on failed power plant project.
  • Successfully defended owner and design-engineering firm from contractor claims involving construction of clean-coal power plant.
  • Recovered significant damages on behalf of general contractor on school project with defective plans.
  • Recovered significant damages for exterior cladding subcontractor against at-risk construction manager on large commercial/residential highrise.
  • Have negotiated and drafted numerous contractor and design professional agreements, including familiarity with all standard industry forms of agreement.
  • Frequent arbitrator for AAA and private referrals.
  • Successfully defended city and design engineer against contractor claims arising from a wastewater-treatment plant and SCADA system.

Areas of Practice

  • Construction
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Commercial Litigation


  • California
  • Supreme Court of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California


  • University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, J.D., 1979
  • University of California, Berkeley, M.S. Civil Engineering, 1975
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.S. Civil Engineering, with honors, 1974


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2006-present
  • Hancock Rothert & Bunshoft LLP
    - Partner, 1987-2005
  • Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges
    - Associate, 1979-86

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association
    - Forum Committee on the Construction Industry
  • Associated General Contractors (California)
    - Legal Advisory Committee
  • American Arbitration Association
    - Member, Panel of Construction Arbitrators

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America, 2021-2023
  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, 2012-2019

  • Listed in California Super Lawyers
  • Included in International Bar Association's California 2007-2009 Who's Who Legal, Construction Law
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®

Selected Publications

  • Co-Author, "Handling Municipal Bankruptcies on Public Works Projects," Construction Executive, May 2014
  • "ADR in Construction Disputes," The Recorder, October 10, 2011
  • "Time, Payment, and Communications Risks: Managing the Dangers," program materials for ABA Construction Forum Committee's Annual Meeting, 2004
  • Co-Author, "Advanced Construction Law in California," course materials for National Business Institute, 2003 and 2004
  • Co-Author, "Construction Issues in California," course materials for Lorman Institute, 2002 and 2003
  • Co-Author, "Mechanics' Lien Law Strategies in California," course materials for National Business Institute, 2000, 2001 and 2002
  • Co-Author, "California Construction Law," course materials for National Business Institute, 1998, 1999 and 2001

Selected Speaking Engagements

  • "Municipal Bankruptcy - What Do I Do Now?" The Seminar Group's Construction Project: Scheduling & Delay Claims Seminar, San Francisco, Houston, November 5, 2014
  • Panelist, "On Track," Construction SuperConference09, San Francisco, California, December 10, 2009
  • Panelist, "Notes from the Jury Box: Jury Trials in Complex Construction Cases" Construction SuperConference 07 San Francisco, The Palace Hotel, San Francisco, December 14, 2007
  • "Riskless Business: Should Risk Be Managed Without Mandatory Indemnification Clauses?" Association of California Water Agencies, CLE Workshop for Law Professionals, Costa Mesa, California (2005)
  • "Time, Payment and Communications Risks: Managing the Dangers," ABA Construction Forum Committee's Annual Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona (2004)
  • "Advanced Construction Law in California," National Business Institute, San Jose (2003) and San Francisco (2004)
  • "Negotiating and Drafting the Right Dispute Provisions - From the Litigator's Perspective," presented with Rick Seabolt. Sponsored by the Association of Corporate Counsel - America, Palo Alto & San Francisco (2004)
  • "Construction Issues in California," Lorman Education Services, San Francisco (2002, 2003) and Oakland (2002, 2003)
  • "Fundamentals of Construction Law," American Bar Association, Construction Forum, San Francisco (2002)
  • "Mechanics' Lien Law Strategies In California," National Business Institute, San Francisco (1998-2002) and San Jose (2002)
  • "California Construction Law," National Business Institute, San Francisco (1998, 1999 and 2001)
  • "Cracked Welds - A Big Problem Waiting to Happen," AGC Legal Advisory Committee (February 1998)
  • "A Cure for Construction Defect and Design Problems," Lamberson Koster/Gallagher Client Seminar (September 1997)
  • "Structural Performance and Failures," Stanford University, College of Engineering, CE 287 Guest Speaker (1993-2004)
  • "Construction Engineering and Management Seminar," UC Berkeley, College of Engineering, CE 298-5 Guest Speaker (1992-2000)