HFM Partner Kirsten Worley has a national commercial litigation and transactional practice focused on real estate and construction litigation and transactions, as well as creditors’ rights related to that industry. She is admitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and all U.S. District and Bankruptcy courts of California, and regularly appears pro hac vice in other courts around the United States at the request of clients. Ms. Worley graduated from UCLA (BA) and UC Berkeley’s School of Law (JD 2002). She was previously a partner at Watt, Tieder, Hoffar & Fitzgerald, LLP, a boutique construction and surety litigation firm, and owned her own firm, Worley Law, P.C., for a number of years before joining HFM. As such, she is keenly aware of the benefits of both the larger and smaller law firm platforms, and offers clients the best of both worlds at HFM.
Ms. Worley represents owners, general contractors, subcontractors, developers, lenders, sureties, private equity capital investors, suppliers and businesses of all sizes from large corporations to local small businesses, and business owners. She is equally comfortable with large firm institutional-sized litigation with hundreds of thousands of complex discovery documents, as well as small vendor disputes.
Ms. Worley’s practice covers a range of needs specifically for the real estate and construction industry, including everything from large-scale breach of contract litigation to mechanics’ liens, stop notices and bond claims. Ms. Worley is also uniquely situated to guide clients through such transactional matters as purchase and sale agreements, easements, tenant matters, construction licensing and corporate formation and governance matters. Ms. Worley further provides expertise to clients in dealing with a surety given her vast experience representing industry participants from every angle including sureties.
Ms. Worley has consistently obtained victories for clients, some resulting in industry-wide notable decisions such as the following:
- Archer Western Contractors, LLC vs. International Fidelity Insurance Company, 2017 WL 4286970 (U.S.D.C., S.D. Cal 2017) and 2017 WL 882401 (U.S.D.C., S.D. Cal 2017), holding that a surety can be held liable in excess of the penal sum of its bond based upon its own independent conduct causing damages to the bond obligee.
- Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America v. Amoroso, 2004 WL 1918890 (U.S.D.C., N.D. Cal 2004), holding that a surety cannot be held liable for tortious interference with its own bonded contracts given the tripartite nature of the bond.
In addition, Ms. Worley’s practice covers the entire range of creditors’ rights and commercial law issues related to lending, collections, restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy matters, including such areas as prosecution of creditor’s claims in connection with commercial loans and credit facilities including related guaranty and surety indemnity rights, representation of parties in claim objections and adversary proceedings, receiverships, collections actions, pre-insolvency planning, prosecuting claims in bankruptcy, litigating lien priority issues, representing creditor’s interests to minimize the impact of bankruptcy, transactional matters, and negotiated solutions and workouts.
Ms. Worley is also Executive Board Member of the UCLA Real Estate Alumni Group/Ziman Center for Real Estate, and is a member of the Associated General Contractors (“AGC”).
- Bankruptcy Chapter of THE BOND DEFAULT MANUAL, 4th Edition (May 2015), published by the Fidelity and Surety Law Committee of the Tort and Trial Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association (Co-Author)
- “Analysis of Rights to Job Materials In The Event of Non-Payment or Insolvency – Buyer in Ordinary Course Status and Purchase Money Security Interests,” Thompson Reuters-West, Construction Briefings, No. 2014-5 (May 2014) (Author)
- “Letters of Credit and Bankruptcy Revisited: A Discussion of the Fourth Circuit’s Ruling in In re ESA Environmental Specialists, Inc.,” Surety Claims Institute Newsletter, Volume 26, No. 1 (January 2014) (Author)
- “Construction Projects Funded With Future Money? Why Construction Law May Become a Finance Practice,” Thompson Reuters-West, Construction Briefings, No. 2013-9 (September 2013) (Author)
- “Chapter 9 Bankruptcy: Public Works Wasteland or Business As Usual?,” feature article published in the Fidelity & Surety Law Committee Newsletter of the American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Winter Edition 2013 (Author)
- “The Contractor’s Dilemma in an Owner Bankruptcy,” Thompson Reuters-West, Construction Briefings, No. 2011-9 (September 2011) (Author)
- “Contract Setoff and Recoupment in Subcontractor Bankruptcies,” Thompson Reuters-West, Construction Briefings, No. 2010-12 (December 2010) (Author)
- “Recovery of the Surety’s Costs Following Wrongful Termination,” The Construction Lawyer, Spring Edition 2010 (Author)
- “When Up Is Down: Contractor Bankruptcy & Insolvency,” Orange County Bankruptcy Forum, Costa Mesa, California, August 2013 (Co-Presenter)
- “The Obligee May be Broke, But You Can’t Sell City Hall: Chapter 9 Municipal Bankruptcy,” Pearlman Association, Woodinville, Washington, September 2012 (Co-Presenter)