Although having attended Boston University School of Law and passing the Massachusetts Bar Exam in 1969, John Davagian spent the first twenty-eight years of his professional career as a contractor.
As vice president and then president of Sutton Corporation, a heavy construction company, Mr. Davagian managed the closely held family business. Sutton specialized in building bridges, piers, and wharfs as a general contractor for public awarding authorities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, as well as for the General Services Administration, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of the Navy. The company also acted as a subcontractor to numerous general contractors for the installation of all types of deep foundations, earth support systems, and pile foundations for both public and private owners across New England.
Although not actively practicing law over those three decades, Mr. Davagian gained valuable hands-on experience interacting and negotiating with owners, general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, engineers, architects, and labor unions. He secured and refined skills in problem solving in a practical business context. That experience is reflected in his practice where he represents not only contractors, but also suppliers, owners, sureties, and engineers.
Whether it be a corporation, partnership, or limited liability entity, Mr. Davagian is able to provide the counsel and technical skill to aid his clients in establishing their own businesses or entering into joint venture agreements. That expertise extends to counseling management as to effective professional business practices to establish and maintain good relationships with financial institutions and sureties. He also provides advice and representation on employment issues or organized labor. He has represented the Foundation & Marine Contractors Association of New England, Inc., in its negotiations with organized labor for over thirty-five years. He currently acts as General Counsel to the organization.
A significant portion of Mr. Davagian's practice involves negotiating and drafting contracts for his clients. He counsels them that a well-drafted and complete contract document will militate against serious and costly disagreements and disputes once construction is underway. In other words, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
When his clients have encountered difficult project situations, Mr. Davagian has mediated, arbitrated, and litigated cases involving differing subsurface conditions, construction defects, and contractual issues such as delays, acceleration, and cardinal changes. He understands that resolving construction disputes can involve the review of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and the presentation of very complex technical issues in terms that a lay person can absorb and appreciate. He is not only familiar with those issues but has faced many of them first-hand during his career as a contractor.
Mr. Davagian's practical experience, coupled with his expertise in the law, provides him with the unique ability to present the evidence and issues to the triers of fact simply and succinctly in order to obtain a favorable outcome. He is equally facile and comfortable before a judge or jury in a trial court, an appellate tribunal, or an arbitration panel or mediator. Yet, he understands that litigation can be costly in terms of both time and money for his clients and believes in taking the practical business approach of negotiating settlements to such disputes whenever a reasonable and practical solution is achievable.
In the arena of public construction law, Mr. Davagian has wide experience in both presenting and defending surety claims and initiating direct payment claims against public owners on behalf of subcontractors and suppliers. He has also represented his clients before administrative tribunals in contractual disputes. He has also filed, perfected, and foreclosed on mechanic's liens against private owners.
In the area of residential construction, Mr. Davagian has represented both contractors and homeowners. He has successfully mediated, arbitrated, and litigated cases involving the Massachusetts Home Improvement Law.
Mr. Davagian has also represented clients in the realm of commercial and residential real estate development and land use.
1. Magno S. Abreu d/b/a Prudential Services v. Dyson Development, LLC & 545 Newburyport, LLC, Civil Action No. ESCV2007-00247-B: Represented a subcontractor in an action against both the general contractor and developer of a condominium project for money due under a written agreement. Negotiated a recovery which included the past due amount plus interest, costs and attorneys fees.
2. Charles Anthony Construction Company, Inc. v. Trenton Construction Corp. et al; ESCV2000-02111: Represented equipment supplier in an action against a contractor for amounts past due for rental of construction equipment. Obtained a judgment and execution for the rental charges plus interest, costs and attorneys fees.
3. Charles F. Caswell, Trustee of Caswell Realty Trust v. The J and K Trust, Civil Action No. MICV2005-03042: Represented private mortgage holder in a foreclosure action. Negotiated a settlement for the clients which included costs, interest and attorneys fees.
4. David Sabatini & Sons, Inc. v. John A. Davis, et al., Civil Action No. ESCV2002-0003: Took over the defense of the homeowners from other counsel after an adverse arbitration award in favor of the contractor. Negotiated a settlement through mediation wherein the architect paid a portion of the award to the contractor and the balance was extinguished.
5. Verizon of New England, Inc. v. G. Donaldson Construction Co., et al.: Represented a subcontractor before an administrative panel on charges that it was responsible for in excess of $2,500,000 in damages to communication lines. The matter was dismissed as to the client.
6. Peak Ventures, LLC et al. v. Kuehnle et al., Civil Action No. SUCV2007-03772-BLS: Took over the defense of multiple parties for the alleged violation of their fiduciary responsibilities in a case brought by multiple investors in an alternative energy company. The matter was resolved through negotiation with no damages being assessed and the case being dismissed with prejudice.
7. M.I.G. Corporation et al. v. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, et. al., Civil Action No. MICV2002-00536: Represented a general contractor and its surety in an action against a public awarding authority to recover retainage owed and counterclaims of defective workmanship. The case was resolved through negotiation and the contractor recovered the amount owed in full.
8. N.E.L. Corporation v. Massachusetts Highway Dept., Civil Action No. SUCV2000-01402: Represented a general contractor in an action against a public awarding authority for additional costs incurred as the result of differing site conditions and defective plans and specifications. The parties reached a negotiated settlement just prior to trial and the client recovered a substantial amount of its damages.
10. Suffolk Construction Co., Inc. and NER Construction Management, Inc .d/b/a Suffolk/NER Joint Venture v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Division of Capital Asset Management and Multiple Third Parties, Civil Action Nos.: SUCV2005-03631: Currently representing a national roofing subcontractor in a very complex action involving the general contractor, multiple subcontractors and a public awarding authority wherein the damages alleged on account of defective plans and specifications and differing site conditions for the John Adams Courthouse project in Boston exceed $50,000,000.00. To date the case has involved over sixty depositions and interaction among multiple counsel representing the various parties. The case is currently being mediated.
11. James Tragakis and Susan O'Hara v. Angilly et al., Civil Action No. WOCV2005-00605: Represented plaintiff homeowners in an action brought against an engineer for a defective home inspection. The dispute was mediated to a substantial settlement in favor of the plaintiffs.