Eric Frechtel practices in the area of construction and government contracts. He represents general contractors, subcontractors, sureties, and owners, in both the prosecution and defense of claims on large public and private construction projects. He has significant litigation experience before both state and federal courts, including both bench trials and jury trials, and he has considerable experience in construction arbitration as well. Eric’s practice also includes substantial work in the preparation and prosecution of, as well as the defense against, delay and impact claims, mechanic’s liens, and surety bond claims. In addition, he has successfully mediated, negotiated, and engineered numerous complex and multi-party settlements, and he has been successful in appellate work before both state courts and federal circuits.
Eric emphasizes practical realities over the academic or theoretical. He prioritizes the goals of his clients rather than litigation for sport. In every matter, and continually during his handling of cases, Eric examines his client’s risks, costs, and potential reward, and maintains his focus on what is most important: the best interests of the client. Eric has enjoyed much success along the spectrum of disputes – from avoidance of escalation to informal settlement and mediation to arbitration and litigation.
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, Construction Law, 2017-2022 Construction Lawyers Society of America, Fellow Government contract litigation, U.S. District Court, Maryland (March 2015) In dispute arising on Army hospital project in Washington State, obtained summary judgment ruling in favor of government contractor against subcontractor and surety concerning subcontractor’s obligation under subcontract “flow-down” provisions to perform replacement work directed by the Government and to follow government contracts disputes process, even if Government direction is made after expiration of post-acceptance warranty period. Metcalf v. United States, 742 F.3d 984 (Fed. Cir. 2014) Obtained reversal and remand from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit of Court of Federal Claims decision denying contractor’s $27 million claim of Government’s breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing involving maladministration of differing site condition claims and other issues. Appellate court victory relating to favorable arbitration ruling, Maryland (August 2014) Obtained affirmance from Court of Special Appeals of Maryland of trial court’s dismissal of adversary’s appeal of arbitration panel’s ruling on entitlement in favor of client in bifurcated arbitration proceeding. Resolution of Owner’s latent defect claims with no payment, Washington, D.C. (June 2014) Resolved for large general contractor client, with no payment by client, claims of building owners that curtain walls furnished and installed by client’s subcontractors contained insulation-related defects. Resolution of litigation involving adjacent property owner’s damage claims, Maryland (2013) Settled contentious litigation involving multi-million dollar claims of adjacent property against large general contractor client, subcontractor, and project owner for property damage arising from sheeting and shoring operations on construction of new high-rise apartment building with multi-story underground garage. Construction trial, North Dakota (2014) Obtained judgment in favor of mechanical contractor client against public owner on delay and impact claim on new law enforcement center project in North Dakota despite no-damages-for-delay provision in contract. Resolution of claim on waste water treatment plant, Maryland (2012) Directed preparation of delay and impact claims exceeding $7 million for general contractor client on waste water treatment plant project and engineered settlement recovering 85% of claim. Arbitration award, District of Columbia (2011) Obtained large arbitration award in favor of owner of large apartment building against contractor on large mechanical renovation project including boiler and chiller replacement. Moreland Corp. v. United States, 76 Fed. Cl. 268 Judgment in favor of client for wrongful default termination of government lease of a medical clinic in Las Vegas and award of approximately $18 million. Phillips Way, Inc. v. Presidential Financial Corp. of the Chesapeake, 768 A.2d 94 (Md. App. 2001) Liability of accounts receivable lender and officers under Maryland construction trust statute. $100 Million Integrated Control System Project In recent years, Eric’s dynamic practice has included the defense, mediation, and global resolution of software and systems integration claims exceeding $100 million arising from the construction and implementation of the high-tech Integrated Project Control System of the “Big Dig” project in Boston. Charleston, SC Construction Arbitration Eric won a recent arbitration award upholding the client’s default termination of a subcontractor on a large roof replacement project on a Navy base in Charleston, South Carolina, and awarding completion costs and other damages. Mobile, AL Construction Litigation Eric successfully obtained a jury verdict on a delay and impact claim arising from the construction of a cable-stay bridge in Mobile, Alabama. Eric helped convince the jury that the project owner impermissibly interfered with the contractor’s means and methods in erecting the bridge and that the contractor was entitled to recover its additional costs of approximately $5 million. New Orleans Renovation Mediation The prosecution and settlement of a several million dollar delay and impact claim, and ultimate resolution, through both discussions and mediation, of numerous subcontractor “pass-through” claims, on a large hotel and historical renovation project in New Orleans. Pennsylvania Mediation Mediated resolution of a multi-party case involving the cracking of the client’s fiber cement cladding on several buildings in an office complex in Oaks, Pennsylvania. Reno, Nevada Mediation Successful mediation of a subcontractor’s delay and impact claim on a state-of-the-art “pilot truss arch” bridge project in Reno, Nevada. Summary Judgment Successfully defeated a local government’s motion for summary judgment based on a contractual no-damages-for-delay clause on a multi-prime construction of a new law enforcement center in North Dakota.