Hinkhouse Williams Walsh

Richard  McDermott

Richard McDermott

  • Partner
  • 180 North Stetson Avenue
  • Suite 3400
  • Chicago, Illinois 60601


For nearly 30 years, Richard McDermott’s practice has been focused on insurance coverage and complex commercial litigation and arbitration.  He concentrates his practice on representing the interests of insurers and reinsurers, based both in the U.S. and abroad, in connection with complex environmental, health hazard, asbestos and product liability claims, and in the defense of bad faith actions.  He has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s highest attorney rating of AV.


Insurance Litigation and Arbitration

Rich has litigated a wide variety of coverage claims during the last 30 years, involving both current and historic insurance policies, before numerous trial and appellate courts throughout the country.  Rich also has extensive arbitration and mediation experience, including arbitration pursuant to Bermuda law and under Bermuda insurance forms.  The list below is a representative sample of coverage matters Rich has handled or is handling.

  • Coverage counsel for insurers responding to claims arising out of lawsuits alleging bodily injury due to exposure to products containing talcum powder
  • Representation of insurer in construction defect lawsuit involving apartment complex in Wisconsin
  • Coverage counsel for European insurer for claims arising out of lawsuits alleging bodily injury and property damage as a result of exposure to chemicals in AFFFs (aqueous film forming foams) used in fire suppression
  • Representation of UK insurers in litigation over coverage for environmental claims against former cement manufacturer
  • Representation of insurer clients in lawsuits regarding state and federal claims asserted against major U.S. utilities involving coal combustion residuals from power plants located in Midwest and Southeast states
  • Representation of insurers in connection with asbestos claims asserted against manufacturer of consumer products
  • Representation of insurers in lawsuit involving multiple environmental matters arising out of railroad operations in several states
  • Representation of domestic and UK-based insurers in coverage action, through appeal and settlement, in case involving former fertilizer plant in South Carolina
  • Representation of insurers in lawsuit involving former gas plants located on Ohio River
  • Representation of insurer in defending claim for coverage arising out of underlying allegations of racial discrimination against Wisconsin municipality
  • Representation of insurers regarding claims against medical device manufacturer arising out of knee and hip implants
  • Representation of various insurers at trial regarding claim by Colorado utility for coverage arising out of river contamination
  • Representation of insurers in South Dakota litigation related to coverage claim for the clean up of contaminated areas near dams, former gas plants and other facilities
  • Obtained summary judgment for insurers in connection with bodily injury claims related to lead exposure in South America
  • Negotiated settlement on behalf of insurer regarding medical monitoring claims in West Virginia, arising out of use of certain chemicals at coal preparation plants
  • Representation of insurer in California state court in connection with underlying lawsuits alleging sale of faulty PVC piping
  • Obtained dismissal on behalf of various insurers identified in Missouri state court coverage action related to bodily injury and property damage claims based on alleged exposure to lead smelter and tailing sites
  • Representation of insurer in defending claims of Iowa utility seeking coverage for losses related to former gas plants; secured favorable settlement as a result of successful motion practice
  • Representation of insurers in coverage disputes concerning clergy abuse allegations in various Midwestern dioceses
  • Representation of various insurers in coverage litigation involving losses incurred by Indiana utility in connection with former salvage yard and manufactured gas plant sites
  • Representation of insurer in federal court action involving claim for insurance coverage related to clean up of former manufacturing facility in Indiana
  • Obtained summary judgment for insurance company in a multi-state coverage dispute against a medical device manufacturer, regarding coverage for injuries alleged to have been caused by a device used in the treatment of aortic abdominal aneurysms
  • Representation of various insurers in coverage litigation filed by an Indiana utility seeking coverage for costs related to the remediation of coking facilities
  • Obtained favorable award in Bermuda arbitration against Ohio-based manufacturer regarding coverage for its liability arising out of an oil refinery fire and explosion
  • Obtained favorable defense verdict on behalf of various London insurers in jury trial regarding the losses incurred by an Indiana utility in remediating former manufactured gas plants, and secured affirmance of verdict on appeal
  • Obtained summary judgment for insurers in multi-state coverage litigation regarding alleged Clean Air Act liability against Midwestern utility
  • Negotiated favorable settlement on behalf of various insurers in dispute over the environmental liabilities of Wisconsin-based chemical distributor
  • Representation of multiple insurers in coverage dispute related to breast implant claims
  • Representation of insurers in multi-state litigation involving coverage dispute over a major equipment manufacturer’s liabilities for asbestos and silica claims
  • Negotiated favorable settlement for insurers in coverage dispute with Wisconsin utility arising out of cyanide contamination
  • Representation of insurance company in mediation regarding its potential exposure for marine claim arising out of severe personal injury on barge
  • Provided clients with legal opinions regarding possible exposure under various lines of coverage for numerous pollution, product liability, health hazard, asbestos, and construction defect claims

Other Experience

  • Representation of numerous indigent and low income Chicago-based clients on pro bono basis, involving family law, landlord-tenant and immigration matters
  • Representation of students and their families in expulsion proceedings brought by Chicago Public Schools for alleged violations of “zero tolerance” policies

Related Practices

Education, Admissions & Affiliations


  • Notre Dame Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1993
  • Notre Dame London Law Centre, J.D., 1991-92
  • Hong Kong Shue Yan College, Lecturer in Western History and English, 1989-90
  • Tufts University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1988


  • Illinois State Bar, 1993
  • Wisconsin State Bar, 2011
  • U.S. Court of Appeals (6th Circuit), 2001
  • U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois, 1993
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. Wisconsin, 2015
  • U.S. District Court, W.D. Michigan, 2019

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Illinois State Bar Association

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