Barbara Hopkinson Kelly focuses her legal practice on environmental and toxic tort litigation and insurance coverage, including issues involving employment law. She also has more than 25 years of significant litigation experience in the professional malpractice and business tort fields. Barbara has served as liaison counsel to numerous Fortune 500 clients, defending many of them in class action lawsuits with financial exposures in excess of $100 million.
Known for successfully arguing even the most difficult motions, Barbara is also a master negotiator. Her problem-solving skills have earned a loyal following among her clients and peers alike. Barbara brings to the table an innate ability to coordinate ideas and strategies with her clients, forging productive, long-term relationships. An avid equestrian and skier, Barbara applies that same energy and tenacity to her legal practice.
Internship with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Criminal Division
Areas of Focus
Environmental / Toxic Tort
Barbara has litigated numerous environmental cases involving various claims, including natural resource damage claims throughout the United States. She maintains a national CERCLA practice and routinely appears before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. In addition, Barbara advises clients in brownfield cleanups and redevelopment of contaminated properties. This part of her legal practice also includes securing environmental insurance products to protect the firm's clients against cleanup cost overruns and pollution legal liability.
Barbara has extensive experience in insurance coverage, including representation of multinational insurance companies. She has handled coverage issues in complex general liability claims and defended clients in related litigation. Barbara focuses on saving insurers legal and indemnity expenses. She has worked with underwriters in developing insurance policies in a myriad of areas and is a member of Professional Liability Underwriters Society (PLUS). Her comprehensive experience in insurance coverage allows her to handle complex cases in various industries. She has also published material in the arena of alternative claims resolution.
Barbara has significant litigation experience in the professional malpractice and business tort fields. She has defended real estate agents, attorneys, accountants, securities brokers and other professionals against negligence and related claims under federal and state laws.
Barbara has defended municipalities and their police departments in civil rights actions. She has successfully defended actions falling under section 1983 and tried a complex section 1983 claim involving allegations of police misconduct. She has also mediated class actions, including a significant 5,000 class member “strip search” action against a municipality. Additionally, she has represented municipalities in cases alleging wrongful termination. She has defended numerous municipalities in New Jersey and Connecticut regarding environmental and toxic tort matters related to Superfund sites, as well as municipal owners /operators of sites having national exposure.
Barbara has worked with underwriters in developing insurance policies in a myriad of areas. With respect to real estate litigation, she has handled breach of contract, fraud and related claims in both the residential and commercial real estate contexts.
Practicing Law Institute on Insurance Coverage Trends and Emerging Issues, Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Institute for Continuing Legal Education on Environmental Issues
A role for the federal government in insurance regulation attracts additional support
October 2009 During its Fall National Meeting, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners ( NAIC ) Government Relations Leadership Counsel ( GRLC ) approved for submission to Congress the Reinsurance Regulatory Modernization Act of 2009 (the Act ), which would modernize the regulation of reinsurance by state insurance regulators. The Act is intended to facilitate cross-border reinsurance transactions and to enhance competition within the U.S. market, while ensuring that U.S. insurers and policy holders are adequately protected against the risk of insolvency, according to a statement by Roger Sevigny, New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner and President of the NAIC.
New Medicare reporting guidelines apply to all liability insurers and self-insureds, but will they be enforceable against alien (non-U.S.-admitted) carriers?
August 2009 As we reported in an Insurance Alert on April 30, 2009, and as further elaborated in an article by Frederick J. Pomerantz (Partner-NY), that appeared in Vol. 20 Edition 2 - Summer 2009 of the FORC Journal, a publication of the Federation of Regulatory Counsel, Inc., the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (the Act ) amends the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSPA), imposing significant new reporting obligations upon insurers and others subject to it. Significantly, if an insurer fails to notify Medicare in accordance with the new reporting guidelines, a civil penalty of $1,000 per day may be assessed per claimant. The new legislation clearly indicates a shift in federal policy that will result in the federal government monitoring recoveries in tort claims more closely to minimize costs to Medicare.
IAIS strengthens supervision of large, multi-national insurance and reinsurance companies
July 2009 On June 17, 2009, President Obama announced a Financial Regulatory Reform U.S. Plan ( U.S. Plan ) which is designed to overhaul the financial regulatory system by, among others, creating a systemic risk regulator, enhancing the roles of existing federal regulators, and creating a consumer protection agency. The U.S. Plan was well received by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, as well as by several insurance and banking trade groups.
Proposed amendments to NY Regulation 41 (excess lines) and the impact on declination rules and requirements
June 2009 The proposed Eleventh Amendment to New York Insurance Department Regulation 41 (11 N.Y.C.R.R. 27.0 et seq.) would expand New Yorks export list, making it easier to purchase certain coverages that have been largely unavailable in the admitted market by expanding the no declinations rule to those lines of insurance.
New Medicare guidelines impose enhanced reporting duties upon liability insurers and self-insureds, with severe penalties for non-compliance
April 2009 On December 29, 2007, then-President George Bush signed into law the Medicare Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA). Beginning July 1, 2009, MMSEA amends the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSPA), imposing significant new reporting obligations upon insurers and others subject to it for all claims that involve medical costs subject to Medicare.