Focus. Determination. Strategy. Results.
Environmental Counseling and Litigation
The Ruberry Group has been involved in environmental counseling and litigation since the dawn of the modern environmental law era in the early 1970s; indeed, we number among our partners some of the original employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, both in its Chicago Region V office as well at EPA Headquarters in Washington D.C. As such, our attorneys have appeared frequently before U.S. EPA, whether in informal negotiations over remedial projects or rule-making; or in administrative litigation before EPA Judicial Officers and its Board of Hearings and Appeals.
Senior partner, Richard Kuntz has represented clients before state-level environmental agencies and bodies including the Illinois Pollution Control Board, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, and the
environmental statutes and regulations, it was a natural progression for our firm to blend the talents of our attorneys with complex insurance coverage expertise, with those whose background was formed in the environmental law battles.
Among our approximately 25 attorneys are those whose environmental practice can be characterized in one of three ways: the representation of insurance carriers in complex coverage disputes involving all lines in which environmental claims are implicated; the defense of insureds on appointment from carriers when the duty to defend has been assumed, and the direct representation of commercial and industrial clients when coverage is not an issue. Indeed, several of such clients have come to us directly when insurance was not an issue, and later requested our representation in other matters where an insurer has agreed to defend.
served as a Special Assistant State’s Attorney to prosecute a claim by a County government to recover the costs associated with the leaching of lead from a courthouse roof, and defending the County against the state EPA.
As you may know, with the maturation of environmental regulation, more matters have been resolved at the state level in recent years. But when the size or scope of a matter necessitates U.S. EPA involvement, we are prepared to defend enforcement actions in U.S. District Court, or appeal adverse rulemakings directly to the U.S. Courts of Appeal. We have also challenged ultra vires agency action on behalf of affected clients when necessary in ancillary proceedings, such as to quash a warrantless search or improperly impaneled Grand Jury. So when insurance coverage disputes first arose from the application of the new
With respect to environmental coverage, the Ruberry Group has handled claims and coverage litigation arising out of property damage, bodily injury and Personal Injury (the latter asserted in nuisance/trespass claims to avoid the pollution exclusion), under GL, umbrella, excess, EPL/EIL, commercial auto, garage, Contractors, inland marine, cargo legal liability, professional liability, and reinsurance facultative certificates and treaties. Whether the cases involve trigger and allocation issues for multiple sites under numerous CGL policies, or claims for coverage under various types of claims-made or first-party policies, our attorneys have litigated almost every issue raised by such claims, in many jurisdictions and in state and Federal Courts of Appeal.
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Significant trial results
.Johnson v City of New Orleans
State Court, New Orleans, Louisiana. Defended a class action brought against the City of New Orleans by the residents of the Agricultural Landfill Project wherein the plaintiffs sought tens of millions of dollars for property damage and bodily injury. The plaintiffs alleged that the exposure to environmental conditions at the site caused these catastrophic losses. After a lengthy trial on class certification, we were able to settle the case for a reasonable amount.
CSX Transportation v Admiral
State Court, Jacksonville, Florida. CSX brought a suit to obtain coverage against a number of carriers to recover tens of millions of dollars that it had expended to remediate environmental problems at numerous railroad yards throughout the country, and to obtain reimbursement for settlement of a number of cases involving exposure to chemicals and other toxic materials. After a month long trial, the client did not have to pay a verdict based upon our damage allocation theory.
In re: Securities Litigation
Chicago, Illinois. Obtained a $15 million settlement in a securities case against a national brokerage firm and for malpractice against a national accounting firm. (The case is under a protective order.)