Richard M. Kuntz
Leading Lawyers 2015: Insurance, Insurance Coverage
& Reinsurance; Toxic Torts Defense Law
Richard has been involved in environmental counseling and
litigation since the dawn of the modern environmental law era and
was one of the original employees of the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, both in its Chicago Region V office as well at
the EPA Headquarters in Washington D.C. He has appeared
frequently before the U.S. EPA, both in informal negotiations over
remedial projects or rule-making, and in administrative litigation
before EPA Judicial Officers and its Board of Hearings and
Appeals. Richard has represented clients before state-level
environmental agencies and bodies including the Illinois Pollution
Control Board, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management,
and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources.
He also 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. In recognition of Richard's
work over the years, he was appointed to the Environment Board of
the City of Evanston.
The current focus of Richard's insurance coverage practice
includes environmental, construction defect/site injury, and
trucking/MCS-90/B matters. Richard has advised clients and
litigated insurance coverage disputes involving injury and damage
issues arising under general and employer's liability coverages and
first-party property coverages, including
multi-modal/multi-jurisdictional freight claims.
With respect to environmental coverage, Richard 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, Richard has litigated almost every issue raised by such
claims, in many jurisdictions and in state and Federal Courts of
His case results include:
Admiral Ins. Co. v. Joy Contractors, New York Court of
Appeals: Oral Argument April 25, 2012. : http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/arguments/2012/AprMay12/042512-No93.asx
American Economy Insurance Company v. DePaul University,
383 Ill. App. 3d 172 (1st Dist.), App. granted and dismissed, 229
Ill.2d 617. Duty to defend, attorney's fees, and
post-judgment interest awarded against non-defending insurer based
upon additional insured coverage.
Tonicstar Ltd. v. Lovegreen Turbine Servs., 535 F.3d 790
(8th Cir.). No coverage for non-settling Lloyds
Syndicate member for $6.7 million business interruption based upon
plant shut-down, under Business Risk exclusions.
U.S. Fire Ins. Co. v. Albex Aluminum, Inc., 161 Fed.
Appx. 562 (6th Cir.). Federal abstention of
declaratory judgment action upheld under the Brillhart-Wilton
Doctrine where parallel state court tort action proceeding, even
where tort action had no insurance coverage aspects.
Pilling v. Va. Prop. & Cas. Guarantee Fund, 95 Fed.
Appx. 126 (6th Cir.). Priority of
coverage/drop-down/state guaranty fund issues.
Insura Prop. & Cas. Co. v. Steele, 344 Ill. App. 3d
466 (5th Dist.). Enforced Off-Road Vehicle exclusion
from vehicle liability policy, for catastrophic personal
Citizens for a Better Environment v. Illinois Pollution
Control Board, 152 Ill. App. 3d 105 (1st Dist.).
Upheld portions of business-backed regulation; upheld ability of
challenged Board member to participate in decision.
Coregis Ins. Co. v. City of Harrisburg, 401 F.Supp.2d
398; 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20340 (M.D. Pa.). No
coverage for multi-year false imprisonment and related Civil Rights
Act claims, where underlying plaintiff wrongfully convicted but
policy not in force during operative time.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. v. Commer. Union
Assur. Co., U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18500 (N.D. Ill.), 260 F.3d 789 (7th
Cir.),cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1012. Obtained reversal
of $40 million trial court judgment against insurer where insurance
was not in force on the date of flooding of entire Chicago business
district; upheld principle that coverage triggered by incurrence of
property damage rather than cause of property damage.
McWhorter Dist., Inc. v. National Specialty Ins. Co.,
No. 39-2009-00201486-CU-IC-STK (Sup. Ct. San Joaquin Cnty.,
CA). Dismissed insured's claim for coverage under MCS-90
endorsement, where other proceeds available from another insured to
satisfy $750,000 regulatory requirement; also dismissed on ripeness
grounds where no final judgment to potentially trigger MCS-90
Babinski v. Am. Family Ins. Group, 543 F.Supp.2d 1035
Castro v. South Chicago Community Hospital, 166
Ill.App.3d 479 (1st Dist.)
Chaveriat v. Williams Pipe Line Co., 11 F.3d 1420 (7th
Specialty Underwriters Alliance v. Peebles McManus LLC,
et al., No. 3:08-cv-888-MEF (M.D.
- Richard was honored by the Department of Philosophy of Eberly
College of Arts and Sciences (West Virginia University) as an
"outstanding alumnus" at the Departmental Alumni Awards Recognition
- Executive Committee, American Bar Association, Young Lawyers
Division, Environmental Law Committee (national position).
- Richard is a tennis player ranked with the U.S.T.A., and a
member of the Silver Rails Society of the National Association of
10 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1800
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Appellate; Bad Faith; Commercial Litigation; Construction;
Environmental; Insurance Coverage
- The George Washington University Law School, J.D.,
- West Virginia University, B.A. Magna Cum Laude,
- Graduate School of Public Administration, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, California, Certificate,
Environmental Management Institute.
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Courts of Appeal for the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth
Circuits; multiple U.S. District Courts
- State Bars of Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas
Richard has published over 60 articles on environmental law and
insurance coverage, and was the environmental law columnist for the
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. A selection of his publications
Ebola Quarantine Law", quoted in article "Law could be tested
with Ebola scare" Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, October 29, 2014
Negates Effect of Injury Exclusion", Chicago Daily Law
Bulletin, July 9th, 2013
A Primer on the MCS-90", Commercial Transportation Litigation
Committee, Committee News. Winter 2013
- "Railroads and Environmental Law National Corridors
Initiative," (National Corridors Initiative)
Regulation of the Chemical Industry in the Kanawha Valley
1974-84," Proceedings of the Kanawha Valley History of
Technology Conference (West Virginia University Press)
Prescribing of Antidepressants and Anxiolytics: an Attorney's Guide
to Psychoactive Drugs," 26 J. of Psychiatry & Law 519,
- "EPA Issues
Policy Statement on Superfund Lender Liability," author,
Washington Legal Foundation; Vol. 3 No. 11, December 15, 1995.
The Rise and Fall of Joint and Several Liability in Environmental
Actions," 85 Illinois Bar Journal 79,
- "When Can
Policyholders Get Covered For Performing 'Voluntary' Cleanup?,"
Environmental Compliance & Litigation Strategy, Vol. 10, No. 2,
- "Courts Look at
Responsibilities of Envtl. Response Action Contractors,"
Environmental Compliance & Litigation Strategy, March
Circuit Court Succumbs to CERCLA's 'Broad Remedial Purpose',"
Washington Legal Foundation; Vol. 6 No. 11, April 12, 1996.
- "Courts Question
Constitutionality of Federal Environmental Laws," Washington
Legal Foundation; Vol. 11 No. 22, June 21, 1996.
Coverage Limits Eased For Voluntary Cleanups," Chicago Daily
Law Bulletin, Volume 151 No. 18, January 26, 2005.
Denies Class Certification For 'Toxic Tort'," Chicago Daily Law
Bulletin, Volume 149 No. 120, June 20, 2003.
- "From Without
To Within," Public Health Quarantine Law, October 31,
- "The MCS-90
Endorsement," The Risk Report, Volume 33 No. 6, February,
- "Ruling On Insurers' Duty To Defend Raises Questions," Chicago
Daily Law Bulletin, Volume 145 No. 23, February 3, 1999.
- Moderator, environmental forum on online service Counsel
- "Policyholders May Have to Give Insurers Notice of PRP letters
Where Letters Don't Trigger Duty to Defend," Insurance Coverage
Litigation Reporter (BNA),
- Co-author, "Data Systems for NPDES Enforcement," Midwest
Institute of Decisions Sciences,
"Toxic Torts," delivered to Conference on Environmental Impairment
Liability Insurance, New York, NY,
- "Liability for Releases from Underground Tanks," contributing
author, published by Practicing Law Institute.