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Ryan P. Harley


Ryan P. Harley is a trial attorney and the managing partner of the firm’s Walnut Creek office. Mr. Harley practices in the areas of professional liability, construction litigation, and cases involving catastrophic injuries. He has defended a wide variety of claims against design professionals, real estate agents, insurance brokers, attorneys, and other licensed professionals. In addition, he has extensive experience in cases involving serious personal injury and wrongful death. He also counsels clients on risk mitigation practices and contract negotiation.

Mr. Harley is affiliated with several professional organizations including the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS), and the American Bar Association (ABA). He is a regular speaker and author on various topics relating to professional liability and construction litigation.

Mr. Harley earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from San Francisco State and received his Juris Doctor from Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California.


Defense of Civil Engineer on Bicycle Accident Claim with Serious Injuries: Mr. Harley represented a civil engineer after a bicyclist was seriously injured after striking a storm grate and contended that the civil design of the grate was inappropriate for use in roadways with bicycle traffic. Mr. Harley identified contractual indemnity in the contract between the city and contractor which required the civil engineer to be named as an additional insured on the contractor’s insurance policy. Through this, Mr. Harley was successful in persuading the contractor’s insurance carrier to pick up the civil engineer’s tender of defense, and fund the entire settlement with the plaintiff.

Motion for Summary Judgment Granted Based on Standing and Statute of Limitations: Mr. Harley represented an architect who designed a large condominium project in Southern California, and was later sued by second developer who purchased the project, alleging a myriad of damages relating to the original construction. Mr. Harley argued that the second owner had no standing to sue for damages which were known to the prior owner, and that the floor deflection was a patent defect which was barred by various statutes of limitation. Mr. Harley’s motion for summary judgment was granted, and the Court ordered the developer to pay more than $10,000.00 in costs to Mr. Harley’s architectural client.

Motion for Summary Judgment on Various Constitutional Violations Against Geotechnical Engineer Granted: Mr. Harley represented a geotechnical engineer who was retained by a large public agency to perform an assessment of a mining operator’s reclamation bond. The bond was increased due to the mining operator’s non-compliance with various laws and regulations, and the mining operator later filed suit in federal court against the public agency, Mr. Harley’s geotechnical engineering client and others, alleging various constitutional violations. After various motions to dismiss and finally a successful motion for summary judgment, Mr. Harley’s client was dismissed from the case, and the mining operator was forced to pay five-figure costs to Mr. Harley’s client.

Dismissal of Civil Engineer from Slip and Fall Claim at Regional Airport: Mr. Harley represented a civil engineer who designed a valet drop off area at a regional airport in California. Plaintiff slipped and fell off a curb in the valet area, suffering injuries as a result. Plaintiff sued the civil engineer, alleging that the curb was improperly designed and marked. After just a few phone calls and emails, Mr. Harley was able to convince the plaintiff’s attorney that there were no design issues, and the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the lawsuit for a waiver of costs and fees.

Wrongful Death Claim Against Surveyor Dismissed: Mr. Harley represented a surveyor who was sued by the family of the decedent, killed at a train crossing in Northern California. Plaintiff alleged that the surveyor’s work caused traffic to back up and “trap” the decedent in her car at the crossing. After a series of phone calls and emails, Mr. Harley convinced the Plaintiff that the surveyor could not be liable for the accident, and obtained a dismissal from the lawsuit. Mr. Harley later obtained dismissals from several other parties who had also filed cross-complaints against his client.

  • State Bar of California
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS)
  • American Bar Association
  • Loyola High School Alumni Council
  • 10 Lessons Learned: What Can Go Wrong When Design Professionals Go to Trial—ACEC Texas Section Centennial Fall Conference 2013
  • The Changing Face of Indemnity—ACEC Sierra Chapter Meeting 2015
  • Dangerous Contractual Terms—ACEC Fall Conference 2017