McManus & Felsen LLP

McManus & Felsen LLP

Joe McManus (FCIArb) was invited to attend and present at the XII Dublin Forum on International Dispute Resolution with The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) in Dublin, Ireland this June. The Forum will be attended by members actively engaged in international dispute resolution.

Discussion topics will include:

  • Investor State Dispute Resolution and Opinion 01/2017 and the future of EU
  • The revision of the ICSID Rules
  • Update on UNCITRAL Working Group II (Dispute Settlement)
  • The Prague Rules
  • The experience of construction adjudication in established jurisdictions and its extension to new jurisdictions
  • Institutional, regional and country updates
Wednesday, 01 May 2019 14:56

Joe McManus named a Fellow of CIArb

Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) is a leading London-based organization of alternative dispute practitioners dedicated to the teaching and advancement of international arbitration. Joe McManus, Partner of McManus & Felsen LLP, is a long-standing member of CIArb. In April 2019, he became a Fellow (FCIArb). From CIArb’s website, “CIArb Fellowship is recognised as a symbol of peak professionalism. Achieving Fellowship tells clients, colleagues, and regulators that you have already demonstrated an outstanding commitment to achieving the highest levels of knowledge, skills, and behaviour.”

Joe has been arbitrating international cases for over 40 years and is intimate with international arbitration rules and practices.

Joe’s recent international arbitration cases include:

  • Sole arbitrator appointed by Supreme Court in Bahamas on construction of resort hotel
  • Represented U.S. design-build contractor in Afghanistan under a USAID contract in arbitration with Indian Subcontractor on 110 km road building contract.
  • Represented General Contractor in arbitration against a resort owner in Nassau, Bahamas.
  • Represented Joint Venture Contractor in arbitration with the Bahamian Government.

In September 2018, Senior Counsel Dan Toomey successfully prevented the federal government from altering the asylum status of an Iraqi national. In 2013, Dan represented his client, pro bono, while a partner at his former firm, Duane Morris, and secured asylum status for him because his work as a journalist put him in mortal danger if forced to return to Iraq. Later, in 2017, when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services informed Dan’s client of its Notice of Intent to Revoke his Asylee status, Dan resumed his pro bono representation, filing a lengthy opposition to the Notice of Intent. Ultimately, the USCIS abandoned these efforts, noting in a letter that the evidence presented against Dan’s client “failed to meet the evidentiary standard to terminate [his] asylum status.” In the interim, Dan’s client has graduated with honors from a Washington, DC university, is a second-year scholarship student in a Washington, DC, university graduate school and will obtain his MBA in June of 2018, and has married and is expecting his first child next May.

Senior Counsel Dan Toomey will be speaking at the 39th Annual VSB Construction Law & Public Contracts Seminar, on Friday, November 2, 2018, in Charlottesville, VA, on the topic, “Trying a Loss of Productivity Damages Case to a Jury.” Dan and partner Jim Carney, along with Peter S. Vosbikan, a consultant with FTI Consulting (another presenter), also authored a paper on the same topic, which will be included in the program’s materials. This is the third time that Dan has spoken at this annual conference.

Senior Counsel Dan Toomey will be participating as a faculty member between November 6-9, 2018 in the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s “Advanced Trial Advocacy; Next Level Trial Advocacy Techniques” program held at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Dan was the Director or Co-Director of the “Advanced Program” from 2005 until 2016. In 2017, he received the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s Daniel G. Grove Award for his long service to the Program.

The ABA Committee on Debarment and Suspension recently published the fourth edition to its authoritative text on suspension and debarment law: “The Practitioner's Guide to Suspension and Debarment.” Tom Carr of our firm wrote one of the chapters in the book and was a member of the subcommittee that edited the book. Tom has been a member of the ABA debarment committee since its founding and was a principal author and editor of the previous editions of the ABA debarment book. Tom is a recognized authority on the practice of suspension and debarment law and his article "Catch-all Clauses: The Black Hole of Debarment” (The Procurement Lawyer, Winter 2017) is cited in the ABA debarment book.

To purchase this publication, click here.

Thursday, 15 March 2018 20:12

When is a sovereign not a sovereign?

Joe McManus and David Butzer recently prevailed on a motion to dismiss before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that hinged on whether a foundation created by a foreign country was acting as a “foreign state or political subdivision of a foreign state” or as an “agency or instrumentality of a foreign state” by constructing a museum. McManus and Butzer argued that the foundation was an “agency or instrumentality” and that it did not have sovereign immunity. The court agreed, determining that the foundation did not have sovereign immunity because the act of establishing a cultural museum was commercial, not governmental.  It mattered not that the foundation was created through a presidential decree under a country’s statute. The court reasoned that museums can be privately built and operated (referring to DC’s new “Museum of the Bible”) even if they are focused on promoting a certain culture or tradition.

Smith v. Overseas Korean Cultural Heritage Found., 279 F. Supp. 3d 293 (D.D.C. 2018)

The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”) will hold its North America Branch annual conference on April 3, 2018, in Washington, DC. The theme is Arbitrating Disputes with Foreign Sovereigns and Sovereign-Owned Entities.

Joe McManus of McManus & Felsen LLP is the Sponsorship Chair and will be presenting at the conference. Australian Ambassador to the United States, The Honourable Joe Hockey, is the key-note speaker.

CIArb, headquartered in London, is the premier professional-membership body for private international dispute resolution.

For more information or to register for this event, click here.

The District of Columbia’s landscape is changing, often leading to disputes between neighbors. Many rowhouses are being razed, renovated, and expanded, creating younger and more expensive neighborhoods. But these projects also present unique legal and engineering issues. Often, DC homeowners are forced to hire professionals to deal with zoning, crane-swing and underpinning agreements, and insurance and indemnity issues. McManus & Felsen LLP has handled a number of these cases recently and is experienced in working with government agencies, such as the Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs (DCRA). For more information about handling disputes between neighbors, contact Joe McManus.

Monday, 12 February 2018 19:23

U.S. News — Best Lawyers Recognition

McManus & Felsen LLP is pleased to have been ranked as a Tier 1 construction-law firm in Washington, D.C., in addition to being ranked nationally, in the 2018 edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms.”  

 As described on its website, the “U.S. News – Best Lawyers® ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.” And the press release announcing the 2018 rankings explained that “[r]eceiving a tier designation reflects the high level of respect a firm has earned among other leading lawyers and clients in the same communities and the same practice areas for its abilities, its professionalism, and its integrity.”

For more information on U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms,” please visit

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