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Donald W. Kiel

Fax +1.973.848.4001

Mr. Kiel’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, including commercial insurance coverage litigation and counseling, as well as environmental, toxic tort and tort litigation, and construction and contract litigation.

He has handled some of the largest insurance coverage disputes for corporate policyholders in state and federal courts throughout the country. Mr. Kiel’s experience includes litigation, arbitration, appraisals and counseling concerning insurance coverage for environmental, asbestos, directors and officers, antitrust, product (including pharmaceutical and chemical), employment practices, entertainment event cancellation, e commerce and gun liability, as well as for first party losses (including business interruption) arising from natural disasters and 9/11 and claims under life insurance policies. He also counsels clients concerning the purchase and negotiation of commercial insurance policies. Mr. Kiel’s recent insurance coverage matters have included the following:

  • Representing health care providers regarding claims under project-related pollution legal liability insurance policy;
  • Represented New York City based entertainment company in litigation regarding coverage under event cancellation insurance policy;
  • Appointed as special insurance coverage counsel for Bankruptcy Chapter 11 debtor in asbestos bankruptcy, resulting in establishment of bankruptcy trust funded almost exclusively with hundreds of millions of dollars of insurer-paid funds;
  • Represented global chemical products manufacturer regarding disputed coverage under $50 million pollution legal liability insurance policy;
  • Represented large pharmaceutical product manufacturer in two coverage litigations involving underlying mass tort product liability claims and obtained settlement at amounts close to policy limits;
  • Represented chemical products manufacturer in coverage litigation resulting in insurer agreement to defend and indemnify manufacturer;
  • Representing health care company in D&O insurance coverage litigation involving recovery of substantial costs to defend multiple former officers and directors in substantial criminal matters;
  • Representing health care company in E&O insurance coverage litigation and arbitration arising from underlying antitrust claims;
  • Representing industrial manufacturing client in coverage litigation against historical general liability insurers involving coverage for substantial alleged environmental liabilities arising from former manufacturing facility;
  • Represented large commercial client in coverage litigation against employment practices liability insurer involving large underlying employment discrimination class action;
  • Representing New Jersey bank in connection with coverage issues arising out of underlying construction litigation;
  • Representing industrial manufacturing client in litigation involving rights to historical general liability insurance policies among client and numerous corporate successors to client;
  • Represented large water utility in appraisal proceeding over major first-party insurance flood loss to water pumping plant and equipment;
  • Represented beneficiary under “key person” life insurance policy in connection with dispute over change of beneficiary by policy owner.

Mr. Kiel's practice includes serving as counsel and arbitrator in several commercial arbitrations throughout the United States.  He has been selected by policyholders to serve as a party appointed arbitrator in a number of large insurance coverage arbitrations, including claims involving a loss of a gas and oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico during Hurricane Rita; and multiple D&O insurance coverage disputes.  Mr. Kiel has also handled several large insurance coverage arbitrations on behalf of policyholder clients involving both first party losses and D&O insurance coverage disputes.

Mr. Kiel has also defended several significant environmental and toxic tort litigations, including precedent setting environmental justice litigation, CERCLA and similar state statutory cost recovery litigation, along with related toxic tort class actions, wrongful death litigation and multiple plaintiff lawsuits.  He also regularly counsels and represents clients in litigation concerning contractual indemnity claims for asbestos, environmental and other liabilities.

Mr. Kiel has also handled numerous commercial litigations and counseled clients on the resolution of commercial disputes short of litigation.  His commercial litigation matters have included the following:

  • Handling complex construction dispute involving state of the art health care facility in New York City on behalf of health care providers
  • Coordinated and handled numerous commercial equipment lease litigations on behalf of large national bank-owned equipment leasing company;
  • Successfully represented national franchisor in large consumer fraud litigation;
  • Successfully defended telecommunications company in RICO actions.

Mr. Kiel has been listed in Best Lawyers in America in the area of Insurance Law (Bad Faith, Coverage, Dispute Resolution, Plaintiffs) since 2006.

Professional Background

Mr. Kiel served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Sherwin D. Lester, Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, from 1982-1983. Mr. Kiel has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America in Insurance Law since 2006 and has been selected as a New Jersey Super Lawyer in Insurance Law.

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section, Committee on Insurance Coverage Litigation)
  • District V.A Supreme Court Ethics Committee (Member)
  • Morris County Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • Trial Attorneys of New Jersey (Board Member)

Speaking Engagements

Please click on the "Newsstand" link for a complete listing of Mr. Kiel's presentations and publications.