Overview

Gina Fonte is a litigation attorney in Holland & Knight's Boston office and concentrates her practice in the areas of construction litigation and transactions, energy, renewable energy, insurance, commercial litigation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) workplace safety and whistleblower claims. Ms. Fonte regularly advises clients within these industries, including regionally and nationally based general contractors and construction managers, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors, project developers, owners, specialty contractors and engineers. Also, on OSHA, workplace safety and whistleblower matters, she advises and represents clients in all industry sectors, including nursing homes, rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, medical industry, hospitality, retailers, educational institutions, product and food manufacturers and distributors, property owners and managers, financial services, critical infrastructure, and other private and public-sector clients with compliance, in investigations and dispute resolution, and through litigation.

Ms. Fonte's construction law practice includes transactional representation, including advising, drafting and negotiating commercial construction contracts, letters of credit, promissory notes, leases, indemnity agreements, owner-representative consulting agreements, project closeout resolutions, multiparty escrow agreements, nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements, and material purchase orders. She represents construction industry clients in complex, multi-party mediations, arbitrations, litigation and settlements. Ms. Fonte frequently advises clients in assessing, preparing and defending claims.

Ms. Fonte is co-chair of the national OSHA, Workplace Safety and Whistleblower Claims Team at Holland & Knight. She is OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour certified and has lectured and written extensively on OSHA workplace safety and whistleblower issues and topics.

Representative Experience

  • Represent hydroelectric power plant in Texas with project completion and commissioning work, which was halted as a result of COVID-19 national and international travel restrictions, COVID-19 outbreaks and workplace safety issues
  • Represent construction manager with upstream claims in excess of $10 million arising from a mixed-use residential tower in a major metropolitan market and related downstream claims involving critical path (and non-critical path) subcontractors and suppliers
  • Handle multiparty litigation matters relative to power production, roads and bridges, public projects and other civil infrastructure matters
  • Handle litigation of complex curtain wall defects, failures and related claims involving multiparty joint ventures
  • Represent client in connection with multiple claims for delays, payment and performance issues involving construction of a new science and technology center
  • Represent client regarding claims involving parking structure with complex geotechnical and forensic scheduling concerns
  • Handle litigation and resolution of claims involving large-scale roofing failures at institutional projects, expert engagement, claims processing and resolution
  • Handle multiparty litigation involving claims of breach of contract and fraud resulting in a $5.9 million award in favor of client, including award of double damages, interest and attorneys' fees under Chapter 93A
  • Represent client in the claim and resolution of issues involving custom windows, doors and related building envelope issues where window and door contract was valued at nearly $2 million
  • Handle multiple large-scale commercial flooring cases involving hospital-grade facilities
  • Represent clients involving sureties, managing performance issues and/or dealing with payment claims when project contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and vendors become financially distressed, insolvent or file for bankruptcy on one or across multiple projects
  • Provide more than 15 years of experience representing and advising on federal projects, including Federal Miller Act and corresponding state law statutes
  • Provide regular and ongoing general counsel engagements with clients ranging from $200 million to $1 billion in revenue; such regular advisory matters include a myriad of legal and business risks, upstream and downstream payment issues, change management, project control, scheduling impacts, global settlement strategies and advising clients through high stakes negotiations, litigation and alternative dispute resolution
  • Advise clients regarding project-specific insurance strategies, surety underwriting and project workouts, and bonding advice (payment, performance, mechanic's liens)
  • Represent engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor on multiple solar project closeouts, payment and performance issues, numerous mechanic's liens by subcontractors, suppliers and unions and agreement enforcement issues stemming from international prime contractor's bankruptcy 
  • Advise solar developers through issues involving solar project failures, claim strategies, contract right interpretation and preservation, and management of project stakeholders
  • Conduct regular training sessions for clients on best practices for project management, contract negotiation, close-out resolutions, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and workplace safety, and other legal risk matters
  • Represent renewable energy developers and EPC contractors concerning project operational advice, claims handling and project power generation on multiple engagements
  • Represent EPC contractor in contract analysis and negotiation of multiple solar projects
  • Advise and counsel clients with deal analysis, risk assessment and loss mitigation strategies prior to and post contract execution
  • Develop, draft and advise on prime contracts, subcontracts, supply and vendor forms, and related risk management

  • Represent major national chain retailer with nearly 2,000 store locations and more than 300,000 employees, providing legal advice and representation on numerous Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) matters at different stages of proceedings, from the investigation stage to contest, in litigation before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) and other tribunals, with dispute resolution and multistate settlement representation involving high-focus industry standards such as egress, powered industrial trucks and walking/working surfaces, among others
  • Advise nursing home chain through OSHA investigations and response efforts resulting from employee complaints about alleged unsafe workplace conditions due to COVID-19
  • Represent rehabilitation and skilled nursing facility with an OSHA investigation, site visit, employee interviews, multiple document productions, citation contest and settlement involving an alleged COVID-19 workplace death
  • Advise skilled nursing care facility in responding to an OSHA complaint relative to alleged COVID-19 unsafe workplace conditions and alleged failure to provide sufficient and proper personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Advise beverage and snack manufacturing company with multiple offices and manufacturing plants in the Northeast in responding to OSHA complaints filed by employees concerning COVID-19 workplace safety issues
  • Represent Florida-based aviation company in connection with responding to an OSHA complaint filed by an employee for alleged unsafe workplace conditions and defending the subsequently filed whistleblower complaint file with OSHA
  • Advise college regarding OSHA investigation related to an asbestos release in a dormitory occurring in connection with the college's facilities maintenance and remodeling work
  • Represent food manufacturer in connection with high-profile machine guarding fatality and subsequent OSHA investigation, site visit, employee interviews, multiple document productions, citation contest and settlement
  • Represent regional bread manufacturer with OSHA investigation, citation contest and settlement involving alleged guarding violations and resulting multiple finger amputation
  • Represent bakery manufacturer in connection with OSHA investigation, citation contest and settlement involving a hand-crushing injury and resulting citations for alleged guarding and training violations
  • Represent national flooring maintenance and equipment manufacturer in connection with OSHA citations for alleged violations of the Lock-Out/Tag-Out (LOTO) standard and alleged failure to properly train employees
  • Represent regional tree service company in connection with OSHA investigation and settlement related to alleged job hazard analysis issues, PPE and compliance plan
  • Represent national and international client in the auto industry in connection with an OSHA investigation, citation contest and resolution involving serious injuries such as hand de-gloving and hand-crushing due to alleged guarding and LOTO violations, process safety management (PSM) matters and combustible dust issues
  • Advise college in connection with employee complaint filed by OSHA relating to confined spaces, process safety management issues and hazard communications
  • Counsel national water processing and systems manufacturing client with OSHA recording issues involving in-house preventative exercise and physical therapy program
  • Advise North American food manufacturing company on amputation and related recording and reporting issues
  • Advise pasta manufacturing company regarding OSHA investigation stemming from an electrocution and alleged violations of LOTO standard
  • Represent college in connection with alleged mold and air quality issues at college staff housing and related OSHA inquiries
  • Represent global conduit and pipe manufacturer relative to OSHA and workplace safety matters
  • Advise college in connection with blocked egress, housekeeping, hazard communications, workplace policy and related OSHA investigation
  • Represent regional construction company in connection with OSHA investigation, site visit, citation contest and resolution involving alleged fall protection, recordkeeping and training violations
  • Advise Tennessee grain manufacturer in connection with grain silo fatality and resulting OSHA investigation, site visit, employee interviews, document productions, citation contest and settlement
  • Represent Connecticut marble and granite manufacturer in connection with a crushing fatality and subsequent OSHA investigation
  • Advise company in connection with multiple fatalities involving scaffolding failures at construction project
  • Counseled company in connection with internal stairway collapse during the construction of new building involving multiple fatalities and injuries
  • Advise company in connection with explosion at facility resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries
  • Represent international banking institution in defending whistleblower complaints filed by former workers under Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) whistleblower provisions
  • Represent northeast parking operations and private transportation company in defending OSHA whistleblower complaint filed by a former employee under the Federal Transportation Act
  • Represent public transportation agency in defending whistleblower complaint filed with OSHA under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA)
  • Advise and represent numerous other national and international food manufacturing and distribution companies in responding to OSHA safety complaints, investigations and resolution, including execution of mitigation plans and best practices implementation
  • Advise and represent numerous other critical infrastructure, retail, hospitality, educational, manufacturing, construction, financial services, medical industry, private- and public-sector clients on COVID-19 workplace safety issues, best practices and policy consideration, planning and implementation

Credentials

Education
  • Boston University School of Law, J.D.
  • Boston University, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
Court Admissions
  • All State Courts in Massachusetts
  • All State Courts in New Hampshire
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Memberships
  • American Bar Association
  • Boston Bar Association
  • Associated General Contractors of Massachusetts
  • National Association of Women in Construction, Director, Scholarship Committee Chair
Honors & Awards
Spoken Languages
  • English
  • French
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News