Peter E. Strniste Jr.

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Peter Strniste, a partner with the firm, dedicates his practice to construction and surety law, business litigation, and the negotiation of all types of construction contracts. He is a member of the firm’s Construction Group, and he counsels clients on issues surrounding all aspects of construction projects. He routinely represents clients in the Courts of New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

    Dispute Resolution

    Mr. Strniste has represented clients in both state and federal courts in a wide variety of litigation matters. He serves as a neutral arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and has also appeared before various arbitration tribunals on behalf of clients. Mr. Strniste frequently represents construction managers, general contractors, and trade contractors. He counsels them regarding claims for breach of contract and warranty, defective and deficient plans and specifications, construction defects, insurance disputes, project delays, impacts and inefficiency claims, and wrongful terminations. Mr. Strniste has represented owners, contractors, subcontractors, and some of the largest sureties in the country in actions involving payment and performance bonds on both public and private projects.

    Mr. Strniste routinely achieves favorable results for his clients and is successful in resolving most cases without litigation or short of trial. Recently, he obtained a zero dollar settlement for a contractor client who faced a condominium association’s multi-million dollar claim for defective work. He also obtained a favorable settlement for a contractor seeking compensation for delays and inefficiencies extending over a several year period of time on a large scale public construction project in New York State. In February 2017, Mr. Strniste obtained a very favorable jury verdict for a contractor client following a five week jury trial involving competing claims which included defending against owner claims for defective and incomplete work, and also involved design deficiencies and obligations under the Spearin Doctrine.

    Mr. Strniste has also handled business torts and equitable causes of action and has obtained for clients such remedies as injunctions, orders to quiet title, and judgments of foreclosure of mechanics' liens and other security instruments. In addition to state and federal trial courts, he has represented clients before the Connecticut Supreme Court and the United States Second and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeals.

    Contract Procurement and Project Delivery

    Mr. Strniste routinely drafts and negotiates all types of construction-related contracts, including master owner – contractor agreements, master subcontracts, joint venture agreements, and many others. Mr. Strniste is experienced at negotiating large construction and trade contracts in both the New York metro area and Boston, Massachusetts, where there are especially stringent city and state requirements for construction projects. Recently, he represented a construction manager in connection with a $150 million contract for a new warehouse and distribution center in New York, securing favorable cost saving and compensation provisions for his client. Mr. Strniste routinely negotiates and is familiar with all the industry contracts published by the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee, and other organizations.

    Mr. Strniste, who is listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Construction Law (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC), frequently writes and presents on construction matters. He has been included on the Connecticut Super Lawyers list in the area of Construction Litigation for several years. (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.) In 2015, he was selected as a finalist for the Associated General Contractors of Connecticut, Industry Recognition Award – Service Provider of the Year. He is also the Editor and a frequent contributor to the Construction Group’s blog, Construction Law Zone.


     

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

        Contract Negotiation

      • Represented numerous construction managers and large trade contractors in the negotiations of American Institute of Architects (AIA) and other construction contracts for ground up and renovations projects valued between $1 million and $150 million.

      • Representation of a construction manager in the negotiation of $150 million cost-plus construction contract with guaranteed maximum price in connection with the multiphase construction of a warehouse and distribution center in New York. Successfully negotiated favorable provisions to client governing compensation for potential delays, right to change orders increasing the GMP, and the potential for millions of dollars of incentive payments.

      • Representation of a construction manager in negotiation of workout agreement with a private developer, its lender, and over 15 subcontractors stemming from developer’s failure to pay over $5 million in contract proceeds and arranging for the successful remobilization contractors and subcontractors to the project with reaffirmation agreements from all subcontractors and vendors.

      • Contract Procurement and Project Delivery

      • Representation of Schimenti Construction Company, LLC, the construction manager, in drafting and negotiating construction contracts for the project and providing construction legal advice during the construction phase of the project.

      • Dispute Resolution

      • Representation of a construction manager in the defense of multimillion-dollar construction defect claims relating to the installation of a complex refrigeration system within a large grocery store, obtaining nuisance value settlement for client before trial and following discovery and disclosure of expert witnesses. This was a multiparty litigation before the complex litigation docket involving the owner, manufacturer, construction manager, designer, subcontractor, and various vendors.

      • Representation of construction manager in the defense of multimillion-dollar construct defect claims relating to the construction of a parapet wall and roofing deck where the owner claimed water infiltration was the result of client’s deviation from plans and specifications and faulty means and methods. Obtained a nuisance value settlement following extensive discovery and disclosure of expert witnesses and motion practice. This was a multiparty litigation before the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, which was subsequently returned to New Jersey Superior Court where it settled following three days of mediation. Parties to the litigation included the owner, designers, and subcontractors.

      • Representation of construction manager in defense of multimillion-dollar construction defect action filed by a condominium association asserting nearly 100 building code defects that were claimed to be the result of defective construction. Obtained a zero dollar settlement for client, which included reimbursement for legal fees and costs after impleading the responsible subcontractors and the project designer and following extensive discovery and settlement negotiations.

      • Representation of mechanical trade contractor in the prosecution of claims for additional materials (added fittings) and extra work against construction manager and project’s mechanical engineer and architect in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Boston) based upon defective design and bid documents. Obtained favorable settlement for client following mediation.

      • Dual representation of mechanical contractor and its sheet metal subcontractor in the prosecution of $1.9 million claim seeking compensation for delays, inefficiencies, additional field and shop labor, and sheet metal poundage against Construction Manager and Project Designers where project completion time was extended by six months as a result of scheduling and coordination issues and deficient design documents. Case settled, following two day mediation, in favor of clients after limited discovery in litigation.

      • Represented general contractor in the successful appeal of a motion for summary judgment against client in the New York Supreme Court. Case centered around a personal injury action where client’s insurer denied coverage. Client’s insurance broker was impleaded for negligently failing to procure proper insurance for client and initially obtained summary judgment which overturned.

      • Representation of large steel trade contractor in action assertion of affirmative claims for delays and inefficiencies against structural engineer. Obtained favorable settlement for client after surviving motion to strike all claims based upon economic loss doctrine and depositions of defendants' engineers.*

      • Representation of a mechanical contractor in the prosecution of multimillion-dollar delay and inefficiency claims against a New Jersey school district and its designers, defeating “No Damages for Delay” provision asserted by way of summary judgment and obtaining favorable settlement for client following three days of mediation.

      • Represented construction manager in claims against defunct retail owner's landlord for value of improvements made to the real property. Obtained a favorable settlement to client following the filing of mechanic's lien and settlement negotiations.

      • Represented construction manager in action against retail owner's trustee in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia seeking the return of client’s earned retainage as “trust funds” and not property of the bankruptcy estate. Obtained a favorable settlement to client following the initiation of an adversary proceeding and minimal discovery and motion practice.

      • Representation of construction manager client and defeated owner bankruptcy trustees preference claims seeking the return of progress payments and retainage, obtaining voluntary dismissal of adversary proceeding in favor of client.

      • Representation of a construction surety and obtained a summary judgment ruling against the bond principal and indemnitors, defeating claims of bad faith and obtaining judgment for all of client’s losses, costs, and expenses pursuant to the General Agreement of Indemnity. Action was pending in the Connecticut Complex Litigation Docket. *

      • Presentation of an oral argument to the Connecticut Supreme Court on behalf of a town and construction contract surety and successfully obtained affirmation of lower court's decision finding that the town had absolute discretion under Connecticut's subdivision statutes to forego calling subdivision bond posted by developer. *

      • Defended corporation electing to buy out minority shareholders and obtained a 20 percent minority shareholder discount while defeating all claims of shareholder oppression and waste. Decision was obtained following a bench trial of several days which included presentation of expert testimony.*

      • Represented general contractor in pursuit of contract balance and retainage in court action against owner and defended multimillion-dollar construction defect claims raised by owner.  Obtained a favorable verdict for client following a five-week jury trial in Superior Court.

      • Represented owner in various claims against construction manager and architect and obtained award in favor of owner following 13 days of arbitration before a three-arbitrator panel.

      • Represented general contractor in pursuit of contract balance and retainage in court action against owner and defended against construction defect claims raised by owner allegedly valued at over $2.5 million. Obtained a favorable verdict for client following a five-week jury trial in Connecticut Superior Court.

      • Represented owner in various claims against construction manager and architect and obtained award in favor of owner following 13 days of arbitration before a three-arbitrator panel.

      • back to top

      *Attorney Strniste was counsel in these representative matters before joining Robinson+Cole.

    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      American Arbitration Association
      Roster of Neutrals, Expedited Commercial and Construction Cases

      American Bar Association
      Forum on the Construction Industry

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Construction Law Section

      Connecticut Surety Association
      Vice President and Former Treasurer

      Defense Research Institute
      Surety and Fidelity Law Section
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Owens Fellowship Award, University of Pittsburgh School of Law, two-time winner

      Listed as a Rising Star in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Construction Litigation for 2010 to 2013 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      Listed in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of Construction Litigation for 2014 to 2016 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

      Listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in the area of Construction Law (Copyright 2016 by Woodward/White, Inc., Aiken, SC)

      Finalist, Associated General Contractors of Connecticut, Industry Recognition Award - Service Provider of the Year (2015)

    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Goodspeed Opera House Foundation
      Trustee
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Recipe for Successfully Navigating Project Financing Difficulties," published in CONNstruction (Winter 2016)
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      "Construction brings excitement, risk to Hartford," published in Hartford Business Journal (10/19/2015)
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      "Owners and Contractors Are Wise to Be Covered," published in Caldwell & Walsh Building Construction, Inc. (February 2015)

      "Allocating the Risks Associated with Project Delays," published in Schimenti Construction Company, LLC newsletter (Winter 2014)

      "A Nightmare on Main Street: Subdivision Maintenance Bonds," published in For the Defense, co-authored with Alexandra E. Baez (January 2012)

      "Contractual Responsibility For LEED Certification: Allocating the Risks Associated with Going Green," published in Schimenti Construction Company LLC newsletter (Spring 2011)

      "Show Me the Money! The Retail Contractor's Mall Deposit in Bankruptcy," published on the Web page of the Retail Contractors Association (2009)

      "Construction Case Law Summary and Legislative Review, Bonds," published in Connecticut Bar Association Construction Law Section (2005)

      "Show Me the Money! The Surety's Overpayment and Material Change Defenses Converge: A New York Trial Court Discharges a Contract Surety," published in Solutions (2005)

      "Contractors Face Harsh Consequences for Failing to Comply with Connecticut's Home Improvement Act," published in OCCAM'S RAZOR (2004)

      "Courts Find Multiple Triggers of Public Works Payment Bond Statute of Limitations," published in OCCAM'S RAZOR (2004)

      "Reaffirming a Performance Bond Surety's Absolute Right to Notice of Default," published in OCCAM'S RAZOR (2003)

      "Disentangling Corporation Dissolution Proceedings: What Is the Minority Shareholder Worth These Days?" published in Connecticut Lawyer (2003)

      "Liability of Design Professionals in the Absence of Privity of Contract," published in ABA Construction Litigation Newsletter, co-authored with Dennis C. Cavanaugh (2002)

      "To Pay or Not to Pay -- Connecticut's Latest Answer to the Perplexing Question," published in OCCAM'S RAZOR (2002)

      "Construction Case Law Summary and Legislative Review, Bonds," published in Connecticut Bar Association Construction Law Section (2000)

      "Successor Corporate Liability in Products Liability Actions in Connecticut: The Convergance of Tort and Corporate Law," published in 73 Conn. B.J. 297 (1999)

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Strategies for Managing and Avoiding the Inherent Risks Associated with Construction Projects," at the National Fire Sprinklers Association's Boston Chapter Meeting (9/14/2016)
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      "Deciphering and Navigating the Terms and Conditions of Industry and Modified Bond Forms," co-presented with Todd R. Regan, at National Association of Surety Bond Producers' Regional Meeting (9/28/2015)
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      "Strategies for Avoiding and Minimizing Subcontractor Defaults," at the 25-year anniversary of the Retail Contractor Association's Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada (3/14/2015)
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      "Protecting the Surety and Bond Principal from Overreaching Bond Forms," presented at Connecticut Surety Association's Spring 2014 Meeting (5/22/2014)

      "Ramifications to the Construction Industry from the Connecticut Supreme Court's decision in State of Connecticut v. Lombardo Bros. Mason Contractors, Inc.," presented at Connecticut Surety Association's Spring Meeting in Hartford, Connecticut; explored the Court's holding that the statutes of limitations for asserting claims against construction contractors and professional designers does not apply to the State of Connecticut (4/16/2013)

      "Construction Defect Litigation: From A to Z," co-presented with Todd R. Regan, presented at National Business Institute, Hartford, Connecticut (2/5/2013)

      "A Nightmare on Main Street: Strategies for Resolving Subdivision Performance Bond and Maintenance Bond Disputes in Today's Post-Housing Bubble Crisis," at Defense Research Institute's Fidelity and Surety Roundtable (5/13/2011)

      "Liens, Laws, and Bankruptcy," at Commercial Construction & Renovation Summit (4/14/2011)

      "Introduction to Public Construction Law - Construction Bonds," at Connecticut Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education seminar (3/16/2009)

      "Contract Delivery Method: Is Last Year's Contract Still the Best Choice?" at SPECS 45th Annual Meeting (2/24/2009)

      "Weathering the Storm - Navigating Your Construction Project Through Bankruptcy," at the National Retail Contractors Association's 19th Annual Meeting (2/21/2009)

      "Construction Law Update," at Connecticut Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education Seminar (5/2/2007)

      "Construction Fundamentals: Managing Project Risk," at National Business Institute (11/2007)
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      "Construction Law Update," at Connecticut Bar Association, Continuing Legal Education Seminar (5/17/2006)

      "Public Contract Code and Competitive Public Bidding in Connecticut," at Lorman Educational Seminar (10/2003)
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    • News

      R+C in the News

      • December 19, 2016

        Peter Strniste Publishes Article for CONNstruction Magazine

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      • September 23, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Sponsors Autism-Friendly Performance of Bye Bye Birdie

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      • September 16, 2016

        Construction Lawyer Presents at NFSA

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      • October 26, 2015

        Peter Strniste Comments on Hartford's Construction Projects and the Risks Associated with Project Delays in HBJ Article

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      • October 8, 2015

        Construction Lawyers Present at NASBP Regional Meeting

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      • October 2, 2015

        Peter Strniste Selected as Finalist for AGC Service Provider of the Year

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      • March 23, 2015

        Peter Strniste Speaks at Annual RCA Conference

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      • June 5, 2014

        Peter Strniste Presents at Connecticut Surety Association

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      • June 17, 2013

        Hartford Construction Lawyer Presents to the Connecticut Surety Association

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      • March 11, 2013

        Construction Lawyers Present at Seminar on Construction Defect Litigation

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      • February 24, 2012

        Hartford Heartbreakers Cycle for Cancer Research

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      • February 14, 2012

        Construction Attorneys Author Article Regarding Subdivision Maintenance Bonds

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      • June 20, 2011

        Construction Attorney Presents Paper and Moderates Discussion at Defense Research Institute's Fidelity and Surety Roundtable

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      • May 19, 2011

        Construction Attorney Presents at Annual Commercial Construction & Renovation Summit

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      • May 2, 2011

        Peter Strniste Authors Article Regarding Risks Associated With Contractual LEED Certification Requirements

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      • April 6, 2011

        Peter Strniste Elected Treasurer of Local Surety and Fidelity Bond Association

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      • March 17, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Reelected Vice President of Connecticut Surety Association

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      • November 14, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Gains Over 30 Former Thelen Attorneys in Hartford, Connecticut and New York City

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      R+C News Releases

      • October 18, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • August 15, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Receives Top Listing in Connecticut Lawyer Count in The Best Lawyers in America® 2017

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      • December 1, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyer Elected to Goodspeed Opera House Board of Trustees

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      • October 19, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers®

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      • October 17, 2014

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Recognized by Super Lawyers

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      • October 22, 2012

        Super Lawyers® Names 49 Robinson & Cole Attorneys to 2012 List and Recognizes 26 as Rising Stars

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      • January 3, 2012

        Robinson & Cole Announces Mentor of the Year Award Recipients

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      • December 6, 2011

        Robinson & Cole Announces Partner Promotions