Robert C. Shaia

(949) 852-6700

Robert prides himself on prompt client communication. He believes in formulating case strategies with his client’s involvement and understands that a strong client relationship stems from listening closely to their concerns and goals and promptly responding to their needs.

Robert has over fifteen years of experience as a construction litigator in Southern California handling all types of construction-related disputes. He also regularly handles surety and real estate disputes.

Robert represents large construction and engineering firms on private and public projects (state and federal government contracts), including power plants, prison facilities, tunnels, roads, grading, excavation and shoring, sewers, high-rise developments, commercial and industrial buildings, and high-end residential homes.

His constant thoughtful approach to construction disputes results in powerful strategic development. He frequently handles claims involving disputed change orders, differing site conditions, delays, licensing issues, design issues, defect claims, indemnity issues, pursing and defending bid protests, mechanics’ liens, stop notices and payment bonds.

Robert has significant trial and arbitration experience, and has successfully mediated dozens of cases to resolution. He also has experience litigating before the California Courts of Appeal.  In 2011, Robert successfully defeated a $1.6 million mechanic’s/mining lien claim before the California Court of Appeal on an issue of first impression before the Court, which resulted in a published opinion (Sukut Construction, Inc. v. Rimrock CA LLC, 199 Cal.App.4th 817 (2011)).  In 2008, he was intimately involved, as amicus curiae, in a case before the California Supreme Court (Manco Contracting Co. v. Bezdikian, 45 Cal.4th 192 (2008)).

Robert is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive).  From 1996 through 2000, he was a financial statement auditor for Ernst & Young, LLP.  His accounting experience and financial background continues to be a powerful asset to his legal practice.

Robert is an avid fly fisherman.  He also enjoys surfing, playing guitar and spending time with his wife and three children.


  • Orange County Bar Foundation, Associate Board
  • Ernst & Young Alumni Advisory Council


  • Author: “Change Orders and Extra Work,” Ch. 5, pp. 145-66, California Construction Law.


Robert has significant trial and arbitration experience, and has successfully mediated dozens of cases to resolution:

  • In 2018, Robert prevailed after a two-week bench trial in Los Angeles Superior Court in which he successfully prosecuted a prime contractor’s claim against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation under California Public Contract Code § 5110. Robert achieved a complete, multi-million-dollar victory of all damages sought.
  • In 2016, Robert prevailed in a AAA arbitration against a Los Angeles nightclub for breach of a promotional agreement and was awarded the full amount of expectancy and lost profit damages sought.
  • In 2015, Robert arbitrated a breach contract claim against an asbestos subcontractor on behalf of a demolition contractor on a large power plant demolition project. During the arbitration hearing, the asbestos subcontractor settled for the full penal sum of its bond.
  • In 2013, Robert prevailed after a two-week jury trial in Orange County Superior Court, prosecuting claims against a large national bank for its wrongful interception of a construction project’s retention funds held in an escrow account. He obtained a judgment for his surety client for the full amount of compensatory damages sought, plus $3.2 million in punitive damages. After the trial, Robert was congratulated by his client, who stated: “It is a victory that will stand alone in our industry for many decades.”

Areas of Practice

  • Construction Litigation
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Surety Disputes
  • Government Contracts


  • Loyola Law School, J.D., 2003
  • Order of the Coif
  • Loyola Law Review, 2001-2002
  • California State University Fullerton, B.A. in Accounting and Economics, 1996

Bar Admissions

  • California State Bar

Court Admissions

  • All California State Courts