Pillsbury partner Michael McNamara is a tenacious trial lawyer consistently recognized by Chambers USA for his work in the construction law field.

Michael litigates complex construction and engineering disputes and regularly represents policyholders in construction-related insurance coverage matters. His experience spans a broad a range of projects, from power plants and nuclear facilities to hotels, convention centers and cruise ship terminals. Michael tries cases before juries and judges in federal and state courts and has represented clients in trials and arbitration hearings in the District of Columbia, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Virginia and Washington state.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully defended Duke Energy against Westinghouse’s $482 million claim for termination costs resulting from the termination of an EPC Agreement for the Levy County nuclear power plant, after bench trial in federal court.
  • Represented a Cerberus entity that developed a 30-story, high-rise condominium in Aventura, Florida, that had defective Chinese drywall, recovering more than $30 million to date from manufacturers, distributors and insurance companies.
  • Representing the developer of Washington, DC’s, $2 billion Wharf project in litigation with Washington Municipal Fish Market tenants.

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  • Represented the owner in a high-profile crane collapse and recovered more than $3 million from the insurance carrier. 
  • Represented petroleum coke calcining company in disputes with owner and operator of Heat Recovery Steam Generators in Port Arthur, Texas.
  • Representing general contractor in multiparty lawsuit involving over $35 million in claims related to the fixed and retractable roof at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York.
  • Defended subcontractor against $20 million in claims brought by prime contractor related to the demolition of the old Antler’s Bridge in Shasta County, CA and successfully negotiated a very favorable confidential settlement.
  • Obtained a favorable settlement defending an architect in a complex construction and design defect suit brought by the owner of a leased federal building seeking $20 million from the architect, the architect’s parent company and the contractor for water intrusion problems and future repairs.
  • Worked on the Pillsbury team that advised Duke Energy on the largest claim ever paid by Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited for repairs and power replacement costs stemming from the Crystal River nuclear energy plant.
  • Represented hotel owner against contractor in AAA arbitration over remodel, and obtained award for substantially all of owner’s delay and defective work claims in arbitration award.
  • Represented a contractor after a support of excavation system collapsed; negotiating $8 million settlement with builders risk carrier and obtained defense and indemnity coverage from GL carrier for neighbor claims.
  • Obtained a winning appellate decision creating an exception to New York’s prohibition against “pay if paid” subcontract clauses.
  • Represented prime contractor defeating subcontractor’s claims for fraud and breach of contract claims and winning a seven-figure judgment for delay and disruptions after a bench trial in federal court. 
  • Represented government contractor in federal court litigation brought by subcontractor seeking $26 million in total damages for fraud, breach of contract and alleged violations of the Alien Tort Claims Act, among others, successfully negotiating a very favorable confidential settlement.
  • Represented owner against contractor’s delay and wrongful termination claims and on owner’s counterclaim for defective construction and construction delays on a cruise ship terminal project, defeating summary judgment and obtaining a favorable settlement.
  • Represented contractor against principals of subcontractor on alter ego claim, settling during jury trial on favorable terms.

Professional Highlights

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers (published by BL Rankings LLC), Construction Law (2021 – 2023).
  • Recognized by Chambers USA in the Construction category (2013 – 2021).
  • Spoke on “Basic Principles of Construction Insurance,” at Lorman Education Services webinars in 2014 and 2015.

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  • Co-authored A Starter Guide to Doing Business in the United States, published by Pillsbury and the Practicing Law Institute.
  • Honors & Awards
    • Recognized by The Legal 500 U.S., Construction (2018 – 2019)
  • Memberships & Associations
    • Fellow, Construction Lawyers Society of America


  • J.D., Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, 1998

    A.B., Duke University, 1994


  • District of Columbia

    Washington State


  • U.S. Supreme Court

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington

    U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit