Catriona Otto-Johnston

LL.B., Partner

### Areas of Expertise
+ Construction | Infrastructure
+ Litigation & Dispute Resolution

### Year of Call
+ 2009 (Alberta)

### Education
+ University of Calgary, Juris Doctor, 2008
+ University of Calgary, B.A., 2005

Catriona Otto-Johnston

Catriona’s practice focuses predominantly on construction law, specializing in resolution of complex disputes and assisting clients with contract drafting and other front-end project matters. She represents clients across Canada in a broad range of projects and matters before the courts and arbitration panels, including cost overruns, deficiencies, delay and impact claims, scope of work disputes, builders’ liens and debt recovery. Catriona's litigation practice also focuses on complex, commercial disputes. Catriona is highly experienced in document-intensive litigation and e-Discovery.  

Catriona has earned a strong reputation as a go-to lawyer for those involved in construction and commercial disputes. She preserves her clients’ rights and maximizes her clients’ chances of success, including closely monitoring economic impacts on the construction economy and project funding, tracking lien filing deadlines and ensuring her clients understand contractual and other project risks. While Catriona has vast experience protecting her clients’ rights in the courtroom and at arbitration, she also excels at identifying alternative, cost-effective ways to resolve disputes without the time and risk of prolonged litigation or arbitration. 

Catriona has extensive experience working with technical experts to assist her clients in reaching a resolution. She understands the value an effective and knowledgeable lawyer and staff team bring to document-intensive files, and her e-Discovery experience saves time and money for her clients. She has represented clients before all levels of Court in Alberta and at arbitration. 

## PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Member of the Law Society of Alberta 
  • Chair of the Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South) Section 
  • Member of the Canadian Bar Association, National Construction and Infrastructure Section 
  • Fellow, Canadian College of Construction Lawyers
  • Member of the IADC
  • Member of the Calgary Bar Association

## REPRESENTATIVE WORK

  • Represented an oil and gas company in a $30 Million arbitration involving a dispute over construction of a pipeline 
  • Represented an oil and gas company in a multi-million dollar dispute involving termination of a gas transmission and treatment services agreement 
  • Represented a contractor in a $40 Million dispute involving construction of equipment in the oil sands 
  • Represented a developer in a multi-million dollar litigation involving faulty installation of a mechanical system 
  • Represented an oil and gas company in multiple disputes arising from a well site explosion 
  • Assisted an EPC contractor in securing payment by registering miners and mechanics liens in a northern territory 
  • Represented an international EPC contractor in a multi-party dispute involving construction of a large-scale electrical transmission and distribution project 
  • Represented a condominium board with respect to litigation arising from a $58 Million rebuild of a development destroyed by a natural disaster 
  • Obtained an Order preventing trespass onto a construction site by persons not authorized to enter based on grounds of safety and confidentiality 
  • Obtained an Order enforcing foreign Letters Rogatory allowing for the deposition of a non-party in a US litigation 
  • Successfully applied for an Order approving a plan of arrangement under the Condominium Property Act to fund an $85 Million development using alternative financing 
  • Secured a favourable settlement on behalf of a construction company by pursuing a $6 Million delay and impact claim in a strategically fast-paced arbitration in which we alleged that the client’s inability to perform its work as originally bid was caused by failures and delays by other parties  
  • Obtained a $3 Million summary judgment on behalf of a pipeline project contractor that was forced to register builders’ liens against the owner despite clear evidence that the work was performed per the terms of the contract; judgment affirmed on appeal 
  • Secured an early, favourable settlement for a subcontractor who registered a builders’ lien on a large project involving multiple other lien claimants with claims totaling more than $12 Million, thereby avoiding the cost and time that would have been involved had our client participated in the overall litigation 
  • Secured a settlement for a subcontractor who registered a builders’ lien for non-payment of its invoices, thereby avoiding involvement in what would have been a protracted litigation with uncertain ability to collect on any judgment we would have received 
  • Obtained an emergency pre-judgment attachment order for a subcontractor client who performed work on and supplied materials to an oil sands project, but had not received any payment, and the prime contractor had been terminated 
  • Obtained a discontinuance of action on the first day of trial, part-way through the Plaintiff giving evidence, based on objections regarding admissibility of evidence 
  • Secured $1 Million judgment arising from a successful multi-day arbitration of a complex commercial and construction dispute 
  • Secured a favourable settlement for a client on a complex delay claim involving wrongful termination and a counterclaim for damages against our client 

## PRESENTATIONS

  • Panel Speaker, Canadian College of Construction Lawyers Annual Conference, Price Escalation: How High Will it Go?, May 2023
  • Guest Lecturer: Contract Drafting: Dispute Resolution, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law, November 2022
  • Faculty member/panel presenter, Osgoode Certificate in Construction Law, York University, Prompt Payment and Adjudication, October 2022 and February 2023
  • Panel presenter, CBA National Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Conference, Minimizing Cost + Risk Associated with Electronic Evidence/Information Disclosure, May 2022
  • Panel presenter, The Advocates’ Society, Construction Law Advocacy (Alberta), Builders’ Lien Advocacy Update, October 2021
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), Contractual Notice Provisions in Construction Contracts: Risk Impacts, Strict Enforcement and the Effect of Waiver and Estoppel in Cases of Imperfect Compliance, February 2021  
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), Builders’ Liens for Young Lawyers, September 2020 
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association National Construction and Infrastructure Law, Canadian Construction Projects and COVID-19: Future Forecasts, June 2020 
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), COVID-19 and Your Construction Projects, April 2020 
  • Panel presenter, The Canadian Institute, 12th Annual Managing Risk in Construction Contracts and Projects, Common Project Pitfalls and Frequently Litigated Disputes, March 2020 
  • Panel presenter, The Advocates' Society Builders' Lien Bootcamp, Builders' Lien Applications: What You Need to Know, October 2019 
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), Builders' Liens for Junior Lawyers" September 2019 
  • Guest Lecturer: Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, University of Calgary, College of Law, Energy Transportation and Infrastructure, April 2019 
  • Panel presenter at The Advocates' Society Construction Law Program, Section 48 Template Orders and Courtroom Etiquette, November 2018 

## PUBLICATIONS AND ARTICLES

  • Considering Consideration: The Role of Fresh Consideration in Unilateral Amendments to Construction Contracts", the Journal of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers, 2023 Edition
  • An Inconvenient Truth: The Duty of Good Faith and Termination for Convenience Clauses, to be published in Fall 2021 by the Construction Law Letter, and pre-published in the Canadian Bar Association Section Article Found-Up, Construction and Infrastructure Law, March 2021 
  • Co-Author, “Arbitration Provisions in Construction Contracts”, the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers’ Construction Contracts Deskbook, 2018/2019 
  • Complex Facts & Contested Evidence: No Longer a Hurdle for Summary Judgment? Construction Law Letter, Volume 33 Number 5 May/June 2017 
  • Complex Facts & Contested Evidence: No Longer a Hurdle for Summary Judgment? The Constructor, 2018. [This article was originally published by the Construction Law Letter] 

## BLOG PUBLICATIONS

  • Setting-Off When Setting the LIen Fund: Helpful Reminders from the Court, September 2023
  • Timing is Everything:  How Best to Protect your Interests when Liening Condominium Projects, August, 2023
  • Additional Risk in Condo Construction:  Could the Principles in Winnipeg Condos be Extended to Developers?  July 2022
  • Contractual Firing Lines:  The Duty of Honest Performance in Termination for Convenience Clauses, January 11, 2021 
  • Where There’s a Zoom, There’s a Way, June 24, 2020 
  • Co-Author, What's Old is New Again – Municipal Reserve Lands in Alberta Cannot be Liened, May 27, 2019 
  • Show me the Money! Timing the Release of Holdback, February 8, 2019 
  • Bet Your Bottom Dollar – Orphans No More!, January 31, 2019 
  • Tick-Tock Goes the Lien Clock, January 25, 2019 
  • Keeping Your Hands Lien: Don't Forget a CLP!, July 16, 2018 
  • Extra! Extra! How do Subcontractor Change Orders Affect the Lien Fund? It Depends… June 22, 2018 
  • A Reference to Deference – The Court Weighs in on a Consultant's Findings, April 2, 2018 
  • Definitive deference: How courts treat consultants’ decisions, The Lawyer's Daily. This article was originally published by The Lawyer’s Daily (www.thelawyersdaily.ca), part of LexisNexis Canada Inc. 
  • When Calculating Lien Periods, it's Convenient to be Prevenient, February 21, 2018 
  • Mitigate Before you Litigate: Recovering Damages for Renovations Gone Wrong, February 21, 2018 
  • Unilaterally amending payment terms by conduct along…Nice try!, December 12, 2017 
  • Time is Tickin' – Limitation Periods and Your Lien, September 20, 2017 
  • Tips & Traps – Partial Payment from the 10% Holdback, August 24, 2017 
  • Things Left Unsaid – Determining Price Adjustment resulting from Scope Changes, July 24, 2017 
  • "A rose by any other name? Not so!": The critical role of "improvement" in the Builders' Lien Act" July 24, 2017 
  • Estimates: How Important Are They Really? July 24, 2017 
  • Summary Judgment: Shortcut to Payment? July 24, 2017 
  • Mistakes and Builders' Liens: Fixable or Fatal? July 24, 2017 

## RECOGNITION

  • Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory Leading Practitioners, Construction Law, 2021 
  • The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, Construction Law, 2020-2023
  • The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, 2022 – 2023 
  • "Future Star", Benchmark Canada, 2017 – 2021

## COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Chair of the Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South) Section; member of the Executive from 2014 to present 
  • Former volunteer at Calgary Legal Guidance monthly legal clinic 
  • Former volunteer at Calgary Legal Guidance quarterly "ID Clinics" 

Catriona Otto-Johnston

Catriona’s practice focuses predominantly on construction law, specializing in resolution of complex disputes and assisting clients with contract drafting and other front-end project matters. She represents clients across Canada in a broad range of projects and matters before the courts and arbitration panels, including cost overruns, deficiencies, delay and impact claims, scope of work disputes, builders’ liens and debt recovery. Catriona's litigation practice also focuses on complex, commercial disputes. Catriona is highly experienced in document-intensive litigation and e-Discovery.  

Catriona has earned a strong reputation as a go-to lawyer for those involved in construction and commercial disputes. She preserves her clients’ rights and maximizes her clients’ chances of success, including closely monitoring economic impacts on the construction economy and project funding, tracking lien filing deadlines and ensuring her clients understand contractual and other project risks. While Catriona has vast experience protecting her clients’ rights in the courtroom and at arbitration, she also excels at identifying alternative, cost-effective ways to resolve disputes without the time and risk of prolonged litigation or arbitration. 

Catriona has extensive experience working with technical experts to assist her clients in reaching a resolution. She understands the value an effective and knowledgeable lawyer and staff team bring to document-intensive files, and her e-Discovery experience saves time and money for her clients. She has represented clients before all levels of Court in Alberta and at arbitration. 

## PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

  • Member of the Law Society of Alberta 
  • Chair of the Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South) Section 
  • Member of the Canadian Bar Association, National Construction and Infrastructure Section 
  • Fellow, Canadian College of Construction Lawyers
  • Member of the IADC
  • Member of the Calgary Bar Association

## REPRESENTATIVE WORK

  • Represented an oil and gas company in a $30 Million arbitration involving a dispute over construction of a pipeline 
  • Represented an oil and gas company in a multi-million dollar dispute involving termination of a gas transmission and treatment services agreement 
  • Represented a contractor in a $40 Million dispute involving construction of equipment in the oil sands 
  • Represented a developer in a multi-million dollar litigation involving faulty installation of a mechanical system 
  • Represented an oil and gas company in multiple disputes arising from a well site explosion 
  • Assisted an EPC contractor in securing payment by registering miners and mechanics liens in a northern territory 
  • Represented an international EPC contractor in a multi-party dispute involving construction of a large-scale electrical transmission and distribution project 
  • Represented a condominium board with respect to litigation arising from a $58 Million rebuild of a development destroyed by a natural disaster 
  • Obtained an Order preventing trespass onto a construction site by persons not authorized to enter based on grounds of safety and confidentiality 
  • Obtained an Order enforcing foreign Letters Rogatory allowing for the deposition of a non-party in a US litigation 
  • Successfully applied for an Order approving a plan of arrangement under the Condominium Property Act to fund an $85 Million development using alternative financing 
  • Secured a favourable settlement on behalf of a construction company by pursuing a $6 Million delay and impact claim in a strategically fast-paced arbitration in which we alleged that the client’s inability to perform its work as originally bid was caused by failures and delays by other parties  
  • Obtained a $3 Million summary judgment on behalf of a pipeline project contractor that was forced to register builders’ liens against the owner despite clear evidence that the work was performed per the terms of the contract; judgment affirmed on appeal 
  • Secured an early, favourable settlement for a subcontractor who registered a builders’ lien on a large project involving multiple other lien claimants with claims totaling more than $12 Million, thereby avoiding the cost and time that would have been involved had our client participated in the overall litigation 
  • Secured a settlement for a subcontractor who registered a builders’ lien for non-payment of its invoices, thereby avoiding involvement in what would have been a protracted litigation with uncertain ability to collect on any judgment we would have received 
  • Obtained an emergency pre-judgment attachment order for a subcontractor client who performed work on and supplied materials to an oil sands project, but had not received any payment, and the prime contractor had been terminated 
  • Obtained a discontinuance of action on the first day of trial, part-way through the Plaintiff giving evidence, based on objections regarding admissibility of evidence 
  • Secured $1 Million judgment arising from a successful multi-day arbitration of a complex commercial and construction dispute 
  • Secured a favourable settlement for a client on a complex delay claim involving wrongful termination and a counterclaim for damages against our client 

## PRESENTATIONS

  • Panel Speaker, Canadian College of Construction Lawyers Annual Conference, Price Escalation: How High Will it Go?, May 2023
  • Guest Lecturer: Contract Drafting: Dispute Resolution, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law, November 2022
  • Faculty member/panel presenter, Osgoode Certificate in Construction Law, York University, Prompt Payment and Adjudication, October 2022 and February 2023
  • Panel presenter, CBA National Canadian Corporate Counsel Association National Conference, Minimizing Cost + Risk Associated with Electronic Evidence/Information Disclosure, May 2022
  • Panel presenter, The Advocates’ Society, Construction Law Advocacy (Alberta), Builders’ Lien Advocacy Update, October 2021
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), Contractual Notice Provisions in Construction Contracts: Risk Impacts, Strict Enforcement and the Effect of Waiver and Estoppel in Cases of Imperfect Compliance, February 2021  
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), Builders’ Liens for Young Lawyers, September 2020 
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association National Construction and Infrastructure Law, Canadian Construction Projects and COVID-19: Future Forecasts, June 2020 
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), COVID-19 and Your Construction Projects, April 2020 
  • Panel presenter, The Canadian Institute, 12th Annual Managing Risk in Construction Contracts and Projects, Common Project Pitfalls and Frequently Litigated Disputes, March 2020 
  • Panel presenter, The Advocates' Society Builders' Lien Bootcamp, Builders' Lien Applications: What You Need to Know, October 2019 
  • Panel presenter, Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South), Builders' Liens for Junior Lawyers" September 2019 
  • Guest Lecturer: Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, University of Calgary, College of Law, Energy Transportation and Infrastructure, April 2019 
  • Panel presenter at The Advocates' Society Construction Law Program, Section 48 Template Orders and Courtroom Etiquette, November 2018 

## PUBLICATIONS AND ARTICLES

  • Considering Consideration: The Role of Fresh Consideration in Unilateral Amendments to Construction Contracts", the Journal of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers, 2023 Edition
  • An Inconvenient Truth: The Duty of Good Faith and Termination for Convenience Clauses, to be published in Fall 2021 by the Construction Law Letter, and pre-published in the Canadian Bar Association Section Article Found-Up, Construction and Infrastructure Law, March 2021 
  • Co-Author, “Arbitration Provisions in Construction Contracts”, the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers’ Construction Contracts Deskbook, 2018/2019 
  • Complex Facts & Contested Evidence: No Longer a Hurdle for Summary Judgment? Construction Law Letter, Volume 33 Number 5 May/June 2017 
  • Complex Facts & Contested Evidence: No Longer a Hurdle for Summary Judgment? The Constructor, 2018. [This article was originally published by the Construction Law Letter] 

## BLOG PUBLICATIONS

  • Setting-Off When Setting the LIen Fund: Helpful Reminders from the Court, September 2023
  • Timing is Everything:  How Best to Protect your Interests when Liening Condominium Projects, August, 2023
  • Additional Risk in Condo Construction:  Could the Principles in Winnipeg Condos be Extended to Developers?  July 2022
  • Contractual Firing Lines:  The Duty of Honest Performance in Termination for Convenience Clauses, January 11, 2021 
  • Where There’s a Zoom, There’s a Way, June 24, 2020 
  • Co-Author, What's Old is New Again – Municipal Reserve Lands in Alberta Cannot be Liened, May 27, 2019 
  • Show me the Money! Timing the Release of Holdback, February 8, 2019 
  • Bet Your Bottom Dollar – Orphans No More!, January 31, 2019 
  • Tick-Tock Goes the Lien Clock, January 25, 2019 
  • Keeping Your Hands Lien: Don't Forget a CLP!, July 16, 2018 
  • Extra! Extra! How do Subcontractor Change Orders Affect the Lien Fund? It Depends… June 22, 2018 
  • A Reference to Deference – The Court Weighs in on a Consultant's Findings, April 2, 2018 
  • Definitive deference: How courts treat consultants’ decisions, The Lawyer's Daily. This article was originally published by The Lawyer’s Daily (www.thelawyersdaily.ca), part of LexisNexis Canada Inc. 
  • When Calculating Lien Periods, it's Convenient to be Prevenient, February 21, 2018 
  • Mitigate Before you Litigate: Recovering Damages for Renovations Gone Wrong, February 21, 2018 
  • Unilaterally amending payment terms by conduct along…Nice try!, December 12, 2017 
  • Time is Tickin' – Limitation Periods and Your Lien, September 20, 2017 
  • Tips & Traps – Partial Payment from the 10% Holdback, August 24, 2017 
  • Things Left Unsaid – Determining Price Adjustment resulting from Scope Changes, July 24, 2017 
  • "A rose by any other name? Not so!": The critical role of "improvement" in the Builders' Lien Act" July 24, 2017 
  • Estimates: How Important Are They Really? July 24, 2017 
  • Summary Judgment: Shortcut to Payment? July 24, 2017 
  • Mistakes and Builders' Liens: Fixable or Fatal? July 24, 2017 

## RECOGNITION

  • Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory Leading Practitioners, Construction Law, 2021 
  • The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, Construction Law, 2020-2023
  • The Best Lawyers™ in Canada, Corporate and Commercial Litigation, 2022 – 2023 
  • "Future Star", Benchmark Canada, 2017 – 2021

## COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

  • Chair of the Canadian Bar Association, Construction Law (South) Section; member of the Executive from 2014 to present 
  • Former volunteer at Calgary Legal Guidance monthly legal clinic 
  • Former volunteer at Calgary Legal Guidance quarterly "ID Clinics"