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Donald W. Kiel

Partner
+1.973.848.4064
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 health insurance plans and 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 large hospitality industry resorts in Puerto Rico in connection with property, business interruption and extra expense losses arising from Hurricane Maria;
  • Representing large industrial product manufacturer in litigation regarding insurance coverage for asbestos liabilities;
  • Insurance coverage counsel for global medical device manufacturer, handling claims under general liability, employment practices liability, directors and officers liability,and environmental liability insurance policies;
  • Insurance coverage counsel for New Jersey-based restaurant franchisee, handling claims under general liability, employment practices liability, and employers’ liability insurance policies;
  • Representing health care providers regarding claims under project-related pollution legal liability insurance policy;
  • Represented large hospital system captive insurer in connection with claim against reinsurer arising out of large medical malpractice settlement;
  • 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;
  • Represented New Jersey school districts in connection with disputes with employment practices liability insurer and health insurer regarding coverage-related matters.

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
  • Handling defense of litigation alleging fraud in the acquisition of real estate and seeking to quiet title to real estate;
  • 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.

Achievements

  • Best Lawyers in America, Insurance Law, 2006-2020
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers, Insurance Coverage

Professional/Civic Activities

  • American Bar Association (Litigation Section, Committee on Insurance Coverage Litigation)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Morristown and Morris Township Joint Free Public Library
  • District V.A Supreme Court Ethics Committee (Former Member)
  • Trial Attorneys of New Jersey (Former Board Member)

Speaking Engagements

  • “Free Money: Insurance Coverage under Policies Issued to Other Companies,” Association of Corporate Counsel New Jersey 16th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 21, 2018.
  • “Understanding and Managing Cyber Risk,” Association of Corporate Counsel New Jersey 15th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 15, 2017.
  • “A Primer on Directors and Officers and Similar Professional Liability Insurance,” Association of Corporate Counsel New Jersey 14th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 16, 2016.
  • “A Primer on Directors and Officers and Similar Professional Liability Insurance,” New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 12th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 19, 2014.
  • “A Primer on D&O Insurance,” American Bankers Association General Counsel Group Meeting, November 14, 2013.
  • “An Introduction to Corporate Insurance,” New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 11th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 20, 2013.
  • “Superstorm Sandy: Are You Covered,” K&L Gates Webinar, November 13, 2012.
  • “Insurance 101: A Basic Level Introduction to Corporate Insurance,” New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 10th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 21, 2012.
  • “Contractual Indemnities and Insurance: Not Always Perfect Together,” New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 9th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 23, 2011.
  • “Climate Change and Sustainability: Selected Issues Regarding Risk Management, Liability and Insurance,” New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 8th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 24, 2010.
  • “Sustainability: Selected Issued Regarding Liability and Insurance,” New Jersey Risk and Insurance Managers Society Meeting, April 13, 2010.
  • “Insurance Coverage and the Financial Crisis,” K&L Gates Webinar, February 26, 2009.
  • “‘Free Money’ Insurance Coverage under Policies Issued to Other Companies,” New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association 6th Annual Full Day CLE Conference, September 18, 2008.
  • Panelist, “Developing a Goods Sold and Delivered Case,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, September 2004.
  • “Negotiating Insurance Settlements for Long-Tail Exposure Claims,” ABA/ACCA Conference for Corporate Counsel: “The Legal Department’s Role in Enhancing the Corporate Bottom Line,” June 2002.
  • “Indemnification and Insurance Contract Provisions – A Primer,” ABA Section of Business Law 2002 Spring Meeting Program Titled, “Terrorist Attacks, Catastrophes and Insurance Coverage Litigation, Relationship with Risk Managers and Contractual Indemnities, Old and New Insurance Topics for Corporate Counsel,” April 2002.
  • “The Owned Property Exclusion Under New Jersey Law,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education Seminar, “Environmental Insurance From A to Z,” September 2001.
  • Panelist, “Insurance Issues in Toxic and Environmental Contamination,” New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, September and November 1991.

Additional Information

Publications
  • “IMO Industries Tackles New Jersey Law on Host of Insurance Coverage Issue,” FC&S Legal: Insurance Coverage Law Report, January/February 2015.