McManus & Felsen LLP

McManus & Felsen LLP

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

On February 7, 2018, Dan Toomey, Senior Counsel to the firm, will travel to Dallas, TX to participate in the Fourth ABA Forum on Construction Trial Academy, as a faculty member. The Academy, an intensive “learn by doing” program for younger Construction Lawyers, and featuring seasoned Construction Trial Lawyers as faculty, provides intensive “hands on” training in the basic trial skills of openings, closings, admitting evidence, direct and cross examination of both fact and expert witnesses as well as a non-jury trial at the conclusion.

Dan, who has been teaching trial advocacy, both at his law school alma mater, Georgetown, as well as with the National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), for over forty years, was a founding member of the Trial Academy Committee establishing this program. Dan was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2000 (limited to 1% of the lawyers in a given jurisdiction.) In 2013, he was awarded the Robert Oliphant Award by NITA for his contributions to NITA and in 2017, the Daniel G. Grove Award by the DC NITA Advanced Trial Advocacy Program, which he directed or co-directed for 12 years, ending in 2016. In 2007, Dan was awarded the Paul R. Dean Award by Georgetown, for his contributions to his Alma Mater.

Senior Counsel Dan Toomey has recently received the following awards and recognition:

  • Invitation to become a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America;
  • Selected, again, as a Super Lawyer in Washington DC in the area of Construction Litigation for 2018; and
  • Who’s Who in Construction for 2018.
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