Stephen B. Litchfield

SUMMARY

Stephen B. Litchfield is a transactional and trial attorney in the firm’s Orange County office. He focuses his practice on the representation of professionals with an emphasis on advising architects, engineers, and other design firms. Mr. Litchfield’s practice includes a full range of transactional services and he regularly counsels clients on a variety of corporate needs, including formation, compliance, capital structure, mergers, and acquisitions, in addition to advising on real estate matters, trademark disputes, and copyright law.

Mr. Litchfield holds memberships to a number of professional organizations, and is an Affiliate Member of the Orange County chapters of the American Institute of Architects and the American Council of Engineering Companies. He presents regularly to firms and professional organizations with topics ranging from comprehensive risk management for professionals to developments in the statutory indemnity framework in California.

Mr. Litchfield received his undergraduate degree from UCLA and his law degree from UC Hastings College of the Law and was admitted to practice in 2012.

EXPERIENCE

Defense of Design Team on Hospital Project: Mr. Litchfield represented a design team alleged to be responsible for delays to a $600 million hospital project. After an intensive year of litigation and multiple rounds of mediation, which included a comprehensive presentation of its defenses, the matter settled for less than 20% of the original demand.

Structuring of Sale of Engineering Firm Practice Group: Mr. Litchfield represented a design firm selling one of its regional practice groups to another firm. Mr. Litchfield was responsible for structuring the deal and negotiating the terms of the sale with the acquiring firm. After extensive negotiations and the drafting of multiple agreements, promissory notes, transfer addendums, and related documents, the transaction closed on favorable terms and within the client’s desired time period.

Resolution of Oil and Gas Dispute: Mr. Litchfield represented an engineering firm seeking payment for additional services provided in the design of an oil and gas facility for a large oil resource company. The oil company countersued for more than $3 million in damages it alleged were incurred due to the engineering firm’s negligence. After protracted litigation, the matter was resolved with Mr. Litchfield’s client receiving payment for all of its claimed additional services while paying nothing on the counterclaim.

Dismissal of Engineer Based on “Completed and Accepted” Doctrine: Mr. Litchfield represented an engineering firm that provided design services for an ADA compliance project in Central California. After the project was complete, an element of the design was alleged to have caused serious injuries to a pedestrian. Less than a month after receiving notice of the incident, Mr. Litchfield secured a dismissal of his client, with prejudice, based on California’s “completed and accepted doctrine.”

Resolution of Real Estate Transaction Dispute: Mr. Litchfield represented a real estate investor purchasing a piece of land for development. After inspections revealed significant issues with the property, the buyer rescinded the agreement but the seller refused to return the buyer’s earnest money deposit. After preparing to file suit for return of the deposit, Mr. Litchfield negotiated resolution of the matter with his client receiving a full return of the deposit, plus interest and attorneys’ fees.

Environmental Claim at Airport Rental Car Facility: After significant quantities of gasoline were found to have leaked into the soil at a rental car facility at a major international airport, Mr. Litchfield represented the team responsible for the design of the facility. Mr. Litchfield secured the services of a reputable expert in the field and worked with its engineering department to demonstrate that an improper installation was the root cause of the leak. The matter settled shortly after, with Mr. Litchfield’s client contributing only nuisance value to the resolution.

PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS
  • The State Bar of California
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • American Institute of Architects, Orange County Chapter
  • American Council of Engineering Companies, Orange County Chapter
PUBLICATIONS/SEMINARS
  • Senate Bill 474: Leaving Design Professionals to Fend for Themselves on Indemnity
  • Has the Duty to Defend Framework in California Been Turned on its Head? Senate Bill 474 and its Aftermath