Denis L. Durkin

Partner

Orlando
T +1 407.649.4053  |  F +1 407.841.0168

"Sources describe [Denis] as 'superb and very hard-working.'"

— Chambers USA 2015

Denis Durkin is a civil trial lawyer who focuses primarily on construction law and commercial litigation, with experience in jurisdictions throughout the United States. He is practical and cost-effective in in his approach to litigation matters and uses his considerable experience to analyze his clients' situations in order to craft the most appropriate strategies for either settlement or trial.

Select Experience

  • Represented, as lead trial counsel, a major international energy industry corporation in an American Arbitration Association proceeding brought by engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. The dispute arose out of the construction of an electric power generating plant built in Maricopa County, Arizona, for which Denis's client provided "thermal island equipment" including combustion turbines, steam turbines and heat recovery steam generators. The proceeding involved approximately $50 to $70 million in claims for delay, disruption inefficiencies, acceleration, extra work and liquidated damages. Engaged in considerable discovery, and the parties settled following mediation.
  • Represented, as lead trial counsel, a general contractor in an appeal against the Veterans Administration (VA) before the VA Board of Contract Appeals concerning termination for default in the construction of an energy plant at a VA hospital in Tampa, Florida. A two-week administrative trial resulted in the Board of Contract Appeals overturning default termination and converting it to termination for convenience. The VA subsequently paid a multimillion-dollar settlement.
More »

Experience

  • Represented, as lead trial counsel, a major international energy industry corporation in an American Arbitration Association proceeding brought by engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. The dispute arose out of the construction of an electric power generating plant built in Maricopa County, Arizona, for which Denis's client provided "thermal island equipment" including combustion turbines, steam turbines and heat recovery steam generators. The proceeding involved approximately $50 to $70 million in claims for delay, disruption inefficiencies, acceleration, extra work and liquidated damages. Engaged in considerable discovery, and the parties settled following mediation.
  • Represented, as lead trial counsel, a general contractor in an appeal against the Veterans Administration (VA) before the VA Board of Contract Appeals concerning termination for default in the construction of an energy plant at a VA hospital in Tampa, Florida. A two-week administrative trial resulted in the Board of Contract Appeals overturning default termination and converting it to termination for convenience. The VA subsequently paid a multimillion-dollar settlement.
  • Represented, as lead counsel, a city involved in a delay in completion claim against an insurance company arising out of the construction of a major convention center. The parties engaged in extensive document discovery and numerous depositions. The case settled following a second effort at mediation.
  • Represented, as lead claims counsel, a general contractor in a multimillion-dollar delay and disruption claim against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, arising out of construction of a Predator drone maintenance facility in Nevada. Settlement was reached at a mediation before a judge of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals.
  • Represents, as lead counsel, a telecommunications company appealing assessment its tangible personal property located in Palm Beach County, Florida, for ad valorem tax purposes. The disparity between the client's valuation of property and the property appraiser's assessed value was $162 million. Extensive expert testimony will be developed and offered to the trial court on issues regarding the valuation methodology utilized by the property appraiser and maintaining that insufficient credit was given for the technological obsolescence of subject equipment.
  • Represented, as lead trial and appellate counsel, a taxpayer in the landmark ad valorem tax assessment decision which held that a Lake County property appraiser had employed an unconstitutional appraisal methodology in assessing the tangible personal property of a cable TV provider. Client realized tax and interest savings in excess of $4 million.
  • Selected by an Orange County, Florida circuit court judge to join three-arbitrator panel that helped decide the value of an electric distribution plant acquired by a Florida city from an incumbent electric power provider. A 39-day hearing required consideration of extensive expert and factual testimony on the valuation of the distribution plant, associated properties, and "stranded costs" that ranged from $20 million to $170 million. A panel award was accepted by the parties without challenge.
  • Acted as co-counsel for defendant in civil action brought by a blood bank against a blood registry concerning the alleged infringement of a federally registered slogan. The plaintiff sought recovery of lost profits, damages and attorney's fees. Following extensive briefing and oral argument, the court denied the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction, and the plaintiff agreed to dismiss claims with prejudice. 

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Construction in Florida (2005 to 2016)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2016)
    • Recommended in Real Estate and Construction: Construction (including construction litigation)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© 
    • Orlando: Bet-the-Company Litigation (2013 to 2017)
    • Orlando: Commercial Litigation (2013 to 2017)
    • Orlando: Construction Law (2017)
    • Orlando: Litigation – Construction (2016, 2017)
  • Florida "Super Lawyer" (2006 to 2016)
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent

Memberships

  • American Bar Association: Forum on the Construction Industry
  • Florida Bar Foundation
  • Orange County Bar Association
      • Judicial Relations Committee (1996 to present)
      • Construction Law Committee (2005 to present)
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida: Rules Committee (2006 to present)

Community

  • Winter Park Racquet Club
  • Country Club of Orlando
  • Citrus Club 
  • Mid-Florida Economic Development Commission

Services

Prior Positions

  • U.S. District Court Merit Selection Panel for U.S. Magistrate Judge: Member (1997)
  • U.S. District Court Merit Selection Panel for U.S. Magistrate Judge: Chairman (1996)
  • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, Fort Ord, CA: Labor Counsel and Assistant Procurement Counsel (1973 to 1976)
  • U.S. Army Legal Services Agency: Appellate Counsel (1977)

Military Service

  • U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps (1973 to 1977)

Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • Florida, 1977
  • California, 1975
  • Georgia, 1973

Education

  • J.D., Emory University School of Law, 1973; Executive Research Editor, Journal of Public Law (later the Emory Law Journal)
  • B.A., Florida Southern College, 1970, cum laude