Deborah Vennos's Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell University provides a solid foundation for her focus on complex litigation matters involving scientific and engineering principles. She is a member of the firm's Insurance + Reinsurance Group and its Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group.
Property Insurance Coverage Litigation
Ms. Vennos handles property insurance coverage claims and litigation involving complex scientific and engineering issues. Ms. Vennos has defended numerous multimillion-dollar coverage actions relating to corrosive imported drywall, catastrophic losses to manufacturing and industrial facilities, losses involving construction defects and mold contamination, sinkholes, and landfill business losses. Ms. Vennos handles disputes involving business interruption and property damage, including coverage related to natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. Ms. Vennos recently defended a $27 million business interruption and $150 million bad faith claim arising from Hurricane Katrina, which resulted in a voluntary dismissal after five years of litigation. Ms. Vennos served on the Defense Counsel Steering Committee for the Consolidated Docket in the Eastern District of New York for Superstorm Sandy litigation.
Fire and Explosion
Ms. Vennos’ background also serves clients well in cases involving fires, arson, and explosions. She has ten years of experience as a firefighter, including six years as a paid professional firefighter in upstate New York. She is also certified as a New York State Level II fire/arson investigator. She has successfully defended numerous fire and arson cases.
Environmental Litigation and Enforcement
Ms. Vennos represents clients in cases involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as Superfund sites, across the nation. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Vennos interned for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Ms. Vennos helped secure a favorable settlement in a Colorado class action case involving claims of indoor air, groundwater, and soil contamination. She also successfully represented a client against a consumer group’s claim which appealed a Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection decision to allow dentists to use mercury fillings.
Ms. Vennos has extensive business litigation experience counseling clients in more than 13 states, including federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings and class action litigation. She also is well versed in various methods of resolving disputes, including through arbitration, mediation, and court trials. Ms. Vennos has substantial experience in expert witness selection, preparation, and examination.
Ms. Vennos has represented clients on a pro bono basis, including handling a civil action which alleged Constitutional rights violations. She also represented a non-profit organization which was the victim of theft by an outside contractor.
Ms. Vennos frequently writes on insurance-related topics, and she is the editor in chief of the firm's Property Insurance Coverage Insights blog.