Thomas R. Barber

Houston

Shareholder

700 Milam Street
Suite 2700
Houston, TX 77002-2806

O: 713.222.1470
D: 713.222.4081
E: tbarber@munsch.com

Tom is a Shareholder in the Construction section of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. Tom’s practice focuses on representing public and private owners and general contractors, with an emphasis on the preparation of project design and construction documentation, complex construction case workouts and lien and bond claim prosecution and defense. He also is very experienced in matters relating to suretyship, including the comprehensive investigation and resolution of contractor defaults at all levels of contracting.

Tom brings to the firm and its clients more than 35 years of experience within the construction industry. Prior to joining Munsch Hardt, Tom helped grow and lead the Construction/Surety section of another major Houston law firm. An avid speaker, Tom has presented over eighty lectures and seminars to industry groups, Bar Associations and client groups. Topics range from suretyship, lien laws and construction contract provisions to sales taxation, dispute resolution and insurance issues.

Tom has received an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review rating by Martindale-Hubbell, has been named to the Texas Super Lawyer list in the area of construction law every year since the inception of this distinction, and has been recognized by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers®. Most recently, Tom was named 2014’s Houston Construction Law “Lawyer of the Year”.  He currently serves as Chair of the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and President of the Texas Construction Law Foundation.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

EDUCATION

  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University
  • Juris Doctor from University of Arkansas at Little Rock

AWARDS & HONORS

  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2004-2016
  • Best Lawyers, Woodward/White, Inc., 2008-2015, 2017
  • Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year, Woodward/White, Inc., 2014
  • Leaders in Their Field, Construction, Texas, Chambers USA, 2016-2017

BAR ADMISSIONS

  • Arkansas
  • Texas

  • Representing public owner in relation to construction issues on a $500 million, 40 mile, 96 inch water line pipe line project.
  • Representing public owners providing financing concerning legal issues relating to design and construction of a $1.1 billion water purification plant.
  • Represented Texas school district in the negotiation and drafting of Energy Performance contracts for retrofit of numerous outdated campuses.
  • Represented junior college in negotiating and drafting campus-wide Energy Performance contracts for funding through national grant sources as well as public funds.
  • Represented Municipality in negotiation and drafting the construction, design and procurement agreements for a $32 million minor league baseball stadium. The project was fast track design build with multiple FF&E contracts and was developed through a Public Private Partnership (P3). It was finished on time with less than 1% of the contract amount in change order work.
  • Representing Municipality in the drafting and negotiation of procurement contracts for design and construction of a $75 million performing arts venue, using a two-step Construction Manager At Risk delivery method. The representation includes FF&E purchase contracts, working through a Public Private Partnership and the infrastructure development associated with the facility.
  • Represented municipality in the negotiation and drafting of construction, design and procurement agreements for a $75 million surface water treatment facility utilizing new filtration and treatment technologies, with significant potential damages for late completion arising out of subsidence fees and penalties.
  • Represented school district in the development, modification and implementation of construction procurement contracts, including design and testing, for execution of a $1.9 billion bond program.
  • Represented school district in recovery of substantially all of its costs (over six figures), including fees and expenses of consultants, from contractor’s surety in a case where the surety declined to complete or fund completion of a fast track “must be done over summer” renovation of an urban school.
  • Represented a large private high school in the negotiation and drafting of construction, design, project management and procurement contracts for mid seven figure campus wide expansion commencing with new academic building, parking structure, central plant renovations and additions and site civil works.
  • Represented various general contractors in constructing Joint Ventures, including agreements in compliance with the regulations applicable to the use of service disabled veteran programs.
  • Represented several homeowners in the negotiation and drafting of residential construction contracts for high value (mid six figure to seven figure) homes.
  • Represented surety in multimillion dollar claim by obligee, resulting in mini trial advisory verdict for surety on fraudulent inducement, thereafter producing settlement reimbursing surety for losses paid.
  • Represented surety on 6.5 million dollar probate bond case, resulting in dismissal of claims after investigation of offshore trusts, upheld on appeal.
  • Represented general contractor in case of first impression construing the Texas Trust Fund Statute to be a statutory trust under the Bankruptcy Code, resulting in general contractor being able to pay debtor subcontractor’s vendors out of funds due to the debtor subcontractor, in spite of IRS levy, in order to obtain warranties and to obtain final payment from owner.
  • Represented surety in case of first impression holding that a bond claimant is not a “consumer” with standing to sue under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  • Represented surety in case of first impression holding indemnitor’s failure to post collateral entitled surety to settle claims at its sole discretion as provided in general indemnity agreement.
  • Represented amicus sureties in case of first impression holding indemnitors do not have “bad faith” cause of action against sureties.
  • Represented surety in “Pre-Pack” bankruptcy of a national roofing contractor “roll up”. Participation in the preparation and review of bankruptcy pleadings, as well as hearings on contested matters, and the purchase and sale documents to accomplish “reverse roll up” sale of individual and grouped assets, resulting in the assumption of surety liabilities by purchasers and successor entities.
  • Represented surety in “Pre-Pack” bankruptcy of national mechanical contractor “roll up” requiring provision of DIP financing and bonding facilities during successful “reverse roll up” and sell off of individual and grouped assets.
  • Represented surety in successful “channeling” of claims from multiple jurisdictions in relation to offshore pipeline construction case, with result that claims were paid through insurance proceed recovery against marine builders risk policy.
  • Represented major oil company in resolution of dispute relating to HDPE pipeline installation in Persian Gulf.

  • Member, Arkansas State Bar
  • Executive Council Member, Construction Section, Houston Bar Association
  • Executive Council Member, Construction Section, State Bar of Texas
  • Immediate Past Chair, Construction Section, State Bar of Texas
  • American Bar Association ABA Forum Committee on the Construction Industry (2006 Program Co-Chair)
  • Tort & Insurance of Practice Section, Fidelity and Surety Law Committee (2006 Program Co-Chair)
  • Surety Claims Institute

MEDIA COVERAGE

November 2016
One Lawyer's Work to Rebuild a Practice After Surviving Cancer Brenda Sapino Jeffreys

Texas Lawyer

ARTICLES

March 2006
The Use of Business Structures to Encapsulate Liability

Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Institute of Continuing Legal Education; 19th Annual Construction Law Conference

January 2006
Treasury Certification Investigations – The Ultimate (Abusive) Settlement Tool for the Government

Southern Surety and Fidelity Claims Conference; 17th Annual Meeting 

February 2005
Business Structures From the Surety’s Perspective: Locking in Indemnity and Collection Rights

Southern Surety and Fidelity Claims Conference; 16th Annual Meeting 

April 2004
What Sureties Should Know About Mold Claims (Or, The Fungus Among Us)

Southern Surety and Fidelity Claims Conference; 15th Annual Meeting

January 2004
Mechanics Liens in Texas

National Business Institute

May 2003
Pre-Pack Bankruptcies and First Day Orders: I Hear That Freight Trail Coming

Southern Surety and Fidelity Claims Conference; 14th Annual Meeting

May 2002
The New Surety Claims Practices Act Requirements in Texas

Southern Surety and Fidelity Claims Conference; 13th Annual Meeting

June 2001
Construction Payment Remedies in Texas

National Business Institute

May 2001
Got a Multi-State Mess and a Bankruptcy? Maybe a Channeling Injunction Will Work

Southern Surety and Fidelity Claims Conference; 12th Annual Meeting

February 2001
A Primer for Bond Claims in Texas

Kemper Insurance Companies; CNA Insurance

October 1999
The Texas Trust Fund Statute

State Bar of Texas, Construction Section, Annual Meeting

January 1998
Mechanics Liens in Texas

National Business Institute

February 1994
Overview and Tips on Mechanics Liens and Bonds Related to Liens

Texas Construction, 7th and 8th Editions

January 1990
Bonds and Liens on Construction Work in Texas

Associated General Contractors, including the Property Code, the McGregor Act, and the Miller Act

February 1985
U.C.C. Article 9 - Disposition of Repossessed Collateral

6 UALR L.J. 585

SPEECHES

October 2016
2016 Employment Law, Immigration Law and Construction Law Updates Marsh & McLennan Construction and Employment Seminar
January 2012
Bonds & Liens Seminar The Associated General Contractors of America
June 2011
Legislative Changes Affecting Public School Construction and Development in Texas
March 2011
Bonds & Liens Seminar National Association of Credit Management
January 2011
Texas Bonds & Liens
January 2011
Texas Non-Residential Liens
January 2011
Production Builder Developer Lien Claims and Foreclosure: Some Practical Tips
July 2010
How to Get Paid South Texas Construction Conference
May 2010
City of Houston Bond Forms: Contrasted and Compared Surety Association of Houston
January 2010
A201 Clauses Houston Chapter Associated General Contractors of America
January 2010
A111 Clauses Houston Chapter Associated General Contractors of America
January 2010
Texas Mechanics Liens and Bond Claims AGC Project Management
February 2009
DOL Wage Rate Claims Against Sureties and a Southern Survey: Wage Claims Against Payment Bonds
November 2008
Selected Topics in Construction Contracts
February 2008
Overview of Construction Contract Terms and Conditions Spring Workshop 2008 – Texas Public Purchasing Association
April 2007
Bonds & Liens Seminar Houston Contractors Association
April 2007
Key Considerations in Bonding Public and Private Projects
January 2007
Subcontract Bond Forms – Why Do They Want That and What to Do About It Southern Surety Association
January 2007
Texas Mechanics Liens and Bond Claims University of Houston Management Class
January 2007
Texas Mechanics Liens and Bond Claims Texas Rental Association
August 2006
Bonds and Liens University of Houston
May 2006
Certificate of Insurance Houston Chapter, Associated General Contractors of America
January 2006
Lien Releases on Public Projects - A Bad Idea