Kathleen F. Carpenter Partner (925) 746-7770 kcarpenter@donahue.com Download vCard LinkedIn

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Incisive, creative problem solving and pragmatic counseling in all aspects of her clients’ business has become the hallmark of Kathleen F. Carpenter’s practice. Kathleen brings over 20 years of experience in handling a broad spectrum of real estate, construction and general commercial litigation and pre-litigation matters.

Kathleen often assists clients in resolving contentious matters that involve challenging and complex circumstances. She serves regional, national and industry trade association clients in both trial and appellate matters involving insurance coverage, construction contracts, broker duties, commercial leasing, land acquisition and development agreements. She also regularly handles high profile class action product liability, construction defect and complex toxic tort cases.

Kathleen also counsels clients in all areas of real estate and construction law risk management including “green” and energy efficiency marketing, disclosure obligations, insurance coverage, indemnity, claims resolution programs, purchase and sale agreements, business litigation avoidance, green building, and compliance with California’s Mandatory Solar Option Law. She also represents her clients’ interests in the event that a dispute arises concerning design, construction, certification, operation or purchase and sale of a green-built development or solar project.

In addition, Kathleen has substantial appellate experience. In 2012, Kathleen represented the California Building Industry Association as Amicus in the seminal California Supreme Court case of Pinnacle Museum Tower Association v. Pinnacle Market Development LCC, wherein the Court enforced a binding arbitration provision in the HOA’s governing documents (CC&Rs).

Prior to joining Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, Kathleen was a Partner at Ware Law and previously at the international law firm of McKenna Long & Aldridge (merged with Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps). Over the last decade, she has served as part of several lead negotiating teams in connection with numerous tort reform efforts, and whose work has led to sweeping tort reform in the areas of real estate and construction. She has provided expert testimony on several occasions before the California State Senate.

Notable Appellate Matters

Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (Pending, California Supreme Court).

Pinnacle Museum Tower Association v. Pinnacle Market Development (US) LLC 55 Cal.4th 223 (2012)

Villa Vincenza Homeowners Association v. Novel Court Development LLC 191 Cal.App.4th 963 (2011)

Greystone Homes, Inc. v. Midtec, Inc. 168 Cal.App.4th 1194 (2008).

Crawford v. Weather Shield Mfg Inc. 44 Cal4th 541, Cal. Supreme Court (2008).

Acosta v. Glenfed Development Corp., 28 Cal. Rptr. 3d Cal. 541 (2005).

Kaufman & Broad v. Performance Plastering Inc., 133 Cal.App.4th 26 (2005).

Hicks vs. Superior Court 8 Cal. Rptr3d 703 (2004).


  • Recipient, Best Lawyers in the Bay Area, Construction and Real Estate, Best Lawyers, 2009
  • Recipient, President's Award, Outstanding Leadership, California Building Industry Association, 2007
  • Recipient, President's Award, Outstanding Contribution to Legislative Reform, California Building Industry Association, 2006

Past Articles/News

Co-Author: “On the Horizon: California Supreme Court Soon to Decide Fate of Arbitration Provisions in CC&Rs,” Firm Legal e-Update, June 2012.

Co-Author: “Going, Going, Gone . . . California Solar Incentives for Builders/Developers . . . Don’t Delay,” Firm Legal e-Update, November 2011.

Author: “California Supreme Court Grants Review in Second Case Challenging Enforceability of Arbitration Provisions in CC&Rs Against Homeowners Associations,” Firm Legal e-Update, April 26, 2011.

Author: “Here Comes the Sun Again: A Quick Primer for Homebuilders About California’s 2011 Mandatory Solar Option Law,” Firm Legal e-Update, January 2011.

Author: “California Supreme Court Accepts Case To Decide Whether Developers Can Enforce Arbitration Provisions in CC&Rs Against Homeowners Associations,” JD Supra ® Business Advisory Report, January 2011.

Author: “Beware: Broken Subdivision Pitfalls Will Linger for Years to Come: Top Ten Questions You Need to Ask,” Firm Legal e-Update, October 2010.

Author: “Calling for YELP: How to Handle a Negative Review of Your Brand on the Internet,” Firm E-Commerce Alert, March 2010.

Author: A Preliminary Compliance Guide for California Homebuilders, “SB 800-The Homebuilder ‘Right to Repair’ Law 3rd edition,” California Building Industry Association, 2010.

Author: “Attention Realtors, Homebuilders And Other Real Estate Professionals: Three Quick Tips In Advising Homebuyers About The Federal Homebuyer Tax Credit,” Cooper White & Cooper Building Industry and Risk Management Alert, November 2009.

Author: “Attorneys Who Jump The Gun and Go Straight to Court Before Allowing a Builder its Statutory Right To Repair under SB800 Get the Yellow Flag,” Cooper White & Cooper Building Industry and Risk Management Alert, 2008.

Author: “Dissed.com – How to Respond to an Internet Attack. A Guideline for Responding to yourcompanysucks.com Attacks,” iHousing Magazine, Spring 2008.

Author: “Internet Risk Management, Unhappy Homeowners Picket in Cyberspace,” California Builder Magazine, Winter 2007.

Recent Speaking Engagements

November 05, 2015 | Riverside, CA
Getting to Zero: Net Zero Development- Energy & Water
Building Industry Association of Southern California

Past Speaking Engagements

Panelist: “FTC’s Green Advertising Guides & How They Impact Energy Efficiency Claims, Marketing and Sales.” Panelists also included Arlene Stewart, President of AZS Consulting and Chief Enforcement Officer Robert Frisby for the FTC, Efficiency First National Webinar, January 2013.

Panelist: “Current Trends in Effectively Handling SB800 Cases,” West Coast Casualty Construction Defect Seminar, Anaheim, CA, May 2012.

Panelist: “Here Comes the Sun Again, Solar and Green Risk Management for Residential Construction,” San Diego, San Francisco & Los Angeles, CA, 2011.

Speaker: “Green Building – Incentives, Solutions – Making it Work. Marketing Green in Residential Sales: What Your Clients Need to Know About the New Green Building Standards” San Francisco, CA, July 2010.

Speaker: “The Purchase Experience: Legal Responsibilities of Sales Representatives and Homebuilders in New Home Sales, Sacramento, CA, January 2010.

Speaker: “Responding to Attorney Solicitation,” California Homebuilding Foundation Seminar: Part 1, Sacramento & Anaheim, CA, 2010.

Speaker: “SB 800 Updates and Advanced Techniques for Claims Handling,” California Homebuilding Foundation Seminar: Part 2, San Francisco & Sacramento, CA, 2010.

Panelist: “Avoiding & Resolving Construction Claims Seminar,” California Homebuilding Foundation Seminar: Part 2, Los Angeles, CA, 2010.