Varela, Lee, Metz & Guarino (VLMG)

Garrett E. Dillon

Senior Partner

Garrett Dillon is a partner in VLMG's Bay Area office. He is an experienced litigator whose practice focuses on construction litigation. He has represented general contractors, design engineering firms, construction managers and sureties on industrial, civil, energy, transportation and commercial construction projects throughout California, with a particular focus on design and energy oriented projects. He has significant litigation experience in both federal and state courts, as well as domestic arbitrations.

Garrett’s experience includes advising clients on contract preparation, administration and termination, as well as drafting and updating general contracts, subcontracts, and specialty contracts for clients. He has extensive experience drafting, revising and negotiating contracts between project owners and general contractors across commercial and industrial projects, including hospitals, mixed-use high-rise towers, and power plants.

Garrett holds a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® Accredited Professional (LEED AP) designation. The LEED rating system is the nationally recognized benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. As a LEED AP, Garrett is part of a select group of attorneys nationwide who have recognized the significance of "green" building trends. Garrett possesses an understanding of green building strategies to assist clients through the LEED certification process, from startup to final verification of a project's green measures, as well as navigating clients through the evolving green building regulatory requirements.


  • Recovered $102 million in damages on behalf of a general contractor and project owner after an 11-week bench trial in a train control software litigation.  The initial engagement was to challenge a California public owner’s termination of the general contractor’s $100+ million contract for alleged default. After negotiating a favorable settlement with the owner, VLMG pursued a software development subcontractor for recovery of costs on behalf of both owner and general contractor.  Key claims included breach of contract, negligent misrepresentation, and indemnity.
  • Represented Owner/Developer of multi-unit residential condominium project in San Francisco making affirmative claims for fraud and monies owed by general contractor for substandard performance of work, breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentations to Owner to secure payment and other associated causes of action. Representation included multiple litigations and affirmative claims against recalcitrant insurance companies for failure to honor obligations under applicable policies.
  • Defended EPC contractor in a multi-week international arbitration proceeding against mechanical subcontractor’s $25 million claims for additional work and lost productivity arising out of heavy industrial piping work performed on a $1.7 billion solar power plant.
  • Successfully resolved breach of contract claims between design-build contractor and Owner regarding the construction and operation of a cogen power plant generating electricity and steam, including Owner’s fraud claims against contractor, in advance of trial with a settlement that required no direct payment by contractor to Owner.
  • Represented Canadian design-build subcontractor in Canadian arbitration proceedings regarding multiple solar field projects located in Ontario, Canada, successfully resolving subcontractor’s multi-million dollar claims against prime contractor for additional payment owed due to differing subsurface soil conditions and contractor-caused delays and disruption to the work prior to hearing.
  • Represented deep-pile subcontractor in arbitration proceeding asserting payment claims against prime contractor and defending against design and construction claims by prime contractor, overturning termination for default against subcontractor and recovering affirmative damages in favor of subcontractor at arbitration on state highway bridge project.
  • Successfully defended against construction claims brought by Owner against prime contractor in multi-party private arbitration on a hospital project and negotiated settlement recovering over $10 million in delay damages for prime contractor and trade subcontractors.
  • Represented design-build contractor asserting breach of contract claims against Owner and defending against design and construction claims brought by Owner, successfully settling the lawsuit and eliminating over 80% of Owner’s affirmative claims on a landfill-gas-to-electricity power plant.
  • Represented private healthcare administrator against public entity prison system on several contract claims, appearing before Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on jurisdictional issues, and successfully setting up framework for settlement and multi-million dollar recovery by healthcare administrator.
  • Represented design professional in two wrongful death lawsuits where the professional engineering firm was accused of negligent design of a multi-lane roadway in a construction zone, defending against over $15 million in combined claims brought by the estates of the decedents and resolving the case with a costs of defense settlement.


  • Author: "Public Contract Bidding," California Construction Law, April 2014.
  • Co-Author: "The Microsoft Decision: A Vivid Reminder that Market Definition Can Make or Break Your Case," 22nd Annual Institute on Computer Law, Practicing Law Institute, February - March 2002. 

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