THOMAS E. MILLER | CEO & Founder
tmiller@constructiondefects.com

Tom Miller

Thomas E. Miller has been a distinguished construction defect attorney for 43 years. He started his legal career in 1973 with one of the three big law firms in San Diego, Higgs, Fletcher & Mack,where he rose to partnership before launching his own practice focused on representing condominium associations with construction defects in 1981. He has also been an Officer on the Board of Directors of his own Homeowners Association for the last 11 years. A nationally recognized expert and pioneer in his field, He has recovered over $750 million for his association clients including 150 settlements and verdicts over $1 million. Miller is AV rated (highest possible rating in both legal quality and ethical standards) by Martindale-Hubbell from 2003 through 2017 and has been voted by his peers a "Super Lawyer" from 2008 through 2017 in construction litigation. Most recently, The Miller Law Firm was awarded the National Litigator Award by the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents for two consecutive years. This award is the most well respected performance measuring symbol of litigation achievement in the nation, honoring only the top 1% of attorneys, and based strictly on tangible verdict & settlement dollar achievement.

DISTINCTION

Mr. Miller is the author of four definitive treatises, "California Construction Defect Litigation: Residential and Commercial” (1986 & 1993), "Handling Construction Defect Claims: Western States” (3rd Edition, 1999; Annual Supplement, 2009-12), and a new 4th Edition published in 2013 by Wolters Kluwer Law & Business. He is also the co-author of the authoritative handbook on the subject, "Home and Condo Defects: A Consumer Guide to Faulty Construction," now in its second edition (2012).

HONORS

Consumer Attorneys of California:

Presidential Award of Merit; Board of

Directors

UC Hastings College of the Law:

Alumnus of the Year; Thomas E. Miller

Distinguished Professorship of Law

CSULB: Thomas E. Miller President's Scholar

Center; Alumnus of the Year

California Western School of Law: Thomas E.

Miller Mock Trial Room

CAI: College of Community Association

Lawyers, Founding Member

CACM: Visions Awards Recipient; Founding

Member

Super Lawyers of California 2008 – 2016

Northern & Southern California

University of California: Chancellor's

Executive Round Table

AV Preeminent, Martindale-Hubbell

2003 – 2017

Litigator Award, Trial Lawyers Board of

Regents

2014 & 2015

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

CAI

CACM

ECHO

IREM

San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association

The Bar Association of San Francisco

ADMISSIONS

California State Bar Association

American Bar Association

The Bar Association of San Francisco

US-Mexico Bar Association

EDUCATION

University of California, Hastings

College of Law, San Francisco (J.D. 1973)

California State University, Long Beach

(B.A., Magna Cum Laude 1970)

MEDIA FEATURES

Wall Street Journal

CNN

Washington Post

New York Times

National Geographic

San Francisco/ LA Daily Journal

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Habitat for Humanity

Children of Shelters

JUMA Ventures

Amigo de los Ninos Foundation

Neighborhood Parks Council

Enterprise for High School Students

Mission Hospital Foundation

Food for Kids

Tipping Point Community

UC Hastings Foundation Board Member

Los Angeles Times

Orange County Register

San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Business Journal

RACHEL M. MILLER | Senior Partner
rachel@constructiondefects.com

Rachel Miller

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Community Associations Institute (CAI);

board member of several chapters

California Association of Community

Managers (CACM); legal advisory committee

Consumer Attorneys of California;

Board of Governors

Foundation for California Community

Association Education, Board of Director

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO);

legal resource panel member

HONORS

National Litigator Award, Trial Lawyers

Board of Regents, LLC (2014 & 2015)

CAOC Presidential Award of Merit

CACM Vision Award, Excellence in

Education

CAI President’s Award, Board Member of the

Year

Guest Editor, CACM Law Journal

CACM Law Seminar Series

Rachel M. Miller has proudly practiced law with The Miller Law Firm for 20 years with the primary and unique role of Senior Partner with a focus on client connection and providing immediate contact and communication to current and prospective clients, board members, and community association managers. Rachel has held many distinct positions in the Community Association Industry: board member of several chapters of Community Associations Institute (CAI), the elite President’s Club, CACM’s Legal Advisory Committee, ECHO’s legal resource panel, and Board of Director of Consumer Attorneys of California. Most recently, The Miller Law Firm was awarded the National Litigator Award by the Trial Lawyers Board of Regents for two consecutive years. This award is the most well respected performance measuring symbol of litigation achievement in the nation, honoring only the top 1% of attorneys, and based strictly on tangible verdict & settlement dollar achievement.

DISTINCTION

Rachel is co-author of the only consumer handbook on the subject, “Home and Condo Defects: A Consumer Guide to Faulty Construction”, (2001 & 2012). She is also the co-author of “Handling Construction Defect Claims: Western States” (4th Edition), the nation’s only legal textbook on the subject. Additionally, Rachel is editor and moderator of various university extension courses and regularly speaks on legislation, disaster response developer transitions, and mold as it relates to construction defect claims.

ADMISSIONS

California State Bar Association

American Bar Association

The Bar Association of San Francisco

EDUCATION

California Western School of Law (J.D. 1994)

Loyola Marymount University (B.A. 1990)

MEDIA FEATURES

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

San Francisco Daily Journal

Los Angeles Times

Orange County Register

San Jose Mercury News

The Arizona Republic

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Mission Hospital Foundation

Children of Shelters, Board of Director

Tipping Point Community

JUMA Ventures, Chair Field of Dreams

San Francisco Arts Junior Committee

Neighborhood Parks Council

South Beach Yacht Club

San Francisco Zoological Society

Raphael House

Enterprise for High School Students

San Francisco Education Fund

The Battery

National Charity League

MATTHEW T. MILLER | Partner
matt@constructiondefects.com

Matt Miller

Matthew T. Miller is a partner with The Miller Law Firm and coordinates expert investigation and testing to insure all defect issues have been identified and addressed in the most cost effective manner. Matt is also a member of the research and editorial team on all firm publications, and with his vision, created the first web site directed solely to helping owner associations with construction defect www.constructiondefects.com. It remains today as the signature site for consumers and construction defect research. Matt took a year off to study abroad and earn a culinary arts degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2002.

DISTINCTION

Matt is co-author of the only consumer handbook on the subject, “Home and Condo Defects: A Consumer Guide to Faulty Construction”, (2001 & 2012). He is also the co-author of “Handling Construction Defect Claims: Western States” (4th Edition), the nation’s only legal textbook on the subject. In 2012, Matt also helped organize an environmental management program that includes preserving the hatching grounds of sea turtles along a two mile stretch of the Mexican Pacific Coastline in an area called the Bahia de Chamela.

EDUCATION

University of California Hastings College of the Law (J.D., 2000)

University of California at Berkeley (B.A., 1994)

Le Cordon Blue, Paris (2002)

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Cal Bear Backers

Surfrider Foundation

JUMA Ventures

Amigos de los Niño’s Foundation

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO)

Community Associations Institute (CAI)

California Association of Community Managers (CACM)

ADMISSIONS

California State Bar Association

American Bar Association

The Bar Association of San Francisco

Craig W. Brunet | Senior Litigation Counsel
cbrunet@constructiondefects.com

Craig Brunet

Craig Brunet is a 33 year seasoned trial attorney with extensive litigation experience over a wide range of legal areas, including residential and commercial construction defects, first and third-party insurance issues, and bad faith litigation.  Craig’s lengthy career includes the handling of over 2000 cases arising from the Northridge Earthquake, and he regularly represents clients in difficult insurance matters in the Nevada state and federal courts. 

Craig’s vast experience in civil litigation comprises of homeowner’s associations, property management companies, construction companies, individual contractors, soils engineers and geologists, and insurers on a wide array of disputes involving damage and defects to both individual and multi-family residential housing, and high rise commercial structures.

DISTINCTION

Following his graduation from law school, Craig received a coveted position as the Supreme Court attorney for Justice Charles Springer of the Nevada Supreme Court.  During his time with the court, Craig assisted the justices and learned the justice system from the viewpoint of the bench.  His involvement included evaluating and briefing the court on pending appeals and preparing proposed opinions for judicial consideration.

More recently, his extensive abilities in working with expert witnesses was recognized by his selection as a panelist for the California Conference of Arson Investigators' annual course on Expert Witness Testimony, and the National Business Institute's seminar on Advanced Expert Witness Deposition Techniques.

 

ADMISSIONS

State Bar of California 

State Bar of Nevada

U.S. District Court: Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Central Districts of California

EDUCATION

University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, J.D., with distinction

Loyola Marymount University, Bachelor of Science

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO)

Community Associations Institute (CAI)

California Association of Community Managers (CACM)

Friends of Institute Real Estate Management (IREM)

MEMBERSHIPS

Los Angeles County Bar Association
Association of Southern California Defense Counsel

American Association for Justice
Member, Roger J. Traynor Honor Society

Barbara R. Smith | Senior Litigation
bsmith@constructiondefects.com

Barbara R. Smith

Barbara Rose Smith has over 20 years of litigation experience, representing plaintiffs in civil rights, employment discrimination and personal injury matters, and representing both plaintiffs and defendants in business litigation matters.  She has handled cases from inception to settlement and through the appeals process, including all aspects of discovery and arbitration, mediation and trial preparation.

Barbara’s case management and trial readiness background gives our Association clients a competitive edge in achieving accelerated settlements for their construction defect claims.

DISTINCTIONS

Prior to joining The Miller Law Firm, Barbara worked for an East Bay law firm that specialized in complex plaintiff’s litigation in practice areas of civil rights, employment discrimination, and catastrophic injury, and another San Francisco firm that represented plaintiffs and defendants in business litigation matters.  Her vast experience in complex business litigation matters in California, Iowa, North Carolina and Hawaii has made her a valuable resource for our esteemed Association clients. 

Barbara performed valuable legal research and writings for Hon. Saundra Brown Armstrong, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, and was responsible for civil litigation Continuing Education of the Bar, UC Berkeley CLE curriculum throughout California.

ADMISSIONS

State Bar of California

State Bar of North Carolina

State Bar of Iowa

State of Hawaii

EDUCATION

UC Hastings College of the Law,
Magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, Ranked 2/382

Temple University, Bachelor of Arts, Journalism, Summa cum laude

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO)

Community Associations Institute (CAI)

California Association of Community Managers (CACM)

Friends of Institute Real Estate Management (IREM)

MEMBERSHIPS & RECOGNITION

Consumer Attorneys of California

Alameda-Contra County Trial Lawyers’ Association

Volunteer Mediator, Mediation Center, San Diego

The Hastings Law Journal

Thurston Honors Society

Am Jur Awards: Legal Writing and Research; Evidence; Evidence Workshop

Joseph A. Seltzer | Attorney
joseph@constructiondefects.com

Joseph Seltzer

Joseph is a first year Associate Attorney with The Miller Law Firm, joining the team of leading industry professionals after passing the California State Bar in November of 2016.  During his tenured internship with the firm, Joseph developed and enriched his unique research skills for our team of attorneys.  As an Attorney at The Miller Law Firm, Joseph’s responsibilities include attending both plaintiff and developer inspections and testing, assisting with litigation matters, and acting as a communication liaison for homeowners, realtors and tenants on the current status of our client’s association claims.

DISTINCTION

While attending UC Hastings College of the Law, Joseph was a member of the International & Comparative Law Journal, competed as an appellate advocate and served as a teaching assistant for both Legal Writing & Research and Moot Court.

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO)
Community Associations Institute (CAI)
California Association of Community Managers (CACM)
Friends of Institute Real Estate Management (IREM)

ADMISSIONS

State Bar of California

EDUCATION

University of California Hastings College of the Law (J.D., 2016)

Dominican University of California (B.A. 2011)

KIM PROVINCE | Director of Client Relations
kim@constructiondefects.com

Kim Province
 

Kim Province joins The Miller Law Firm as Director of Client Relations, enhancing the firm’s commitment to its Association clients and to the CID industry. Kim has over 20 years experience in marketing and relationship management with a diverse background in construction. In the last 5 years alone, Kim facilitated hundreds of large-scale reconstruction projects in homeowners associations and multi-family communities. Her knowledge of construction lends a truly unique perspective into the already very long list of SB 800 building performance violations our clients face. Experience in identifying building performance needs from the perspective of a construction expert brings an added layer of knowledge to our Association clients and the community managers that service these clients.

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

California Association of Community Management (CACM)

  • Regional Forum Committee Member

Community Association Institute (CAI)

  • Co-chair of the “Outreach Committee”
  • Member of the Springtime Education Committee
  • Member of the Orange County Excellence of Community Awards Committee, Orange County Chapter
  • Member of the Business Expo and Education Forum, Coachella Valley Chapter
  • Member of the Education Committee, Greater Inland Empire Chapter
  • Member of California Legislation Action Committee (CLAC)
  • Member of the Fundraising Committee, Greater Los Angeles Chapter

SARA BROWN | Director of Client Relations
sara@constructiondefects.com

Sara Brown

After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, Sara completed her Paralegal Certification program with Honors from the University of San Diego and joined The Miller Law Firm in 2011 as a Case Manager. She has worked closely with Tom and Rachel assisting New Clients in the Due Diligence & Research phase, evaluating their potential claims and seeing them through SB 800.

Over the last 5 years she has developed a strong identity and community in the CID industry, working hard to educate and connect community managers and board members through several important organizations. 

Sara has coordinated several important educational sessions for the San Francisco Manager's Information Group (SFMIG) including recent programs by Karen Conlon, former President and CEO of the California Association of Community Managers (CACM), and her successor David Zepponi. She is also the coordinator of The Miller Law Firm's annual UC Hastings' Symposiums.

Sara has a strong role in our communications department, assisting The Firm with media response. In the wake of the 2015 Berkeley Deck Collapse, she coordinated daily media interviews and responses in this very intense media storm, giving her the insight and expertise to help local, national and international reporters obtain the necessary information for community association focused news pieces.

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Community Association Institute (CAI)

  • Rookie of The Year Award, 2015
  • Co-chair of the Annual Awards & Holiday Event
  • Member of the Annual Awards & Holiday Committee, 2014-2016
  • Member of the CAI Ladies Tea Committee, 2015 & 2016
  • Member of the CAI Cares Committee
  • Regional Educational Director, San Francisco

Builder’s Connection Network (BCN)

  • Member of the Board, East Bay Chapter
  • Member of the Board, South Bay Chapter

Linda Hughes | Senior Case Manager
linda@constructiondefects.com

Linda Hughes

Linda has 22 years’ experience in the plaintiff construction defect industry, as well as 6 years’ experience as a case manager/administrator in mass tort cases. Linda coordinates daily with clients, attorneys, and case experts, assisting in case management, mediation and trial preparation. Linda is also actively involved in the firm's marketing and client services departments as well as being a Notary Public for the State of California.

Maly Thongphanith | Paralegal
maly@constructiondefects.com

Maly Thongphanith

Maly supports our Association Clients from inception to the accelerated settlement of complex construction defect cases for multi-million dollar recoveries.

Maly has over 9 years' experience working in the legal arena, and worked as a Senior Paralegal for over 7 years specializing in construction defect, insurance defense litigation, toxic tort and environmental claims, and has a previous background in general counsel representation.

She has previously supported a construction defect litigation team in resolving several complex claims in Northern and Southern California ranging from water intrusion, soil and structure issues, building product failures, and trial preparation. Her experience covered initial factual research and analysis to coordinating the forensic testing of hundreds of units in residential and commercial condominium developments. 

Maly obtained her Associate of Science Paralegal Certificate from Everest University and is currently obtaining her Bachelors of Arts in Business Management at Contra Costa College.

AFFILIATIONS

CACM

CAI

ECHO

Northern California Association of Paralegals

Michelle Sangalang | Paralegal
michelle@constructiondefects.com

Michelle Sangalang

Michelle has over 7 years of civil litigation experience as a Legal Secretary and Paralegal specializing in construction defect, insurance defense litigation, toxic tort and environmental claims.  She holds a Bachelor's in Law Studies from St. Mary’s College of California as well as a current California Notary Public commission. Michelle maintains daily communication with association managers, board members, homeowners, real estate agents and brokers in order to keep the community informed and up to date on our association clients’ claim status.

Michael Mahabali | Corporate Controller
michael@constructiondefects.com

Michael Mahabali

DISTINCTIONS

Michael’s experience includes Financial Controller & Operations Manager for over 15 years at a manufacturing business, and has over 20 years of experience with cost accounting, Federal, State and Use taxes, job cost analysis and project management.


INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO)

Community Associations Institute (CAI)

California Association of Community Managers (CACM)

Friends of Institute Real Estate Management (IREM)

Michael Mahabali has over 20 years of experience managing all aspects of Finance & Accounting, with significant experience in setting up accounting processes and procedures, budgeting and financial reporting.  Michael works hand-in-hand with The Miller Law Firm’s long standing CPA, with the primary focus of tracking and reporting all expert and SB 800 related claim expenses for each one of our Association Clients in our monthly communication statements. 

Michael’s extensive financial & accounting background meets our clients’ expanding expectations for their case management, settlement and financial reporting needs.  

EDUCATION

Heald Business College – Hayward, CA Emphasis in Accounting/Data Processing

Certified Tax Preparer

 

 

Rebecca Lopez | Director of Human Resources
rebecca@constructiondefects.com

Rebecca Lopez

INDUSTRY AFFILIATIONS

Executive Council of Homeowners (ECHO)

Community Associations Institute (CAI)

California Association of Community Managers (CACM)

Friends of Institute Real Estate Management (IREM)

Professional Association of Credit Management

San Francisco Historic Preservation Council

Rebecca has over 15 years’ experience managing Finance, Human Resources and Operations at law firms specializing in construction defects, insurance defense, real estate and estate planning. 

Rebecca oversees the Northern and Southern California Office Services and Facilities Management, with her primary role directing team building and community enhancing activities and educational events, providing on-going training, and ensuring a culture that is aligned with The Miller Law Firm’s core values of top-notch talented team members available to service our valued Association Clients and their growing needs.       

DISTINCTIONS

Prior to joining the legal arena, she worked for the largest solely-owned property management company and real estate developer in San Francisco, encompassing a mixed portfolio of commercial, retail and residential units.

EDUCATION

San Francisco State University, B.S in Finance and Economics, Magna Cum Laude

Currently obtaining her certification in Human Resources from Cornell University

Terry Yu | Accounting Clerk
terry@constructiondefects.com

Terry Yu

Terry graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a Bachelor’s in Business Management Economics and worked for a local wholesale company before joining The Miller Law Firm. Terry works diligently behind the scenes in the accounting team to provide monthly cost reconciliation and accounting updates to each one of our Association Clients.