Deborah A. Vennos


  • Overview


    Deborah Vennos is a member of the firm's Insurance, Environmental, and Utilities Groups.

    Ms. 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. Ms. Vennos has ten years of experience as a firefighter, six of those years being a paid professional firefighter in upstate New York, and is certified as a New York State Level II fire/arson investigator. She has extensive business litigation experience counseling clients in more than 13 states, including federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) proceedings and class action litigation. Her scientific and firefighting background serves to support her representation of clients in insurance coverage disputes that involve complex scientific issues such as long tail environmental issues, fire/arson, explosions, Chinese drywall, construction and design defects, and landfill construction and permitting. Specifically, Ms. Vennos has substantial experience in expert witness selection, preparation, and examination. As an outgrowth of her extensive litigation experience, Ms. Vennos is well versed in various methods of resolving disputes, including arbitration, mediation, and court trials. She is also versed in technical and legal issues of green building and the LEED system.

    Most recently, Ms. Vennos served on the Defense Counsel Steering Committee for the Consolidated Docket in the Eastern District of New York for Superstorm Sandy litigation.

    Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Vennos interned for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

    Ms. Vennos is the editor in chief of the firm's Property Insurance Coverage Insights blog.  

  • Experience
    • Experience


      • Representation of insurers in complex insurance dispute in federal court, Eastern District of Louisiana, involving Hurricane Katrina property damage and business interruption claim for over $27 million and bad faith claims of over $100 million, where bad faith claims were dismissed based on summary judgment briefing and expert was precluded from testifying as to damages included in initial report based on motion in limine.
      • Representation of Fortune 500 company in $250 million, 400-member class action in Colorado state court involving claims of indoor air, groundwater, and soil contamination. Matter settled for less than 10 percent of original claim.
      • Representation of Fortune 500 insurer in $28 million dispute in federal court, Middle District of Florida, involving design defect claims, where matter was settled for less than 15 percent of initial demand after motion for summary judgment was filed.
      • Representation of insurer in complex dispute in federal court, Eastern District of Virginia, over coverage for Chinese drywall involving $5 million in claimed damages.
      • Representation of Fortune 500 insurer in $6 million dispute in federal court, Middle District of Florida, involving sink hole claim, where matter was settled for 10 percent of the initial demand after motion for summary judgment was filed.
      • Representation of client against claim in Connecticut state Superior Court by consumer group appealing the ruling by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection allowing dentists to use mercury fillings. Claim was dismissed after aggrievement hearing.
      • Representation of insurer in $250,000 dispute in federal court, Eastern District of Virginia, involving mold and water damage, where plaintiff withdrew the action after a motion for summary judgment was filed.
      • Representation of insurer in $2.9 million lawsuit in federal court, Eastern District of New York, involving water and mold damage, which settled for less than 15 percent of original demand.
      • Representation of Fortune 500 insurer in threatened litigation pursuant to property policy, where insured claimed an over $4 million loss because of an ammonia leak. Claim was resolved in one-day mediation session, avoiding litigation costs altogether.
      • Representation of insurer in $10 million fraud claim in New York State Supreme Court, where plaintiff withdrew action against insurer.
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    • Professional Associations

      Professional Associations

      Connecticut Bar Association
      Intellectual Property Section, Co-chair (2015 - present)

      New York State Bar Association (2003 - present)
      Environmental Law Section

      American Bar Association
      Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources
      Young Lawyers Division

      American Chemical Society
    • Honors + Awards

      Honors + Awards

      Listed as a Rising Star in Connecticut Super Lawyers® in the area of General Litigation in 2011 (Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Key Professional Media, Inc.)

    • Publications


      "Superstorm Sandy Litigation Is as Fierce as the Storm," published in Insurance Law Committee Newsletter (Fall 2014)

      "Remaining Risks of Open Communications with Experts Under the New Federal Rules," published in DRI Today (5/16/2012)

      "Green Building and Property Coverage," published in Florida Investor's Greenbook, co-authored with Rebecca Levy-Sachs (2010)

      "Property Damage Claims for Environmental Contamination: The Problems Inherent in Attempting to Bring Them as Class Actions," published in The Urban Lawyer, co-authored with James P. Ray, Vol. 38, Number 1 (Winter 2006)

    • Presentations


      "The Impacts and Dangers of Unfair Trade Practices Acts – The Need to Be Aware!," at First Annual Bad Faith Litigation Strategies ExecuSummit, co-presented with Gregory P. Varga, panelist (11/5/2014)

      "Mastering Homeowners, Bad Faith, and Commercial Insurance Law," moderated, along with two others, a telephonic seminar (4/23/2014)
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      "Green Building and Insurance," at Robinson and Cole's Sustainability and Climate Change Seminar, co-presented with Rebecca Levy-Sachs and Jonathan Held (5/4/2010)
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      "Chinese Drywall: The Next Asbestos or the Next Y2K?" at New England Claims Executives Association Meeting, co-presented with Gregory P. Varga (4/2010)

    • News

      R+C in the News

      • December 3, 2014

        Deb Vennos Pens Lead Article in ABA Insurance Newsletter

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      • November 24, 2014

        Hartford Insurance Lawyers Speak at ExecuSummit

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      • May 13, 2014

        Deb Vennos Moderates Insurance Seminar

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      • June 11, 2012

        Attorney’s Article on Discovery of Expert Communications Published in DRI Today

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      • December 14, 2010

        Parkville Elementary Students Learn Financial Literacy with Robinson & Cole Attorneys

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      • April 27, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Present On Chinese Drywall at Meeting of New England Claim Executives Association

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      • January 28, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Attorneys Coauthor Article on Green Building and Property Coverage for the Green Book

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      • June 27, 2008

        Robinson & Cole Associate Publishes Article in CONNstruction Magazine

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      R+C News Releases

      • September 3, 2015

        Robinson+Cole Lawyers Co-Chair Intellectual Property Section of Connecticut Bar Association

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      • June 21, 2013

        Local Organizations Recognize Robinson & Cole’s Pro Bono Service

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      • December 16, 2010

        Robinson & Cole Elevates Six New Counsel