Richard M. Fil

Partner

  • Overview

    Biography

    Richard Fil’s environmental practice is focused on the voluntary investigation, remediation, and redevelopment of contaminated property and the negotiation of transactional documents. He also counsels clients on federal and state enforcement actions and litigation involving impacted sites. Mr. Fil has substantial knowledge of both state and national regulatory standards and practices, having worked for seven years at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). He has spoken and written on a number of environmental issues to diverse audiences.

    Transactions

    Mr. Fil has served as environmental counsel on a wide variety of transactions, negotiating environmental provisions of agreements, managing due diligence, and providing advice on remediation alternatives and strategies. His experience includes overseeing contaminated site investigations and cleanups under various state environmental programs. Mr. Fil has negotiated a number of specialized environmental insurance policies for known and unknown conditions, cost overruns, and risk transfer, and has successfully assisted clients in asserting claims.

    Energy

    Mr. Fil represents a number of energy clients in negotiating power purchase agreements for renewable energy projects and preparing filings for the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission, and other state public utilities commissions.

    Compliance

    In conjunction with his environmental and energy practice, Mr. Fil has considerable experience in federal regulatory interpretation (including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Transportation), overseeing compliance audits, making voluntary disclosures, managing control groups, assisting clients in compliance with potable water supply matters, and performing crisis management training and oversight.

    Litigation and Other Matters

    Mr. Fil's litigation experience includes defending government enforcement actions, initiating and defending private party actions, and preparing and deposing expert witnesses. He has served as coordinating counsel for a Superfund site in Rhode Island. He has also managed fire and explosion investigations and has been involved in nuclear decommissioning and radioactive decontamination and compliance projects.

    While at DEEP, Mr. Fil served as legislative liaison for the Water Management Bureau, senior environmental analyst in the groundwater program, and assistant to the state Board of Examiners of Environmental Professionals. He is the current Chair of the Rhode Island Bar Association's Environmental & Energy Law Committee, and a member of the Boards of Directors of the Rhode Island Society of Environmental Professionals and The Westerly Land Trust.

  • Experience
    • Experience

      Experience

        Transactions

      • Counseled client on the sale of a former industrial property under the Connecticut Property Transfer Act. The transaction involved the use of specialized environmental insurance and risk transfer to the buyer.

      • Counseled client on various aspects of relocating industrial operations to a new location, including negotiating environmental provisions of leases for both locations, negotiating an allocation of responsibilities with both landlords, and resolving outstanding requirements related to wastewater discharges and hazardous waste handling.

      • Counseled client regarding soil and groundwater conditions at a former manufacturing site, including the evaluation of a technical impracticability variance and other interim remediation options.

      • Assisted client in evaluating the applicable provisions of the Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) to a portfolio of 87 petroleum sites, and filing a petition for declaratory ruling with respect to objections to agency interpretations of the RSRs and the regulations governing the qualifications and conduct of licensed environmental professionals.

      • Assisted client in evaluating soil and groundwater impacts related to the historic use of pesticides, and develop strategic options for addressing those conditions in a cost-effective manner to allow the development of the site as a large distribution facility.

      • Counseled client on environmental issues related to its acquisition of a large fuel oil distributor involving over 40 sites in four states.

      • Counseled municipality on agreements and due diligence for a public-private mixed-use development.

      • Counseled client on environmental aspects of transactions involving shopping centers in several states.

      • Our client retained responsibility for certain environmental liabilities associated with a number of properties of a former subsidiary. Robinson+Cole provided oversight in the investigation phase of a remedial project under the dual jurisdiction of a Consent Order with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Transfer Act. An analysis of over 50 potential areas of concern and a remedial design is expected to save the client over $5 million over previous design plans. 

      • Counseled client on groundwater issues for a commercial nuclear power plant undergoing decommissioning.

      • Energy

      • Reviewed and negotiated the terms of a power purchase agreement and related documents for a solar energy project under the Connecticut Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.

      • Assisted a client in submitting bids under the Connecticut Shared Clean Energy Facilities Program.

      • Negotiated the terms of a power purchase agreement for the installation and operation of a fuel cell facility at a large pharmaceutical research and development campus.

      • Advised a lender on the implications of subordinating its mortgage to a lien for a solar energy project under the Rhode Island Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program.

      • Assisted client in evaluating environmental conditions at a Superfund site proposed to be used for a solar farm.

      • Negotiated the terms of power purchase agreements for three rooftop solar installations at a university.

      • Compliance

      • Counseled electronics recycling client against alleged federal allegations of improper handling of hazardous waste.  Successfully avoided any fines or further enforcement actions.

      • Counseled client regarding a notice of violation from the Rhode Island Department of Health for alleged noncompliance with requirements for a non-transient, non-community water supply system.

      • Representation of an electric power company in a matter where a state environmental agency threatened to prohibit use of the client's ash of their generation facility for daily landfill cover. Received a favorable outcome. A contrary outcome would have cost millions of dollars and likely threatened the viability of the facility.

      • Represented a manufacturing company in an environmental enforcement action involving claims of illegal storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

      • Counsel to client in evaluating the permitting and environmental requirements for and status of a borrower's co-generation facility being constructed in Staten Island, New York.

      • Representation of an elevator manufacturer in case involving a shipment of elevator buttons through Mexico that triggered radiation detectors at the border and were quarantined by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The buttons were manufactured in France, and the steel used was determined to be contaminated with Co-60. Robinson & Cole assisted its client in engaging a health physicist, evaluating thousands of buttons in storage in Arizona and Connecticut for potential radioactivity, determining relevant lots affected, tracking down and replacing buttons from relevant lots that had already been shipped throughout the country and internationally to distribution centers and customers, and ensuring proper disposal of the affected buttons at a nuclear waste facility. We also evaluated potential state and federal reporting obligations and prepared documentation for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and state environmental agencies.

      • Other compliance matters involving radiation include assisting clients in relation to United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspections for historic radium contamination, and investigating and reporting the loss of radioactive sources, including Sr-90.

      • Advises clients regarding local, state, and federal requirements related to the handling and disposal of products containing Kr-85 and tritium.

      • Litigation and Other Matters

      • Representation of a manufacturer of technology products and provider of support services for the aerospace and building industries worldwide at a National Priorities List site where state and federal agencies sought to compel remediation over a 10-square-mile area, including areas never owned or operated by our client. Negotiated a consent decree limiting the work to performing an investigation only and only for our client’s property. Significantly limited additional groundwater work through the state regulatory program.

      • Counseled client in achieving a settlement under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) related to conditions at a site on the National Priorities List (NPL).

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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Rhode Island Bar Association (2008 - present)
      Environmental and Energy Law Committee (2009 - present)
      Chair of Environmental and Energy Law Committee (2015 - present)

      American Bar Association (1994 - present)

      Rhode Island Society of Environmental Professionals
      Board of Directors
    • Community Involvement

      Community Involvement

      Westerly Land Trust
      Board Member and Urban Committee Member

      University of Rhode Island
      Guest Lecturer, Department of Geosciences, College of the Environment and Life Sciences
  • NEWS + PRESS
    • Publications

      Publications

      "Nuisance Claims – Making the Big Uneasy Easier," co-authored with Earl W. Phillips Jr., at the Annual Convention of the Institute Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) in new Orleans (4/26/2017)
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      "Of Counsel: Old Refrigerant Regulations, New Interpretations," published in Scrap, co-authored with Megan E. Baroni and Earl W. Phillips Jr. (July/August 2013)

      "OSHA Takes Aim at Safety Incentive Programs," published in Scrap, co-authored with Nicole A. Bernabo (May/June 2012)

      "Of Counsel," published in Scrap, co-authored with Earl W. Phillips Jr. (January/February 2012)

      "Environmental Risk Management in Real Estate Lending: A Time to Reassess How to Avoid or Better Manage Toxic Assets," published in The Abstract, co-authored with Norman H. Roos and Pamela K. Elkow, American College of Mortgage Attorneys (Spring 2009)

      "Addressing Environmental Issues in Turnarounds and Bankruptcies," co-authored with Pamela Elkow, at meeting of the Connecticut Chapter of the Turnaround Management Association (1/7/2008)

      "Bankruptcy Updates," published in ABA's Environmental Transactions and Brownfields Newsletter

    • Presentations

      Presentations

      "Buying or Selling an Oilheat Business: Through a Legal Lens," co-presented with Brian C. Freeman, at the 2017 Southern New England Energy Conference in Newport, Rhode Island (9/18/2017)
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      "Overview of Environmental Issues in Real Estate Transactions," (3/3/2015)
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      "Meeting the Challenges in Siting, Moving or Expanding Operations," at ISRI Convention and Exposition, Moderator (4/17/2012)

      "Commercial Real Estate Transactions: The New Economic Climate," at the 2011 Rhode Island Bar Association Annual Meeting; Carla M. Moynihan also spoke in the panel discussion. (6/16/2011)

      "Performing Environmental Health and Safety Audits: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" at Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries' Safety & Environmental Council Conference, co-presented with Pamela K. Elkow (5/3/2011)

      "Key Issues and Strategies for Environmental Due Diligence and Contractual Provisions," at Robinson & Cole webinar entitled The Times—They Are a-Changin': Selected Real Estate Topics Reflecting Current Economic and Green Climate Conditions, Providence, Rhode Island (10/26/2010)

      "Connecticut's Significant Environmental Hazard Statute and Its Reporting Requirements," at Connecticut Environmental Forum, Wethersfield, Connecticut, co-presented with Megan E. Baroni (1/3/2007)

      "Environmental Considerations for Real Estate and Commercial Transactions," at Lorman conferences in Hartford and Stamford, Connecticut (6/28/2005 and 9/27/2005)

      "Life After Decommissioning - A Legal Overview," at American Nuclear Society Winter Meeting, Washington, D.C. (11/15/2004)

      "State Cleanup Standards for Decommissioning," at Argonne National Laboratory Decommissioning Training Course, Albuquerque, NM (7/1/2004)

      "Brownfields Redevelopment — What, Why and How?" at Argonne National Laboratory Decommissioning Training Course, Albuquerque, NM (7/1/2004)

      "Security and Crisis Management - Preparation and Response," at Connecticut Business & Industry Association Annual Meeting, Southington, CT (4/28/2004)

      "Investigation and Remediation of Non-Radiological Environmental Contamination," at Argonne National Laboratory Decommissioning Training Course, Las Vegas, NV (3/1/2004)

      "Considerations for Transactions with Environmental Issues," at Orange, CT, co-presented with Pamela K. Elkow (10/22/2003)

      "Environmental Issues and Strategies for Real Estate Transactions," at New York County Bar Association, co-presented with Earl W. Phillips, Jr., Stuart R. Deans, Pamela K. Elkow (10/14/2003)

      "Case Law Updates on Lender and Fiduciary Liability," at Environmental Bankers Association, St. Paul, MN (6/1/2002)

      "Land Use Controls," at a Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Annual Meeting (6/2001)
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      "Transactional Aspects of Environmental Law," at the University of Connecticut School of Law (4/2001)
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      "The Sulfur Crisis of 2000," at the New England Fuel Institute (NEFI) Annual Meeting (1/2001)
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      "Institutional Controls," at an Environmental Bankers Association event (1/2001)
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      "Environmental Law for Trust and Estates Practitioners," at a CBA seminar (12/1999)
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    • News

      R+C in the News

      • September 27, 2017

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Participate in 2017 Southern New England Energy Conference

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      • August 3, 2017

        Richard Fil Reappointed Chair of RIBA's Environmental and Energy Law Committee

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      • May 8, 2017

        Earl Phillips and Rich Fil Speak at Annual ISRI Convention

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      • July 21, 2016

        Richard Fil Reappointed Chair of RIBA's Environmental and Energy Law Committee

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      • February 10, 2016

        Richard Fil Reelected to RISEP Board of Directors

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      • January 13, 2016

        Richard Fil Reelected to Westerly Land Trust Board

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      • July 9, 2015

        Richard Fil Selected to Chair RIBA's Environmental and Energy Law Committee

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      • August 9, 2013

        Robinson & Cole Lawyers Featured in Scrap Magazine

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      • June 26, 2012

        Attorneys Write About OSHA’s New Guidance for Safety Incentive Programs

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      • May 2, 2012

        Environmental Attorneys Discuss Siting, Moving and Expanding Operations at Scrap Metal Convention

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      • February 16, 2012

        Environmental Attorneys Offer Key Points for a Successful Property Transfer in Scrap Magazine

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      • February 3, 2012

        Environmental Partner Elected to Rhode Island Society of Environmental Professionals Board

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      • September 21, 2011

        Presentation on Environmental Health and Safety Audits Noted in Scrap Magazine

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      • May 23, 2011

        Environmental Attorneys Present on Environmental Health and Safety Audits

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      • December 17, 2010

        Attorneys Reelected to Connecticut Chapter Board

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      • April 30, 2010

        Robinson & Cole LandLaw Lawyer Reappointed to Executive Committee of the American Nuclear Society

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      • March 2, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Reelected to Board of Directors of Westerly Land Trust

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      • February 2, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Elected to Board of Directors of Turnaround Management Association’s Connecticut Chapter

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      • October 29, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Attorney Authors Article on Debtors with Environmental Liabilities

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      • February 6, 2009

        Robinson & Cole Partner Elected to Board of Directors of the CTTMA

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      R+C News Releases

      • February 1, 2016

        Robinson+Cole Forms Sustainability Cross-Practice Team

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