Cynthia Tari is a partner based in the Dallas office and trial lead for the construction defect and design professional liability practices across Texas. Cynthia and her supporting professionals actively defend multi-million dollar construction disputes concerning major commercial and residential projects both in civil court and arbitration. Cynthia advises and defends national and regional general contractors and owners on matters ranging from defect litigation, delay, disruption and acceleration claims, change-order and project administrative disputes, and risk transfer claims, in the context of Owner-Controlled Insurance Programs (OCIP), and Contractor-Controlled Insurance Programs (CCIP), as well as involving liabilities arising under Builder's Risk policies of insurance. Further, Cynthia leverages her experience and expertise in residential litigation to effectively represent a variety of clients in HOA and Condominium disputes in in the Houston and Dallas areas.
Prior to entering the practice of law, Cynthia received a Bachelor of Architecture from Rice University, thereafter working for architecture firms designing and drafting full sets of construction plans. Through firsthand industry experience and over two decades of focused legal practice, Cynthia became a leading construction practitioner in Texas able to leverage for clients her deep knowledge of design and project sequencing, as well as her familiarity with industry standards and codes promulgated by entities such as the International Code Council, the National Association of Home Builders, ASTM International and the American National Standards Institute.
Beyond her personal experience and knowledge of industry practices and standards, Cynthia is a widely respected practitioner regarding the statutory and legal frameworks governing construction disputes, including but not limited to:
- Owner and contractor compliance with the Texas Residential Construction Liabilities Act (RCLA), Tex. Prop. Code, Chapter 27, concerning notice and opportunity to cure, as well as condition precedents for filing;
- Owner and contractor compliance with the Texas Uniform Condominium Act, Tex. Prop. Code, Chapter 82, concerning notice and opportunity to cure, as well as condition precedents for filing
- Design professionals and the certificate of merit statute, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 150.002 et seq.;
- Contractual indemnification and drafting under the Texas Anti-Indemnity Statute, Tex. Ins. Code, Chapter 151;
- General and subcontractor liabilities under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), Tex. Bus. & Com. Code 17.41;
- General and subcontractor liens and priorities under the Texas Mechanics and Materialman’s Liens law, Tex. Prop. Code, Chapter 53, and the Texas Constitution, Art. 16 Section 37;
- Application of the Spearin doctrine and codification by Texas Senate Bill 219 (effective 9/1/2021).
As a native of East Texas, college-educated in Houston and current resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Cynthia is a familiar litigator in the numerous jurisdictions across Texas, including Harris County, Bexar County, Tarrant County, Travis County, Smith County, Collin County, Denton County and Dallas County, as well as many of the smaller surrounding counties for each metropolitan area.
- Successfully defended architect at final arbitration hearing against malpractice claims made by commercial owner for design of a 10-story parking garage and obtained $160,000 award for architect’s unpaid fees on contract providing for recovery of services at an hourly rate, even though client had not kept any time sheets evidencing his additional time.
- Analyzed, drafted recommendations, and proposed revisions to contracts worldwide representing billions of dollars in design project fees for Top 100 Architecture Firm for over 10 years (ongoing).
- Settled multiple lawsuits brought by national bank owner against architect asserting design defects and failure to coordinate with owner’s separate contractors.
- Obtained complete dismissal of design professional from the Fort Worth Water Gardens multiple drowning case prior to discovery.
- Settled malpractice claims against professional engineer made by a Port Authority for design of a levee, which had failed.
- Settled design defect claims brought by municipality and developer against civil engineer (client) based on attack of Certificate of Merit arising out of allegations that engineer had improperly located a 48” water line easement and caused a home to be built within the easement.
- Frequently obtained dismissals of lawsuits filed against architecture and engineering clients by attacking sufficiency of Certificates of Merit.
- Coordinated peer reviews, cost of repair investigations by experts, and settlement negotiations in multiple cases for engineering clients to identify design defects, cost of repair, and level of exposure to negotiate the most cost-effective settlement for clients. Examples of projects affected include inadequate storm water design for elementary school project; sloughing of three detention ponds in large subdivision in Houston; improperly located easement and building setback lines in subdivision resulting in home encroaching into water main easement; and allegations of inadequate plans resulting in erosion of banks of central pond in subdivision in McKinney.
- Extensive contract drafting, review, and negotiations, including Owner-Architect agreements, Design Builder-Consultant agreements, Master Agreements, Professional Services Agreements, and Artist Agreements, on public and private projects, for numerous clients; and, extensive experience drafting and negotiating modifications to AIA and other contract forms for projects worldwide.
- University of Houston Law Center (J.D., 1995)
- Rice University (B.Arch., 1988)
- Rice University (B.A., 1986)
Licensed to Practice in
Events, Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- "Working Constructively: Using the Collaborative Dispute Resolution Process in Construction Cases," Joint Meeting of Construction and Collaborative Law Sections, Dallas Bar Association, November 3, 2011
- "Trends in Construction Defect Litigation," Harmonie Group, Chicago, June 1, 2011
- Testified to Texas Legislature, In support of HB 958 – Proposed Bolstering of Statute of Repose, March 21, 2011
- Dallas and Texas Bar Associations, Construction, Litigation, and ADR Sections
- Texas Mediator’s Credentialing Association, Advanced Credentialed Mediator
- Dispute Mediation Services – Attorney Mediator Panel
- Construction Dispute Resolution Services – Arbitrator Panel
- Regional Hispanic Contractor’s Association, Associate Member
- National Association of Women in Construction, Member
- Steering Committee for ABA Forum on the Construction Industry International Construction Division (1998- 2000)