Steven Urgo is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Lewis Brisbois and a member of the Pollution Legal Liability/Environmental Impairment Liability (PLL/EIL) Practice. He is also a member of the Energy & Environment and Construction Practices. Mr. Urgo's practice focuses on litigation and counseling in the following areas: (i) environmental law impacting the energy industry, manufacturers, developers, lenders and motor carriers; (ii) unique risks faced by specialty lines insurers offering environmental/pollution legal liability, directors and officers liability and professional liability covers; and (iii) construction and design defects involving all types of project delivery systems.
In his prior role as in-house counsel for two multinational specialty lines insurers, Steven has gained in-depth expertise in working with Underwriters to manuscript policy forms and endorsements for unique one-off transactions and risks, developing new product lines and revising entire suites of policies for Underwriters.
Steven has assisted some of the leading specialty insurers in revising and drafting policy forms that are used on a nationwide basis for pollution risks, underground storage tanks, contractors environmental, professional liability, as well as package policies including D&O, E&O, CGL and Commercial Property covers.
In private practice, Steven has represented insurers in state and federal courts involving complex coverage issues arising in the context of discharges of or exposure to pollutants, construction defects, life sciences/product defects, as well as catastrophic first-party losses.
While in law school, Steven clerked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, and at E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.
Steven serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the Environmental Claims Journal, a quarterly publication that focuses on the many types of claims and liabilities that result from environmental exposures.
- Steven has authored thousands of coverage opinions on complex coverage issues involving all lines of commercial coverage including commercial general liability, business auto liability, environmental/pollution liability and professional liability for architects, engineers and consultants.
- Steven co-authored an amicus brief in AllAmerica Financial Corporation v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, 449 Mass. 621 ( 2007), for the Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, involving an issue of national first impression regarding the duties of follow-form excess insurers.
- Steven has litigated complex coverage issues in state and federal courts in connection with construction defect claims, mold claims, environmental claims and interpretation of a wide range of coverage issues, including bad faith claims.
- Steven assists Underwriters in risk management in understanding complex risks associated with emerging technologies, such as Business Information Modeling (BIMS) and hydraulic fracturing.
- He also assists Underwriters in assessing risk under contractual indemnity provisions and other contractual risk shifting mechanisms.
- In addition to liability coverage, Steven also has significant experience in first-party property coverage issues, e.g., business interruption and extra expense covers, arising from catastrophic losses such as building collapse, fires, hurricanes and the World Trade Center Terrorist Attacks.
- Steven's policy drafting experience includes manuscript EIL/PLL, CGL, AL,E&O, D&O and contractor policies and endorsements covering all types of risks, including those of owners and operators of storage tanks, motor carriers, contractors, design professionals, developers and facility owner/operators. Steven has also drafted and analyzed various types of reinsurance contracts.
- Steven represents buyers, sellers, developers and lending institutions in the transfer and redevelopment of contaminated sites, such as Brownfield sites that may involve transactionally triggered statutes such as New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act (ISRA) or the Connecticut Property Transfer Act.
- He regularly assists parties in environmental due diligence efforts. He has in-depth experience in drafting and negotiating risk transfer mechanisms, such as indemnity agreements or manuscript environmental insurance liability and “cost-cap” policies to facilitate real estate transfers and redevelopment projects.
- In addition, he represents parties in cost recovery litigation, as well as in litigation involving Superfund, ACT 2 and the New Jersey Spill Act.
- Steven regularly negotiates environmental fines, penalties and notices of violation with regulators involving alleged violation of federal and state laws.
- Steven also assists parties in negotiating or obtaining various types of environmental permits or authorizations, including wetland jurisdictional determinations, NPDES permits and NJDEP permits to transport solid waste through New Jersey’s A-901 program.
- Steven has handled hundreds of construction defect claims involving residential and commercial construction projects such as condominiums, developments, airports, power generating stations, high-rise buildings, transportation projects and other infrastructure projects. He has handled losses arising from defective work and/or building materials, geotechnical issues, water intrusion, mold and structural failure.
- His professional liability experience includes claims made against architects and engineers and arising from domestic and international projects such as transportation systems, treatment works, construction projects and other industrial facilities.
- Steven represents owners, developers, contractors and other entities in assessing, drafting and negotiating construction contracts, with emphasis on defense and indemnification provisions and insurance requirements.
Primary Area(s) of Practice
- Insurance Coverage
- Pollution Legal Liability/Environmental Impairment Liability (PLL/EIL)
- Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (“PFAS”)
- Environment, Land, & Natural Resources Law
- Real Estate & Land Use
- COVID-19: Insurance Coverage
U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- New York Bar Association
- New Jersey Bar Association
- Pennsylvania Bar Association
Awards & Honors
- Steven is AV® Preeminent™ rated by the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system, and is recognized as a Top Rated Lawyer in Insurance Law & Coverage by Legal Leaders.
- “Best Lawyers in America,” Insurance Law, Best Lawyers, 2022
- “Handling Claims: A Key Component to Customer Satisfaction” - Center for Environmental Risk Management, 1995
- “Environmental Insurance–Past, Present and Future” - ALI-ABA Committee on Continuing Professional Education, 2001
- Overview of Recent Claims Involving Hydraulic Fracturing" - Environmental and Toxic Tort Committee of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) 2012
- “Fracking 101” – CPCU Society, May 2013
- “Soot: The Next Asbestos?” - Emerging and Environmental Claims Managers Association, May 2013
- “What Insurance Professionals Should Know About Contractor’s Environmental and Professional Coverage,” A.M. Best, October, 2015
- “Appraisal Clauses and the Environmental Claim – The Rip Van Winkle in Your Property Insurance Policy,” Environmental Claims Journal, Vol. 18., No. 2, Spring 2006
- “Dr. Frackenstein: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love the Risk,” Mealey’s Litigation Report: Insurance, Vol. 26, #40 August 22, 2012
- “The Many Flavors of Environmental Insurance,” Environmental Claims Journal, Vol. 26, Fall 2014
Widener University School of Law
- Allmerica Fin. Corp. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, 449 Mass. 621, 871 N.E.2d 418 (2007)
- Regal-Pinnacle Integrations Indus. v. Phila. Indem. Ins. Co., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 56941, 2013 WL 1737236 (D.N.J. 2013)
- Blue Diamond Disposal, Inc. v. City of Vineland, 2010 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 2108, 2010 WL 3419192 (App. Div. 2010)
- Quality Stone Veneer, Inc. v. Selective Ins. Co. of Am., 229 F. Supp. 3d 351 (E.D.Pa. 2017)
- Penn's Mkt. I, L.P. v. Harleysville Mut. Ins. Co., 596 Pa. 466 (2007)
- Represented one of the country’s largest non-profit Area Agencies on Aging in negotiating a lease and undertaking environmental due diligence issues with the City of Philadelphia involving conversion of a historic firehouse into a state-of-the art senior center.
- Represented one of the country’s largest life insurance companies in litigation over a former site owner’s liability for cleanup costs under a series of transaction agreements and assignment of a preexisting loan.
- Negotiated environmental provisions in sale agreements in connection with a partnership’s years’ long divesture of parcels of real property cleaned up under New Jersey’s Industrial Site Recovery Act.
- Represented one of the world’s largest wind turbine generating companies in connection with reducing a Clean Air Act penalty of $1.3 million by more than half.
- Represented the purchaser of a multi-million dollar pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in conducting environmental due diligence in acquiring site undergoing RCRA Corrective Action.
- Represented casino gaming interests in conducting environmental due diligence of Philadelphia-based sites.
- Represented one of the largest U.S. specialty chemical companies in divestiture of multiple U.S. sites.
- Represented private equity group in divesture of contaminated sites.
- Negotiated and drafted agreements and insurance policies in connection with an Israeli petroleum company’s multi-million dollar acquisition of a U.S. downstream distribution network and a major British-based pharmaceutical company’s divestiture of over 100 sites constituting its former worldwide manufacturing facilities.
- Recovered millions of dollars of cleanup costs or diminution/stigma damages from responsible parties, including major petroleum companies.
- Represented a U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee and the State of New Jersey in fraud and RICO claims arising from the 2008 financial crises.
- Handled losses in claims arising from the $3 billion Alliance Pipeline System, a 2,300-mile natural gas pipeline system stretching from British Columbia to Illinois.
- Defended individuals and manufacturer against EPA Superfund claims for millions of dollars in alleged emergency removal costs.