Jeffrey S. Brenner

Jeff Brenner is a trial lawyer who represents clients in complex business disputes in federal and state courts in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, arbitrations, mediations and before regulatory agencies. Jeff concentrates his practice on construction and real estate disputes, and he leads the firm’s Real Estate Litigation team and Construction group.

What do you focus on?

Commercial Litigation

I help businesses and people with disputes regarding litigation. Although I regularly handle many types of commercial disputes, I focus on construction and complex real estate, commercial, and land use matters. I appear regularly in state courts, federal courts, regulatory agencies, and municipal bodies in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I have developed strong relationships with judges, arbitrators, and mediators, and I understand their particular nuances to achieve my clients’ objectives. It is important that I understand my client’s business and their objectives, which enables me to become a trusted advisor and knowledgeable advocate for them. I work with clients in the construction, health care, franchise, hospitality, energy and manufacturing industries.

In addition, many of my litigation clients have hired me following the conclusion of a lawsuit to act as their outside general counsel. I manage their litigation and non-litigation legal needs drawing upon the firm’s breadth of resources and experience.

Since 2017, I have had a string of successful outcomes for my clients, including:

False Claims Act Litigation

I successfully defended a regional supermarket chain in a case brought by a qui tam plaintiff alleging that it violated the Rhode Island False Claims Act and committed fraud by failing to collect state sales tax on various items sold in its Rhode Island stores. In granting the Motion to Dismiss, the Rhode Island Superior Court Business Calendar’s Judge held that the qui tam plaintiff did not sufficiently state his False Claims Act claim with particularity to satisfy the legal standard. This decision is significant because it is the first case to construe the Rhode Island False Claims Act. It is also significant because it thoroughly analyzed a split in the Federal Courts of Appeals concerning the level of specificity required in a qui tam plaintiff’s claims/fraud complaint and held the plaintiff to a higher pleading standard.

Contract Dispute

I successfully defended a marine construction company in Rhode Island Federal Court in a case brought by a property owner alleging that the company owed it over $500,000 in storage fees and was responsible to pay the property owner for amounts sought by a municipality because the company did not remove a barge after the property owner’s lender sold it to the company at a secured party auction. One of the significant aspects of the court’s dismissal of the case was that the property owner had no right to charge a storage fee for the barge because it does not own the river adjacent to its property as the river is a public waterway. This decision resolved a disputed issue in Rhode Island that had been unclear since a federal court decision in 1903.

Construction Litigation

I represented a senior living campus in suburban Boston from mid-2016 through early-2017 in connection with a review and analysis of contractor claims and change orders resulting from a $30 million, multi-year renovation/expansion project. We provided contract and claim analysis as well as litigation strategy advice. Ultimately, the matter was resolved in the client’s/owner’s favor at a 3-way mediation between the owner, the construction manager, and the primary subcontractor, which resolved the pending lawsuit and all potential disputes. This allowed the project to stay within budget and open to accept residents.

Land Use

I obtained a decision from the Rhode Island Superior Court that reversed the denial of a master plan application for a $20+ million assisted living facility specializing in Alzheimer’s care. As a result of this judicial victory, a stalled development is back on track.


I represented an endoscopy practice in a petition to change its license from physician ambulatory surgery center (PASC) to freestanding ambulatory surgery center (FASC). Despite challenges to the client’s Certificate of Need (demonstration that there was patient-based need for the license change) by a competitor, the Department of Health (DOH) initially approved the license change. Following several appeals and reversals, the case was granted a hearing before the Rhode Island Supreme Court, which ultimately affirmed the practice’s Certificate of Need and granted the license change.

I am also a frequent speaker and writer concerning real estate disputes, litigation, and construction litigation issues.

US Chamber backs energy companies in climate suit fight

Law360 | August 02, 2021

This article covers an amicus brief filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Rhode Island’s climate change lawsuit against several energy companies, arguing the lawsuit should proceed in federal court rather than state court. The story mentions NP for the work of San Francisco partner Jenny Kuenster and Providence partner Jeff Brenner, both of the Complex Commercial Disputes group, in representing Shell Oil Company in the case.

In win for vehicle insurers, labor rate violations tossed

Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly | February 12, 2021

This article, covering a Rhode Island Superior Court ruling that vehicle insurers did not violate state requirements in their reporting of auto body shop labor rates to the Department of Business Regulation, mentions Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Jeff Brenner for representing 12 of the 17 insurers in the case.

Rental Struggles, Life Science Boom Marked Boston Real Estate in 2020

Boston Business Journal | December 29, 2020

This article, which discusses office and retail space remaining empty and landlords beginning to sue for rent payment, mentions the formation of NP’s Commercial Lease Disputes practice team in anticipation of a potential wave of cases. Boston Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Matthew Lynch, Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Jeff Brenner, and Washington, D.C. Complex Commercial Disputes partner Vernon Johnson co-lead the new practice team.

Planning Board to hold special meeting tonight on Wakefield Alzheimer’s facility

The Narragansett Times | August 05, 2019

This article mentions Providence Complex Commercial Disputes partner Jeffrey Brenner, who is representing clients who wish to build an assisted living facility for people with Alzheimer’s in Wakefield, Rhode Island.


Jeffrey S. Brenner

Leader, Construction & Real Estate Litigation


Phone: 401-454-1042


Phone: 617-345-1242

Fax: 866-947-0883

American University, Washington College of Law, J.D.

University of Pennsylvania, B.A.

Rhode Island


U.S. District Court, District of Rhode Island

U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts

U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit

Jeffrey was selected, through a peer-review survey, for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022 in the fields of Commercial Litigation; Construction Law; Food and Beverage Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Litigation—Construction; Litigation—Land Use and Zoning; and Litigation—Real Estate. Jeffrey was named the Best Lawyers® Providence, RI, “Lawyer of the Year” in 2022 for Construction Law; in 2021 for Litigation—Land Use and Zoning; in 2020 for Litigation—Real Estate; and in 2019 for Land Use and Zoning Law.

Jeff has also been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2021 for Litigation: General Commercial (Rhode Island). He has also been recognized in Chambers in previous years. The Chambers USA 2013 edition describes Jeff as “a no-nonsense guy whose work is nothing short of brilliant."

Jeff was recognized for Construction Litigation as a “Rhode Island Super Lawyer” in 2011-2014 and 2016 based on a peer-review survey by Thomson Reuters. In addition, Jeff was recognized as a Litigation Star in the 2020 edition of Benchmark Litigation, the definitive guide to America’s leading litigation firms and attorneys, as well as in prior years’ editions. 

Jeff has earned an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating available for legal ability and professional ethics.

Jeff has been recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2021 editorial for Real Estate—Construction (including construction litigation).He has also been recognized in previous years.

Jeff is also the author of the Rhode Island chapter of Wolters Kluwer’s State-by-State Guide to Design and Construction Contracts and Claims. He has written the state’s annual supplement each year, including the most recent supplement.

From 2004–2012, Jeff served on the Barrington Town Council in Rhode Island. He was president from 2004–2008 and vice president from 2009–2012. From 1992–2004, Jeff was a member of the Zoning Board in Barrington and served as chairman from 1998–2004. He has been a member of the Barrington Democratic Town Committee since 1996. He served as chairman of the Town Committee from 1999–2005.
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