Aaron’s 20-year legal career spans all facets of the construction industry. In his contractor-side construction law practice, he represents general contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. In his role as legal advisor, Aaron has formed long-term partnerships with contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, owners, design professionals, and lenders.

Aaron’s areas of focus include:

  • Defending construction defect claims
  • Assisting to close out contracts
  • Prosecuting payment claims via change orders, claims, and statutory claims for mechanic’s liens, payment bonds, and prompt payment
  • Contract drafting and negotiations for contractors
  • Obtaining insurance coverage for contractors
  • Bidding disputes and bid mistakes
  • Bid protests on government contracts, both competitively bid projects and “best value” projects
  • Regulatory compliance for contractors, including handling investigations by the federal and state governments
  • Defending OSHA citations, MSHA citations, EPA citations, Department of Health citations, and citations/fines issued by other governmental regulators
  • Defending or pursuing False Claims Act claims
  • DBE enforcement

Aaron has handled more than 100 OSHA investigations and cases for contractors in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Colorado.

He is a sought-after construction industry thought leader, speaking frequently at key trade events on timely construction topics and serving as an instructor for national and local contractor trade groups.

Prior to practicing law, Aaron was a law clerk for the Honorable David S. Doty and the Honorable James M. Rosenbaum, both U.S. district court judges for the District of Minnesota.

Experience

Procurement

  • Represented contractors in dozens of bid protests in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Represented contractors and government vendors in administrative and judicial protests on competitive bid and “best value” procurements.

  • Raytheon, Ames, Kraemer v. MnDOT. Represented contractor joint venture in the largest successful bid protest in Minnesota history related to the Hiawatha Light Rail project. 

  • Represented DBE Contractor in an administrative contested case hearing following MnDOT's first-ever attempt to decertify a DBE company. Stopped decertification.

  • Represented contractors in bid mistake cases to seek relief from contract awards and obtain the return of bid bonds.

Mechanic’s Lien Foreclosure

  • Foreclosed hundreds of mechanic’s liens on commercial and residential projects in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota.
  • McCarron’s Building Center v. Titus Construction, lnc., A09-1571 (Minn. Ct. App., June 15, 2010) (unpublished). Represented lumber supplier on appeal. Established priority of lumber supplier’s mechanic’s lien over bank’s mortgage and allowed lumber supplier’s blanket lien to be foreclosed on less than all condominium units without apportionment.
  • Eischen Cabinet v. Dan Happe Construction, et al., A08-1016 (Minn. Ct. App., May 19, 2009) (unpublished). Represented material supplier. Affirmed judgment in favor of mechanic’s lien claimants and against lender regarding priority of various claims.
  • Stiglich Construction, Inc. v. Larson, 621 N.W.2d 801 (Minn. Ct. App. 2001). Represented contractor on appeal. Contractor did not waive right to seek attorneys’ fees by prosecuting mechanic’s lien and breach of contract claims in arbitration.
  • Woodside 5 Partnership, LLC, et al. v. Interspace-West, Inc., et al., Court File No. AC99-14328 (Hon. Cara Lee Neville). Represented building owner. Obtained dismissal of mechanic’s liens for failing to provide lienable services and intentionally overstating lien amounts.

Construction Defect

  • Defended construction defect claims asserted against general contractors, subcontractors, building materials suppliers, and window suppliers.
  • Washington County v. Knutson Construction Services(Washington Cty. Dist. Ct.). Complete dismissal of county’s $2+ million claim for alleged defects to repair the county’s Law Enforcement Center.
  • Represented window supplier since 2000, including defense of construction defect and mold claims.

Transportation and Utility

  • Represented road and underground utility general contractors in disputes with public owners and developers, including prosecuting claims for differing site conditions and disputed change orders, defending termination claims, back charges, offsets, and deductive change order claims.

OSHA Defense Work

  • Defended general contractors and subcontractors in more than 100 federal OSHA and MNOSHA cases, including multiple fatality cases, multiple injury cases, and scores of non-injury cases.
  • Commissioner v. Lametti & Sons, Inc.(2014). Represented underground utility contractor. Obtained complete dismissal of MNOSHA citations issued to contractor. Administrative law judge issued an order dismissing MNOSHA’s complaint with prejudice, dismissing MNOSHA citations in their entirety, and vacating all fines issued to a contractor; also issued pre-trial ruling dismissing all claims against the contractor.
  • Commissioner v. Michels Pipeline, Dockets 8389 and 8640 (2009). Obtained dismissal of citations issued by MNOSHA following administrative contested case hearing based on employee misconduct defense. Dismissal of citations affirmed on appeal. MNOSHA v. Michels Pipeline, 2010 WL 4679836 (Minnesota Office of Administrative Hearings, October 18, 2010).
  • Secretary of Labor v. Q3 Contracting, Inc. Obtained dismissal of federal OSHA citations on appeal following contested case hearing in Colorado.
  • Obtained complete dismissal of fatality citation for roofing subcontractor.Obtained complete dismissal of “repeat” level fall protection citation issued to general contractor/developer for safety violations committed by framing subcontractor.
  • Obtained dismissal of multiple citations issued to temporary labor/staffing company at manufacturing facilities, where more than 1,000 temporary employees were working during an almost two-year lockout.

Project Counseling and Dispute Mitigation

  • Counseled construction industry clients to help manage risks and try to avoid disputes while construction contracts were being performed.

Contract Drafting and Negotiations

  • Drafted and negotiated construction contracts, change orders, and settlement agreements for clients working on construction projects.

Appellate Work

  • Represented contractors and material suppliers on appeal after replacing their district court counsel.
  • Contractors Edge, Inc. v. City of Mankato, A11-916 (Minn. Ct. App., Jan. 17, 2012) (unpublished),  denied(Minn., March 28, 2012). Represented contractor on appeal from summary judgment obtained by defendant municipality in district court.
  • McCarron’s Building Center v. Titus Construction, Inc., A09-1571 (Minn. Ct. App., June 15, 2010) (unpublished). Represented lumber supplier on appeal and reversed district court ruling against building supplier.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Mediated (as counsel for a party) more than 150 construction cases.
  • Represented public owners, general contractors, and subcontractors in binding arbitrations. Served as an arbitrator or represented parties in more than 40 arbitrations.

Defense of Contractor Payment Claims

  • Kraus-Anderson v. City of Chanhassen(Carver Cty. Dist. Ct., 2006). Bench trial. Successful defense of 98+ percent of contractor’s claims against the city related to construction of a $5.1 million public library. De minimis award below settlement offer.

Credentials

Education

William Mitchell College of Law, St. J.D.; summa cum laude

Lafayette College, Easton, PA, B.A.

Admissions

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Honors & Recognitions

Fellow, Construction Lawyers of America (2017-present)

Minnesota Super Lawyers (2003-2006, 2008-present)

News & Insights

Speaking Engagements

  • Changes to Construction Contracts
    Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, 10590 Wayzata Boulevard Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN, 04.11.2019
  • ABC 2019 Safety & Construction Conference, 03.13.2019
  • St. Cloud River's Edge Convention Center 10 4th Ave South, St. Cloud, MN 56301, 03.01.2019
  • Bilfinger Westcon, Inc., 7401 Yukon Drive, Bismarck, ND 58502, 02.19.2019
  • Handling OSHA Inspections in 2019
    Mystic Lake Center, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd NW, Prior Lake, MN, 02.12.2019
  • Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, 7025 Northland Drive North, Brooklyn Park, MN 55428, 02.07.2019
  • Golden Valley Country Club, 7001 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN 55427, 01.31.2019
  • Minnesota Mechanical Contractors Association, 10590 Wayzata Boulevard Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN, 01.22.2019
  • How to Get Paid
    Associated Builders and Contractors of MN/ND Breakfast & Learn, Holiday Inn of Fargo, 3803 13th Avenue South, Fargo, ND, 01.15.2019
  • 5th Annual ABC & CFMA Construction Management Regional Conference, DoubleTree by Hilton, 825 East Beaton Drive, West Fargo, ND 58078, 11.13.2018
  • Associated General Contractors of Minnesota Safety & Health Committee Meeting, 525 Park Street, #110, St. Paul, MN 55103, 05.10.2018
  • Associated Builders & Contractors Lunch 'n' Learn, Comfort Inn & Suites-Mandan, 1516 27th St NW, Mandan, ND 58554., 04.18.2018
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.'s 2018 Safety & Construction Conference, St. Cloud River's Edge Convention Center, 10 Fourth Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301, 03.02.2018
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc.'s 2018 Safety & Construction Conference, St. Cloud River's Edge Convention Center, 10 Fourth Avenue South, St. Cloud, MN 56301, 03.02.2018
  • "How to Get Paid” Mechanic’s lien and payment bond rights for contractors/subcontractors
    Dakota Chapter of Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), Doubletree, 825 East Beaton Drive, West Fargo, ND, 02.27.2018
  • Golden Valley Country Club 7001 Golden Valley Road Golden Valley, MN 55427, 02.06.2018
  • 2018 Minnesota Construction Summit, Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN, 01.09.2018
  • Minnesota Subcontractors Association, Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville, MN, 01.09.2018
  • OSHA Is On-Site: Now What
    Twin City Roofing Contractors Association and SMARCA, Radisson Hotel Minneapolis/St. Paul North, 2540 Cleveland Avenue, Roseville, MN 55113, 10.04.2017
  • Marsh and McLennan Agency 7225 Northland Drive North, Suite 300 Brooklyn Park, MN 55428, 05.10.2017
  • How to Handle OSHA Investigations
    Lametti & Sons, Inc. Annual Safety Day, 04.28.2017
  • Minnesota Subcontractors Association, Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville, MN, 04.11.2017
  • Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville, MN, 03.14.2017
  • Minnesota Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association 121st Annual Convention & Vendor Show, Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Park, MN, 02.09.2017
  • Cambria Hotel & Suites, 825 East Beaton Drive, West Fargo, ND 58078, 11.17.2016
  • Real Estate & Construction Contractors Summit, "Building Relationships Not Just Projects," Golden Valley Country Club, 701 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN 55427, 09.23.2016
  • 9th Annual MNCPA Construction Conference, Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West, 3131 Campus Drive, Plymouth, MN 55441, 09.19.2016
  • 9th Annual MNCPA Construction Conference, Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West, 3131 Campus Drive, Plymouth, MN 55441, 09.19.2016
  • 9th Annual MNCPA Construction Conference, Crowne Plaza Minneapolis West, 3131 Campus Drive, Plymouth, MN 55441, 09.19.2016
  • Training Your Employees to Handle an OSHA Inspection
    Presentation to 40+ representatives of general contractors, North Dakota State College of Science campus location, Fargo, ND. Contact Aaron to learn more., 05.27.2016
  • Ask the Attorney: What to Do When My Contract Says What?
    Presentation to subcontractor trade association and its members, Grumpy's Bar & Grill, Roseville, MN. Contact Aaron to learn more., 05.19.2016
  • 2016 Appellate Practice Institute, 600 Nicollet Mall, Suite 370, Third Floor City, Center, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 03.18.2016
  • Retainage Reform During the 2016 Legislative Session
    Sponsored by the Minnesota Subcontractors Association, St. Paul, MN, 02.16.2016
  • American Society of Safety Engineers Northwest Chapter, 2016 Annual Professional Development Conference, The Commons Hotel, 615 Washington Avenue SE, Minneapolis, MN, 02.09.2016
  • Responsible Contractor Act
    Sponsored by Minnesota Contractor Trade Organization, Las Vegas, NV, 02.06.2016
  • How to Get Paid Early and in Full
    Sponsored by Minnesota Contractor Trade Organization, Las Vegas, NV, 02.05.2016
  • What to Do When the Contract Documents You Receive Post-Bid Are Different than Your Bid
    Sponsored by Minnesota Contractor Trade Organization, Las Vegas, NV, 02.05.2016
  • Sponsored by AGC, MMCA, NECA, and other contractor trade groups, Roseville Radisson, 2540 North Cleveland Avenue, Roseville, MN 55112, 01.26.2016
  • Understanding Minnesota Construction Law
    Minnesota Subcontractors Association, 11.10.2015
  • Protecting Your Company's Safety Record
    American Society of Safety Engineers, Northwest Chapter, Roseville, MN, 10.13.2015
  • How to Get Paid
    Sponsored by national contractor trade group, Moorhead, MN. Contact Aaron to learn more., 10.12.2015
  • Associated General Contractors Supervisory Training Program (Fall 2015), 10.01.2015
  • Real Estate & Construction Contractors Summit
    Sponsored by the Minnesota Real Estate Journal in conjunction with The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and the Minnesota Subcontractors Association (MSA), Golden Valley Country Club, 7001 Golden Valley Road, Golden Valley, MN, 09.25.2015
  • Minnesota's New Responsible Contractor Statute
    Sponsored by national contractor/accounting trade association, Moorhead, MN. Contact Aaron to learn more., 03.17.2015
  • Sponsored by Minnesota Subcontractors Association, Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville, MN, 03.10.2015
  • Training Your Employees to Handle OSHA Inspections
    Sponsored by national contractor trade association, St. Cloud, MN. Contact Aaron to learn more., 02.27.2015
  • Marsh & McLennan Agency, 7225 Northland Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55428, 02.19.2015
  • Seminar sponsored by multiple trade associations, Radisson Roseville Hotel, Roseville, MN. Contact Aaron to learn more., 02.12.2015
  • Sponsored by Minnesota Subcontractors Association, Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham Street, Roseville, MN, 02.10.2015
  • Minnesota's New (2013) Indemnity Statute and Its Future
    Associated Builders & Contractors of ND & MN, Fargo, ND, 02.04.2015
  • Sponsored by multiple trade associations, Radisson Roseville Hotel, Roseville, MN, 01.29.2015
  • OSHA Update
    Seminar sponsored by national surety broker and CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, 01.20.2015
  • Minnesota's New "Responsible Contractor" Act
    Seminar sponsored by national surety broker and CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, 01.20.2015
  • Troublesome Contract Clauses
    Seminar sponsored by national surety broker and CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, 01.20.2015
  • How to Handle OSHA Inspections
    Sponsored by the AGC of North Dakota at its Annual Meeting, Minot, ND, 12.09.2014
  • Minnesota's New Indemnity Statute and Its Future
    Minnesota Subcontractors Association, Roseville, MN, 09.09.2014
  • Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes in Retainage
    Minnesota Subcontractors Association, Roseville, MN, 09.09.2014
  • Subcontractors' Perspective: The Value of Collaborating with General Contractors and Developers
    Minnesota Real Estate Journal Real Estate and Construction Contractors Summit, Golden Valley Country Club, Golden Valley, MN, 09.05.2014
  • Training Your Employees to be Ready for OSHA Inspections and Defending OSHA Citations
    Northern Region Association of Safety Professionals, Fargo, ND, 03.19.2014
  • Contract Documents and Construction Law
    Supervisory training program for the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (multiple dates in March and April 2014 for weekly course), 03.01.2014
  • What to Do When OSHA Shows Up On Your Job Site
    Contractor Safety Day, St. Cloud, MN, 02.28.2014
  • How to Get Paid for Your Company's Work
    Seminar sponsored by Regional Council of Union Contractors from six Midwestern states, Roseville, MN, 02.05.2014

Publications

Multimedia

Affiliations

Professional Associations

  • President (2014-2016), Member, Government Affairs Committee (2014-2015) Board member (2008-2015) Vice president (2013-2014) Treasurer (2012-2013) – Minnesota Subcontractors Association
  • Member, Board of Directors, Construction Financial Management (2013-2016)
  • Instructor of Supervisory Training Program (2014-2015) – Associated General Contractors of Minnesota
  • Safety Committee member, Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. Minnesota/North Dakota Chapter (2013-2015)
  • SMARCA of Minnesota North & South Dakota Inc.
  • Minnesota Asphalt Pavement Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Council member (2013-2016), Chair (2011-2012), Vice-chair (2010-2011), Treasurer (2009-2010), Secretary (2008-2009)  – Minnesota State Bar Association – Construction Law Section
  • ABA Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Member, Diversity Law Institute (2017-present)
  • Member, Trial Law Institute (2017-present)

Board Memberships

  • Former board member, Minnesota Board, American Subcontractors Association (2008-2012)
  • Alumni Board, William Mitchell College of Law (2003-2008)
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