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Richard L. Reed


board-certified-construction-lawBL - Rick ReedSL - Rick Reedamerican-arbitration-association av-rated

Rick is a Director in charge of the Firm’s San Antonio, Texas office and is a Past Chair of the Construction Law Section of the Texas State Bar.  He holds Martindale Hubble’s highest peer review rating of “Preeminent AV” and Martindale Hubble’s designation as a Top Rated Lawyer in Construction. Rick was selected by his peers to the Texas Super Lawyers list for the years 2012-2016 (Thomson Reuters).  Rick has also been chosen for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Construction Law for the years 2010-2016 (Woodward White, Inc.). Under his leadership, the San Antonio office of Coats Rose has been named to the Best Law Firms 2016 list as a top Tier I law firm for Construction Law in the San Antonio Metropolitan area for 2016 by U.S. News & World Report and Woodward White, Inc. Additionally, he is board certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Rick serves as an Arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association’s Construction Arbitration Panel of Neutrals and is a member of the Association of Attorney Mediators. He also teaches Construction Law as Senior Lecturer/Adjunct Professor for the Construction Management Degree Program at The University of Texas at San Antonio, College of Architecture.  Prior to joining the Firm, he served as Assistant General Counsel to a large privately owned construction firm.

Rick is licensed to practice in all Texas State Courts and in the Western Federal District Court, the Fifth and Eleventh Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He serves as a Special Advisor to the Editorial Board of the State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal. Rick is certified by Associated General Contractors of America as a BIM Instructor for AGC’s Unit 3: BIM Contract Negotiation & Risk Allocation.

Practice Emphasis

Rick is a frequent speaker on construction law issues, with significant experience in the development of strategies for the formation of business entities, the drafting and negotiating of all types of commercial contracts, including engineering, procurement and construction contracts for major industrial projects, industrial maintenance contracts, commercial construction contracts, and U. S. Government projects (for which he was required to hold a Top Secret security clearance).

Rick also has extensive experience in developing strategies for and managing complex construction litigation matters, as well as commercial, labor and employment law disputes. Through his work with the State Bar Construction Law Section, Rick has established relationships with numerous, highly competent construction litigators and expert witnesses across the country.

  • J.D., 1977, St. Mary’s University School of Law
  • B.S., 1975, University of Texas
  • Board Certified in Construction Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2016
  • Texas Supreme Court
  • U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits of Texas
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U. S. District Court for Western District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for Southern District of Texas
  • American Bar Association (Construction Law Forum)
  • American Arbitration Association (Roster of Neutrals)
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators
  • Texas State Bar Association (1978)
  • Texas State Bar Construction Law Section
  • Texas State Bar Insurance Law Section
  • Texas Bar Foundation (Life Fellow)
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • Association of Attorney-Mediators
  • State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section
  • State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal (Special Advisor to Editorial Board)
  • San Antonio Bar Association (Construction Law Section)
  • San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (Member, Board of Directors)
  • Associated General Contractors, San Antonio Chapter (Awarded the Moeller Award for Outstanding Services to AGC Members 2008 and 2012; Member, Board of Directors 2009-2012)
  • Texas Building Branch, Associated General Contractors Legal Affairs Committee
  • Associated General Contractors of America certified BIM Instructor for AGC’s Unit 3: Building Information Modeling- Contract Negotiation & Risk Allocation
  • Dispute Resolution Board Foundation
  • Phi Delta Phi
Other Interests
  • Rick enjoys basketball, fly-fishing and hunting when time permits
  • He also raises and sells AQHA registered quarter horses
Past Accomplishments

Represented a government owner in the resolution of a major scope dispute for the delivery of professional services for the procurement a major health care facility.  By using a dispute review board process and developing expert testimony to provide an in-depth explanation of the standard of care in the industry, Rick helped the public owner quickly reach a settlement that enabled the project to get back on track without ever having to mediate, file suit or engage in costly discovery.

Represented a general contractor whose subcontractor installed a defective light pole that collapsed across the owner’s building. The clear cause: a manufacturing defect, not installation. The manufacturer went into bankruptcy. The owner’s property insurer still sued the general contractor (the client) and subcontractor, alleging they were “sellers of a defective product” and strictly liable under Texas law. Rick got the subcontractor’s insurer to assume the cost of defense for the client, and he persuaded all parties to agree to non-suit of the case to allow early mediation to resolve all claims. Rick then established the general contractor, as construction manager for the project, could not be a seller, and was not liable as a matter of law. The general contractor client successfully avoided all liability and cost of defense.

Represented a large mechanical contractor in recovering most of its contract balance for completed work on a remodeling project for a major internet servicing and data center facility, including a retrofit of the facility’s air conditioning system. The private owner claimed the system, as designed by a third party, failed to operate properly. In fact, the owner had obstructed progress of the work and expanding the scope and schedule far beyond the work originally required. After filing suit on behalf of the contractor, arranging key interview of a key former employee of the owner, and developing a multi-million dollar claim against the owner to demonstrate the bulk of the claimed defects were largely extra work, a settlement was finalized resulting in the client recovering more than 90% of its contract balance, all without taking a single deposition or even having to go to mediation.

Defended a general contractor and its surety against suit brought by a government owner. After several attempts at mediation proved unsuccessful, a videotaped inspection of the general contractor’s work captured the owner’s own expert admitting the general contractor’s work was performed properly. Also, discovery lead to documents showing the government owner had accepted the project as complete, even though it later secretly attempted to persuade its architect to retract a certificate of substantial completion. Settlement was successfully negotiated to avert an imminent trial. The general contractor client recovered nearly 90% of its contract balance damages.

Successfully represented a government owner in its pursuit of damages for design errors and omissions by the original architect and a mechanical engineer on a major data center project. The case required extensive analysis of the feasibility of the mechanical engineer’s mechanical and electrical system designs for the HVAC systems. After an early mediation that included the professional liability insurance carriers of each of the defendants, a significant settlement was achieved and essentially all funds paid for the failed design were recovered to allow the project to get back on track without ever having to file suit.

Defended a general contractor against multiple building construction defect claims asserted by a government owner. By coordinating an early mediation process that included the contractor’s insurer, its subcontractors and their insurers, and the engineer and its insurer, the parties all agreed to concentrate their efforts on investigation of the alleged defects, and develop remedial solutions. The client was able to avoid major multi-million dollar liability. Settlement of all claims left the client with virtually no out-of-pocket loss, and without a single deposition being taken.

Served as the Chair of the Dispute Review Board for the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center Project, a $300 million dollar project. Several disputes were resolved without further litigation after Rick rendered the formal determination of the Board, with no submitted disputes proceeding to litigation.

Significant Publications/Presentations
  • The Economic Loss Doctrine as an Obstacle to Claims of Contractual Strangers 46 St. Mary’s L.J. 321 Saint Mary’s Law Journal, 2015; republished with permission in the Construction Law Journal published by State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal and which article is also scheduled to be republished in the Handbook entitled “Issues in Construction and Technology” associated with the annual publication of “Forms and Agreements for Architects Engineers and Contractors”, a five-volume Construction Law treatise published by Thomson/Reuters/West, New York (June 2015)
  • Walking the High Wire While Juggling: Strategies to Manage Litigation Costs and Meet Client Expectations (presented to the American Bar Association Annual Meeting, April 2010)
  • Emerging (and some Not-so-New) Dispute Resolution Techniques (presented to Construction Owners Association of America, February 2010)
  • Professional Liability Risk for the Contractor – Does Assisting with Design Cross the Line? (San Antonio ConstructionNews, December 2009)
  • Indemnity Clauses – Why so much Fuss? (San Antonio ConstructionNews, November 2009)
  • My Immersion into DRB World (Presented to 13th Annual Meeting and Conference Dispute Resolution Board Foundation, Houston, Texas, October, 2009)
  • Consequential Damages – Waiving Them May be of No Consequence (San Antonio ConstructionNews, October 2009)
  • Joint Venturing Issues for GC’s and A/E’s (Presented to the 17th Annual Associated General Contractors /American Institute of Architects Building Communities Conference, South Padre, Texas, September 2009)
  • ConsensusDocs – An Overview (Presented to the International Facilities Management Association, San Antonio Chapter – May 2009)
  • Termination of a Construction Contractor (Presented at the “How to Keep Construction Projects From Going Bad – And What to Do When They Do” Lorman Seminar, San Antonio, Texas, January 2009)
  • Associated General Contractors /American Institute of Architects Contract Series: Comparison of ConsensusDocs and AIA Forms on Key Issues (Topics: (1) General Overview and Dispute Resolution Practices and Processes; (2) Traditional Roles & Responsibilities: Owner/Architect/Contractor/Subs; (3) Liability Risk Transfer: Consequential & Liquidated Damages, Limitations of Liability, Indemnity and Insurance; (4) Delays, Changes & Change Management; and (5) Default, Termination & Suspension (Presented to the Associated General Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, August – December 2008)
  • Following the Money: Managing The Risk Of Owner Non-Payment Under The New Texas Statutory Restrictions On Contingent Payment Clauses (Presented to the 21st Annual Construction Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2008)
  • ConsensusDocs – There’s a New Kid in Town (Associated General Contractors, San Antonio ChapterNewsletter 2008)
  • ConsensusDocs: Good for Owners? (Presented to the Construction Owners Association of America, Texas Chapter, September 2008)
  • Environmental Liability in Construction Contracts (Presented to Houston Bar Association, Construction Law Section, November 2007)
  • The Basics of Contracts for Financial Managers (Presented to Construction Financial Management Association, November 2007)
  • Bypassing the Low Bidder: An Examination of Texas Bidding Laws Applicable to Local Governmental Entities (State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal, September 2007)
  • Enforceability of Contingent Payment Clauses in Texas (Co-chaired Associated General Contractors – Texas Building Branch committee to help in the publication of the book, which focuses primarily on the 2007 Texas statute restricting the enforceability of contingent payment clauses in subcontracts. Rick is the primary author.)
  • Lien Rights of Construction Managers; co-authored with law student Kerri Ranney (State Bar of Texas, Construction Law Section, Construction Law Journal, September 2007)
  • Termination of a Construction Contractor (Presented to Associated Builders & Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, August 2007)
  • Contingent Payment Clauses: It’s A Whole New Ball Game and the Field Has Landmines (Coats Rose, July 2007)
  • The Short Version: Can a Lead Person Vote in a Union Election? (Associated Builders & Contractors, San Antonio Chapter, January 2007)
  • Expedited Arbitration Procedures – It Ain’t Just Plain Ole’ Arbitration Anymore (Presented to the 20th Annual Construction Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2007)
  • The “Arranger” – Helping the Owner Deal with its Contaminants while Minimizing your Risk of being Contaminated with CERCLA Liability (San Antonio Construction New, September 2006)
  • A Day Late and Two Million Dollars Short (How Intermediate Delay Leads to Major Consequences) (San Antonio Construction,News, August 2006)
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance for the Temporary Worker (San Antonio ConstructionNews, July 2006)
  • Limitation of Liability – The Ultimate Survival Strategy (San Antonio ConstructionNews, (June 2006)
  • Subcontract Guidance For The Contractor: How To Be Stuck In The Middle, Without Getting Stuck (Presented to the 18th Annual Construction Law Conference, San Antonio, Texas, 2005)
  • Contractor Modifications to Standard Contract Clauses (Presented at the Fourth Annual Basics in Construction Law Course, San Antonio, Texas, October 2004)
  • The Ultimate Survival Strategy: The Limitation Of Liability Clause (Presented to the 13th Annual Construction Law Conference, Houston, Texas, 2000)
  • Rolling the Dice Without Putting it all on the Line – Proposal qualifications to protect the Contractor against catastrophic liability (Presented to the 10th Annual Construction Law Conference, Austin, Texas, 1997)
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