Our Team

Masaki James Yamada

Contact Information

Direct Dial: 206-529-3015
Assistant: Dianna Hubacka
Direct Dial: 206-386-4731

Masaki (“Saki”) James Yamada is a partner at Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC. His practice focuses on preparing and negotiating construction contracts (public and private), resolving complex construction claims, defending and appealing L&I/WISHA violations, prosecuting and defending construction defect claims, and handling construction related insurance matters. Mr. Yamada’s practice also includes commercial leases and communications law (i.e. cell towers). He regularly represents general contractors, subcontractors, developers, business and property owners, and design professionals. Mr. Yamada has successfully mediated numerous multi-million dollar construction claims and negotiated contracts for private and public projects in Washington State, Oregon and the City of Seattle. Mr. Yamada has represented his construction clients in a wide variety of venues and has extensive litigation and jury trial experience in state and federal courts, experience resolving disputes through private arbitration, experience before the Labor & Industries Board of Industrial Appeals, and experience in Washington’s court of appeals.

Mr. Yamada started his legal career at King County, where he worked fulltime as a paralegal while attending and completing the night program at the Seattle University School of Law. Upon passing the bar, Mr. Yamada was hired as a Civil Deputy Attorney to defend and advise King County council members, corrections officers, sheriff deputies, and prosecutors in civil rights and tort cases in superior court and federal district court and to assist with drafting agency policies and county codes.

Mr. Yamada is admitted to practice in all state, federal, and appellate courts of Washington and Oregon. He regularly gives seminars to contractors from all around the States of Washington and Oregon at events hosted by non-profit organizations, government agencies, and construction companies on insurance law, construction contracts, construction claims and laws regarding public works. He has also been selected as a “Rising Star” by Washington Law and Politics / Super Lawyers Magazine for 2013, 2014 and 2015.

  • J.D., Seattle University School of Law, 2004
  • B.A., Political Science, Seattle University, 1997
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW)
  • Member, Master Builders Association (MBA)
  • Member, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)
  • Member, Associated General Contractors of Washington (AGC)
  • Affiliate, Washington State Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
  • Member, King County Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • President (former), Phi Alpha Delta – Seattle University Chapter
  • “State Supreme Court overturns law protecting general contractors from trust fund liens on public works projects,” April 2014, AGC Works, AGC of Washington
  • “Top 10 Provisions for Contractors in Public Works Contracts,” March 2016, Government Contracting Marketplace magazine, a Publication for Washington PTAC
  • “Getting Paid on Construction Contracts,” March 2017, Government Contracting Marketplace magazine, a Publication for Washington PTAC
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • United States District Court Western District of Washington
  • United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Successfully mediated a general contractor’s multi-million dollar claims for breach of contract and general extended conditions while defending multi-million dollar counterclaims based on alleged construction defects and delay claims (liquidated damages claims) by the owner over a dispute arising from the $52 million “Ballard Blocks” commercial project in Ballard, Washington.
  • Successfully obtained $4.0 million judgment, plus attorney’s fees and costs, after a one-month lien foreclosure trial on behalf of international general contractor over disputes arising from the Whole Foods construction project in West Seattle.
  • Successfully defended a general contractor in federal court action against a national title company’s claims for fraud that resulted in a no payment settlement.
  • Successfully defended a national leader in heavy civil and specialty geotechnical construction in multiple lawsuits by home owners who alleged vibrations created by adjacent construction activities caused damage to their homes. Summary judgment motions in all cases ultimately resulted in no damages owed by the contractor and dismissal of the actions.
  • Successfully defended a construction site injury claim for $3.6 million in a one-month jury trial.
  • Represented multiple building owners in disputes with AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile.
  • Successfully mediated and resolved numerous cases on behalf of contractors involving unpaid sums and delay damages on private and public projects.
  • “Advanced Governmental Contracting on Public Projects and Insurance Coverage and Bonds – What YOU Should Know” at the Seattle Contractor Training Day, hosted by Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (2015)
  •  “Legal Considerations for Construction Contracts” at the Legal Considerations for Construction Contracts, hosted by Washington PTAC (2015)
  • “Contracting on Public Projects” at the Regional Contracting Forum Workshop, hosted by King County Regional Contracting Forum (2015)
  • “Advanced Government Contracting on Public Projects and Insurance Coverage and Bonds – What YOU Should Know” at the Lynnwood Contractor Training Day, hosted by Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (2015 + 2016)
  • “Advanced Government Contracting on Public Projects and Insurance Coverage and Bonds – What YOU Should Know” at the Renton Contractor Training Day, hosted by Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (2015 + 2016)
  • “Contract Terms for Indemnity and Insurance” at the Worksite Accident Claims course, hosted by The Seminar Group, Worksite Accident Claims CLE (2016)
  • “Advanced Government Contracting on Public Projects and Insurance Coverage and Bonds – What YOU Should Know” at the Seattle Contractor Training Day, hosted by Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries (2016)
  • “Construction Law: Top 10 Washington Public Contract Provisions” at Alliance NW 2016, Construction Law: Contracts, Dispute Resolution, and Bonds, hosted by Washington PTAC (2016)“Construction Law: Top 10 Washington Public Contract Provisions” at PTAC GoToWebinar: Government Contracting Weekly, hosted by Washington PTAC (2016)
  • “Construction Law: Top 10 Contract Clauses” at Green River College Training Day, hosted by Washington PTAC (2017)
  • “Top Contract Provisions to Ensure Timely Payments” at Alliance NW 2017, hosted by Washington PTAC (2017)
  • “Subcontractor Default Insurance in Construction: Avoid Pitfalls” at Strafford Live CLE, hosted by Strafford (2017)
  • “Insurance in Construction” at a Lunch and Learn, hosted by Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties (2017)
  • “Indemnity and Insurance”at the Clark Construction’s Strategic Partnership Program, hosted by Clark Construction (2017)
  • “Construction Bonds” at Clark Construction’s Strategic Partnership Program, hosted by Clark Construction (2017)
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