About Nancy J. Rich

Nancy Rich provides practical guidance to clients confronting environmental and safety legal issues, whether they arise in litigation, transactions or regulatory matters. A former environmental prosecutor with the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Nancy has a detailed understanding of regulatory agencies and the laws they enforce. She regularly advises corporate, real estate and financial services clients.

Efficiency that closes deals, mitigates compliance issues, resolves cases

Nancy's experience as an environmental prosecutor gives her an insider's understanding of how agencies operate, how they view the law and how they determine their enforcement priorities. That includes an understanding of facts likely trigger agency action and potential liability. She combines that background with her years of experience at Katten to develop solutions that mitigate risk and allow her clients to pursue their business goals. She does that with a rigorous focus on providing advice that is both practical and efficient in bringing her client's legal issue to resolution, whether it is a regulatory matter or a deal closing.

The formula works. Clients value her efficiency, for instance, in ensuring that technical consultants develop only the information her clients need to address their immediate issue. They also value the nimbleness that Nancy brings to her matters. Realizing that a situation may change, she stands ready to adapt her strategies as new information warrants. Throughout, she remains focused on her client's current circumstance and goals.

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Practice Focus

  • Complex litigation involving Superfund, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws
  • Environmental toxic tort litigation and enforcement litigation defense
  • Brownfields and other real-estate-related environmental matters
  • EHS (environmental, health and safety) liabilities in corporate transactions
  • Environmental insurance policies
  • Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) compliance and defense
  • Alternative energy issues and environmental sustainability projects

Representative Experience

  • Represented major manufacturer of automotive and truck fuel additives in negotiations regarding a federal regulatory proposal to ban the use of a critical component of one of the client’s leading products. Regulators ceased efforts to ban the additive after we worked with the client and technical experts to present detailed technical evidence documenting the lack of available effective substitutes.
  • Advised various manufacturing clients regarding emergency regulatory requirements for manufacturing hand sanitizer during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Defended Clean Water Act regulatory enforcement action brought against management of commercial / residential skyscraper.
  • Defended food manufacturer against alleged multiple, repeat violations of worker health and safety requirements. Obtained reduction of several hundred thousand dollars in OSHA penalty case.
  • Represented client in obtaining cost of defense settlement of federal Superfund cost recovery lawsuit after locating and deposing the plaintiff’s retired employee. The employee testified that waste from the plaintiff’s manufacturing line was dumped outside on the ground at the plaintiff’s property on multiple occasions over a period of years.
  • Represented client in negotiating with co-lender, defaulting borrower and regulatory agency to avoid environmental litigation on a Brownfield development loan. Developed a strategy that allowed client to exit the loan and recoup most of the loan value.
  • Developed and oversaw multi-layered liability and allocation and insurance plan which allowed client to successfully divest an environmentally challenged business.
  • Advised nonprofit, off-the-grid incubator for sustainable businesses on applicability of federal and state environmental and utility laws and regulations applicable to its anaerobic digester and combined heat and power system. As a result, client qualified for a loan to build the system to supply the building's energy needs, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs over the life of the facility.
  • Analyzed and edited client’s draft sustainability and climate change disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission pertaining to the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
  • Counseled foreign investor in acquiring US manufacturing plants by implementing an environmental investigation plan to develop an appropriate environmental baseline for lenders. Persuaded seller to retain certain assets that would likely impede financing of the acquisition.
  • Counseled acquirers of nearly one million acres of timberland regarding oil and gas well liability issues. Negotiated contractual provisions to carve out locations and liabilities of concern.

Presentations and Events

  • May 22, 2022
    American Bar Association RPTE CLE Program
    Finance Documents and Due Diligence
  • April 27, 2022
    American Bar Association RPTE National CLE Seminar
    Emerging Legal Issues in Real Property – Environmental and Sustainability
  • May 15, 2020
    American Bar Association RPTE National CLE Seminar
    The Forever Chemicals and Other Emerging and Not So New Environmental Issues
  • May 24, 2018
    Presenter | Keeping Your Clients Clean – Mitigating Environmental Risks in Real Estate Transactions
  • May 10–11, 2018
    Presenter | Urbanization and Gentrification: Tools to Increase Social Equity While Revitalizing City Centers
  • May 10, 2018
    American Bar Association RPTE National CLE Seminar
    Redeveloping Urban Brownfields - Navigating the Maze of Incentive and Funding Programs
  • May 12–13, 2016
    Spring CLE Symposia
    Speaker | Environmental Insurance – Identifying, Negotiating and Allocating Liabilities
  • November 16, 2015
    Florida Bar Association Real Property and Title Law Committee
    Speaker | Digging Through the Field of Environmental Insurance – Identifying and Addressing Legal Issues Through Negotiation
  • January 7, 2015
    American Bar Association eCLE
    Panelist | Building the Survey Team – Addressing Critical Project Issues
  • View All Presentations and Events