For more than 30 years, Rich Reizen has represented a wide array of clients in connection with numerous construction projects and complex commercial litigation matters.

Rich, who is chair of the firm's Construction Practice, has represented contractors, subcontractors, architects, engineers and owners in connection with hundreds of construction projects in Chicago and throughout the country. These projects have included:

  • the world’s largest cable stayed pre-cast segment concrete span bridge
  • convention centers and hotels
  • government projects, including water treatment plants
  • high-rise buildings and commercial office centers
  • coal gassification sites
  • residential communities
  • schools
  • arenas and performing arts centers
  • hospitals
  • parking structures
  • nuclear power plants 

Rich is both an experienced litigator and construction lawyer, using his depth of skills to advise his clients in all phases of construction, including pre-construction documentation, construction issues arising during the project, and the mediation, arbitration or litigation of claims resulting from the projects.

Rich also has a wealth of experience in a broad range of commercial litigation matters. He has represented large institutions, entrepreneurs and closely-held businesses in numerous types of matters, including:

  • financial litigation
  • telecommunications litigation
  • securities litigation
  • equipment lease litigation
  • accounting, auditing, legal and other professional malpractice claims
  • contract and partnership disputes 

In addition, Rich has also served as lead counsel in numerous complex multidistrict class actions.

Rich is a frequent author and speaker on a variety of construction-related topics, as well as other topics including class actions, accounting and banking issues.

Rich has been recognized by his peers as an Illinois Leading Lawyer in the areas of Construction and Commercial Law.

Credentials

Education

  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1980
  • Clark University, B.A., Psychology, 1976

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Federal Trial Bar, Northern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Key Cases or Transactions

  • Lead trial counsel representing the plaintiff joint venture in a claim for recovery of the contract price, plus the value of certain extra work, relating to a bridge over the Chicago River. Much of the work was done pursuant to oral change orders. The matter was settled before trial, after the City of Chicago agreed to pay the entire amount claimed by the plaintiff joint venture, including the amounts for extra work.
  • Represented the contractor who was retained in connection with the renovation of the HVAC/temperature control system and its conversion to digital controls at a federal building. Prepared a claim for the contractor for unfinished work, unabsorbed overhead, change orders and delay against GSA. After extensive discovery concerning those issues, the claim was settled on favorable terms for our client before the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals.
  • Won a multimillion-dollar arbitration victory for a pharmaceutical company. The arbitration, conducted in New York City, concerned a license and development agreement for a drug to be administered to feedlot cattle using a microsphere and time-release technology. The arbitration involved substantial technical expert testimony concerning pharmaceutical bioequivalence and drug formulation issues, and whether all commercially reasonable steps to obtain FDA approval were taken.
  • Represented a large real estate developer in an action against an auditing firm for failing to detect a multimillion-dollar embezzlement by the developer’s bookkeeper. Despite the fact that no audit or attestation level services were performed, obtained a seven-figure recovery at trial based upon the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Management Advisory Standards (which had seldom been used to impute liability in litigation matters prior to that time).
  • Lead counsel representing a general contractor in negotiating and reviewing the contract documents in connection with a $118-million, 1-million-square-foot convention center project in Seattle. At the conclusion of the construction contracts, prepared claim that was developed as a result of design deficiencies and schedule impacts, resulting in numerous change orders. The settlement structure for the claim totaled $60 million and was agreed to at a mediation hearing before litigation.
  • Lead trial counsel for owner in litigation involving, among other things, responsibility for construction defects at a multimillion-dollar senior development. Successful in developing a litigation strategy that lead to the settlement of all of the litigation claims on terms acceptable to the owner during the trial.
  • Lead trial counsel for a contractor in successful litigation with a public utility responsible for the contamination of a coal gasification site; obtained a multimillion-dollar award.
  • Represented general contractor in connection with the construction contracts for a $90-million project for the construction of the high-level approaches and center span for a bridge crossing south of St. Petersburg, Fla. The bridge is the world’s largest cable-stayed pre-cast segment concrete-span bridge and the second-largest concrete-span bridge in the world. All claims, including claims for change orders and extra work, were settled before completion of the work.
  • Represented an electrical subcontractor in the negotiation of a multimillion-dollar subcontract for the electrical work on the construction of the McCormick Place Hotel in Chicago. The project involved negotiation of the specific subcontract, as well as a review of the contract between the design builder and the owner of the project.
  • Represented the general contractor in a $36-million project constructed for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A multimillion-dollar claim was driven by incomplete plans, wrongful interpretation of the clean-down specifications, faulty owner-furnished design criteria for an equipment support system and a claim for acceleration. The claim was settled prior to a hearing before the U.S. Board of Contract Appeals.
  • Represented a large real estate developer who entered into a store lease with one of the largest clothing designers in the world for that designer to develop a Chicago flagship store. After incurring substantial construction and other expenses to ready the premises, the client was notified by the designer that it would no longer rent the space. A declaratory action was initiated in federal court and a substantial verdict was rendered in favor of our client. That verdict on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was preserved and the matter settled for a multimillion-dollar amount.
  • Lead counsel representing a financial institution in an investigation of the conduct of a board member; developed a plan for the institution that would both resolve the problem with the existing board member and prevent the conduct from occurring in the future with other board members.
  • Lead trial counsel in representation of a California corporation in a trademark dispute over the use of certain paintings that were silk-screened and sold in large numbers by a national discount chain. Achieved injunctive relief and eventually reached a settlement that provided for a disgorgement of the profits wrongfully made by the defendant’s misuse of the client’s product.
  • Represented a municipality in a suit against its former auditing firm for failing to detect a multimillion-dollar fraud regarding the management of its self-insurance program. Obtained a favorable settlement for the municipality.
  • Successfully argued before the Illinois Supreme Court the issue of how to treat Illinois Consumer Fraud Act claims, when such claims are asserted as part of a class action complaint involving a nationwide class.

Testimonials

    “Rich and his team provided immense value from the initial contract discussion through the conclusion of our project. His vast experience proved invaluable as he helped us navigate a very complex and challenging construction environment. He would often be the voice of reason when emotions got high. Rich understood the magnitude of our project and what was at stake. He was always engaged, took ownership and took great pride in making sure that our project was a success. In fact, he continues to check in to see how the business is performing…..even two years after our move in.” President and CEO of a large manufacturing company

Presentations

  • Don't Lien on Me: A Practical Guide to Mechanics Liens, Gould & Ratner Seminar, July 2010
  • Construction Litigation: How to Avoid It or at Least Increase Your Chance of Prevailing in It. Presentation to Lincoln Park Builders Club and other groups
  • Numerous presentations to participants throughout the construction industry on construction issues