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Patricia A. Laughman

Attorney

Patricia is a member of Cairncross & Hempelmann’s Litigation practice group. Her practice focuses primarily on complex commercial disputes, construction litigation, and employment law. She also does transactional work and has drafted, negotiated, and analyzed design and construction contracts for a vast array of construction projects. Patricia represents companies of all sizes and her clients include design firms, architects and engineers, contractors, owners, and consultants.

Patricia manages all aspects of complex litigation, from multi-party discovery, expert and fact depositions, through hearings, trial and appeal. She takes the time to dig deep into the technical information of her cases, gathering a strong foundation of knowledge on which to base her legal position. Patricia’s clients also benefit from her ability to provide practical, actionable legal counsel relating to risk management and dispute resolution. This aspect of her practice has grown in the recent years and is directly informed by her litigation experience.

Treating her client’s money like her own, Patricia is value driven and cost conscious when it comes to the strategic legal advice she provides. This mentality extends into her approach to each case, working to develop relationships with opposing counsel to maximize the outcomes for her clients through effective negotiation and cooperation across the table.

Introduction

Patricia is a member of Cairncross & Hempelmann’s Litigation practice group. Her practice focuses primarily on complex commercial disputes, construction litigation, and employment law. She also does transactional work and has drafted, negotiated, and analyzed design and construction contracts for a vast array of construction projects. Patricia represents companies of all sizes and her clients include design firms, architects and engineers, contractors, owners, and consultants.

Patricia manages all aspects of complex litigation, from multi-party discovery, expert and fact depositions, through hearings, trial and appeal. She takes the time to dig deep into the technical information of her cases, gathering a strong foundation of knowledge on which to base her legal position. Patricia’s clients also benefit from her ability to provide practical, actionable legal counsel relating to risk management and dispute resolution. This aspect of her practice has grown in the recent years and is directly informed by her litigation experience.

Treating her client’s money like her own, Patricia is value driven and cost conscious when it comes to the strategic legal advice she provides. This mentality extends into her approach to each case, working to develop relationships with opposing counsel to maximize the outcomes for her clients through effective negotiation and cooperation across the table.

Experience & Results

Design & Construction Litigation

  • Seattle Tunnel Partners, et al. v. Washington Department of Transportation, et al. (“Bertha” Project): Senior Associate Attorney for Shannon & Wilson, defending against a $640 million claim brought by Seattle Tunnel Partners and Hitachi Zosen against WSDOT and Shannon & Wilson in Thurston County Superior Court (WA). Conducted and oversaw extensive fact and expert discovery, including taking and defending dozens of depositions; drafted discovery motions and summary judgment motions; led and oversaw team of document reviewers conducting targeted review of more than 10 terabytes of data. The claims center on the cause for the failure and associated delays and costs attributable to the breakdown of a tunnel boring machine (named “Bertha”) while excavating for the new SR 99 tunnel through downtown Seattle. STP’s tort claims were dismissed on summary judgment and remaining Hitachi claims settled by a de minimis payment while Shannon & Wilson’s dispositive motion was pending.
  • Municipality of Anchorage v. ICRC, et al.: Associate Attorney for GeoEngineers, defending against a $340 million claim brought by the Municipality of Anchorage against its contractors and design team in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (AK), regarding the development of 9,000 linear feet of commercial port facility. The project entailed design and construction of container shipping and barge berth facilities utilizing an open-cell sheet pile system at the Port located in a seismically active zone. The litigation centered on whether the constructed system and geotechnical analysis underpinning the system was appropriate for surviving a return-period 500-year seismic event. While GeoEngineers’ dispositive motion was pending, the case settled for a six-figure amount, fully resolving the Municipality’s $340 million claim. As counsel for GeoEngineers, Patricia conducted and oversaw extensive document discovery (> 3,000,000 documents), fact and expert discovery, including taking and defending dozens of depositions; drafted discovery motions and a motion for summary judgment.

Employment Litigation

  • Represented three employees in obtaining successful settlement of lawsuit against employer for discrimination, violation of wage laws, and retaliation.
  • Represented employee in obtaining financial settlement of federal court racial discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation case.

Education

  • Western Washington University (B.A., Economics and Environmental Studies, 2005)
  • Western Washington University (M.A., Political Science and Environmental Studies, 2007)
  • Vermont Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 2013)
    • Vermont Law Review, Head Notes Editor (2012-2013), Staff Editor (2011-2012)
    • Outstanding Law Student Award from the National Association of Women Lawyers
    • Academic Excellence Award for CERCLA Law and Policy

Admissions

  • Washington
  • Alaska
  • Oregon
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • US District Court, Western District of Washington
  • US District Court, Eastern District of Washington
  • US District Court, District of Massachusetts

Awards/Honors and Organizational Memberships

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® on the Ones to Watch List in Litigation – Construction
  • Named on the Washington Rising Stars list by Super Lawyers® Magazine
  • King County Bar Association, Member
  • CH& Diversity Team, Member

Publications/Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Complying With Rules of Professional Conduct,” Engineering Law & Ethics Webinar (August 31, 2020)
  • Panelist, “How to Protect Your Firm from COVID-Related Legal Claims,” ACEC Washington Webinar (August 27, 2020)
  • Co-Author, Alaska Chapter 2020 Supplement, State-By-State Guide to Design and Construction Contracts and Claims (2nd Ed.)
  • Co-Author, Alaska Chapter 2019 Supplement, State-By-State Guide to Design and Construction Contracts and Claims (2nd Ed.)
  • Co-Author, Alaska Chapter 2018 Supplement, State-By-State Guide to Design and Construction Contracts and Claims (2nd Ed.)
  • Co-Author, “States of Environmental Justice: Redistributive Politics Across the US, 1993-2004,” Review of Policy Research, Vol. 32(2), 200 (March 2015)
  • Author, “The Aftermath of Irene: Organic Farming, Consumer Protection and Revising Federal Policies,” 14 Vt. J. Envtl. L. 303 (2012)

Personal

  • Volunteer, Conservation Northwest, Seattle, WA
    • Board of Directors, Secretary (2016-present)
  • In Patricia’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, throwing dinner parties for her friends and loved ones, and spending time outdoors hiking, kayaking and camping.