Biography

Through his decades of legal service to the construction industry, John has cultivated a fine-tuned and practical approach. John's clients include contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, material suppliers, and developers, as well as both public and private project owners. John's clients rely on his efficiency, common sense, and results-oriented approach to solve their legal problems.

In more than 20 years representing clients in construction disputes, John has litigated, arbitrated, and mediated in the state and federal courts of New England and beyond. With an engineering background, he is well-suited to dealing with contractors, architects, and engineers, and the complex technical issues arising in construction litigation. John has litigated complex construction disputes involving changed conditions, delay and inefficiency, force majeure, design malpractice, and construction defects. He also has extensive experience counseling public and private project owners, contractors, and design professionals in the area of design and construction services procurement including bid protests, and drafting and negotiating design and construction contracts.

In addition to construction matters, John represents businesses, financial institutions, and individuals in complex commercial disputes including business torts, fraudulent transfers, enforcement of security agreements, insurance coverage issues, Uniform Commercial Code matters, and commercial foreclosures.

John holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering and is a patented inventor (Patent No. 5,248,244). John now lives in Cumberland, Maine, with his wife and two sons. When not in his office, he can be found enjoying Maine's woods and waters with his family.

Representative Litigation Matters

  • Represented one of the nation's largest geotechnical subcontractors in claims against a major general contractor arising from construction of pier improvements at an East Coast naval facility
  • Provided defense in a four-week jury trial of a quasi-state agency in $22 million differing site condition claim arising out of the construction of $100 million marine terminal
  • Successfully filed motion to dismiss a design malpractice claim arising out of alleged defective specifications on project for renovation of submarine repair facility at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine (Fletch's Sandblasting & Painting, Inc. v. Fay, Spofford and Thorndike d/b/a Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., 2019 WL 847731)
  • Represented Chapter 11 trustee in connection with preference and fraudulent transfer claims, and directors' and officers' breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Represented major gas utility in defense of $40 million claim by steel pipeline contractor
  • Represented major gas utility in $10 million dispute involving pipeline contractor's differing site condition claims and counterclaims for construction defects — engagement included successful motion to dismiss under economic loss rule of negligent misrepresentation claims brought by pipeline contractor against major gas utility (Tetra Tech Construction, Inc. v. Summit Natural Gas of Maine, Inc., 2016 WL 3881056)
  • Represented bank in defense of $2 million tort claims arising out of real estate investment partnership
  • Represented manufacturer/distributor of industrial floor coating materials in defense of claims arising out of failed flooring system at fish processing facility
  • Represented manufacturer/erector of modular home in defense of tort claims arising out of alleged defective manufacture and construction leading to water infiltration and mold contamination
  • Represented owner of supermarket chain in claims against contractor, architect, and subcontractor arising out of collapse of supermarket roof
  • Obtained judgment after bench trial, including penalties and attorneys' fees, on breach of contract and Prompt Payment Act claims behalf of site work subcontractor on school construction project seeking to recover subcontract balance following wrongful termination (R.F. Jordan & Sons Construction, Inv. v. P.M. MacKay & Sons, Inc., 2006 WL 4911366)
  • Awarded summary judgment in favor of subcontractor, including penalties and attorneys' fees, in Miller Act and Maine Prompt Payment Act claims (U.S.A. f/b/o Doten's Construction, Inc. v. JMG Excavating & Construction Co., Inc., 2005 WL 26007800)
  • Successfully defended Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority from motion for preliminary injunction seeking to halt or limit operation of Red Line subway
  • Provided successful defense in taxpayer lawsuit seeking to halt design of school construction project (Mandell v. Town of Reading, 12 Mass.L.Rptr. 1 (2000))

Services/Industries

Education

  • University of Maine School of Law  (J.D.)
  • Syracuse University  (B.S.M.E.)

Public Service

  • Board of Directors, Cumberland Bar Association (2007-present; past President)
  • Board of Directors, Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness (2018-present)
  • Member of Board of Directors and Building Committee Chair, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland (2005-2014)

Bar Admissions

  • Maine
  • Massachusetts

Memberships

  • Member, Cumberland County Bar Association
  • Member, American Bar Association Forum on Construction Law

Honors

  • AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for Construction Law, Litigation - Construction in Portland, Maine
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in New England Super Lawyers© under Construction Litigation
  • Selected by peers for inclusion in New England Rising Stars© under Construction Litigation: Business, Professional Liability: Defense and General Litigation

To learn more about third-party ratings and rankings, and the selection processes used for inclusion, click here.

Court and Other Admissions

  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maine
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

Firm Highlights

News

Nearly 80 Verrill Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers® 2021, Including a Dozen Named Lawyers of the Year

(August 24, 2020) – Nearly 80 Verrill attorneys were recognized as "Best Lawyers" by Best Lawyers® 2021 , including 12 attorneys named “Lawyer of the Year,” a distinguished recognition for only a single lawyer...

Publication/Podcast

Is the Coronavirus Pandemic a Force Majeure?

News

Litigation Attorney Represents Maine Energy Company

On August 14, Bangor Daily News published an article covering the Georges River Energy, LLC v. KMW Energy, LLC that litigation attorney Rob Ruesch is representing the plaintiff in. Georges River Energy is claiming...

Matter

Fletch's Sandblasting & Painting, Inc. v. Fay, Spofford and Thorndike d/b/a Stantec Consulting Services, Inc.

Filed successful motion to dismiss a design malpractice claim arising out of alleged defective specifications on a renovation project at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine. The court’s decision may be found at...

Publication/Podcast

Webinar Materials: COVID-19 and Maine Construction Contractors: A Roundtable Video Conference on Legal, Financial, and Tax Developments

On April 8, attorneys from Verrill's Construction Law and Employment & Labor Groups teamed up with accounting professionals from Albin Randall & Bennett and the Associated General Contractors of Maine to offer insights into...

Publication/Podcast

Massachusetts COVID-19 Essential Services as they Relate to the Construction Industry

On March 23, 2020, Governor Baker issued “an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide ‘COVID-19 Essential Services’ to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the...