Ronald E. Ruma practices in the area of civil litigation, including alternative dispute resolution, with emphasis on complex construction, insurance defense and coverage, and professional liability matters. From 1983-1999 he was a licensed Professional Engineer (Civil) in California.
Mr. Ruma has over 30 years of experience in the fields of tort and contract litigation in the insurance, construction, and energy development and production industries. His clients have included owners, contractors/subcontractors, design professionals and suppliers and their insurers, in cases ranging from single injury accidents to large refinery explosions or catastrophic construction failures (e.g., In Re 600 California Street Crane Accident Litigation). He has tried to verdict, and/or handled through appeal, cases involving allegations of bad faith claims handling practices, government contract disputes and injuries or accidents in the building and oil/gas production trades.
Mr. Ruma is a 1981 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and a graduate of Michigan State University (M.S. and B.S.C.E.).
Mass Tort/Construction Accident Litigation
· Gas Pipeline Explosion Cases. Represented design engineer of San Francisco Bay Area municipal water pipeline installation project in 20 coordinated lawsuits resulting from rupture and catastrophic explosion of high-pressure petroleum pipeline near the project right of way, resulting in five deaths, severe personal (burn) injuries, property damage and delay/disruption claims.
· In Re 600 California Street Crane Accident Litigation. Lead counsel for owner of tower crane that collapsed catastrophically in downtown San Francisco, spawning over 100 consolidated lawsuits involving wrongful death, personal injury, property damage and business interruption claims, all of which were resolved on favorable terms, with recovery of defense fees from lessee's liability insurer and recovery of contested property loss from client's first-party insurer.
Insurance Bad Faith Litigation
· Brewster v. DPIC. Lead counsel for liability insurer of design professional in hotly contested insurance coverage/bad faith lawsuit pressed by owner/developer of residential housing project, as assignee, raising critical issue of whether a single design error spawning multiple underlying lawsuits by different homeowners at the same subdivision should be aggregated as a single claim under the design professional's series of annual "claims made" insurance policies or instead considered multiple claims.
· Addeigo vs. Connecticut Indemnity. Lead trial and appellate counsel for defendant in insurance bad faith lawsuit arising from underlying personal injury litigation involving electrician injured during construction of high-rise hotel. Defense verdict, affirmed on appeal.
Oil/Gas Production Litigation
· Quick vs. McFarland Energy. Lead trial counsel for defendant oil producer in personal injury lawsuit arising from injury to service contractor's employee at oil/gas production facility in Los Angeles. Defense verdict.
· Lewis vs. Chevron. Lead trial counsel for cross-defendant service contractor in employee's wrongful death lawsuit against oil company which sought express indemnity from contractor. Despite $3 million verdict in wrongful death claim against oil company, defense verdict obtained on contractual indemnity claim and attorney's fees recovered from oil company.
Labor and Employment Litigation
· Kraal vs. Port of San Francisco. Lead trial counsel for municipal defendant in lawsuit involving labor-related "physical assault" and retaliation claims by municipal employee following an altercation with his co-worker acting as temporary supervisor. Defense verdict for the Port.
Honors and Awards
· AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
Selected Speaking Engagements
· "2003 Insurance Law Roundtable," sponsored by ALFA International, Marriott Financial Center, New York, New York, June 4-6, 2003
· "What Do You Want from Your Administrators," 2003 Educational Conference, Association of Legal Administrators 2003 Educational Conference, sponsored by Association of Legal Administrators, Grand Hyatt Union Square Hotel, San Francisco, California, May 14, 2003