Core Values in Action
"If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong." – Groucho Marx
Bob Baratta is a Partner in the Litigation Practice Group and a member of the Insurance/Reinsurance Industry Group, with an emphasis on insurance and reinsurance disputes. Bob has also represented clients in virtually all areas of environmental and health and safety law, including brownfield remediation and redevelopment, permitting, compliance, enforcement and cost recovery.
Bob’s insurance coverage experience includes representation of insurers and policyholders with respect to hundreds of millions of dollars in potential coverage. Bob’s work has included coverage under general liability policies for long-tail claims, including those involving asbestos, hearing loss, repetitive stress and environmental injuries or damages. These cases often involve decades of coverage, dozens of insurance carriers and complex issues of causation and allocation.
He has extensive experience analyzing and litigating coverage under directors and officers and employment practices liability insurance policies, recently obtaining summary judgment on an issue of first impression in the federal courts. He was retained by the Illinois Office of Special Deputy Receiver to prosecute and defend claims by and against certain Illinois insurance companies in liquidation or rehabilitation. In these matters, Bob appeared in Illinois courts litigating matters of insurance coverage under general liability, construction, umbrella and other types of coverage.
Bob also represents reinsurance companies in disputes with cedents and other reinsurers, including matters relating to contract exclusions, cedent allocation, good faith and aggregation of claims. He has arbitrated APH reinsurance claims and often advises reinsurance companies on matters such as allocation, occurrences, utmost good faith and notice obligations under reinsurance contracts.
A significant portion of Bob’s practice involves assisting clients with environmental cleanups under various state-run voluntary remediation programs or in response to government enforcement actions. In counseling clients in real property transactions, he uses a number of innovative tools and products to address environmental liability concerns, including environmental risk transfers, environmental impairment insurance, fixed-price cleanup contracts and proactive and thorough due diligence. Bob has extensive experience in negotiating agreements with federal, state and local regulatory bodies and has developed strong relationships with various federal and state agencies. On the litigation side, Bob appears in federal and state venues across the United States representing parties in environmental cost recovery and government-led enforcement actions.
- Defended an overseas insurer against claims for insurance coverage associated with very substantial defense and indemnity payments in multi-district litigation arising out of claims by thousands of individuals infected by the policyholder's products.
- Pursued insurance coverage for a major meat snack producer under directors and officers and employment liability policies.
- Counseled various reinsurance companies with respect to cedent allocation of underlying asbestos and human health claims.
- Represented the estate of Statewide Insurance Company with respect to prosecution of coverage claims against other insurers.
- Represented the estate of Centaur Insurance Company against the claims of various policyholders seeking tens of millions of dollars in coverage.
- Counseled clients regarding claims coverage and prosecution under directors and officers liability insurance policies.
- Negotiated insurance brokerage and loss control services contract for major construction projects.
- Represented numerous commercial and residential developers in the investigation and remediation of contaminated properties under state voluntary cleanup programs.
- Represented a utility contractor in criminal and civil matters related to purported negligent services resulting in intense media attention, a class action lawsuit, state and federal criminal investigations, an insurance coverage dispute and a civil enforcement action.
- Defended a major consumer products company in a criminal investigation relating to waste disposal practices in California.
- Represented several railroad companies on environmental cleanups and natural resource damage claims resulting from major developments.
- Represented a major airport contractor in disputes and litigation with airport authorities and airlines at three major U.S. airports.
- Represented contractors and manufacturers in responding to OSHA citations, developing best practices and undertaking audits.
- Counseled clients on European Union electronic waste and packaging directives.
- Negotiated environmental risk transfer agreements and environmental pollution liability insurance policies on behalf of manufacturing companies and real estate developers.
- Insurance: Advice to Insurers, Legal 500 US, 2019
- Martindale-Hubbell legal ability/ethical standards rating (“A-V”) - Highest possible rating
- Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2019 (cited multiple years)