Terence J. Scanlan is a principal in the firm. Terry has been a trial lawyer for more than 25 years, having tried over 70 jury trials and more than 150 bench trials to verdict.

Litigation & Trials

Prior to private practice, Terry was a prosecutor primarily handling violent crimes. Managing these cases in the early years of his career is when Terry began developing his skills as a trial lawyer. For the last 17 years, his practice has focused on commercial litigation and construction law with an emphasis on representation of engineers, architects and other design professionals. Terry represents regional, national and international consulting firms and project owners on a variety of complex infrastructure projects. Terry also represents private and public entities in defending tort claims resulting from catastrophic events.


Terry’s mediation practice focuses on disputes between businesses, local governmental entities and individuals engaged in commercial, contractual and tort-based disputes. With the increasing cost and risk of litigation, Terry recognizes the value of negotiating a resolution before a lengthy and potentially expensive lawsuit. When early settlement is not possible, he also recognizes the value in assisting parties to focus litigation on a path that conserves resources while moving toward settlement. Terry draws on his many years of experience advising and defending clients in Washington, Oregon and Alaska on a variety of commercial and governmental, construction-related and personal injury claims. His experience allows him to bring insight and a measured approach to his method for resolving disputes.

Terry’s substantial experience as a trial lawyer and litigator brings great value to his mediation practice. He understands that every case has unique and specific issues that impede resolution. Often these impediments are issues other than the legal dispute itself. Terry recognizes the need to fully understand each party’s perspective on the dispute to reach a resolution. He understands that it is often necessary to help the parties clarify their goals and expectations; that often more is involved in a dispute than merely the exchange of money. Terry’s approach to mediation is to assist the parties in reaching a mutually acceptable solution that allows for desired outcomes that are often unavailable from a court or judge.

Bar/Court Admissions

  • Washington State Bar
  • Alaska State Bar
  • Oregon State Bar
  • U.S. District Court, Western and Eastern Districts of Washington
  • U.S. District Court, District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, District of Alaska
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. Supreme Court

J.D., Seattle University School of Law, 1986.

B.A., Seattle University, Economics, 1983.

Professional and Civic Involvement

  • American Bar Association.
  • Washington State Bar Association.
  • King County Bar Association – Past Board of Trustees, 2006-2009; Judicial Screening Committee, 1999-present (past co-chair); Volunteer for low-income Neighborhood Clinics Program, 1999- present.

American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) – Member, Legal Counsel Forum.

Geotechnical Business Association – Current co-chair, Legal Affairs Committee.

ACE Mentor Program of America – Board of Directors – Current Member.

Honors and Awards

AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating obtainable by members of the legal community.

Controversial Projects/Controversial Clients – Managing Risk, October 2016, Geotechnical Business Association, Speaker.

Differing Site Conditions, May 2015, Design Build Institute of America, Speaker.

Indemnity Clauses: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, April 2014, ASFE Presentation, June 2012, ACEC-WA and ACEC-OR, Speaker.

Case Studies on Site Safety Issues in Construction, April 2013, ASFE Presentation, January 2014, ACEC-WA, Speaker.

A Primer on Contracting Principles, Do’s and Don’ts for Design Professionals, February 2013, Society for Design Professional Administration, Speaker.

Economic Loss Doctrine and Design Professionals: Recent Trends and Developments, White Paper; September 2001, updated: 2004, 2009, 2016, Author.

The Michaels Case: A Double Blow to Design Professional Immunity and the Standard of Care in Washington, January-February 2012, ACEC-WA, ASCE-WA, APWA, Speaker.

Shifting Sands Beneath the Economic Loss Doctrine, January-February 2012, ACEC-WA, Speaker.

Limitation of Liability Clauses: Contracting Issues, April 2012, ACEC-WA, Author.

AcousticThe Design Professional and Tort Liability, Design Professional and Construction Manager Law, ABA Publication, 2009, Co-Author.

Design & Construction Litigation

Seattle Tunnel Partners, et al v. Washington Department of Transportation, et al (“Bertha” Project)

Retained by Shannon & Wilson to defend a $480 million-dollar claim brought by Seattle Tunnel Partners and Hitachi Zosen against WSDOT and Shannon & Wilson in Thurston County Superior Court (WA). Issues relate to the design and construction of the SR99/Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project. The claims center on the cause for the failure and associated delays and costs attributable to the breakdown of a tunnel boring machine (named “Bertha”) while excavating for the new SR 99 tunnel through downtown Seattle. Litigation is ongoing.

Municipality of Anchorage v. ICRC, et al

Retained by GeoEngineers to defend a $340 million-dollar claim brought by the Municipality of Anchorage against its contractors and design team in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska (AK), regarding the development of 9000 linear feet of commercial port facility. The project entailed design and construction of container shipping and barge berth facilities utilizing an open-cell sheet pile system at the Port located in a seismically active zone. The litigation centered on whether the constructed system and geotechnical analysis underpinning the system was appropriate for surviving a return-period 500-year seismic event. While Geoengineers’ dispositive motion was pending, the case settled for a six-figure amount, fully resolving the Municipality’s $340 million-dollar claim.

King County v. Kiewit-Massman

Retained by King County regarding claims arising from the construction of the new South Park Bridge spanning the Duwamish River. The King County Superior Court (WA) lawsuit centered on determining responsibility for delays and cost overruns that were in a dispute with the contractor, Kiewit-Massman. Kiewit claimed the County was responsible for more than $35 million-dollars in damages. The case settled by Kiewit surrendering more than 80% of its claim in exchange for a nominal payment by the County, which allowed the project to be completed within its original budget.

University of Oregon v. Hoffman Construction, et al

Retained by Catena Consulting Engineers in a $42 million-dollar lawsuit arising in Lane County Superior Court (OR) brought by the University of Oregon against the designers and builders of a large residential hall project on the Eugene, OR campus. Three new dormitories experienced substantial deflections on all floors of each building. Terry proposed an alternative resolution process which guaranteed repair by a certain date for an agreed-to repair scope of $6 million-dollars. This also removed the University from the litigation and the remaining parties to an arbitration track. All parties agreed to this approach. With the University out of the case, the remaining parties were subsequently able to negotiate a settlement to allocate funding between five contractors and two design firms, resolving the case.

Ft. Knox Gold Mine v. Knight Piesold

Retained by Knight Piesold in a $6 million-dollar claim brought in Fairbanks Superior Court (AK), initiated by Ft. Knox Gold Mine regarding a slope failure at a gold mining operation in south central Alaska. Early melting of a permafrost layer resulted in an entire heap leach mining system on a hillside to slide downslope requiring repair to the system and delay to mining operations. Early in the litigation, Terry presented technical information rebutting the causation theory of the mine owner and its insurer. The $6 million-dollar claim was settled for a significantly lower six-figure payment.

Wrongful Death & Catastrophic Tort Litigation:

Donnelly v. HDR Architecture, et al

Retained to represent HDR Architecture in a lawsuit brought in King County Superior Court (WA), involving catastrophic injuries suffered by a state worker at a facility designed by HDR. The injured plaintiff and his family sought $42 million-dollars in damages against HDR, as well as two co-defendants, a general contractor and subcontractor. After a five-week jury trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of HDR, finding no liability and awarding no damages.

Zimmerman et al v. Tesoro, et al

Retained to represent Matrix Service Co. in a wrongful death lawsuit brought in Skagit County Superior Court (WA), initiated by the families of seven refinery workers killed during a catastrophic explosion at the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes, Washington. Terry provided a full defense for Matrix in this litigation with damages sought near $100 million-dollars. Matrix brought a motion for summary judgment, seeking discharge of all claims. Matrix was completely dismissed from the case with prejudice.

Find out more about our areas of legal expertise.
Find out more about our team of legal professionals.