ACCL Membership Directory

John P. Ahlers

  • Founding Partner
  • Ahlers Cressman & Sleight PLLC
  • 999 Third Avenue
    Suite 3800
  • Seattle, Washington 98104

Education

  • Undergraduate: B.S (Civil Engineering) Washington State University 1975
  • Graduate: M.S (Construction Engineering and Management) Stanford University (Honors) 1976
  • Law School: J.D. Gonzaga School of Law (Summa Cum Laude) 1982

Career History

  • 2007 – Present Ahlers & Cressman PLLC (Founding Partner – Construction) – Best Law Firms (U.S. News & World Report, January 2013)
  • 2002 – 2006 Short Cressman & Burgess PLLC (Partner Construction Section Chair)
  • 1982 – 2002 Barokas Martin Ahlers & Tomlinson (Partner – resolution of construction disputes)
  • 1976 – 1980 Mullen Construction (Engineer/Project Manager)

Biography

Mr. Ahlers is a founding member of the firm, his practice has focused on the resolution of construction disputes since 1983.  John’s experience spans from small private construction to complex engineering, building, heavy construction and insurance matters.  He represents owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, architects, engineers, and construction industry trade associations.  John has handled a large number of jury and non-jury trials, as well as arbitrations and mediations involving a wide variety of construction related disputes.  Mr. Ahlers has argued cases before all three Divisions of the Washington State Court of Appeals, before the Washington Supreme Court, the Alaska Supreme Court, and before the Federal Circuit, Ninth Circuit and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Professional Activities

Distinctions and Professional Associations:

  • Fellow American College of Construction Lawyers
  • Fellow Litigation Counsel of America
  • Charter Fellow Construction Lawyers Society of America
  • Fellow American Bar Association
  • American Arbitration Association (Serves as Arbitrator; Member of Construction Advisory Board)
  • Washington State Bar Association (Past Chair, Construction Law Section)
  • Oregon State Bar (Construction Section)
  • Alaska State Bar (Public Contracts Section)
  • American Bar Association (Forum Committee on the Construction Industry, Section of Public Contract Law and Litigation Section)
  • American General Contractors (Past Chair, Legal Affairs Committee, Member of Government Affairs Committee)
  • National Utility Contractors Association (Board of Directors)
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (Government Affairs)
  • American Subcontractors Association
  • Appointed by Washington’s Governor to the Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) (2007-2014)
  • Chair of Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB) (2014-Present)
  • NUCA Board of Directors (2010-2013), Member Legislative Committee
  • Trial Law Institute and Diversity Law Institute

Honors and Awards:

  • 2017 Lawyer of the Year, Construction Law and Litigation-Construction (Best Lawyers, U.S. News & World Report)
  • Top 10 Super Lawyer for 2012, 2013, 2016, 2017 (Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters)
  • 2014 Lawyer of the Year, Construction Litigation (Best Lawyers, U.S. News & World Report)
  • Client Choice Award 2016 for Construction Law US & Canada (Global Business Media Group)
  • Top 100 Super Lawyers (2008-Present)
  • Super Lawyer since 2001 (Super Lawyers)
  • Best Lawyer since 2007 (Best Lawyers)
  • AV Rated (Martindale-Hubbell, a publication of LexisNexis) (1987-Present)
  • Lifetime Membership to the American Society of Civil Engineers (2016)
  • Seattle’s Best Lawyers for Construction Law (Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, SagaCity Media) (2010-2016)
  • Washington’s Most Amazing Attorneys, Construction Law (Washington CEO Magazine, now Seattle Business Magazine) (2006)
  • National Utility Contractors Association Executive Director’s Special Recognition Award for outstanding service to the Construction Industry (2004)
  • Associated General Contractors Ty Long Award (2002)

Representative Articles, Publications, Speeches and Seminars

Publications:

  • Swinging Deals – Should Crane Swing Agreements Cost Money? (The Northwest Lawyer, Spring 2015)
  • New USDOT Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) Rules Pertinent to Construction (ACCL 2015)
  • Construction Law Blog Sr. Editor (2008 – present); http://www.ac-lawyers.com/news
  • Construction Contract Draconian Notice Provisions: Is Prejudice Still the Issue? Washington State Bar News (May & July 2012)
  • Major Changes to the “One-Call” Statute are Coming: Washington’s Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act Goes Into Effect Next Year, NUCA Focus (May 2012)
  • Taming the “Under-Ground” Beast: Deciphering Differing Site Conditions in Construction, King County Bar Bulletin (2012)
  • Construction Changes/Entitlement Theories, The Seminar Group (2003 – 2016)
  • AIA Contracts in Washington, Key Clauses in AIA Document 201-General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, Contractor’s Perspective vs. Owner’s Perspective, Lorman (2003 – 2014)
  • AGC of Washington Lien Manual (co-author) (1983-Present)
  • Written Notice in Construction Contracts: It’s Time for a Legislative Change, Construction Law WSBA (Spring 2008)
  • It’s Time for a Change, Construction Claims Written Notice, UCAW Focus (2008)
  • Evaluating and Resolving Delay and Extra Work Claims in Alaska, Lorman Education Services (January 2008)
  • Contractor Prevails on Prevailing Wage Issues, Agency Held to Prebid Interpretation AGC Industry News (April 2007)
  • AIA Contracts in Washington, Key Clauses in AIA Document 201-General Conditions of the Contract for Construction, Contractor’s Perspective vs. Owner’s Perspective, Lorman (2003-2007)
  • Case Law Update, WSBA Construction Law Section (2007)
  • Contractor’s Score a Supreme Court Victory in Scoccolo, AGC Industry News (November 2006)
  • Behind the Wheel: Car Rental Insurance Basics for the Construction Contractor, UCAW Focus (2010)
  • Case Law Update, WSBA Construction Law Section (2007)
  • Mike M. Johnson, Inv. v. County of Spokane, A Contractor’s Perspective, WSBA Construction Law Section (2004)
  • Notice in Washington Construction Contracts: Is Prejudice the Issue, Washington State Bar Journal (April 1998)
  • Numerous Seminars for Industry Groups Such as Associated General Contractors (AGC), National Utility Contractors of America (NUCA), Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Association of the Advancement of Cost Engineers (AACE) and Master Builder’s Association

Recent Reported Cases:

  • Amicus Curiae Briefing on behalf of Associated General Contractors of Washington, the Associated Builders & Contractors of Western Washington, the National Electrical Contractors Association, Cascade and Puget Sound Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association, SMACNA, the National Utility Contractors Association of Washington:
    • King Cty. v. Vinci Const. Grands Projets, 191 Wn. App. 142, 364 P.3d 784 (2015), review granted sub nom. King Cty. v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 186 Wn.2d 1008, 380 P.3d 459 (2016) (No. 92744-8)
    • Concrete Nor’West v. W. Washington Growth Mgmt. Hearings Bd., 185 Wn. App. 745, 750, 342 P.3d 351, 353 (2015), review denied, 183 Wn.2d 1009, 352 P.3d 187 (2015) (No. 91378-1)
    • Vision One, LLC v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., 174 Wn.2d 501, 276 P.3d 300 (2012)
    • Scoccolo Const., Inc. v. City of Renton, 158 Wn.2d 506, 145 P.3d 371 (2006)
    • Weber Construction, Inc. v. County of Spokane, 122 Wn. App. 1043 (2004)
    • Mike M. Johnson, Inc. v. County of Spokane, 150 Wn.2d 375, 78 P.3d 161 (2003)
    • Hughes Group, LLC v. United States, 2014 WL 1604330, Fed. Cl. (2014)
  • G. Clark Const. Co. v. Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, 180 Wn.2d 54, 322 P.3d 1207 (2014)
  • Silverstreak, Inc. v. Washington State of Labor & Industries, 159 Wn.2d 868, 154 P.3d 891 (2007)
  • ISSC, Inc. v. Baugh Skanska Inc., 160 Fed.Appx. 628 (9th 2005)
  • Silverstreak, Inc. v. Washington State Dept. of Labor & Industries, 125 Wn.App. 202, 104 P.3d 699 (2005)
  • Alcan Electrical & Engineering v. Samaritan Hospital, 109 Wn. App. 1072 (2002)
  • Kelly-Ryan, Inc. v. Foster-Wheeler Environmental Corp., 93 Wn.App. 1058 (1999)
  • Ebasco Constructors, Inc. v. Ahtna, Inc., 932 P.2d 1312 (Alaska 1997)
  • Green Const. Co. v. Kansas Power & Light Co., 153 F.R.D. 670 (1994)
  • Green Const. Co. v. Kansas Power & Light Co.,3d 1005 (10th Circ. 1993)

Speeches, Panel Discussions, Seminars:

  • Washington Construction Law Construction Changes and Differing Site Conditions, Seminar Group (2008-2016)
  • University Lecturer (Legal Aspects of Construction and Engineering, University of Washington and Washington State University)
  • Differing Site Conditions: A Utility Contractor’s Guide to DSCs and Locates, National Utility Contractors Association (November 12, 2015)
  • Legal Educational Series: Strengthening the Bottom Line – Session Two, Cupertino Electric, Inc. (November 9–11, 2015)
  • 2015 District VI Summer Conference, National Electrical Contractors Association (August 8, 2015)
  • Legal Educational Series: Strengthening the Bottom Line – Session One, Cupertino Electric, Inc. (June 11, 2015)
  • Claims Seminar, Goodfellow Brothers (February 28–March 2, 2015)
  • Public Contracts – Inside the Public-Private Partnerships and More, American College of Construction Lawyers 26th Annual Meeting (February 20, 2015)
  • Lien & Bond Claims, American Society for Professional Estimators (October 15, 2013)
  • Preventing Mislocates and Damage Under the New Washington One Call Law Workshop, Water & Sewer Risk Management Pool (August 20, 2012)
  • Construction Changes and Entitlement Theories, Construction Management Program, University of Washington (2011-Present)
  • Lien and Bond Claims Law, American Society for Professional Estimators (November 3, 2011)
  • Bidder Responsibility Seminar, Port of Olympia (May 16, 2011)
  • Capital Projects Advisory Review Board Bidder Responsibility Workshop (March 10, 2011)
  • AIA Contracts, Lorman Ed. Services (2010-2015)
  • Written Notice Tune-Up, Utility Contractors Association of Washington (January 28, 2010)
  • Lien Law Seminar, Associated General Contractors (Yearly, 1983 – Present)
  • New FAR Regulation, Code of Ethics and Business Conduct (TINA and FCA), Associated General Contractors (December 1, 2009)
  • Maintaining Control of the Contract and Project When Conditions Change, Washington Public Port Association (November 17, 2009)
  • How to Succeed When The Utility Contractor Encounters Undisclosed Utility Conflicts, Utility Contractors of Washington (2010)
  • Lessons Learned, BIM, RCW 39.10.410 (Subcontractor Bill of Rights), Skanska “University” (February 5, 2009)
  • Contractor’s v. Owner’s Perspective, 2007 AIA Documents, Sierra University (October 2, 2008)
  • 2007 AIA Contract Documents, Lorman Ed. Services, (August 12, 2008)
  • New 2007 AIA Documents, Associated General Contractors, (May 6, 2008)
  • Lessons Learned and Proper Drafting of Notice of Intent to Award, Skanska “University” (March 20, 2008)
  • Evaluating and Resolving Delay and Extra Work Claims (Alaska), Lorman Ed. Services (January 25, 2008)
  • The Mike M. Johnson Decision: Where Are We Now? Where Are We Going?  WSBA Mid-Year Seminar (October 23, 2007)
  • Construction Case Law Update, WSBA Construction Section Mid-Year Seminar (Construction Law Section) (June 15, 2007)
  • Washington Construction Law Recent Case Update, of the Advancement of Cost Engineering (April, 2007)
  • Good Documentation Practices and Maintaining Customer Relations, Elcon Corporation (January 25, 2007)

Court Admissions

  • Alaska State Bar Association
  • Oregon State Bar Association
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circ.
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court-Western District
  • U.S. District Court-Eastern District
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Community Activities

Industry Activities:

  • Frequent amicus brief author for appellate cases of moment to construction for industry groups (AGC, ABC, NECA, NUCA, UCAW, SMACNA and MCA)
  • Frequent legislative drafting and testimony (Washington State Legislature) concerning statutes of significance to the construction industry (1998 – present): (Statute of Repose, Prompt Payment Act, Attorneys Fees, Bid Protest, Subcontractor Listing Claim Notice, False Claims Act, Lien law, GM/GC, Design Build and Private Public Partnership)
  • Member of Washington State Governor’s Board: Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (Board Established by Governor to Review Legislation Pertinent to Public Works Contracting in the State of Washington) (2007 – 2015)
  • Board of Directors, Utility Contractors Association of Washington (2006 – 2014)
  • Chair, Construction Law Section, Washington Bar Association (1999 – 2000)
  • Legal Affairs Committee Chair, Associated General Contractors (1999 – 2000)
  • Participation in Associated General Contractors Review of Public Owners General Conditions (King County, General Conditions and Sound Transit General Conditions, City of Seattle General Conditions)
  • Chair of Subcommittee of the Washington State Construction Law Section Construction Jury Instructions (1999 to 2013)


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