Tom Dunn concentrates his practice in construction law and complex business dispute resolution representing clients in various sectors of the construction industry, including power generation, utility and road work, painting, and plumbing and mechanical work. Tom has served as trial counsel representing owners, general contractors, subcontractors, and design professionals in multiparty, complex commercial litigation in state and federal courts.

In addition to litigation, arbitration, and mediation, Tom counsels clients in construction contract drafting, review, negotiation, and dispute avoidance services, including EPC, design-build, CM, GMP, and cost-plus contracts and subcontracts. In his 14 years of practice, whether resolving disputes or drafting contracts, Tom actively listens to his clients and works collaboratively with them to develop a plan to best serve and advance their objectives in an effecient, pragmatic manner.

Tom has asserted and defended disputes concerning the following types of claims: breach of contract disputes, change order disputes, loss of efficiency/productivity claims, abandonment/cardinal change claims, total cost claims, quantum meruit claims, modified total cost claims, differing site conditions claims, delay claims, trade secrets claims, covenant not to compete claims, Chapter 93A consumer protection claims, mechanic’s liens claims, engineering professional malpractice, shareholder direct and derivative claims, breach of fiduciary duty claims, employee compensation claims, construction defect claims, employee discrimination claims, business valuation claims, performance bond claims, payment bond claims, project labor agreement claims, indemnity claims, and usury claims.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell. 
  • Named a New England Super Lawyers "Rising Star" for 2010-2018 for Construction Litigation in Rhode Island.
  • Recognized by ABA Section of Construction Litigation Committee as an Outstanding Subcommittee Chair for 2013/2014.

Professional Activities

  • Panelist, American Arbitration Association National Roster of Arbitrators
  • Editor, Under Construction, an ABA Forum on Construction Law newsletter (2018 - current); Associate Editor, Under Construction (2015-2018)
  • Steering Committee Member, Division 1, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, ABA Forum on Construction Law (2014 - current)
  • Co-Chair, ABA Forum on Construction Law's Fall 2017 Meeting on 2017 Updates to the AIA Contract Documents
  • Member, Publications and Membership Committees, ABA Forum on Construction Law
  • Treasurer and member of Board of Directors, Tufts Lawyers Association; Co-Chair, 2014-2015 Tufts Law Day on the Hill
  • Member, ABA Section of Litigation, Construction Litigation Committeee
  • Member, Rhode Island Bar Association, Professionalism and Ethics Committee
  • Member, Boston Bar Association


  • Editor, Under Construction, newsletter of the ABA Forum on Construction Law
  • Speaker and Co-Author, Former Employee Who Is a Key Witness: Protecting Privilege, Developing Facts, and Mitigating Impact on Claim Preparation and Trial Testimony, Presented at ABA Forum on Construction Law's Midwinter 2016 Meeting, San Francisco, California
  • Contributing author, AAA Handbook on Construction Arbitration and ADR - Third Edition (2016)
  • Speaker and Co-author, Circumnavigating the Eternal Triangle: Ethics of Insurance Defense, Presented at the Construction Superconference 2014, Las Vegas, Nevada.
  • Co-author, A Survey of Certificate of Merit Statutes, The Construction Lawyer, Vol. 34, No. 2 (2014).
  • Co-author, My Client Can Lien A Condominium's Commonly Owned Property, Right? Not Always And Not In Massachusetts, Under Construction, Vol. 15 No. 3 (2014)
  • Co-author, A Tale of Two Lawyers: How Arbitrators and Advocates Can Avoid the Dangerous Convergence of Arbitration and Litigation, Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 14, No. 3 (2013)
  • Contributing author, “State-By-State Guide to Architect, Engineer, and Contractor Licensing,” Second Edition, Stephen G. Walker, Editor (2013)
  • Contributing author, 50-State Survey on Limitations of Liability, Presented as Part of Plenary 2, Contract Drafting to Reduce or Eliminate Damages –What are the Limits?, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry’s 2013 Midwinter Meeting, Naples, Florida
  • Co-author, Managing Exchanges of Electronically Stored Information (ESI) in Construction Arbitration, Dispute Resolution Journal, August/October 2012
  • Co-author, Rhode Island chapter of the State-by-State Guide to Construction and Design Law, Second Edition published by the American Bar Association, August 2009
  • Co-editor, The Dispute Resolver, Construction Law Blog of Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Division of the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry

Civic Activities

  • Secretary, North Attleboro Preserve Homeowners Association
  • Past President, Attleboro Area Bar Association (2016/2017); Vice President (2015/2016); Secretary 2014/2015)
  • Treasurer, Bristol County Bar Association (2018/2019); Treasurer (2017/2018)

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Trial counsel for a process piping subcontractor that obtained a multimillion dollar award against a general contractor and its surety on an environmental project to reduce the mercury and sulfur dioxide emissions at the Brayton Point Power Plant located in Somerset, Massachusetts. Client was awarded over $2 million dollars in attorney’s fees and litigation costs recoverable by virtue of prevailing on its Chapter 93A consumer protection claim. 
  • Trial counsel in a jury trial representing an engineer, procure, construction (EPC) contractor against its engineer team member on a power plant project in Bellingham, Massachusetts.
  • Represented a utility owner against a contractor in a differing site conditions claim.
  • Represent EPC contractor in claims against owner, design professionals, and subcontractors on a power plant project in Massachusetts. 
  • Represented construction manager at risk contractor in an energy infrastructure project in Providence, Rhode Island on disputed change orders and claims. 

Representative Experience

  • Arbitration counsel for an owner of a high-end residential property in Newport, Rhode Island against the general contractor. Defended against the general contractor's claim involving 200+ change orders and claims on this fast-track renovation project.   
  • Arbitation counsel in a Rhode Island Public Works Arbitration Act proceeding representing a scaffolding subcontractor against the general contractor on a higher education public project.  Obtained full recovery of principal claim and successfully opposed a motion to vacate. 
  • Arbitration counsel for an owner of a new hotel project against design-build contractor in a three-week arbitration.  Obtained a favorable arbitration award, a judgment discharging a mechanic's lien, and an affirmative recovery against a contractor. Negotiated and coordinated terms of settlements with subcontractors.
  • Successfully settled a case representing an non-profit owner against a general contractor and its surety arising from construction defects with mechanical renovations.  
  • Serve as special counsel for a Receiver in Rhode Island in connection with usury litigation against secured creditors.  Obtained summary judgment in against one secured creditor discharging $30M in debt obligation because of a usury violation. Assist the Receiver in discharging $28M in creditor claims through hearings before a special master. 
  • Represented a mechanical contractor in defense of a $400M+ claim brought by a refinery owner.  Obtained a successful settlement of the matter through extensive development of the facts of the case and negotiations with the plaintiff and primary/excess insurers.   
  • Represented Native American Tribe against a general contractor and its surety arising out of defectively installed storm drain and sanitary sewer piping in a new residential community for the Tribe's members.  Through a mediation, obtained a settlement for the client in excess of the original contract value with the contractor.
  • Obtained a prejudgment attachment against an owner of a project based upon proof of likelihood of success on breach of an oral contract.
  • Represented a general contractor in a bridge project in Rhode Island.  Assisted in a successful mediation with the RIDOT.  Serve as litigaiton counsel in various state and federal litigation matters arising from the project. 
  • Represent heavy civil contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers on road and bridge projects in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
  • Represent general contractors on projects involving the construction of stadiums and expansions of airports. 
  • Defended a land surveyor in a negligence cause of action and successfully obtained a dismissal on summary judgment.
  • Represented companies, including in the construction and transportation industry, against former employees to enforce covenants not to compete and protect the misappropriation of trade secrets. 
  • Represented family businesses in multi-year, complex corporate shareholder derivative disputes.  Served as arbitration counsel for one closely-held business against 50% shareholders.  Successfully represented the company in the settlement of the dispute which, in addition to arbitration proceedings, involved actions in Massachusetts Superior Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Judicial Court. 
  • Trial counsel representing numerous contractors and owners in obtaining the successful discharge of mechanic's liens pursuant to R.I. Gen. Laws section 34-28-17.1, including repesenting a general contractor and owner in defending an appeal of such a discharge to the R.I. Supreme Court.