UPDATE: ACS Obtains Additional $13.6 Million for General Contractor Client After $19.2 Million Jury Trial Victory
Washington COVID-19 Reopening: All Construction Work May Fully Resume In Seattle and Other Parts of Washington
Kristina Southwell represents owners, property managers, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers in construction and real estate matters. Kristina is a problem-solver focused on practical solutions and strategies that best advance her clients’ interests. She has experience representing clients in both state and federal court and before administrative boards.
Prior to joining Ahlers Cressman & Sleight, Kristina gained broad experience in the practice of civil litigation through positions as judicial law clerk to the Honorable Bradley Maxa on the Washington State Court of Appeals and as a litigator at a law firm in Tacoma, WA.
Outside of work, Kristina enjoys camping and hiking around the Pacific Northwest. She is also an avid sports fan.
- J.D., cum laude, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, 2015
- Indiana Law Journal, Articles Editor
- CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Pretrial Litigation
- Legal Writing Fellow
- B.A. in English, magna cum laude, Hood College, 2012
- Key member of trial team for national general contractor client in complex litigation on the Nexus high-rise condominium project. ACS brought claims against the Owner for foreclosure of its construction lien, breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and quantum meruit. Contractor’s claims were in excess of $20M, including compensation for 187 unresolved change issues, time extensions and compensation for excusable delays, recovery of additional and expanded general conditions and general requirements, and pass through of discrete subcontractor claims. Owner withheld compensation of contract balance and brought numerous counterclaims seeking recovery of liquidated damages in excess of $4M, as well as other contract and tort-based damages. We successfully dismissed Owner’s tort claims and limited Owner’s recovery through summary judgment motions prior to trial. Notably, we used key contract provisions to obtain a ruling prior to trial that Owner could not assess liquidated damages for periods of insured delay. The case was tried virtually for 7 weeks/28 trial days before a 12-person King County Superior Court jury, which awarded our general contractor client 97% of its claimed damages and rejected 93% of the Owner’s damages. The jury found that the Owner breached the contract and the duty of good faith and fair dealing and that quantum meruit was proven. Post-trial, we obtained judgment on the jury verdict , foreclosed the lien, and obtained an award for our client’s attorneys’ fees, costs and expert expenses resulting in a final judgment against the Owner in excess of $30M. Due to our timely recording a lien in advance of any unit closings and resulting bonding of the lien for all sold units, the judgment was promptly collected from the lien release bond surety and Owner pending the Owner’s appeal of the judgment. ACS will defend the massive jury award through appeal. The following links provide additional information on this tremendous result for our client.
- Part of team representing General Contractor client in $50 million Arbitration against Project Owner. During construction an explosion occurred that destroyed a portion of the completed work. Insurance policies were in place that covered the losses and rebuild efforts, yet the Owner refused to pay the Contractor for the work performed and sought to hold Contractor responsible for the explosion and Project completion costs incurred when the Owner hired a new contractor to finish the Project. After a two week hearing conducted via Zoom, the Arbitration Panel denied the entirety of the Owner’s claims and awarded the Contractor its requested damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. Kristina’s work included drafting critical motions and briefing for the Arbitration Panel.
- Drafted briefing used to obtain summary judgment rulings dismissing more than $20 million in claims made against General Contractor client.
- Assisted with briefing and argument in the Washington State Supreme Court that helped secure the Court’s decision reversing an adverse Court of Appeals ruling and affirming the multimillion jury verdict in favor of General Contractor client.
- Within five months of filing suit, Kristina obtained a stipulated judgment in favor of a Metal Manufacturer client for full damages ($367,000) owed by Contractor for breach of its purchase agreement.
- Law Clerk to the Honorable Bradley Maxa, Washington State Court of Appeals, 2015 – 2017
- Gordon Thomas Honeywell, 2017- 2019
- Ahlers Cressman & Sleight, 2019 – present