Gavin G. McCarthy

Gavin McCarthy is Chair of Pierce Atwood’s Litigation Practice Group. A trial lawyer with decades of experience handling disputes across the country, Gavin’s practice has a particular emphasis on class action defense, the representation of businesses in complex commercial disputes, and construction litigation.

In the past few years, Gavin has helped a national resort developer recover nearly $20 million from an insurer in a contested appraisal proceeding in Michigan, obtained favorable resolutions of class actions in Alabama and Florida for a leading national disability insurer, assisted a major electricity provider in resolving hundreds of millions of dollars of construction claims in Maine, and recovered several million dollars following a jury trial in a breach of fiduciary duty case in Massachusetts.

At the same time, Gavin regularly practices in both state and federal court in Maine and is the author of the Maine sections of the American Bar Association’s 50-state survey of class action law and two leading 50-state construction law treatises.

Regardless of the forum or the nature of the action, Gavin brings extensive experience litigating significant cases. Gavin has defended more than 20 class actions without a single adverse outcome, and he has successfully tried dozens of cases in a variety of fields including construction, environmental, insurance, and fiduciary duty.

Gavin's track record of success has led to his being recognized as a leading commercial litigator by Chambers USA and others, including recognition from Best Lawyers 2022 as "Lawyer of the Year" for Construction Litigation in Maine. Gavin has a proven ability both to win difficult cases when necessary and to avoid litigation when possible.

Honors & Distinctions
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® for Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants (2024)
  • Named a BTI "Client Service All-Star" (2023)
  • The Best Lawyers in America® “Lawyer of the Year” in Maine for Litigation - Construction (2022)
  • Recognized by Chambers USA for Commercial Litigation (2018-present)
  • Named by corporate counsel to the BTI Client Service All-Stars (2017)
  • Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America® for Construction Litigation (2013-present)
  • Recognized by Super Lawyers for Class Action and Mass Torts in Maine (2020-present)
  • Named a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers for Class Action and Mass Torts (2009-2013)
Professional Activities
  • Member, Maine Bar Association
  • Author, Maine Section of the ABA’s Survey of State Class Action Law
  • Co-author, Chapter on Maine Procurement Rules and Regulations, ABA Guide to State Procurement
  • Author, Maine Section of the ABA’s Fifty State Lien & Bond Law Treatise

Practice Areas

Representative Experience
  • Resolved on favorable terms a multimillion dollar dispute arising out of the construction of a marina.
  • Resolved on favorable terms approximately $150 million in claims against a leading electric utility arising out of a $1.5 billion construction project.
  • Following an appraisal hearing in Michigan, obtained a nearly $20 million settlement for the costs of reconstruction following a fire at a large resort.
  • Obtained a multimillion dollar settlement on behalf of a leading contractor arising out of design problems on a $200 million bridge construction project.
  • Following a weeklong arbitration, obtained an award for the full replacement cost of two specialty roofs plus reimbursement of all costs and fees.
  • Obtained an arbitration award in the full amount sought of approximately $1 million in connection with an arbitration proceeding in North Dakota arising out of the construction of a large, multi-use development.
  • Following discovery, obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of developer clients whose project was barred by a local ordinance change.
  • After a weeklong arbitration proceeding between the firm's contractor-client and the owner who hired the contractor to perform a $7 million hotel renovation, the arbitrator rejected the owner's multimillion dollar damages claim and awarded the client the full amount of its contract balance.
  • Following a multi-day arbitration proceeding between a contractor hired to perform several million dollars of work on a federal military base and the firm's subcontractor-client, the arbitrator awarded the client the full amount of his contract balance and rejected the contractor's counterclaim.
  • In a leading case on the issue of an arbitrator's ability to modify an award issued by that arbitrator, the First Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Gavin's client that the arbitrator acted within its authority and vacated the decision below.
Representative Experience
  • Obtained the dismissal of a class action in federal court in Maine against Maine's largest utility provider seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in alleged overcharges for electricity.
  • Obtained denial of certification in a putative class action in Maine state court alleging that a utility provider sent improper notices of disconnection.
  • Currently representing an insurer in a class action in federal court in Alabama alleging that the company misapplied the provisions of a policy providing supplemental benefits for cancer.
  • In a putative class action in federal court in Alabama alleging misapplication of a COLA provision in a disability insurance policy, Gavin resolved the case on an individual basis following discovery.
  • In a putative class action in federal court in Florida alleging claims under the FDCPA against a leading disability insurer, resolved the case on an individual basis following discovery.
  • In a putative class action in federal court in Maine alleging that a financial services provider did not properly provide refunds in canceled transactions, resolved the case on favorable terms without the need for significant discovery.
  • In a putative class action in federal court in Massachusetts alleging defective building products, Gavin obtained denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification and the subsequent dismissal of most of Plaintiffs’ individual claims, leading to a resolution of the dispute at no cost to the client.
  • In an ERISA class action, the First Circuit Court of Appeals ordered judgment in favor of the firm's client, reversing a trial court's prior award.
  • In a putative class action in California state court seeking nearly $2 billion in premium refunds in connection with individual disability insurance, the firm's client obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims, a result that the Court of Appeal affirmed.
Representative Experience
  • Obtained a jury verdict in the full amount of cleanup costs following an oil spill.  
  • Represented a leading hospital consortium in an arbitration proceeding against an insurer that led to the resolution of a multi-year dispute about the proper reimbursement for certain mental health services.
  • In a breach of fiduciary duty case seeking control of a leading contractor in greater Boston, Gavin obtained a multimillion dollar recovery following a jury trial.
  • In an arbitration proceeding by a former executive seeking to escape the effect of a noncompete clause, Gavin obtained denial of the executive’s requests for preliminary relief, leading to the voluntary dismissal of the action.
  • In a case dismissed on jurisdictional grounds by the District Court, the First Circuit reversed and reinstituted client's claims.
  • In a bid protest of the award of the state of Maine's 10-year, multimillion-dollar liquor marketing contract,  obtained a decision to vacate the award on behalf of firm client.