Our Attorneys

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 Appeal.

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 injury.

  • 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 endorsement.

  • Babinski v. Am. Family Ins. Group, 543 F.Supp.2d 1035 (D. Minn.)

  • Castro v. South Chicago Community Hospital, 166 Ill.App.3d 479 (1st Dist.)

  • Chaveriat v. Williams Pipe Line Co., 11 F.3d 1420 (7th Cir.)

  • Specialty Underwriters Alliance v. Peebles McManus LLC, et al., No. 3:08-cv-888-MEF (M.D. Ala.)

 Other Interests:

  • 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 Banquet.
  • 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 Railroad Passengers.

RMK Leading Lawyer

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Contact:

10 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 1800

Chicago, Illinois 60603

Phone: 312-466-0017

Email: Richard.Kuntz@ruberry-law.com

Practice Area:

Appellate; Bad Faith; Commercial Litigation; Construction; Environmental; Insurance Coverage

Education:

  • 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.

Admissions:

  • 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

Publications:

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 follows: