Elliot Scharfenberg


Elliot is a partner in the firm’s New Orleans office. He represents sureties in all manner of disputes and regularly negotiates and litigates performance bond claims, payment bond claims, bad faith claims, and claims against indemnitors. He often gets involved in matters before a lawsuit is filed and takes a business approach to resolve matters early on and in creative ways. Elliot thinks the best solutions to a client’s problems are not always the most obvious and that in order to resolve a matter most favorably for his client, it is often necessary to think outside of the box.

On the transactional side of his practice, he has negotiated takeovers, tenders, completion agreements, subcontractor ratifications, construction contracts, financing agreements, and collateral agreements. He has also litigated numerous cases through appeal. He has handled litigation in state and federal courts, including bankruptcy courts, as well as arbitration proceedings. Although most of his work is in Louisiana, he has also handled matters in Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

In addition to his contract surety work, he also assists sureties in handling plug and abandonment bond claims and insurers in handling claims against subcontract default insurance policies. In his free time, he likes to relax with his dog, glass of wine in hand, on the balcony of his French Quarter apartment.



RLI Ins. Co. v. Roberts, 2020 WL 3621269 (5th Cir. 2020). The firm represented a surety that issued decommissioning bonds on several oil and gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico. The firm brought a lawsuit against an individual indemnitor for payment of outstanding premium, indemnity for the surety’s losses and expenses, and specific performance of the indemnitor’s collateral security obligations. The appellate court affirmed district court’s judgment on all counts, resulting in an award of over $250,000 in indemnity losses and unpaid premium and ordering the indemnitor to deposit an additional $1.25 million in collateral security. The district court’s order may be found at RLI Ins. Co. v. Roberts, 2019 WL 1979931 (S.D. Tex. 2019)

A.B.S. Servs., Inc. v. James Constr. Group, LLC, 269 So. 3d 723 (La. App. 1 Cir. 2018) (en banc). Following a two-week jury trial in state court in Baton Rouge in 2015, the jury completely exonerated the firm’s client, a major surety company, from all contractual and extracontractual claims and ordered its reimbursement in the amount of $477,569 for sums previously paid under a reservation of rights. The judgment was affirmed by an en banc Court of Appeal.

84 Lumber Co. v. F.H. Paschen, S.N. Nielsen & Assocs., LLC, 2017 WL 467679 (E.D. La. 2017). The firm defended a surety that issued subcontractor performance bonds with dual obligee riders on two construction projects in the New Orleans area. The trial court granted the surety’s motion for summary judgment and motion to dismiss, discharging the dual obligee’s multi-million dollar claims against the performance bonds.

Law Enforcement Dist. of Jefferson Parish v. MAPP Constr., LLC., 196 So. 3d 896 (La. App. 5 Cir. 2016). On an interlocutory appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s denial of a motion for summary judgment. The surety was fully discharged due to a time-limitation defense.

Plaquemines Parish Gov’t v. Byrd Bros. Emergency Servs., LLC, 2016 La. App. LEXIS 864 (La. App. 4 Cir. 2016). The surety and a bank with a UCC security interest in the principal’s accounts receivable both sought the remaining contract funds on a Louisiana public works project. The Court of Appeal affirmed a summary judgment in favor of the firm’s client, the surety, holding that the surety’s rights in the remaining contract funds were superior to the rights of the bank.



Practical Advice to a Commercial Surety Taking Collateral, Fidelity & Surety Law Committee Newsletter (Summer 2021)


Presenter, Effectively Handling Energy Surety Bond Claims in Bankruptcy, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference (2021)

Presenter, Takeovers, Tenders & Completion Agreements: Key Provisions To Mitigate the Surety’s Risk, Midwest Surety and Construction Claims Conference (2019)

Presenter, Handling Plug & Abandonment Bond Claims, Zurich CE Seminar (2019)

Presenter, Evolution of the Surety’s Rights Under the General Indemnity Agreement, Atlanta Surety Claims Association (2019)

Panel Leader, Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, Legal Netlink Alliance Global Meeting (2019)

Presenter, Case Law Update: An Historical Perspective, Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Conference (2019)

Presenter, Handling Performance Bond Claims: Dealing With Difficult Obligees, Zurich CE Seminar (2018)

Presenter, Pollution Insurance, Mid-Winter Meeting of the Fidelity & Surety Law Committee of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association (2018)


American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section and Fidelity and Surety Law Committee

Louisiana State Bar Association

New Orleans Bar Association

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New Orleans Office

400 Poydras Street

Suite 2500

New Orleans, LA 70130




Complex Commercial Litigation

Construction Litigation

Surety Law



Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch in Construction Law and Construction Litigation (2021-2022)



J.D., magna cum laude, Tulane University Law School (2013); Order of the Coif; Articles Editor, Tulane Law Review

B.A., Baylor University (2007)



Louisiana, 2013

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of Louisiana

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