John R. Dingess

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Construction Litigation Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA

Dingess, Foster, Luciana, Davidson & Chleboski, LLP
 | 20 Stanwix Street, Third Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412-926-1810
Fax: 412-926-1801
Selected To Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2006, 2008 - 2020
Licensed Since: 1978
Practice Areas:
  • Construction Litigation: Business (80%),
  • Energy & Natural Resources (10%),
  • Business Litigation (10%)
    Attorney Profile

    John R. Dingess is a founding partner of DFL Legal, a law firm with offices in the city of Pittsburgh, but specializing in the practice of construction and engineering law both in the United States and abroad. Mr. Dingess’ own practice is concentrated in the areas of construction and engineering, general commercial and international law. Prior to forming DFL Legal, Mr. Dingess founded and served as the global practice leader of the construction and engineering practice group of a major international law firm comprised of nearly 2,000 lawyers worldwide.

    Mr. Dingess has served as lead counsel in numerous federal and state court trials and both domestic and international arbitrations. He has particularly extensive experience with complex EPC contracts, with domestic and international project financed transactions, and with infrastructure and oil and gas mega-projects valued in the billions. He has also been involved with several industrial turnkey projects, including oil and gas, iron and steel, chemical, pulp and paper and power generation facilities. He is an active member of the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the International Bar Association, the National Panel of Arbitrators of the American Arbitration Association and several other legal organizations.

    Practice Areas
    • 80%Construction Litigation
    • 10%Energy & Natural Resources
    • 10%Business Litigation


    Selected to Super Lawyers for 16 yearsbottom-image

    Super Lawyers: 2004 - 2006, 2008 - 2020

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    About John Dingess

    Admitted: 1978, Pennsylvania

    Professional Webpage:


    • The Best Lawyers in America (Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation and Construction Law)

    Bar/Professional Activity:

    • U.S. Court of Appeals: Second, Third and Fifth Circuits
    • Arbitration & International Construction Projects Committees, International Bar Association, London
    • Chair, Allegheny County Bar Association, Construction Law Section, 1998
    • Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
    • Pro Hac Vice admission to state and federal courts throughout the United States, including California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Ohio and Texas
    • Pennsylvania State Bar Association, Litigation & Construction Sections
    • Member, Panel of Arbitrators, International Centre for Dispute Resolution (ICDR, International Division of the American Arbitration Association)
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania
    • American Bar Association, International, Construction, Litigation & Energy Sections
    • Member, National Panel of Arbitrators, American Arbitration Association

    Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

    • "Current Trends in Commercial / Contract Dispute Resolution", MidAmerican Energy Company, Law Department, Continuing Legal Education Session, Des Moines, Iowa, September, 1997
    • Former Editor-in-Chief of Construction Law and Business, Aspen Publications
    • Co-Author, "Owner Strategies For Dealing with the Financially Troubled Contractor" 2005 Construction Law Update, Aspen Publishers, March, 2005
    • Co-Author, "Recovering Construction Contract Damages Using the Total Cost Method, or the Abandonment of Contract / Cardinal Change Doctrines" Construction SuperConference San Francisco, California, 2002
    • Co-author, "How to Select the Most Effective Local Counsel In India", Corporate Legal Times, August, 1997
    • Co-Author, "Update on Indian Arbitration: Under the Arbitration and Conciliation Ordinance" Mealey’s International Arbitration Report, 1996
    • Co-Author, "Arbitration Under Pennsylvania and Federal Law", Allegheny County Bar Association Conference, Winter, 1996
    • "EPC Contracting - Is It As Easy as ABC" Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, California, 2009
    • "Trials vs. Arbitrations (Domestic and International) for Construction Disputes" Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, California, 2008
    • "Contractual Risk Mitigation Strategies", KBR Business Development Oversight (BDO) Group, Houston, Texas, 2008
    • "International Arbitration: Managing Risk in High Growth / High Risk Markets" New York, New York, September, 2008
    • "The Big Dig" presented at the Fluor LawCon, San Diego, California, October, 2008
    • "Overview of Arbitration in Latin America" Topical Issues in International Arbitration, London, England, 2006
    • "Protect This House: Contractual Risk Allocation" Halliburton/KBR Global Law Department Conference, Dallas, Texas, 2006
    • "Use of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP/P3) in the United States", National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP) in New York, New York, 2006
    • "Owner Strategies for Dealing with the Financially Troubled Contractor" Construction SuperConference, San Francisco, California, 2004
    • "Life on the Other Side of the Pond – A Look at Some of the More Unique Aspects of American Jurisprudence Relevant to Construction Projects", Second Global Project SuperConference, London, England, 2003


    • Counsel for the plaintiff in The M. W. Kellogg Company v. Grupo Industrial, S.A. (CA No. 82-0446) in the USDC for the Western District of Pennsylvania and a related series of arbitrations before the International Chamber of Commerce, Court of Arbitration in Paris, France. Mr. Dingess and a team lawyers represented Kellogg as the joint developer of an industrial process that was sold throughout the world. The federal litigation against the co-developer was settled resulting in a cooperation agreement concerning projects located in Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Venezuela, Zambia and Mexico. Claims against Kellogg exceeded US $500 million. After a period of approximately five years, all claims were resolved with a net positive cash flow to our client and a major new contract
    • Lead counsel for a multinational engineering and construction company regarding an offshore oil & gas project dispute with respect to subsea flow line issues. The dispute is pending and subject to ad hoc arbitration under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (1976) before a three member international arbitration panel
    • Lead counsel for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through its agency the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA), for a period of approximately seven years concerning a series of disputes on the $14.6 billion "Big Dig" project in Boston, Massachusetts. This was the largest infrastructure project in the history of the United States
    • Lead counsel for plaintiff in McNally Wellman Company v. New York State Electric & Gas, 63 F.3d 1188 (2d Cir. 1995), which is a leading New York precedent regarding the enforceability of consequential damage disclaimers under the UCC. Mr. Dingess represented the supplier of six dam crest gates in its claim of nonpayment against the owner and defended against the owner's claim for consequential damages in the amount of approximately $1.0 million. As a result of a summary judgment motion, the trial court entered judgment for the supplier of approximately $700,000, including prejudgment interest, and against the owner on all of its counterclaims. The trial court's judgment was affirmed in its entirety on appeal
    • Lead counsel for plaintiff in Trafalgar House Construction, Inc. v. The County of Allegheny et al., (Case No. 96-164) in the USDC for the Western District of Pennsylvania relating to the construction of the New Allegheny County Jail project. Mr. Dingess represented the general contractor Trafalgar House which had a $50 million prime contract as part of this $150 million project. The action included RICO, breach of contract, trade libel, unjust enrichment, fraud and negligence claims. Following a three day long voluntary mediation involving all of the parties and their multiple insurers, the case settled with a payment of $5.85 million
    • Counsel for plaintiffs in Ponderosa Fibres of Pennsylvania, Inc., et al. v. Parsons Main, Inc., (AAA Case No. 13-110-00694-97); Ponderosa Fibres of Pennsylvania, Inc. v. Parsons Main, Inc. et al., (Case No. 97-C-4861) in the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pennsylvania; counsel for defendants in Parsons Main, Inc, v. Ponderosa Fibres of America, Inc., et al., (CA No. 98-CV-10131 REK) in the USDC for the District of Massachusetts; and counsel for debtor in In re: Ponderosa Fibres of Pennsylvania Partnership, et al., (Case No. 98-21953T) in the USBC for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Mr. Dingess and a team of lawyers represented the owner of a 415 ADST mixed office waste chemical fiber deinking mill located in Northampton, Pennsylvania with a project value of approximately $190 million. The owner's claims in excess of $50 million were against Parsons Main, Inc., the project's EPC contractor, and its parent, The Parsons Corporation. The arbitration proceedings against the EPC contractor concluded after 30 hearing days. On the day the award was to be issued, the arbitration was settled. Our client received a settlement package valued at $61 million -- $41 million immediate cash payment and waiver of the unpaid contract balance of $20 million
    • Lead counsel for consortium member of EPC contractor on a super-critical coal-fired electric generation facility with a value of approximately $2 billion
    • Lead counsel for one of the world's largest multinational engineering and construction companies with respect to over $1 billion in total claims on a single mega-project. The dispute centered on one of the world's largest offshore oil and gas projects with an initial contract price of over $2.5 billion. The adversary was the national oil company of a South American country. Mr. Dingess was responsible for all aspects of dispute resolution, including the supervision of a team of over 50 attorneys, professionals, experts and paraprofessionals. The engagement spanned a period of several years and required extensive worldwide travel, including travel to South America, Europe and Asia. While all disputes were subject to ultimate resolution under the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (1976), all disputes were resolved through a series of settlements without the necessity of formal arbitration proceedings. The disputes involved issues concerning engineering and construction changes and delays, claims of cardinal change, liquidated damages for delay, schedule analysis and claims of time and money entitlement, international letters of credit, value added tax (VAT) claims, force majeure claims and project finance issues in connection with a worldwide syndicate of commercial and national banks
    • Lead counsel for claimant in Comstock Engineering, Inc., and Clecim, Inc., Joint Venture v. Selas, Inc. (AAA Case No. 55-T110-0180) and related proceedings in The Travelers Indemnity Company. et al. v. Comstock Engineering, Inc., et al. (CA 94-0966) in the USDC for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The underlying arbitration proceeding was governed by the AAA's international rules and involved a $200 million continuous annealing line designed and built for LTV Steel in Cleveland, Ohio. Mr. Dingess represented the turnkey contractor first in closing out the project with the owner and then against the French engineering subcontractor on claims of professional negligence. Despite a limitation of liability clause in the contract limiting the engineer's liability to FF 3.0 million, the claimant received a gross award of US $6.0 million. The award was paid promptly following the institution of enforcement proceedings under Chapter 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act
    • Lead counsel for claimant in a series of arbitrations and related court proceedings styled Century Contractors West Inc. v. Hawker Siddeley Power Engineering Inc. (AAA Case Nos. 70-110-0005-90, 70-110-0055-90, 70-110-0093-90, 70-110-009490; CA 90-051738 in the District Court of Harris County, Texas) relating to the Tenaska III, Inc. cogeneration facility located in Paris, Texas. This 250 megawatt facility included 2 GE Frame 7 EA CTGs, 1 GE 90 MW STG and 2 Deltak HRSGs. The disputes related to underground conditions, bonus payments, retainage, extra work, contaminated turbine lube oil system and related matters. Mr. Dingess represented the construction subcontractor against the turnkey EPC Contractor. After obtaining 2 awards and a court injunction requiring the contractor to post a bond in the amount of the subcontractor's total claims, the contractor paid $5.4 million to Century. All claims were prosecuted and payments received in less than 18 months
    • Lead counsel for the defendants in Bethlehem Steel Corporation v. Davy International / Davy Songer, a Joint Venture, et al., (CA No. 1997-C-4256) and for the plaintiffs in the related coverage action of Kvaerner Metals Division of Kvaerner U.S. Inc.. et al. v. Commercial Union Insurance Company, et al., (CA No. 1998-C9531) both in the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Dingess represented the turnkey design/build contractor in these cases which related to a coke battery rebuild project located in Burns Harbor, Indiana with a value of US $126 million plus DM 46.0 million. In the main action, the owner claimed that the battery was defective as constructed in that its projected useful life was alleged to be less than one half of that which was expected at the time of contracting. The case was designated complex under the local court rules. The coverage action was against the All Risk, professional indemnity and CGL carriers. Mr. Dingess, assisted by a team of attorneys, supervised all aspects of the defense, including the engagement of experts who performed an extensive finite element analysis (FEA) of the battery. Just prior to trial, the case was submitted to an extended meditation process before a highly respected and nationally recognized mediator. The mediation involved all interested parties, including the insurance carriers, and resulted in settlement favorable to the defendants
    • Lead counsel for supplier of a super-critical steam generator for a coal-fired electric generation facility with a value of approximately $2 billion. Represent supplier in dispute with EPC contractor with respect to alleged delays, liquidated damage claims, guaranteed quantity overruns, changes, and back-charges
    • Lead counsel for respondent in Curtis Green Construction, Inc. v. Trafalgar House Construction, Inc., (AAA Case No. 55-110-00147-97) in connection with the termination of co-venturer on concrete scope of work for public works project. Mr. Dingess represented the terminating co-venturer of a joint venture in the defense of a wrongful termination claim. The claimant sought damages in excess of $8,000,000, including damages for breach of contract, lost profits, various federal and state tax liabilities and consequential damages. The respondent asserted a counterclaim of approximately $500,000. The arbitration panel included a former appellate court judge, a lawyer and an engineer. The hearings lasted approximately 20 days. By award dated May 25, 1999, the claimant received $128,000 on its claims and respondent received $228,000 on its counterclaim, resulting in a net Award in respondent's favor of $100,000. Thus, claimant received a take nothing net award on its multi-million dollar claim
    • Lead counsel for a multinational engineering and construction company regarding an onshore gas-to-liquids project located in Africa with an original value of approximately $1.7 billion value. Assisted the client in obtaining a change order in the amount of approximately $250 million. Thereafter, assisted the client in converting the contract from a lump sum pricing structure to a cost reimbursable structure
    • Lead counsel for defendants in Triad Electric & Controls, Inc. v. Power Systems Engineering, Inc., et al., 177 F.3d 180 (5th Cir. 1997). This case involved the Cogen Lyondell Cogeneration Facility located in Channelview, Texas. At the time of its construction during the mid-1980's, this 500-megawatt facility was the largest cogeneration project in the United States. The facility included 5 GE Frame 7 E CTGs, 1 GE 138 MW STG and 5 Vogt HRSGs. Mr. Dingess represented the general contractor, Century Contractors West Inc. After structuring a settlement and joint defense agreement with the owner, Mr. Dingess defended against the claims of the project's electrical contractor in a 2-phase bench trial lasting approximately 2 months in the USDC for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. On its claims of more than $4.0 million, the electrical contractor received a take nothing verdict. On its counterclaims, Century received a judgment in excess of $1.0 million in compensatory damages and $3.0 in punitive damages. On appeal, the contract aspect of the case was affirmed and the fraud aspect was remanded for further proceedings. The case then settled favorably
    • Lead counsel for respondent in J.A. Valenti Electric Company v. Mellon Stuart Company (AAA Case No. 19-110-0207-88) and related lien proceedings at J.A. Valenti Electric Company v. Somers Associates, et al. (Index No. 0625/89) in the Supreme Court of New York, County of Westchester. Mr. Dingess represented the general contractor, Mellon Stuart Company, in connection with a $200 million office complex built for IBM in Somers, New York. After negotiating a settlement agreement with the owner, Mr. Dingess defended against the electrical subcontractor's claims in excess of $6.2 million for wrongful termination. After over 50 days of hearings, the electrical subcontractor received a take nothing award and Mellon Stuart received an award of $1.5 million which was paid promptly
    • Lead counsel for plaintiff in C.N. Flagg & Co., Incorporated v. Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation, et al., (Case No. 97-617) in the USDC for the District of Minnesota. Mr. Dingess represented the construction contractor against the EPC contractor on this 250-megawatt cogeneration project located in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. This case related to nonpayment of the construction contractor following a termination for convenience. The plaintiff asserted claims of $6.0 million and the defendants asserted counterclaims of $2.0 million. The dispute centered on the pricing formula contained in the guaranteed maximum price contract with a sharing of cost underruns and overruns. At the close of discovery, the case settled favorably to the plaintiff after a motion was filed to amend the complaint to assert claims of fraud

    Educational Background:

    • Allegheny College, B.A., 1973
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    Office Location for John R. Dingess

    20 Stanwix Street
    Third Floor
    Pittsburgh, PA 15222

    Phone: 412-926-1810

    Fax: 412-926-1801

    John R. Dingess:

    Last Updated: 1/26/2020

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