Chip Bachara | Balch & Bingham

Henry "Chip" Bachara

Of Counsel
  • (904) 562-1060
Download Resume cbachara@bacharagroup.com
Education
  • Mercer University School of Law
    J.D., 1986
  • University of Florida
    Bachelor of Building Construction, 1982
Bar Admissions
  • Florida, 1987
About Chip
Chip has been recognized three times in the past seven years by The Best Lawyers in America as the Construction Lawyer of the Year for the north Florida region.
Q&A
  • What types of clients do you represent?

    I have represented governmental entities (including the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Jaxport, the City of Gainesville, and the Clay County Utility Authority), private owners and developers of high-rise apartment buildings, oceanfront condominiums, condo and homeowner associations, architects, engineers, commercial and residential contractors, trade and specialty contractors, material suppliers, insurers and sureties, in nearly every type of construction dispute imaginable.

  • What previous experiences, prior to your work at Balch, influence your practice?
  • How are you involved in your community?
  • What do you see on the horizon in your area of practice?

Select Matters

  • Defective design and construction of pavement at a cargo terminal.  The Jacksonville Port Authority (now known as Jaxport) invested over $300 million in the development and construction of a 160 acre container terminal along the St. Johns River.  Within a year of completion of the work, the asphalt pavement, which covered more than 150 acres, began to heave and show signs of premature fatique. Chip Bachara led the team of lawyers hired by Jaxport to pursue the claim.  We were successful in recovering more than $10,000,000.00 from the design engineer and the contractor (both of which are top 100 firms as ranked by ENR), as well as an engineering firm brought in by the contractor to present a value engineering alternative that resulted in the pavement failure.  The case settled with the defendants paying over $10,000,000.00 to Jaxport after three years of litigation in federal court. 
  • Defective construction of a roof at an oceanfront resort.  A well-known oceanfront resort at Amelia Island, Florida hired Chip Bachara and his team to pursue recovery of damages caused by the contractor's failure to properly install cement roof tiles on a four-story oceanfront hotel.  Chip handled the arbitration which resulted in an award of all damages sought ($2.1 million).  The contractor's subsequent closing resulted in a federal court suit against the insurer for the contractor which extended the dispute for several more years, the defect claim evolving into an insurance coverage dispute.  Ultimately, the case was heard by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal and is reported at Amerisure Mut. Ins. Co. v. Auchter Co, 673 F.3d 1294 (11th Cir., 2012). 
  • Defense of design/build contractor over defective air conditioning system at a hospital.  A Wisconsin-based design/build contractor was sued for defective design and/or construction of a hospital facility and medical office building in Baker County, Florida.  After a year of litigation, Chip Bachara was hired to take over the case from original trial counsel.   After a three-week bench trial in the Middle District of Florida, the court returned a defense verdict finding that our client had fulfilled both the design and construction requirements and that the hospital's disappointed expectations were the result of informed decisions made by the hospital administration during the design process.
  • Defense of Engineering firm over design of a shopping center.  A prominent retired lawyer living in an exclusive oceanfront development tripped and fell at a shopping center on a handicap ramp during a grand-opening weekend, while the store was crowded with shoppers.  The fall caused severe damages resulting in multiple surgeries and the loss of the plaintiff's ability to function.  The grocery store which owned the building and was sued by the Plaintiff, brought a third-party suit against the design engineer, our client, for defective design and negligent contract administration.  During the discovery process, we were able to prove that the owner did not hire the engineer for contract administration services for the project and that the error was a result of the owner taking advantage of a less expensive alternative offered by the contractor.  Just prior to trial, the owner paid the full amount demanded by the Plaintiff with Chip's client walking away from the case without having to contribute any money to settle the case.
  • Defense of an ENR Top 400 engineering firm over the design of a riverfront bulkhead. A bulkhead along the St. Johns River was being replaced to prepare for construction of a large commercial development.  A subacqeous (located beneath the riverbed) power cable ran under the bulkhead however, the drawings provided by the utility company that owned and placed the cables, were more than 50 years old at the time the work was to be performed.  Without knowing exactly where the lines were located, our client developed a method for determining where the lines could be expected along the line of the bulkhead.  Despite everyone's best efforts, the contractor hit the cable during construction and the City sued all parties involved. Discovery revealed that the contractor failed to follow the instructions prepared by the engineer and the engineer was released from the lawsuit with a minor contribution to an overall settlement. 
  • Bid protest over the qualifications of the low bidder for the implosion of a 15-story office tower. A North-Carolina-based demolition contractor was the apparent low bidder for the demolition of the Duval County Courthouse and implosion of the neighboring 15-story City Hall Annex building. The second-low bidder challenged the award and sought to have the city award the $8 million contract to the second low bidder. After a vigorous challenge before the City's procurement team sitting in a quasi-judicial role, the Bachara team successfully defeated the challenge and the contract was awarded to our client.
  • Representation of Canadian general contractor against manufacturer of stainless steel fasteners which failed at an oil refinery in Canada. Bachara was contacted by a Canadian general contractor to pursue a claim against a manufacturer based in Florida when the fasteners used on a jobsite in Canada at an oil refinery failed. The case was successfully settled after more than a year of litigation when the manufacturer agreed to pay all costs associated with the failure.
  • Representation of Jacksonville Transportation Authority against designer of a bridge over the ICWW which was failing prior to completion of the span. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority hired one of the largest engineering firms in the world to design a highway that crossed the county and included a nearly one mile bridge span over the Intracoastal Waterway.  The bridge was designed to be high enough to avoid the need for having a drawbridge so that traffic would not be disrupted. During construction, the CEI management personnel became concerned that the structure was not stout enough to handle the weight of the road deck. Eventually, the design engineer acknowledged its error and paid the JTA all costs associated with structural upgrades to correct the deflection caused by the insufficient design and paid more than $2 million for the delays associated with the design flaw.  

Credentials

Education
  • Mercer University School of Law, J.D., 1986
  • University of Florida, Bachelor of Building Construction, 1982
Courts
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1996
Bar Admissions
  • Florida, 1987
Professional Affiliations
  • The Florida Bar, Past Chair of the Standing Committee on Professionalism
  • American Bar Association, Member, Forum on the Construction Industry, and the Litigation Section
  • Jacksonville Bar Association, Member, Construction Law Committee
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • American Subcontractors Association, Attorney's Council
  • Florida Homebuilders Association, Past Chair, Legal Action Committee
  • Northeast Florida Builder's Association
Awards & Accolades
  • Best Lawyers in America,  2009 - present
    • Construction Law and Litigation-Construction
    • Lawyer of the Year - Jacksonville, Construction Law, 2019
    • Lawyer of the Year - Jacksonville, Litigation-Construction, 2012 & 2017
  • Florida Trend Legal Elite,various years since 2012
  • Super Lawyers, 2006 - present
  • Jacksonville Business Journal, Ultimate Lawyer Award
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV-Rated, 2003 - present
Community Involvement
  • Fourth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, three consecutive terms 
  • St. John's Cathedral, Properties Committee