After practicing law for more than 30 years, Rich has developed the distinctive ability to quickly get to the heart of the matter, identify and recommend a strategy and integrate his client’s goals into the path forward. He is frequently complimented by clients for his ability to make complicated scientific and technical issues simple and understandable. He has found that eliminating the noise and honing in on what really matters is a key to successful results. He believes that this approach saves time, money and heartache and resolves the project or litigation. An educational background in the environmental area (he likes science), provides a solid backdrop for his practice.
Rich is the former Chairperson of the Environmental Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan, where he served on the environmental Law Section Council for many years. He has been the editor of the Michigan Environmental Law Journal and the American Bar Association, Environmental Litigation Committee Newsletter. Rich is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC), the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) and carries Martindale-Hubbell’s “A-V” rating. He has served as an adjunct professor of Environmental Law and Aviation Law at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Rich has served as lead counsel for an industry leader in chlorinated solvent matter, handling products liability, administrative and litigated matters from California to Texas to the U.S. Virgin Islands. As he told a client once at a major groundwater contamination site in Wisconsin, “I have to be as comfortable in hiking boots as I am in wingtips.” He believes that sitting in the office is no substitute for “boots on the ground,” when warranted, to evaluate the contentions being made, identify alternate theories and in understanding potential areas of concern better than the opposition.
In addition to making the complex simple, Rich believes the details matter. After difficulties with their insurance carrier, the CEO of large solvent recovery equipment company was prepared not to like Rich when he was brought in to defend a serious injury claim regarding his equipment. However, when Rich started asking detailed instrumentation questions and discussing potential weak spots in the allegations, the client quickly changed his preconceived opinions and relied on Rich for the successful handling all of their environmental work for over 25 years.
Because not all matters are litigated, Rich believes that getting to “yes” is important to resolution whether in permit negotiation, a real estate transaction or contract issue. Rich represented an international manufacturer in a customer contract dispute that threatened significant existing and future business and cash flow. He was able to identify a contract provision between the two companies which turned the balance of power completely in his client’s favor and brought the dispute to a speedy resolution. Not only did the client keep the business, but remained the customer’s sole source as well.
Participant of an International panel discussing the scientific and technical aspects of hydraulic fracturing and areas of risk for handling claims.
Presentation to insurance company, Atlanta, GA
Insurance carrier presentation on trucking industry exposure to hydraulic fracturing claims (simulcast to 3 offices across country from home office)
Re-Allocation Strategies to Cavell, (a division of the Randall Group) relating to the handling of complex and contentious environmental and toxic tort claims. (Dec. 2006).
Co-Author April 1996 Supplement, Environmental Law Section, State Bar of MI and the Institute for Continuing Legal Education (1992)
Rich is also an avid winemaker and has an experimental vineyard for cold climate wine grapes on his Upper Peninsula property, which he hopes someday to be able to use to produce a new wine. In the meantime, he produces high-end, award winning, not-for-sale “garage” wine from Napa grapes that has earned him awards in the Indy International Wine Competition and American Wine Society. Since 2004 he has also made a very limited release, award-winning Napa Cabernet Sauvignon commercially, from vineyards such as ToKalon, Stagecoach, Tourmaline, Ink Grade and others. In 2005, Rich was featured in a USA Today story on winemaking. See www.huronmountainwinery.com for more information on his wines, or better yet, just give him a call!
Rich also pilots a turbocharged Mooney (231) (SEL-S, IFR), enjoys scuba diving, an assertive exercise program and a number of other outdoor activities.
Thomas M. Cooley Law School, J.D., 1981
Michigan State University, B.S. in Environmental Education, 1978
Steely Dan/Reelin' In The Years
The Sting, closely followed by Predator and The Usual Suspects
Artichokes and Oysters
Americans in service to the country
Coke. It isn’t even a close call.