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Overview

Rick Kenyon has a well-earned reputation as a fierce advocate who skillfully guides litigation to the optimum benefit of his clients.

Rick is an accomplished litigator and trial attorney with over 20 years of experience, who has dedicated his career to successfully defending a broad range of clientele in complex, high stakes, multi-million-dollar litigation. Since joining Pretzel & Stouffer almost two decades ago, Rick has represented domestic, foreign and multinational businesses and professionals in a wide array of matters involving catastrophic injury and commercial disputes.

Rick has defended clients against a diverse spectrum of claims involving product liability, construction accidents and defects, transportation accidents, premises liability, negligent hiring, retention and supervision of employees, vicarious liability, professional malpractice, spoliation of evidence, contract disputes, fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference and statutory violations.

During the course of his career, Rick has developed a formidable ability to efficiently and critically analyze complex data and voluminous information. When crafting solutions to complex problems, he approaches legal and factual issues from multiple angles, diligently investigating and weighing strategic options. Rick has consistently impressed colleagues, clients, courts, and adversaries by accurately identifying the issues upon which success depends and formulating effective strategies and solutions that have achieved advantageous results.

Though Rick has handled many cases from their inception, over his career, he has also been a spearhead in developing Pretzel & Stouffer’s “drop-in” practice, often successfully associating in and taking over the defense of complicated, high exposure cases at the request of clients shortly before trial.

Education

  • DePaul University School of Law, J.D. 1995
  • University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, B.S. 1990

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois
  • Colorado
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Related Practices

Professional Experience

Representative Cases

2019: Defending five related commercial busing entities and an employee against consolidated claims of negligence (under common carrier heightened standard of care) arising out of a bus accident that resulted in injuries to more than thirty passengers. Assumed the defense at the request of the excess carrier.

2019: Represented an industrial and commercial pipe and fixture distributor against product liability claims arising out of an explosion at a glass manufacturing plant in Dewitt, Iowa that resulted in over $100 million dollars in property damage.

2019: Defended an industrial and commercial water treatment company against claims of negligence arising out of a workplace accident that resulted in a scalding injury involving second and third degree burns and permanent scarring over 40% of a married worker’s skin surface and over $2 million dollars in medical expenses. Associated into the defense at the request of the excess carrier midway through fact discovery.

2019: Defended an excess insurance carrier and its insured, a roofing contractor, against claims of negligent construction arising out of a multi-million-dollar fire that decimated a landmark church constructed in 1880 resulting in approximately $25 million dollars in property damage.

2019: Three weeks prior to trial assumed the defense of a municipality and national sports and entertainment arena management company in a slip and fall case involving claims of negligence that resulted in a lower extremity fracture which developed into complex regional pain syndrome – a permanent condition – with a future spinal implant to control chronic pain recommended.

2019: Obtained partial summary judgment in favor of a manufacturer of a specialized commercial trucking trailer against breach of implied warranty and Restatement § 414 negligently retained control claims arising out of a workplace accident that resulted in the crushing injury and death of a married electrician and father of three on his first day on the job

2019: At the request of the carrier, six weeks prior to trial, assumed the defense of a traffic signal timing contractor in a traffic accident construction case involving claims for negligence arising out of a motorcycle accident that resulted in the death of a motorcycle rider and entrepreneur.

2019: Defended a real estate management company against negligent premises liability claims involving a three-story fall through dilapidated decking, resulting in spinal compression, complex ankle and pelvic fractures.

2018: After the close of fact discovery, assumed the defense of a Korean manufacturer of a component ingredient in a case involving product liability, negligence, breach of warranty and fraudulent concealment claims arising out of the contamination of a health food supplement product that resulted in a multimillion dollar claim for commercial damages.

2018: Defended a trucking company against claims of negligence arising out of a rear-end automobile accident that resulted in the death of the retired, married driver and father of four. Representation at the request of the first layer excess carrier.

2018: Obtained summary judgment in favor of a major petroleum producer against Restatement § 414 negligently retained control claims arising out of a construction accident at a refinery resulting in a crushing incident, multiple surgeries to various parts of the plaintiff’s body and claims of permanent cognitive and physical disability and pain and suffering of a married construction worker and father of four.

2018: While motions in limine were pending at the commencement of trial, obtained dismissal of third-party claims for contributory negligence against a steel erector arising out of the crushing death of a married 47-year-old construction worker and father of four including a special needs child.

2018: Defended a major petroleum producer against strict and negligent product liability claims in state court involving a petroleum product – Clarified Slurry Oil (CSO) – that ignited and caused an explosion of a barge in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal which led to the sinking and total loss of the vessel, the death of a crew member and claimed property damage, business and economic losses in excess of $70 million dollars.

2018: Defended a construction contractor (steel erector) against third-party claims for contributory negligence, contractual indemnification, implied indemnification and breach of contract for failure to procure insurance arising out of the crushing death of a 57-year-old construction worker and father of three. After two years of litigation and over sixty fact and expert witness depositions, during which time the target defendants actively pursued claims against the steel erector, the target defendants voluntarily dismissed all third-party claims.

2018: At the request of the carrier, ten weeks prior to trial assumed the defense of four insurance companies in a case involving claims for vicarious liability and potential discovery sanctions arising out of a traffic accident between an insurance agent and a pedestrian resulting in a complicated fracture of the lower extremity necessitating three surgeries, including a total knee replacement and several subsequent revision surgeries to the married plaintiff and father.

2018: At the request of the excess carrier, assumed the defense of a roofing contractor and employees against claims of vicarious liability, negligent and willful and wanton conduct/punitive damages claims arising out of roofing hot-work that resulting in a fire and multi-million-dollar property damage to a commercial building and related business losses.

2018: At the request of the excess carrier, six months prior to trial, assumed the defense of a Trucking Company against claims for negligent maintenance of a trailer arising out of a slip and fall by an independent trucker which resulted in a fracture of the lower back vertebra, unsuccessful surgery, a diagnosis of “failed back syndrome” and permanent disability.

2017: Defended an insurance carrier and its insured, a roofing contractor, against claims of negligence arising out of a fall from a roof during construction of a residential home resulting in a bilateral fractures to the lower extremities and permanent disability.

2017: At the request of the excess carrier, two weeks prior to trial, assumed the defense of a general contractor against claims for negligent construction of a CVS pharmacy arising out of a slip and fall from a roof access ladder which resulted in spinal fractures, surgery and permanent disability to the plaintiff.

2017: At the request of the excess carrier, several days prior to trial, undertook monitoring the primary carrier defense of a trucking company and its driver against claims for negligent operation & training arising out of a catastrophic rear-end accident and the death of a female driver and mother of three. Negotiated a favorable high-low agreement immediately prior to the jury returning a verdict that exceeded the excess carrier’s limits of coverage.

2016: At the request of the carrier six months prior to trial, associated into the defense of a general contractor against negligent and willful and wanton conduct/punitive damages claims arising out of an automobile accident at a roadway construction zone resulting in multiple cranial fractures, traumatic brain injury and permanent cognitive deficits to a seven-year-old child.

2016: Defended a commercial owner of industrial property against negligence claims arising out of an elevator malfunction incident that resulted in the crushing death of an elevator technician and father of two. Assumed the defense at the request of the carrier midway through discovery.

2016: At the request of the carrier, six months prior to trial, assumed the defense and obtained summary judgment in favor of a paratransit company and insurers against claims for negligence (under the common carrier heightened standard of care) arising out of a choking and asphyxiation incident and injury to a mentally handicapped minor passenger resulting in paraplegia and permanent physical and cognitive deficits due to anoxia.

2016: Defended a soil stabilization company against claims of negligence arising out of a traffic accident resulting in serious and permanent injuries (including traumatic brain injuries and spinal fractures) to four married, female plaintiffs, several of whom were mothers.

2015: Defended a manufacturer of electric golf carts against strict and negligent product liability claims arising out of the unintended acceleration of a golf cart resulting in the crushing death of a successful, married attorney and father. Associated into the defense at the request of the excess carrier three weeks prior to scheduled trial.

2015: At the request of the carrier, twelve weeks prior to trial, assumed the defense of a national trucking company against claims for negligence arising out of dislodgment of snow and ice from a semi-truck which shattered the windshield of the plaintiff’s vehicle and struck the plaintiff’s head resulting in permanent visual impairment and cognitive disability related to traumatic brain injury of the married plaintiff and father of two.

2015: Defended a flavoring and extract manufacturer and distributor against strict and negligent product liability claims arising out of utilization of Diacetyl in food products resulting in complex lung injuries and permanent disability to multiple factory workers.

2015: Obtained dismissal of strict and negligent product liability claims against a manufacturer of an industrial floor scrubber arising out of an incident that resulted in a complex injury to the lower extremity and permanent physical disability to the married plaintiff and father.

2014: Defended an industrial steel manufacturer against breach of contract and breach of express warranty claims filed in Indiana Federal Court and competing declaratory judgment action filed in Louisiana State Court and subsequently removed to Louisiana Federal Court involving construction defect claims arising out of the use of structural steel coated with defective PYROCRETE 241 fireproofing that compromised a multi-million dollar refinery modernization project resulting in property damage requiring repair and remediation and claimed economic losses exceeding $100 million dollars.

2014: At the request of the excess carrier, approximately twelve weeks prior to trial, assumed the defense of a food service distribution company against negligent trucking operation and training claims resulting in the death of a married 20-year veteran and captain of the Chicago Fire Department and father of three.

2014: Defended a major fast food franchisor and an independently owned and operated franchisee against claims of negligent failure to protect from the actions of third parties involving the violent assault of a patron, resulting in alleged permanent brain injury, cognitive disability and facial disfigurement of a high-school student. Obtained a ruling on a motion for summary judgment in favor of the franchisor.

2014: Defended a commercial property development & construction company against claims for contractual indemnification, involving allegations that construction of a fifty-story building interfered with the ability to lease adjacent commercial property.

2014: Defended an industrial plastic injection molding machine manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability and breach of warranty claims, resulting in the crushing death of the married operator and father.

2013: Defended a Japanese manufacturer of a carbon monoxide detection sensor and its American subsidiary against spoliation of evidence claims arising out of strict and negligent product liability and breach of warranty litigation, resulting in permanent brain damage and cognitive disability to a young child.

2013: Defended a distributor of a firepot and fuel gel against strict and negligent product liability claims resulting in burn injuries and permanent facial scarring of the married plaintiff.

2013: Engaged by the exclusive USA importer and distributor of Italian bicycles and bicycle component manufacturer to facilitate voluntary product recall of defective bicycle forks in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

2013: At the request of the excess carrier, at the conclusion of fact discover, associated into the case to defend a waste management company and its driver against negligent training, operation and willful and wanton entrustment claims resulting in permanent brain damage and cognitive disability to the married, female pedestrian and mother.

2012: Defended an industrial packaging company against claims of breach of contract and negligence, involving allegations that deficient blocking and bracing of an industrial filter press destined for China resulted in property damage and commercial/economic losses.

2012: Defended a French bicycle quick release and wheel manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability claims, including alleged violation of CPSC bicycle regulations. The plaintiff, a married investment banker and hedge fund manager, who had participated in twenty-seven marathons and two iron man triathlons, and father of three, was rendered an incomplete quadriplegic as a result of the accident. The past and future income loss claim alone was in excess of $40 million dollars.

2011: Defended a commercial treadmill manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability and breach of warranty claims resulting in a fire and damage at a health club facility and related commercial business losses.

2011: Defended a manufacturer of synthetic strapping against strict and negligent product liability claims resulting in the plaintiff suffering injury when the strapping broke causing stacked concrete pavers to collapse.

2011: Defended a major petroleum refiner against negligence and implied indemnity claims in federal court involving a petroleum product – Clarified Slurry Oil (CSO) – that ignited and caused an explosion of a barge in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal which led to the sinking and total loss of the vessel, the death of a crew member and significant clean-up costs due to partial discharge of the vessel’s 14,000-barrel cargo. Summary judgment was obtained in favor of the client.

2011: Defended wealthy condominium unit owners against claims of nuisance and negligent property maintenance and personal injury arising out of alleged water infiltration and toxic mold proliferation. The case included claims for equitable relief and resulted in related litigation in chancery court and almost ten years of litigation.

2010: Defended a former president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and his partners against complex usurpation of corporate opportunity claims and claims for punitive damages in which a former partner in a separate electronic trading venture claimed that he was defrauded out of an alleged interest in Archipelago, an Electronic Communication Network that ultimately merged with the NYSE. Though the plaintiff claimed damages exceeding $300 million, the jury limited its award to $11 million. On appeal the $11 million award was reversed and judgment was entered in favor of the clients based on dispositive motions.

2010: Defended a German manufacturer of a commercial steel band strapper against strict and negligent product liability claim where electronic programming resulted in unanticipated movement of the strapper which along with inadequate guarding and safety controls caused severe crushing injuries and permanent pain and suffering and physical disability when the married plaintiff and father of three became entrapped between the strapper and adjacent machinery.

2009: Defended a German manufacturer of an industrial shredder against strict and negligent product liability claims resulting in the death of the married operator and father of six including a special needs child.

2009: Defended a manufacturer of exercise equipment against strict and negligent product liability claims in which the inadequate guarding resulted in the married plaintiff and father losing three fingers off his dominant hand after becoming entangled in braided steel cables while moving the equipment.

2008: Defended a commercial janitorial company against negligent premises liability claims involving a married judge’s clerk and mother tripping and falling on deteriorated carpeting at the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, resulting in the aggravation of a preexisting complex spinal injury, bi-lateral rotator cuff injuries and knee injuries, necessitating a series of medical operations and permanent pain and suffering and physical disability.

2008: Defended a real estate management company against negligent premises liability and spoliation of evidence claims involving a one-story fall through rotted decking, resulting in a spinal compression fracture and permanent pain and suffering and physical disability.

2008: At the request of the carrier, during expert discovery, associated into the defense of an industrial bearing manufacturer in a Texas state suit involving strict and negligent product liability claims that caused the collapse of a crane and the death of the operator.

2007: Defended homeowners against negligent premises liability claims involving the carbon monoxide asphyxiation of a female, former junior Olympic level ice skater and reality television show contestant working as an intern on the Oprah Winfrey Show caused by a hot tub heating system.

2007: Defended a commercial property owner, a realty management company and a commercial property maintenance company against negligent premises liability claims involving a 40-foot fall from a commercial man-lift, resulting in complex fractures of the lower extremities and permanent physical disability.

2007: Defended a commercial janitorial company in a high-profile negligence case in which a homeless man who had allegedly hidden overnight in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois committed a violent sexual assault upon the married, female clerk of court.

2007: Defended a commercial realty management company against a negligent premises liability case involving a trip and fall down a deteriorated set of external stairs, resulting in a compression fracture of the spine and permanent physical disability of the married, female plaintiff and mother. The case included willful and wanton conduct/punitive damages claims.

2007: Obtained summary judgment in favor of a commercial security company in a high-profile negligent security case involving the shooting of multiple employees by a former, disgruntled employee resulting in multiple deaths and serious injuries. Associated into the defense at the request of the excess carrier after the close of fact discovery.

2007: Defended an industrial bearing manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability claims resulting in the collapse of an intermodal rail yard crane, the death of the married operator and father of three and the total loss of the crane.

2007: Defended a manufacturer of an industrial blender against strict and negligent product liability claims in which the plaintiff alleged that the product was inadequately guarded and lacked appropriate safety controls which resulted in the loss of most of the dominant hand of the plaintiff.

2006: Defended a manufacturer of playground equipment against negligent and strict product liability claims in which the plaintiff, a married, ophthalmologist and father was rendered a paraplegic when he slipped and fell on the equipment.

2006: Obtained summary judgment in favor of an aluminum can manufacturer in a case involving strict and negligent product liability and res ipsa loquitur claims in which an aluminum can exploded causing the loss of an eye.

2006: Defended a surge suppressor manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability and breach of warranty claims resulting in a fire and related property damage and commercial business losses.

2006: Defended a valet car parking service in a case involving the negligent traffic accident death of a married, female pedestrian and mother. The case included willful and wanton conduct/punitive damages claims.

2006: Defended a commercial realty management company against claims of negligent hiring, negligent retention, vicarious liability and negligent failure to protect from the actions of an employee who violently murdered a young, female tenant.

2005: Defended wealthy condominium unit owners against claims of nuisance and premises liability arising out of alleged water infiltration and mold proliferation. The case included “alternative liability” claims as well as claims for equitable relief.

2005: Defended a company that engaged in asbestos sampling and analysis against claims for commercial losses incurred as a result of purchase of the property based on negligently inaccurate asbestos abatement report.

2005: Defended a company licensed by the federal government to handle and dispose of radioactive material against a negligence claim involving collapse of rigging which resulted in injury to one of the riggers and the total loss of a Gamma Knife, a medical device which targets tumors via radiation therapy.

2004: Defended an industrial automatic guided vehicle (AGV) manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability claims involving electronic programming and inadequate guarding and safety controls that resulted in the plaintiff suffering severe crushing injuries to the head and permanent physical and cognitive disability and disfigurement.

2004: Defended an importing subsidiary of an Indian textile manufacturer against claims of breach of contract and violation of the Illinois Sales Representative Act (allowing for treble compensatory damages and recovery of attorney fees and costs), resulting from a dispute over whether certain commissions were promised and owed.

2004: Defended homeowners against claims of fraud and violation of the real estate disclosure act (allowing for treble compensatory damages, and recovery of attorney fees and costs) and claims for punitive damages, resulting from the alleged concealment of foundation deterioration.

2003: Defended a commercial bank in a negligence case in which a married patron and father was shot and killed during a robbery on the bank premises.

2003: Defended a manufacturer of paraffin lamp oil against strict and negligent product liability claims in which a toddler removed a bottle cap that was insufficiently child-proof and drank the oil, which coated the lungs of the young child, resulting in oxygen deprivation and permanent brain damage and physical and cognitive disability.

2003: Defended a surge suppressor manufacturer against strict and negligent product liability claims in which metal oxide varistor components of the product were allegedly subject to thermal runaway phenomenon, resulting in a fire and property damage to a commercial building and related commercial losses.

2003: Defended a commercial auctioneer who re-conditioned and re-sold a repossessed automobile against strict and negligent product liability claims in which the driver’s side airbag failed to deploy during an automobile accident which resulted in permanent brain damage and cognitive disability.

2002: Defended a construction company against negligence claims involving construction of sidewalk canopy protection which obscured the view of traffic, resulting in a bicycle collision with an automobile. The bicyclist – a law student at the DePaul University College of Law – was rendered a paraplegic.

2001: Defended an ophthalmological photographer against medical negligence and res ipsa loquitur claims involving an anaphylactic allergic reaction to dye and resulting in the death of the married patient.

2001: Defended an ophthalmologist against a medical malpractice claim involving the failure to diagnose glaucoma, resulting in permanent loss of vision in one eye.

2001: Defended a homeowner’s association against claims of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and tortious interference and claims for punitive damages (initiated by a financial institution seeking to divest itself of real estate investments) caused by association denial of architectural plans.

2001: Obtained summary judgment in favor of an owner and operator of an industrial punch-press machine against a loss of extremity claim involving allegations of spoliation of evidence.

2000: Defended a municipal transit authority against negligence claims arising out of a traffic accident in which a bus ran over a married, female pedestrian and mother of two, resulting in a bilateral degloving injury to the lower extremities and permanent disability and disfigurement. Assumed defense at the request of the excess carrier two weeks prior to trial.

Professional Affiliations

  • DRI

News

Summary Judgment Granted for Refinery in Laborer’s Injury Claim from 3,400 lb. Plate

Ed Ruff and Rick Kenyon prevailed on a motion for summary judgment on behalf of a major oil refinery owner. The case was litigated for years in Texas, dismissed, and refiled in Illinois. Plaintiff suffered serious physical, cognitive and psychological injuries when a 3,400-pound transfer plate fell and struck him during a crane lift on a turnaround project ...

September 2017 | Firm News

Summary Judgment Victory for McDonald’s Corporation

Pretzel & Stouffer Partner, Rick Kenyon, recently obtained summary judgment on behalf of McDonald’s Corporation in a personal injury case filed on behalf of a 17-year-old patron who was physically assaulted by an unknown assailant wielding a baseball bat or similar weapon in the parking lot of a franchise restaurant. Plaintiff alleged permanent brain damage as ...

October 2012 | Firm News

Pretzel & Stouffer Obtains Victory for Exxon Mobil in Barge Explosion Case

On August 9, 2011, a Pretzel & Stouffer team consisting of Ed Ruff, Mimi Moon, Mike Turiello, Rick Kenyon, and Jim Gillingham obtained a complete victory for Exxon Mobil Corporation in the case of the United States of America v. Egan Marine Corporation, et. al. The case is one of five pieces of litigation arising out of the January ...

September 2011 | Firm News