- Construction Litigation
S. Owen Griffin's practice deals primarily with the representation of contractors, subcontractors and suppliers seeking to assist them with any legal needs they may have, including but not limited to: filing mechanic's liens and surety bond claims, collecting past due accounts, and defending defective construction claims and OSHA violations. Owen has been selected as a Super Lawyer, an accolade reserved for the top 5% of all lawyers, in the area of construction litigation eight times, every year since 2015.
Owen received a Bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in business management and psychology in 1998. While attending Washington University, Owen was also a member of the football team for all four years. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Owen attended law school at the University of Missouri, where he received his juris doctorate in 2001. Owen was a member of the Journal of Dispute Resolution while in law school.
Upon graduating law school, Owen started his legal career at a large insurance defense firm in St. Louis. After practicing in St. Louis for three years, Owen moved to Kansas City in 2004 to join the law firm of Moore, Hennessy and Freeman, P.C., where he ultimately worked his way up to name partner in the firm prior to leaving. Owen has now been with Troppito, Miller, Griffin, LLC, leading the firm's construction law practice, since the start of 2013. During that time Owen has handled hundreds of construction matters ranging from providing quick, real time advice regarding problems that arise on construction sites, to litigating multi-week arbitrations.
Some of Owen’s representative cases are as follows:
In a nine-day private arbitration involving a dispute over HVAC work on a $25,000,000 plus multi-family housing project in Olathe, Kansas, and a $19,000,000 plus multi-family housing project in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Owen successfully prosecuted his client's bond claim on each project, obtaining an arbitration award in excess of $250,000 and fully defeating the counterclaims brought by the general contractor which exceeded $1,000,000.
In a four-day jury trial in Jackson County, Missouri, involving claims of breach of duty of loyalty and fraud, Owen successfully defended a former management employee of a large Kansas City area roofing contractor. The roofing contractor asked the jury to award damages of $1,170,000 against Owen's client, but after only thirty minutes of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict. Owen received honors for handling this trial from Missouri Lawyers Weekly for one of the largest defense jury verdicts in the State of Missouri in 2019.
In an interlocutory appeal before the Kansas Appellate Court, Owen obtained a ruling in his client's favor regarding the application of the Kansas Fairness in Private Construction Contract Act to defeat a forum selection clause in a construction contract. This case, Wheatland Contracting, LLC v. Jaco General Contractor, Inc. et al., 57 Kan. App. 2d 236 (Kan. App. 2019), is currently one of the few appellate decisions interpreting the Kansas Fairness in Private Construction Contract Act.
In a multi-day American Arbitration Association arbitration involving a dispute over payment to an architect on a commercial construction project in Johnson County, Kansas, Owen obtained an arbitration award for the client in an amount in excess of $800,000.00. The arbitration award included all past due amounts for architectural services, all attorneys' fees incurred by the architect, and all interest incurred at the elevated rate of 18% per annum pursuant to the Kansas Fairness in Private Construction Contract Act. The arbitrator found not only the company that signed the contract with the architect on the project liable for the architect's damages, but under a theory of "piercing the corporate veil" the parent company to the contracting company was also held jointly and severally liable for all amounts awarded.
In a four-day bench trial in Johnson County, Kansas, Owen successfully defended a general contractor and its surety in a highly complex case involving a dispute on a $100,000,000 project. Two subcontractors, a material supplier, and the trustee for a surety that was in receivership all made claims to the same contract funds on the project, plus additional claims in excess of $1,000,000 involving change orders, interest, attorneys' fees and punitive damages. Owen interpleaded the remaining contract funds into the Court and then defeated all claims, holding the various parties' recovery to the interpleaded amount, which the general contractor was not disputing was owed.
In a multi-day private arbitration in Saline County, Kansas, in a dispute involving a K-DOT project in Manhattan, Kansas, Owen obtained an arbitration award in excess of $200,000 which included the full principal amount owed his client, plus interest and attorneys' fees. Owen also defeated the counterclaims of the general contractor which were approximately $325,000.
In a two-day bench trial in Johnson County, Kansas, Owen successfully represented an investor in a "house flipping" venture, obtaining a judgment for the full amount of the client's investment, $100,000, plus interest, and defeating a counterclaim seeking an amount in excess of $250,000 plus additional punitive damages.
In a private arbitration involving a dispute over the construction of a Bio-Fuel production facility in St. Joseph, Missouri, Owen successfully defended the claims of the general contractor which sought damages in excess of $1,000,000 and obtained an arbitration award on behalf of a subcontractor on its counter claims in an amount in excess of $120,000, the full principal amount owed on the Project.
In a private arbitration involving a dispute over the construction of a Bio-Fuel production facility in Oklahoma, Owen assisted in obtaining an arbitration award in excess of $1,200,000 for an electrical subcontractor.
In a trial in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri involving a dispute over the non-payment for rental equipment on two commercial construction projects, Owen obtained a judgment on claims for the enforcement and foreclosure of a mechanic’s lien, breach of contract, quantum meruit, and breach of guaranty. The judgment included the enforcement of the mechanic’s lien, the full principal amount owed, plus interest and attorney’s fees.
In a trial in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri involving a dispute over construction work performed on new residential construction, Owen obtained a judgment on claims for the enforcement and foreclosure of a mechanic’s lien and breach of contract. The judgment included the enforcement of the mechanic’s lien, the full principal amount owed plus interest.
In a private arbitration involving a dispute over masonry work on a new police station in the Mid-Missouri area, Owen obtained an award for the full principal amount owed plus interest and attorney's fees.
- University of Missouri Columbia School of Law, Columbia, Missouri
- Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri
- B.A. - 1998
- Major: Psychology
- Major: Business Management
- Missouri, 2001
- Kansas, 2004
- U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri, 2001
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri, 2001
- U.S. Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, 2004
- U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, 2012
- Super Lawyers, 2015-2022
- Missouri Lawyers Weekly, Top Defense Jury Verdicts 2019