Chris Little has over 35 years of experience throughout New England in all aspects of dispute resolution. He practices extensively in complex commercial litigation in the courts of Rhode Island and Massachusetts and beyond and also represents owners and contractors and design professionals in public and private construction projects.

Prior to founding the firm, Little Bulman Medeiros & Whitney P.C., in 1993, he had been an associate and then a partner for 17 years at a large Rhode Island based firm having offices in Providence, Boston and Fort Lauderdale. At that firm he chaired the commercial litigation department and was the founder and chair of its construction law group. In addition to his active practice in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, he has been responsible for litigating substantial matters in Arizona, Colorado, Alabama, New York, Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut. For 25 years he has served on the panel of the American Arbitration Association as a neutral arbitrator for large and complex commercial and construction disputes.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America®  for Litigation - Construction (since 2011) and Commercial Litigation (since 2015)
  • Named "Lawyer of the Year" in Providence, RI by The Best Lawyers in America®  for Litigation-Construction in 2012
  • Included in Chambers USA for General Commercial Litigation
  • Recognized by Super Lawyers for Business Litigation since 2007

Professional Activities

  • American Arbitration Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Foundation (Life Member)
  • Presenter in approximately 50 seminars and professional programs for such organizations as Rhode Island Bar Association, American Bar Association, American Arbitration Association, Construction Industry of Massachusetts and University of Rhode Island

Publications

  • Author or co-author of approximately 40 publications addressing various aspects of private and public construction law for the American Bar Association and for industry groups in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Civic Activities

  • Board Member, Rhode Island Airport Corporation (2015 - present)
  • Vice Chair, Tides Family Services (2011-present)
  • Director, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island (2011-present)
  • Moderate Party Candidate, Attorney General of Rhode Island (2010)
  • Independent Candidate, Rhode Island House District 33 (2008)
  • Advisor, Rhode Island Natural History Survey (1990-present)
  • Advisory Committee Member, University of Rhode Island Advisory Committee for College of Environment and Life Sciences and Graduate School of Oceanography (2003-present)
  • Advisory Board Member, The Metcalf Institute - University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography (2013-present)
  • Trustee, Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (1991-present)
  • Board Chair, Save the Bay, Inc.
  • Chairman of Board of Trustees, South County Hospital
  • Board of Directors, Hospital Association of Rhode Island

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Representation of construction manager in claim against developer arising out of termination for convenience in substantial condominium development project.  Received an arbitration award in excess of $5 million for contractor.
  • Representation of contractor asserting claim for equitable subrogation against a lender in receivership proceedings resulting in a negotiated award to contractor from lender in the amount of $950,000.
  • Chair of arbitration panel adjudicating largest building construction dispute in Connecticut history ($85 million).  This required managing an extraordinarily complicated and contested proceeding with multiple hearings and interim rulings.
  • Representation of New England based barge constructor in protracted negotiations, work-out and litigation involving design and construction of $75 million articulated tug barge.
  • Representation of hotel developer in defense of wrongful constructive termination claim.  Defeated all of contractor’s claims for $2.5 million and secured counterclaim recovery for over $600,000.
  • Secured arbitrator’s award denying all of subcontractor’s claims for amounts in excess of $800,000 in dispute over construction of urban retail mall.
  • Represented superstructure subcontractor in multimillion dollar claims arising out of construction of the Jamestown Bridge by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.
  • Represented large regional sewer authority as a general construction counsel in major reconstruction of a treatment plant and in separate litigation involving damages in excess of $2.5 million arising out of collapse and washout of major sewer connector.
  • Represented pre-eminent New England college in a construction dispute which was resolved through one of the first mini-trial mediations conducted in New England.  In 13 hours satisfactorily resolved disputes which would have required two months of arbitration hearings.
  • Represented Colorado based contractor (then surety) in workout of complicated Boston building project involving numerous subcontractor claims, owner claims and various completion issues.

Representative Experience

  • Representation of limited partners in a real estate project in breach of fiduciary duty claims against general partner, resulting in judgment following trial of $3.1 million.
  • Successful negotiation of minimal settlement for national real estate developer involving claims in excess of $6 million for construction defects and $25 million for condominium law violations.
  • Representation of specialty process piping subcontractor against contractor involving construction of scrubber systems for two power generating units at the Dominion Energy Brayton Point facility in Somerset, Massachusetts resulting in decision following trial for contract damages in excess of $5 million, attorneys’ fees under C.93A for approximately $2.1 million plus statutory interest of more than $2 million.
  • Successful defense of regional chamber of commerce in expedited evidentiary proceedings involving challenges to name change brought under Lanham Act.
  • Secured $800,000 arbitration award on behalf of partner involving dissolution and valuation of insurance agency.
  • Development and prosecution of multi-million dollar warranty and C.93A claims on behalf of California based manufacturer against Brazilian manufacturers of component parts.
  • Developed successful defense of “bet the company” multimillion dollar indemnity claim against public company engaged in lending industry.  Required discovery throughout the United States and management and analysis of thousands of financial documents. 
  • Secured $4.8 million settlement on behalf of Rhode Island manufacturer in litigation against its bank arising out of bank’s involvement in embezzlement perpetuated on company by its former president.
  • Chair of arbitration panel adjudicating $7.5 million dispute involving construction of cogeneration facility in New Haven, CT.  Successfully managed follow up mediation resulting in resolution of all remaining issues.
  • Co-representation of the Massachusetts Highway Department in analysis and defense of $25 million differing site conditions claim involving tunnel in Central Artery/Tunnel Project.
  • Representation of substantial Rhode Island based printing company in defense of FMLA and ADA claims in the United States District Court for District of Massachusetts, leading to negotiated favorable settlement.
  • Trial counsel for substantial specialty chemical company in Superfund litigation.  Secured $2.35 Million dollar jury verdict in Rhode Island federal district court on indemnity claim.
  • Outside litigation counsel for Brown University in construction, commercial, employment, premises liability, and student disputes.  Tried approximately 20 cases to verdict.  Represented the University before the federal and state trial and appellate courts.
  • Represented major shipbuilder in claims to enforce surety bonds which were ultimately found to be fraudulently issued by authorized agent of surety.  After receiving injunction requiring surety to maintain bonds, ultimately recovered settlement of $2.5 million on behalf of shipbuilder's bankruptcy estate.
  • Represented United States distributor of a personnel and equipment hoist involved in a major construction site accident.  This required three separate proceedings -- against the hoist owner, defending the personal injury claims, and finally, in successfully obtaining recovery of $850,000 following a jury trial against a company responsible for installation of hoist.
  • Successful negotiation of nominal settlement for a Rhode Island based sportswear manufacturer in defense of $2.5 million claims in partnership dispute in Colorado courts.