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Overview

Richard Waris is a Shareholder at Pretzel & Stouffer. He served as the first Chairman of the law firm’s Executive Committee and has been elected to serve in that position several terms thereafter. He concentrates his practice in commercial litigation, defense of professional liability claims, legislation and regulatory matters. Richard serves as General Counsel to the Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois. He has been selected by his peers as one of the top attorneys in field of practice and has been appointed to serve on the Illinois Department of Insurance Advisory Committee on Bank and Insurance.

In 2013 Richard was appointed by Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis to her Judicial Screening Committee and continues to serve on that committee to date.

Richard is admitted to the Illinois bar. He is also a member of the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois and is a member of U.S. District Court’s Trial Bar. Richard received his undergraduate education from the University of Notre Dame and his legal education from St. Louis University and University of Notre Dame. While attending Notre Dame, Richard was the Managing Editor of the Journal of Legislation and Director of the Notre Dame Legislative Research Service.

Richard has been a member of the Order of the Barristers, National Mock Trial Team, Master of the Bench of the American Inn of Court, Chicago, Illinois State and American Bar Association, Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Board of Directors), International Association of Defense Counsel and the LP Gas Joint Defense Counsel.

Education

  • St. Louis University/University of Notre Dame, J.D.
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A.

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois –  Trial Bar
  • United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Related Practices

Professional Experience

Professional Affiliations

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • The Lawyers Club
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers
  • Illinois Super Lawyers
  • Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (Board of Directors)
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • The LP Gas Joint Defense Counsel
  • Justice Theis Judicial Screening Committee (2013-present)

Awards

  • America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators (One of 26 in the State of Illinois)
  • Leading Attorneys in the State of Illinois (Top 5% of Illinois attorneys selected by their peers)
  • Illinois Super Lawyer
  • Appointed to the Illinois Department of Insurance Advisory Committee on the Banks and Insurance
  • Appointed to the Illinois Department of Insurance Advisory Committee on Employee Leasing Companies
  • Marquis Who’s Who in American Law
  • Richard has recognition as Who’s Who in Practicing Attorneys
  • Richard holds the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell rating, AV

Trials

  • Richard has tried numerous cases to verdict and judgment in both the State and U.S. District Courts throughout Illinois. Representative of his litigation experience is as follows:
  • Successfully defended a Kuwaiti bank through hearing in an action to enjoin the sale of real estate valued at $400 Million;
  • Successfully defended and defeated a class action brought by depositors of a national bank relating to the interest rates paid on certain assets held by the financial institution;
  • Successfully defended and defeated a class action brought by subscribers to a telecommunication company for E-911 and other surcharges;
  • Successfully defended an action to enjoin the merger of two national telecommunications companies by a regional local exchange carrier who claimed to be adversely affected by the merger;
  • Successfully defended and represented a financial institution in an action to enjoin the return of various loan portfolios being serviced by the portfolio management agency;
  • Successfully defended to verdict in a multi-week trial in the U.S. District Court for Trustees of a Health and Welfare Fund from an action brought by the Department of Labor for purported ERISA violations;
  • Successfully defended and co-prosecuted to verdict a multi-week action brought by the Delaware Department of Insurance in the U.S. District Court to place in receivership an Asset Manager engaged in defrauding a financial institution and life insurance company;
  • Successfully defended to verdict a physician in a multi-week trial arising from the death of a newborn;
  • Successfully defended to verdict a fire protection district before the Illinois Department of Labor in a one-week administrative hearing alleging they were involved in unfair labor practices during union organization;
  • Successfully defended through verdict an insurance producer in an action brought by a municipality for failure to place workman’s compensation coverage for its Fire Protection District;
  • Successfully defended to verdict an insurance producer for failure to procure coverage in an action brought for loss of and damage to property;
  • Obtained a not guilty verdict in a three week trial of an admitted negligence case involving the claimed wrongful death of an unborn child;
  • Successfully defended to verdict a common carrier in a multi-week trial for an alleged wrongful death;
  • Successfully co-prosecuted an RRG with the Illinois Department of Insurance in a four-day hearing relating to violations of the Anti-Rebating Act;
  • Successfully prosecuted to trial in the U.S. District Court a recovery for a chemical manufacturer for costs incurred in CERCLA clean-up action from the prior owner/polluter of the property involved;
  • Successfully defended through verdict a health insurer for an action brought by private contract nurses relating to unauthorized health care provided by the nurses; and
  • Successfully obtained a recovery in a product liability matter for a privately held chemical company against the employer of eleven plant workers who claimed serious lung injuries due to job site exposure to chemical fumes.

Recent Presentations

  • Guest lecturer, Asst. Professor Patrick Salvi’s “Litigation” class at University of Notre Dame Law School. (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012)
  • Faculty Member of International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy. Stanford University Law School. (July/August, 2011)
  • Chaired a presentation to the International Association of Defense Counsel: “Alternative Billing Structures and the future of Attorney/Client Arrangements.” (November 2008)
  • Presentation: “Corporate and Internal Investigation from the perspective of Directors, Officers, Lawyers and Accountants,” International Association of Defense Counsel, Professional Liability Roundtable. (October 2006)
  • Presentation: “Auditors’ Liability,” Illinois CPA Society’s 25thAnnual Business & Technology Solutions Show. (August 2005)

Expert Witness

  • Economy Fire v. Orner & Wasserman (attorney malpractice)

News

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Recognized as Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell

Pretzel and Stouffer partners, David Bennett, Robert Chemers, Suzanne Crowley, Matthew Egan, Patrick Healy, Brian Henry, James LaBarge, Edward Nielsen, Howard Pikel, Brian Rocca, Alan Schumacher, Brian Sundheim, John Smith, Richard Waris, and Timothy Weaver, were selected in 2019 by their peers as Preeminent for Highest level of Professional Excellence by Martindale-Hubbell.

July 2019 | Firm News

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Submit Amicus Brief in Support of Insurance Producers

Following the submission of an amicus brief prepared by Pretzel & Stouffer partners, Richard Waris, Matthew Egan, and Brendan Nelligan, on behalf of the Independent Insurance Agents of Illinois, the Illinois Supreme Court recently entered a very important victory for insurance producers and insurers in American Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Krop, 2018 IL 122556. ...

July 2019 | Firm News

Results

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Obtain Summary Judgment in Cell Phone Tower Case

Richard Waris, Tom Draths, and Jack Lonquist, recently achieved a victory on behalf of a communication infrastructure provider in a federal lawsuit alleging that the defendant-tower owner owed a duty to provide fall protection equipment and supervision to a worker. The plaintiff allegedly sustained life-changing injuries after falling while performing equipment repairs on a cellular ...

July 2019

Pretzel & Stouffer Attorneys Obtain Summary Judgment for Insurance Producer

Richard Waris, Brendan Nelligan, and Matthew Ligda, successfully defended an insurance producer against a claim for negligent procurement of insurance brought in federal court by a minor-league hockey player who lost an eye during a game. In 2014, the injured player sued the league and obtained an $800,000 judgment. Thereafter, the player brought a declaratory ...

July 2019