Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino (VLMG)

Owen S. Walker

Of Counsel

Owen Walker practices in the areas of commercial construction and government contracts law.  He represents owners, developers, design professionals, contractors and subcontractors in all phases of construction projects, from contract preparation and negotiation through dispute resolution and litigation.  Owen counsels regional, national and international clients on legal matters, including contract formation, administration and performance, claim entitlement and liability, contract termination for convenience and default, quantification of damages, delay and critical path scheduling, design-build and joint venture issues, mechanic's liens, and performance and payment bond claims.

Owen counsels federal government contractors on a range of issues, including preparation of certified claims, bid protests and other procurement issues, internal investigations, compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations, and False Claims Act issues.  He has also represented clients in commercial disputes involving trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, and teaming agreements.

While Owen’s primary focus is on the resolution of disputes through negotiation, he has successfully represented clients in a variety of forums including federal and state courts, before the boards of contract appeals, and in arbitrations and mediations.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Successfully resolved a performance bond claim on behalf of a general contractor pending in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, involving the new construction of a senior living facility.
  • Successfully defended against an $80M contract dispute during a five-day bench trial resulting in a denial of all claims in Parsons Government Services v. Bechtel National Inc., 2016 WL 8653327 (Va. Cir. Ct.).
  • Prevailed against a $14M claim on a summary judgment motion on behalf of client in Generali-U S Branch v Lachel & Assocs. Inc., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, Case No 3:16-CV-595-DJH, 2017 WL 6999998 (W.D. Ky. Aug 7, 2017) and obtained a favorable dismissal in a second related action on a motion to dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Case No. 4:17-cv-00168-TMP-DML (S.D. Ind. Feb 19, 2019).
  • Represented a California-based technology company in five separate appeals wherein the government claimed a total of $14M arising out of incurred cost audits. The appeals were pending in the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals and one in the United States Court of Federal Claims. Utilizing a novel legal theory, successfully negotiated a settlement for all five of the pending appeals resulting in a positive recovery for our client.
  • Obtained a $4M recovery for client under a termination settlement proposal against the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The matter involved Buy American compliance issues. Defended against and successfully negotiated several lower tier subcontract lawsuits filed in U.S. District Court, District of Maryland related to prime contract.
  • Successfully resolved claims of professional negligence against a geotechnical design engineer in a multi-party dispute with the University of South Carolina pertaining to the University’s Founders Park Baseball Stadium.
  • Prevailed in three-day arbitration involving claims under Maryland’s mechanic’s lien, and construction trust statutes in addition to breach of contract claims. Obtained an award of $540,000, including an award for attorneys' fees under Maryland's Prompt Payment Act.
  • Presented oral argument to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland in the matter Aris Corporation, et al. v. Monarc Construction. Inc. (Case No 282. May 3. 2011) and obtained a favorable decision.
  • Advised the Government of the Cayman Islands on a $100M design-build project, including preparation of contract documents and was extensively involved in resolving contract-based disputes and with change order management during the project.
  • Drafted a design-build contract for construction of a major military installation in Kabul. Afghanistan.
  • Drafted and negotiated a $20M design-build contract for the construction of an evidence control facility in Washington, D.C., and provided advice regarding contract administration during the project.

 PUBLICATIONS

  • Construction Law Handbook (Aspen Publishers, 2017), co-author Chapter 22 – Obtaining Time Extensions.
  • Discovery Deskbook for Construction Disputes, (American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law, 2nd 2015) co-author Chapter 2 Prelitigation Discovery.
  • Differing Site Condition Claims: What Lies Below the Surface of Exculpatory Clauses and Other Disclaimers? 48 Procurement Lawyer 4. Summer 2013.
  • Limitations of Actions-Contract and Tort Claims inContractual Risk Transfer III.E-23 (International Risk Management Institute ed. 2010).
  • Analyzing and Avoiding Risks in Construction Contracts, inContractual Risk Transfer XVII.V.1-16 (International Risk Management Institute ed. 2010).

 RECENT SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

  • Buy American, Hire American – Construction Contractors Guide to Compliance with Buy American and other Domestic Preference Requirements, Washington Building Congress, June 2018.
  • Construction Schedule Delays, Federal Publications Seminars, April 2017 and April 2018.
  • Government Contracts Basics: Claims and Disputes, District of Columbia, Bar Association, CLE Program, February 2018.
  • Performing and Subcontracting Under Federal Government Contracts, District of Columbia, Bar Association, CLE Program, September, 2017.
  • Cost Allowability, Federal Publications Seminar, Triannual Conference, August 2017.
  • Contracts Can Make or Break a Project – Comparison of Industry Form Contracts (AIA v. ConsensusDocs), Virginia Bar Association, Construction and Public Contracts Law Seminar, November 2016.
  • What Contractors & Their Attorneys Need to Know About Terminations of Construction Contracts Liabilities, Challenges, and Recovery, Associated General Contractors and ABA Forum on Construction Law Webinar June 2016.
  • Contract Terminations – Liabilities, Challenges, and Recovery, Federal Publications, Webinar, September 2015.

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