Somewhat unusually, Rick Kane concentrates his practice in two areas of the law that have almost nothing in common with each other.
In his environmental law and toxic tort practice, Rick has privately advised clients, negotiated on their behalf, and defended their interests in hundreds of matters involving regulation under the Clean Air Act; the Clean Water Act; the Comprehensive Environmental Responsibility, Compensation, and Liability Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Toxic Substances Control Act, the National Environmental Policy Act; and their North Carolina counterpart statutes. His representations have ranged in scope from the air pollution permitting for a substantial expansion of a major national airport to the defense of numerous small businesses against claims of improper hazardous waste disposal. He successfully negotiated the resolution of US EPA’s claims against a local dry-cleaner as part of the nationally publicized Camp LeJeune contaminated drinking water matter, and obtained a dismissal of a subsequent civil action brought by private parties against his client in that matter. He successfully defended the first North Carolina lawsuit that alleged the infliction of severe adverse health effects through the inhalation of endotoxins associated with poultry production.
In his “lawyer law” practice, Rick principally defends attorneys against claims of legal malpractice. However, in proceedings before the North Carolina State Bar, he also regularly represents North Carolina lawyers against allegations of ethical violations, as well as lawyers from other jurisdictions against claims of unauthorized practice in North Carolina. He handles, in addition, disputes concerning law firm break-ups and professional negligence insurance coverage.
Coastal Property Ventures, LLC, et al. v. R.A. North Development, Inc., et al. (Mecklenburg County Superior Court 2012) - Dismissal of all claims against two closing attorneys in case alleging manipulation of lot prices in high-end coastal residential developments.
Vaca v. Attorney A (Union County Superior Court, 2011) – Judgment on the pleadings in favor of the defendant worker’s compensation lawyer alleged to have negligently allowed an unfaithful guardian to deplete her client’s award.
In re: Attorney B (Grievance Committee of the North Carolina State Bar, 2011) - dismissal of grievance against respondent lawyer accused of making a knowingly false statement in a federal court filing.
Piraino Brothers, LLC v. Atlantic Financial Group, Inc., 365 N.C. 357 (2011) - Zero-liability trial and appellate results in defense of attorney and law firm accused of breach of trust agreement, conversion, civil conspiracy, and aiding and abetting client fraud in multi-million dollar real estate transaction.
KB Home Charlotte v. Knotts-Providence LLC et al. (Union County Superior Court 2011) - Dismissal of all claims against closing attorney in suit arising from conveyance of prospective residential subdivision.
Laws v. Priority Trustee Services of North Carolina, LLC, 610 F. Supp. 528 (WDNC 2009); No. 09-1432 (4th Cir. 2010) - Dismissal of action, and successful appellate defense of dismissal, in a purported $11 million class action against multi-state firm retained to perform foreclosure sales.
read all representative experience
Yoder et. al. v. Nifong et. al. (N.C. Business Court, 2007) - Successful defense of corporate counsel in shareholders' derivative action.
Lee v. Wike (Superior Court, Alexander County, N.C., 2005) - After mulit-week trial, obtained jury verdict for national poultry producer against litigants seeking injunction on nuisance and trespass theories and claiming extensive personal injuries based on endotoxin exposure.
Porter v. Carolina Blue Land Investments, LLC (N.C. Business Court, 2004) - In multi-party dispute over issues of first impression concerning nature and duration of ownership rights in North Carolina limited liability company, counsel for attorney who created LLC and drafted papers providing for future governance.
State of North Carolina v. W. R. Peele, Sr., Trust (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of N.C., 1994-present) - In multi-party litigation and subsequent administration of settlement requirements, counsel to post-disposal buyer of property containing undisclosed pesticide waste pit.
US EPA v. ABC One-Hour Cleaners, Inc. (administrative settlement, 1998-2001) - In EPA cost recovery claim, counsel for owners and operators of dry cleaning facility alleged to have contaminated municipal drinking water supply at neighboring military installation, a claim receiving national media attention.
Strand v. E.I. Du Pont and Co. (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of N.C., 2004) - Counsel to defendant ABC One-Hour Cleaners, Inc., in successful defense against toxic tort claims brought by persons claiming injury through ingestion of contaminated drinking water.
Clayton v. Stephens (U.S. District Court, Eastern District of N.C.; Superior Court, Orange County, N.C., 1997-98) - Counsel for chemical distributor in obtaining federal and state judicial sanctions against filer of frivolous citizen suits.
Carolina Solite Corporation v. Stanly Citizens Opposed to Toxic Waste Hazards, Inc. (Superior Court, Stanly County, N.C., 1997) - Counsel for plaintiff hazardous waste recycler in action to enforce settlement terms of previous citizen suit.
Durham Herald Co., Inc. v. North Carolina Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Authority (N.C. Court of Appeals, 1993) - In case of first impression, counsel for State agency successfully asserting that documents generated by private-sector State contractors are not subject to public records disclosure requirements until actual delivery to the agency.
"Financial Issues and the Family Lawyer" (Presentation on Legal Ethics at NC Bar Association Family Law Intensive Pregram, February 2012)
"Legal Ethics and Professional Negligence" (Presentation at Annual Meeting of NC Bar Association Environmental Law Section, April 2012)
Petitioning In: The "Best" Time to Enter the Drycleaning Solvent Cleanup Act Program (February 2012)
Co-author, “The Law of Attorney Professional Liability in North Carolina,” The Defender, Summer 2007
General editor and principal contributing author, North Carolina Evidence (West Group 1998)
Contributing author, Practice Commentaries - Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (National Institute for Trial Advocacy, 2001)
Author, "Prosecuting International Terrorists in United States Courts," 12 Yale Journal of International Law 294 (1987)
Prior Legal Experience
Before joining Poyner Spruill, Rick served as a Special Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Department of Justice, principally advising and representing in litigation the North Carolina Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Authority. Prior to that public service, Rick served both as a line officer and as a Judge Advocate in the United States Marine Corps. His experiences in the latter capacity included the prosecution of three capital murder cases, the defense of numerous sensitive cases involving allegations against senior commissioned and noncommissioned officers, the pioneering of the then-new field of military operational law, and service as Assistant Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps (for operational law) and as Deputy Legal and Legislative Counsel to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.