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Peter J. Smith



Peter Smith assists clients with the litigation and arbitration of construction disputes in New Jersey and New York. His deep understanding of complex construction issues and applicable legislation has been honed by more than 35 years of experience providing counsel in regard to a broad range of public and private construction projects.

In addition to preparing, negotiating and presenting claims on behalf of contractors, state and local authorities and educational institutions on public works projects, Peter represents commercial clients across the hospitality, healthcare, retail and real estate industries. Developers of apartment buildings and multi-unit condominiums value his substantial background in matters related to large-scale residential projects. His advice encompasses construction defect suits, requests for additional compensation, delayed completion claims, construction lien and payment bond disputes, and professional liability claims involving architects, engineers and other design professionals.

Peter has served on a variety of construction industry arbitration panels, deciding claims involving major commercial, public and quasi-public construction projects and surety matters. Peter is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as Civil Trial Attorney.


Representative Experience
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

  • Trial counsel in New York State Supreme Court, Kings County for national restaurant chain in defense of action for injunctive relief brought by owner of private sewer line seeking to disconnect restaurant from its system.
  • Represented a large state university in defense of contractor claims for additional compensation for unanticipated subsurface conditions in the installation of a campus wide system of underground utilities.
  • Represented a general contractor that recovered claims for delay damages in excess of $1 million arising from the major expansion of a publicly owned hospital.
  • Represented several publicly traded real estate investment trusts in recovery of claims in multiple lawsuits for defective construction from contractors, design professionals and others on large high-rise residential and shopping center projects.
  • Represented a state authority in action to recover damages from contractors and designers in connection with the premature failure of irregular concrete surfaces and PVC piping in a water feature park.
  • Represented an architectural firm in the defense of claims of professional negligence resulting from the specification of masonry flashing and water penetration through exterior masonry walls of a large public facility.
  • Represented a general contractor in defense of claims resulting from the weekend collapse of a YMCA natatorium ceiling.
  • Represented an architect reviewing construction progress for a lender in a high-rise residential condominium on the Hudson River in defense of claims of defective construction by a condominium association.
  • Represented a local school board asserting claims of professional negligence against its architect in a multiple school expansion and new construction project.
  • Represented subcontractors including an electrical contractor, roofer and mechanical contractor in managing claims and account receivables.
  • Represented a construction manager in claims arising from the $100 million expansion of a casino hotel in Atlantic City.
  • Arbitrator in dispute over valuation of approximately $30 million in change orders in gut rehab of landmark Manhattan hotel.
  • Sole arbitrator of dispute between electrical contractor and control systems contractor in major renovation and rehab of Manhattan hospital.
  • Chair of arbitration panel in consolidated arbitration of disputes among construction manager, mason and steel erector on NJ Schools Development Authority project.
  • Chair of arbitration panel in dispute between public sewer authority and mechanical contractor concerning claims and counterclaims for delay, change orders and back charges.
  • Sole arbitrator in dispute between private New Jersey university and contractor concerning the construction of an athletic field in compliance with NCAA Division 1 requirements for competition.
  • Arbitrator in dispute between foreign manufacturer of industrial equipment and domestic purchaser of that equipment for its plant regarding the design and performance of that equipment, inclusive of claims for misrepresentation and lost profit.
  • Arbitrator in international arbitration between foreign-based passenger airline and US-based contractor concerning terminal construction in PANYNJ-owned airport.

Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

  • State v. Perini Corp., 221 N.J. 412 (2015)
  • Schoonover Electric Co., Inc. v. Enron Corp. (In re Enron Corp.), 294 BR 232 (Bankr. SDNY 2003)
  • Rush, et als v. Kuhn Smith & Harris, 193 N.J. Super.  389 (App. Div. 1984)
  • PT&L Construction v. State of New Jersey, Department of Transportation, 108 N.J. 539 (1987)


Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Member, New Jersey State Bar Association, Construction and Public Contract Law Section
  • Chairman, New Jersey State Bar Association, Construction and Public Contract Law Section (1993-1995)
  • Member, American Bar Association, Public Contract Law and Litigation Sections
  • Member, American Arbitration Association, Construction Industry Panel of Arbitrators (1995-present)
  • Member, American Bar Association, ABA Forum on the Construction Industry

News & Insights


Speaking Engagements


Chambers USA (2020-2023)

  • Construction - New Jersey 

Who's Who Legal: Construction (2019-2021)

New Jersey Super Lawyers (2005-2023)

Best Lawyers in America (2007-2024)

  • Construction Law
  • "Lawyer of the Year" (Newark): Construction Law (2015)

AV Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell

"New Jersey's Top Rated Lawyers" (2012), a list compiled by Martindale-Hubbell.

Please see Honor and Award Methodology. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.


Rutgers University (J.D., 1981)

University of Notre Dame (B.A., 1978)


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