Donna Tobar
Donna Tobar

Donna Tobar provides a full range of litigation and counseling services in the areas of government contracting, construction, and suretyship. She has successfully represented clients in various legal settings, including litigation (state and federal), mediation, arbitration, appellate practice, and various informal settings (including counseling services during contract performance).

Donna has prepared, advocated and successfully resolved a large variety of complex claims and legal issues. Representative claims and issues that she has handled for construction matters include, but are not limited to: total cost claims, productivity and delay claims, change order claims, differing site condition claims, claims for defective workmanship, contract compliance on live construction projects, pass through claims, termination, insurance coverage, labor audits and reviews, stop notice claims, mechanic’s lien claims, and False Claims Act claims.  Donna has substantial expertise in successfully pursuing and resolving claims on public works projects, including underground construction and school projects.  Donna also has experience working with federal government agencies in order to resolve disputes for contractor-related clients.

Donna has substantial experience successfully handling all aspects of surety-specific matters from the time that an account first goes into “claims” through final resolution of all bond claims and indemnity issues.  As such, Donna has had over 15 years of experience handling performance bond claims (with a heavy focus on pursuing affirmative claims against bond obligees), takeover efforts by sureties (including contract negotiation and project oversight), indemnity transactions and litigation, payment bond claims, bad faith claims, setting and adjusting reserves, and surety financing.

  1. General Information


    • University of California, Los Angeles, J.D., 2002
    • Moot Court Honors
    • Phi Delta Phi Legal Honor Society, President
    • University of California, Irvine, B.A., 1998, magna cum laude
    • Phi Beta Kappa
    • Order of Omega Honor Society

    Bar Admissions

    • California

    Court Admissions

    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit
    • California Supreme Court
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California
    • Court of Federal Claims
  2. Representative Engagements
    • Successfully represented a completion surety in pursuing recovery on a construction project for a community college district. After almost three weeks of arbitration, a 92 page award was issued which granted our client almost $4 million and successfully defeated the owner’s almost $3 million counter-claim.
    • Successfully represented a contractor and completion surety in pursuing delay, productivity and change order claims and defending against False Claims Act allegations in connection with a large underground construction project.
    • Defeated a $4 million counter-claim at the pleading stage, allowing our client to quickly resolve their disputes and avoid litigation.
    • Successfully got the contractor out of a problematic public works utility construction contract, allowing the contractor to “stop the bleeding” and receive a termination for convenience.
    • Drafted appellate papers for the prevailing party in The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation v. Perez (Cal. App. 2013) 218 Cal. App .4th 37 wherein the foreclosing lender was found to be an unintended beneficiaries and, therefore, have no rights against the subdivision bond issued by our surety client.
  3. Memberships & Affiliations
    • American Bar Association
    • Los Angeles County Bar Association
    • Orange County Bar Association
    • National Association of Women Lawyers
  4. Publications and Presentations
    • “Bid Protests in Government Contracting,” From The Group Up, Fall 2016
    • Chapter Author: “Types of Construction Claims,” California Construction Law Manual, 2011.
    • Author: “Foreign Construction Projects: Assessing The Need For Political Risk Insurance,” From The Ground Up, Summer 2003.
    • Author: “Bribery Abroad,” California Lawyer, February 2003.
    • Author: “The Need For A Uniform Void Ab Initio Standard For Violations Of The Automatic Stay,” Whittier Law Review, Fall 2002.