Melissa is a litigation partner whose practice is focused on construction law and business disputes. She represents architects and engineers in construction related claims, including construction administration and management, plan defects, testing failure claims and delay claims. Melissa has represented design professionals in State and Federal courts as well as in binding arbitration. Her practice includes the defense of all sizes of claims, from residential homeowner cases to private commercial construction to multi-prime public construction projects. 

In addition to construction cases, Melissa handles commercial litigation, business torts, contract negotiation, medical negligence claims, product defect liability, premise liability, title insurance litigation, and director and officer liability. Melissa also heads the creditor’s rights/collections practice group at the firm. 

Visit Melissa’s construction blog at

Experience Highlights
Confidential Arbitration. Arbitrator found in favor of plaintiff-contractor (client) in private binding arbitration involving unpaid fees with counterclaim for alleged construction defects totaling over $800,000. 

After two week jury trial, awarded complete defense verdict ($0.00 award) in favor of architect-client in construction litigation lawsuit involving allegations of architect’s professional negligence. 

Confidential Arbitration. Arbitrator awarded complete defense verdict ($0.0 awarded) in favor of engineer-client after lengthy binding private arbitration.

Successful defense of a homeowner’s association in connection with a lawsuit filed by a homeowner alleging the homeowner’s association had wrongfully suspended plaintiff’s status as a member in good standing.  North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment with respect to all of plaintiff’s claims except one, which was remanded to the trial court for trial on nominal damages only. Zumkehr v. Hidden Lakes Property Owners Association, Inc., 158 N.C. App. 747, 582 S.E.2d 82 (2003), rev. denied by, 357 N.C. 511, 588 S.E.2d 474 (2003).

Assisted in successful representation of mentally disabled client on Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) appeal of judicial order establishing client’s right to certain Medicaid benefits. (McCrann v. DHHS, 209 N.C. App. 241, 704 S.E. 2d 899 (2011)).

Publications & Presentations
Ms. Brumback is a well respected author and presenter in the construction industry.  A dozen of her articles have been published and she is a frequent lecturer to construction, engineering, design and legal audiences.  

Published Articles
Understanding the Construction Contract Before You Sign It
Managing Contract Changes 
Handling Threats of Contract Termination 
Key Practice Tips for Small Contractors
Avoiding the Holiday Blues in Construction Projects (Delay Claims)
Suing Contractors or Designers When You Have No Contract With
Them:  The North Carolina Law on State Projects

Be Wary of “Gentlemen’s Agreements”
The ABCs of Current NC Lien Law
Law & Order Construction Lawsuit Summary

Construction SuperConference 12/12, San Francisco, CA, Session Moderator,
Public Construction Contracting EJCDC New Contract forms

Strafford Publications, 6/12; 9/11 Construction Contract Drafting Strategies CLE Scope of Services
Under AIA, EJCDC, and Consensus Docs; Duties of the Parties; Modification to the Construction
Contract; Termination Issues
Professional Engineers of NC, webinar, 3/12 and Professional Development Seminar “Best Business
Practices that Ensure You Get Paid,” 12/12
“7 Critical Mistakes Designers Make that Could Sabotage their Projects” CEU
  NC Construction Law Conference, Half Moon Seminars, 10/11; 5/10
CEU – The Law of Construction Defects and Failures Conference
NC Association of Defense Attorneys Fall Seminar Greensboro, 10/11
CLE Best Practices for Minimizing Risk in Construction Contracts
Resolving Problems & Disputes on Construction Projects, National Business Institute, 6/06
Understanding the Construction Contract, Managing Contract Changes, and Handling Threats of
Contract Termination
“7 Critical Mistakes Designers Make During Contract Negotiation & Execution that Sabotage
  their Projects & Invite Litigation” American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  Fall 2012 Conference  

Previous Legal Experience
Stuart Law Firm, PLLC, Raleigh,NC,  Associate
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Raleigh NC, Legal Intern
Wyrick Robbins Yates & Ponton L.L.P., Raleigh NC, Law Clerk
NC Justice & Community Development Center, Raleigh NC, Law Clerk