Robert J. MacPherson

Director, Gibbons P.C. (ABA Rep.), Newark, New Jersey

Robert J. MacPherson is a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers and former Chair of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry. He has been practicing construction law since 1981, focusing his practice on drafting and negotiating contracts relating to construction projects and the resolution, through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation, of construction disputes. He is admitted to practice in the State and Federal Courts in New Jersey and New York.

Mr. MacPherson regularly acts as construction contract and disputes counsel for contractors, subcontractors suppliers and owners involved in building and heavy civil construction for public and private work. He has been lead counsel in disputes involving contract termination (both prosecuting on behalf of owners and defending on behalf of contractors), liens, surety bonds, extra work claims, defective work claims, scheduling and delays.

He teaches Construction Law at Rutgers Law School, Newark, NJ.

Mr. MacPherson also acts as a mediator and arbitrator and has been involved in developing and conducting mediation education and training programs in New Jersey. He taught Alternative Dispute Resolution at Rutgers Law School from 1996 until 2004.

Representative Matters

Defended cooperative housing corporation in action by municipality seeking over $20 Million for the repair of the concrete encased columns and slab supporting the coop’s building over a major urban highway. Issues include legality of emergency contract let without public bidding, access rights to public roadway to maintain coop’s structures, impossibility of performance, beach of implied contractual duties and liability of municipality for corrosive effect of road deicing materials on coop’s concrete structures.

Negotiated a $120 Million contract for the design and construction of what will be the headquarters campus of a major pharmaceutical company.

Advised a public agency on construction contract issues involving a public-private partnership on P3 project.
Negotiated EPC, Fuel Supply and Operation and Maintenance agreements for a 50 MW bio mass fueled combined heat and power plant with a value in excess of €120 Million.

Assisted German wind turbine manufacturer in redrafting its supply contracts for use in the United States.

Negotiation of EPC contracts for several solar projects in New Jersey.

Represented a foundation in the negotiation of a $500 million construction management agreement.

Negotiated a $180 Million construction management agreement for a major retail development on a “Brownfield” site in Brooklyn, New York. Advised the construction manager on issues that arose during construction.

Provided advice to design builder on issues related to P3 projects.

Assisted wind turbine manufacturer and supplier in the preparation of master contracts between manufacturer and private power developers. Also provided advice in connection with disputes including design and construction defects and performance warranties for projects throughout the US.

Acted as construction contract and claims counsel for owner/developer of several hydroelectric projects in upstate New York. Prepared and negotiated contracts with designers, contractors and major equipment suppliers. Provided advice on claims and disputes that arose during construction and litigated extra work, delay and warranty claims.

Represented design-builder of a power plant in a dispute with the supplier of two 315 MW CFB Steam Generators. Primary issue was the use of 3D modeling in the design process. Other issues included design deliverable liquidated damages and concurrent delays.

Arbitrator in a dispute between the Owner and Design Builder of a gas fired peaking plant. The design build contract value was in excess of $40 million and a separate turbine supply contract between the owner and turbine manufacturer was approximately $60 million. Issues included coordination between the design builder and the turbine supplier, delays, construction defects, manufacturing defects and performance guarantees.

Arbitrator in a dispute involving a design-build contractor’s $30 Million claim against an insurer under a policy providing coverage for certain payment obligations of the project owner and a performance bond surety arising out of a landfill closure project.

Arbitrator in a dispute involving the sale of a construction company where the future revenue from a public construction project was the source of the funding for the purchase price.

Arbitrator in a dispute arising out of contracts for roof systems on two office buildings. Issues include statue of limitations, choice of law, limitations of liability provisions and warranty claims, including a claim the warranty failed of its essential purpose.

Arbitrator in a dispute between contractor and subcontractor on several public housing authority projects. Issues included the subcontractor’s claim that it was the general’s joint venture partner, a project suspension by the owner and the application of the Eichleay formula for a home office overhead claim arising out of the suspension, and extra work claims.

Mediator in over 100 construction contract, construction defect, insurance and surety disputes involving from two to over forty parties with claims ranging from thousands to millions of dollars.

Seton Hall University School of Law (J.D., 1980)
Monmouth University (B.A., 1976)
Brookdale Community College (A.A., 1972)

Professional Admissions
State of New Jersey 1980
State of New York 1983
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey 1980
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York 1983
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York 1983
United States Supreme Court 1987

Professional Activities
Fellow, American College of Construction Lawyers
Member, American Bar Association
Forum on the Construction Industry
Budget Chair, 2009-2010
Chair, 2008-2009
Chair-Elect, 2007-2008
Chair, Alternative CLE Committee, 2006-2007
Governing Committee, 2003-2006
Chair of Division 1, 2000-2002
Member, New Jersey Bar Association
Dispute Resolution Section
Chair 1994-1995
Construction and Public Contract Law Section
Original Member, Garibaldi ADR Inn of Court
Member, Committee on Complementary Dispute Resolution of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Court Term 1994-1996
Mediator, Superior Court of the State of New Jersey 1994 to 2007
Mediator, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
Member, Associated General Contractors of New York State
Member, Associated General Contractors of America
Former member, New York City Procurement Policy Board Advisory Council
Member of the Construction Cost Reduction Team appointed by Mayor Michael Blumberg to study and report on New York City's capital construction program. The report was delivered in July 2008.
Construction Industry Arbitration and Mediation Panel, American Arbitration Association

"So Far Away from Home, It’s No Longer an American Tune: Fee Shifting in Construction Disputes," JAMS Global Construction Solutions, Fall, 2012
"Contract Provisions - Who Reads Them Anyway," ABA Forum on the Construction Industry, April 2012 (Robert J. MacPherson, Melissa Beutler, Patrick A. Genzler)
"Shaking the Arbitration Blues," New Jersey Law Journal, March 28, 2011
"Mandatory Arbitration in Construction Payment Disputes," New York Law Journal, April 20, 2010 (Robert J. MacPherson, Neal M. Eiseman)
"Carefully Drafted Indemnification Clauses Provide Significant Protections to Construction Contract Parties," New Jersey Law Journal, March 22, 2010 (Damian V. Santomauro, Robert J. MacPherson)
"The Devil Is In The Details When It Comes To Construction Contracts," Construction Group Newsletter, January 29, 2010
"The Third Circuit Court of Appeals Decides Contracts Mean What They Say and the No Harm No Foul Rule Still Applies," Construction Group Newsletter, July 2009
"Discovery Desk Book for Construction Disputes," ABA Publishing, 2005
"50 State Public Construction Law Source Book," CCH Incorporated, 2002
"Sticks and Bricks, A Practical Guide to Construction Technology," ABA Publishing, 2001
"New York Construction Law Manual," West Publishing, 1998
"Partnering in Design and Construction - Alternative Dispute Resolution as a Partnering Tool," McGraw Hill, 1996
Interviewed in "Off the Clock," New Orleans CityBusiness, May 11, 2009

Speaking Engagements
Mr. MacPherson has spoken before a variety of organizations, including the New Jersey Judicial College; American Bar Association; American Arbitration Association; New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education; New Jersey Bar Association; Associated General Contractors of America; General Building Contractors of New York; Pratt University, New York, New York; Pace University, New York, New York; and Rutgers University, Newark, New Jersey.

Listed in Super Lawyers, Construction Litigation, 2011, 2012
Listed in Chambers USA Guide to America's Leading Law Firms, Construction - 2006, 2007, 2008; Litigation: General Commercial - 2012
Recipient, 2008 Chambers “Award of Excellence for Construction”
Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Construction Law and Litigation - Construction, 2011, 2012
James B. Boskey ADR Practitioner of the Year, 2001

New Jersey Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Ranks 69 Gibbons Attorneys as Leaders in Their Fields

*No aspect of this communication has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. Further information about methodologies for rating or selecting attorneys is available on our website’s Award Methodology page.