Nicholas N. Nierengarten

Principal
Nicholas N. Nierengarten Image

With nearly 30 years of insurance experience, Nick Nierengarten can confidently say that he has handled the full spectrum of insurance coverage issues. He helps clients reduce their financial exposure, and protects their interests. The fast-paced, ever-evolving insurance arena makes it challenging for companies to know what is covered and what’s not, which often results in disputes. That’s when clients turn to Nick. He aims to resolve disputes, but when that doesn’t happen, he vigorously represents policyholders in coverage litigation.

Nick’s diverse background allows him to offer a much broader perspective when identifying issues and enables him to provide practical, cost-effective and timely solutions. Particularly skilled at identifying significant, but often unrecognized risks, he anticipates problems and proactively deals with them. Oftentimes, Nick orchestrates multiple parties with differing, sometimes divergent, interests (brokers, defense counsel, adversaries, etc.) toward the ultimate goal of protecting the client’s interests. Nick is savvy at analyzing complex policy provisions, which are typically laden with technical terms of art and other jargon, to decipher their meaning and create a strategic position to maximize coverage for the client. Clients say it’s a quiet comfort knowing their coverage situation has been thoroughly evaluated, all angles were considered, and they received excellent advice.

Nick has extensive experience and deep expertise helping clients with numerous types of coverage, including:

  • Commercial General Liability (CGL)
  • Directors & Officers (D&O)
  • Employment Practices Liability (EPL)
  • Fiduciary Liability
  • Commercial Property
  • Errors & Omissions (E&O)
  • Intellectual Property and Media
  • Cyber/Privacy
  • Umbrella/Excess
  • Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL)
  • Representations & Warranties (Mergers & Acquisitions)

With a proven track record, Nick represents clients in a variety of commercial disputes and regulatory proceedings.

Experience

  • Represented a non-profit real estate manager in connection with a multi-million dollar class action alleging bodily injuries, emotional distress, and other damages as a result of a severe bed bug infestation at two high-rise apartment buildings. Successfully negotiated with multiple insurers and defense counsel to resolve the claims without any payment by policyholder.
  • Represented Chrysler Financial in multiple federal and state court proceedings against Dennis Hecker, his auto dealerships and leasing company, and other holding companies. Ultimately obtained an $83 million non-dischargeability award against Mr. Hecker in his bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Represented the University of Minnesota in an environmental cost recovery action against railroad and wood treating company relating to construction of the new Gopher Football Stadium. Case successfully resolved by early settlement.
  • Counseled owner of over 130,000 acres of timberland in northern California in assessing potential liability and insurance coverage issues associated with the “Moonlight Fire” that burned more than 46,000 acres in the Plumas and Lassen National Forests. Orchestrated client, insurance brokers and other stakeholders to evaluate liability for wildfire suppression costs, natural resource damage and other claims to minimize, insure and transfer risks stemming from wildfires.
  • Engaged by a Family Office to evaluate privacy and cyber security threats presented by financial advisors, brokerage firms, major banks and other financial intermediaries who had access to or control over substantial liquid assets. Developed and implemented strategy for minimizing, transferring and insuring risks for cyber-related threats.
  • Negotiated a Supply Agreement with a Japanese electric power company and international intermediaries for sale of products for remediation of the Fukushima Nuclear Plants that were severely damaged as a result of a major earthquake and tsunamis. Evaluated supply chain and product liability risks associated with international transaction, including coordination with broker as to insurance issues associated with a high-risk international project.
  • Managed multiple claims stemming from a massive explosion and fire at an aerosol and liquid container filling plant that nearly destroyed the building and severely injured two employees. Resolved Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) investigation through an early settlement at substantially reduced penalties, assisted broker in maximizing first-party property insurance recovery to replace lost revenue and rebuild the plant, and worked with insurer and defense counsel to settle multi-million dollar personal injury claims.
  • Defended a high-tech company in multi-million dollar arbitration proceeding against trade secret and breach of contract claims relating to licensing and joint development of electronic records management technology. Case successfully resolved for client.
  • Assisted a major hospitality franchisor in an insurance coverage dispute with franchisee’s insurer over coverage for underlying personal injury and emotional distress claims over the surreptitious video-taping of a high-profile sportscaster guest at franchisee’s hotel. Created and executed on litigation strategy that ultimately convinced the insurer to protect the franchisor.
  • Counseled a landowner trust regarding severe personal injury claims from an infant’s ingestion of lead paint chips. Engagement included liability assessment, coordination with defense counsel, and negotiation of settlement with plaintiffs whereby the trust assigned its insurance rights to the plaintiffs and looked exclusively to the insurer for recovery.
  • Assisted government contractor in managing numerous mold claims resulting from the Metropolitan Airport Commission’s sound insulation program covering thousands of single-family home and hundreds of multi-family units, including pursuit of insurance coverage for the claims. Coverage dispute resolved and underlying claims dismissed without payment by client.
  • Represented a group of landowners challenging proposed expansion and modification of Interstate 94 under the Minnesota Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) and Department of Transportation Act. Negotiated settlement indefinitely forestalling proposed construction.
  • Negotiated a buyer’s-side representations and warranties insurance policy on behalf of a major franchisor in connection with a $93 million acquisition.
  • Successfully settled multi-million dollar wrongful death and personal injury claims against a franchisor arising out of an automobile accident in southern Missouri involving a franchisee’s delivery van. The crash claimed the life of a teenager and severely injured another teenager who was driving the other vehicle. At the time of the accident, the driver of the franchisee’s delivery van admitted he was under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana, and ultimately pleaded guilty to assault and manslaughter. Negotiated a settlement with the plaintiffs whereby the franchisor’s primary and excess insurers paid the claims (over and above the franchisee’s policy limits), as well as reimbursed the franchisor for its legal costs.
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment requiring CGL insurer to provide a defense to the policyholder in an underlying lawsuit alleging Lanham Act, unfair competition, and breach of contract claims. The trial court ruled that the Lanham Act and unfair competition claims triggered the insurer’s defense obligation under the “Personal and Advertising Injury Liability” section of the policy.
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