Back to our people

Richard H. Skalbania

Partner

I was born and raised in Seattle. I have been married for over 29 years and have four children. I have practiced at Ashbaugh Beal my entire career and have been a lawyer at the firm since its formation in 1987.

I focus my practice on the prevention and resolution of business disputes including construction and construction defect claims. My clients include General Contractors, Subcontractors, Developers, Business Owners and Landlords. I work with clients in all aspects of their businesses including drafting and reviewing contracts, assisting them in getting the full benefit of their insurance policies, employee issues and all aspects of dispute resolution.

During my 28 year career I have successfully represented clients in some of the most high profile construction disputes in the Pacific Northwest including Seahawk’s stadium, Safeco field, Key Arena, and the Seattle downtown library. I recently obtained a $4.5 million dollar arbitration award for a client on a claim arising out of the Sound Transit Rainier Valley light rail project.

I have been on the American Arbitration Construction Industry panel of arbitrators for many years. I also was retained recently by another law firm as an expert witness on construction law issues.

I am active in my community. I have had the pleasure of coaching youth basketball, soccer and baseball for over 20 years. I also have been a member of the Associated General Contractors, the National Electrical Contractors Association and the Construction Financial Managers Association for many years.

What sets me apart? The competitive drive to succeed on behalf of my clients and a willingness and ability to out-think and out-work the other side to achieve my clients’ goals.

After practicing law for over 29 years, there’s still nothing as satisfying as working together with a client to avoid or resolve a major problem whether through negotiation, arbitration or trial.

  • Obtained resolution of a $28 million construction defect claim against my general contractor client, including full reimbursement of all attorneys’ fees incurred by my client.
  • Obtained the complete release of developer’s $25 million claim for breach of contract against my contractor client.
  • Successfully settled $10 million plus personal injury claim against my developer/general contractor client that resulted in his full release and payment of virtually all attorneys’ fees incurred by him.
  • Successfully resolved $6 million plus claim against my client for construction defect arising out of remodel of South Center Mall.
  • Obtained $4 million plus settlement on behalf of homeowner’s association under Condo Act.
  • Obtained $4 million plus arbitration award including attorneys fees on behalf of my subcontractor client on a Sound Transit project.
  • Recovery through 5 day arbitration on behalf of my contractor client of all construction costs, plus anticipated margin, plus all expenses of litigation, plus complete dismissal of developer’s counterclaim, in seven-figure dispute with out of state developer.
  • Successfully defended and settled multi-million dollar claim by homeowner’s association against my developer client.
  • Successfully settled my client’s multi-million dollar claim arising out of the construction of a major grocery distribution warehouse.
  • Successfully settled a multi-million dollar claim by my client against a major California power company arising out of the construction of a power plant in central California.
  • Successfully settled a multi-million dollar claim by my general contractor client against local school district.
  • Successfully settled my client’s multi-million dollar property damage claim arising out of Olympic Pipeline explosion.
  • Successfully defended and settled a multi-million dollar breach of lease claim against my client by a prominent local grocery store chain.
  • Obtained a multi-million dollar judgment of lien foreclosure on behalf of my general contractor client on an eastside high rise apartment project.
  • Successfully settled subcontractor client’s multi-million dollar lien foreclosure claim against the bank and title company arising out of retirement community project.
  • Successfully settled a seven-figure claim by my client arising out of the construction of the downtown Seattle Library.

Construction Law
Construction Defect Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Insurance Coverage
American Arbitration Construction Panel Arbitrator since 1999
Mediator
Expert Witness

University of Washington (J.D., 1987, with honors)
University of Washington (B.A., Philosophy, 1983)

Admitted to Washington State Bar, 1987

Washington State Bar Association
Associated General Contractors
Construction Financial Management Association, Puget Sound Chapter
– Board of Directors
National Electrical Contractors Association

Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2005-2009, 2012 – 2017
Seattle Metropolitan Top Lawyers, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine, 2010
AV Rated by Martindale Hubbell (Highest possible rating)
Avvo rating of 10 (highest possible rating)

  • Safeco Field case means public contractors can’t use statute of limitations to defend construction defects, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 2013
  • Division I of the Court of Appeals holds that the property owner need not be joined as a party to a lien foreclosure action, ConstructionAdvisor.net, 2011
  • Washington Supreme Court rules arbitration claims cannot be barred by statute of limitations, ConstructionAdvisor.net, 2010
  • Another licensing law to worry about, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 2007
  • Generals must act quickly to avoid subs liability, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 2006
  • Second-tier subs should give pre-claim notice, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 2005
  • Ruling clarifies subs don’t need preclaim notices, Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, 2004