Tom Balestreri has handled nearly every kind of construction issue in his over 30-year legal career. By primarily serving clients in the construction industry, Tom has represented owners, general contractors, design professionals, subcontractors and manufacturers in myriad matters. His clients trust in his vast experience and understanding of development and construction practices, as well as his understanding of the needs of homeowners and tenants. Tom has successfully handled issues including catastrophic landslides, crane failures, gas line strikes, water intrusions of every type, as well as structural, electrical system and HVAC failures. In addition to litigating construction claims, Tom also provides risk management services by assisting clients in the construction industry with contract drafting, negotiation and review.
Tom was exposed to the ins and outs of construction through family endeavors at an early age. His deep respect for the industry is reflected in his legal practice today, as he takes great pride in being able to serve individuals and businesses in the industry where his family prospered. His passion is apparent to his clients who recognize and commend his ability to translate their needs into legal terms.
As part of his practice, Tom has developed and customized programs for the remediation and repair of bio-contaminated buildings in Southern California and Florida and has assisted builders and owners in responding to claims of non-disclosure and misrepresentation in the sale of property. Tom has also handled a variety of matters in other industries, ranging from premises liability to commercial contract disputes.
He represented the developer of one of San Diego’s first modern-era downtown condominium developments in a highly complex case that was resolved after several years of multi-party pre-wrap litigation. Tom continued to represent developers and general contractors of numerous downtown condominium developments, including a luxury high-rise project in which the Homeowners Association (HOA) was claiming in excess of $100 million in repair costs and relocation expenses. This case was resolved after two weeks of hearings on motions in limine that substantially reduced the value of the HOA’s case.
Tom’s thorough understanding of soils engineering principles enabled him to litigate against the soils and design engineers following the collapse of the temporary shoring systems on a high-rise condominium building and beachside hotel. Additional successes in this field include recovery in settlement for property owners for damages arising out of the failure of a massive retaining wall constructed by international retailer for adjacent shopping center; and a defense jury verdict for a land developer charged with causing catastrophic landslide and destruction of more than half a dozen multi million-dollar homes in San Juan Capistrano.
Tom has also successfully defended through trial both a national restaurant chain in claims of assault and battery and a national grocery store chain in a trip and fall incident during a store remodel that carried overtones of punitive damages stemming from claims of suppression of evidence. In addition, he was successful in recovery on behalf of a regional builder against their financing partner for breach of fiduciary duties and full accounting following completion of work on multiple, single family residential projects in the Inland Empire.
As one of the founders of Balestreri Potocki & Holmes, Tom helped to establish a set of guiding core values for the firm that promote collegiality and collaboration and he aims to create an environment in which attorneys can thrive creatively and reach their professional goals. He believes that the investment the firm has made in mentoring newer attorneys and enforcing the firm’s values ensure that Balestreri Potocki & Holmes attorneys are better equipped to provide clients with the best possible representation, regardless of the matter.
Tom has been invited to share his in-depth knowledge of construction issues at programs for the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, Claims Litigation Management Institute and the Defense Research Institute and has been a guest lecturer at engineering classes at both San Diego State University and the University of California, Riverside.
In addition, his extensive community service has included serving on the Parish Council for St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Chula Vista, providing counsel to the Pastor on a variety of issues that impacted the parish of 6,000 families. Tom also served in fundraising and social event roles for the parish, and helped to oversee the design, development and fund raising for a new K-8 parochial school building. He also served on the Principals Advisory Board for St Jude’s Academy for 8 years, helping the Principal with a variety of issues relating to management outside the field of education.
Tom earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Sacramento and his law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. His honors and accolades include an AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating by Martindale‐Hubbell and being named to San Diego Super Lawyers list of top attorneys in construction law for many years.