Rich is a Founding Member of Foley, Baron, Metzger & Juip, PLLC. He has a national civil litigation practice with special emphasis on environmental litigation, products liability and chemical exposure matters. He has considerable experience in spill response and forensic analysis at historical sites of contamination. His experience also includes property transactions including environmental due diligence, hazardous waste, CERCLA and RCRA issues, and Michigan’s Natural Resources Environmental Protection Act (NREPA). Rich’s extensive practice also includes business issues and commercial litigation, construction law, mass torts, product liability and aviation law.
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.
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