Rich has extensive experience in litigated matrimonial and family court cases. His clients have included a university president and several judges, as well as many professionals, business owners, and other individuals. As one of two credentialed collaborative practice attorneys with the firm, Rich also provides an alternative to adversarial proceedings in matrimonial and family law-related cases.
Prior to becoming a partner in our firm, Rich was a partner for 28 years in the law firm of Bixler and Stumbar. Previously, he was a partner with Betty Friedlander from 1975 – 77, when Betty was appointed by Governor Carey as a Tompkins County Court Judge.
In the realm of civil litigation, Rich’s cases have covered malpractice, construction accidents, construction disputes and claims, premise liability, and products liability. He successfully defended a local oil industry service company in a patent infringement suit brought by Tenneco Oil. Other successfully litigated cases of interest include cases against manufacturers of birth control devices, heart valves, breast implants, gas pressure control valves, heavy equipment, and several different drugs.
In his municipal practice, Rich draws on his experiences serving as the Ithaca City attorney in 1984 and ’85, as town attorney for the Town of Danby from 2001 – ’06, and as special counsel to the Tompkins County Assessment Office litigating commercial tax certiorari cases.
Rich also has proven experience in both civil rights and labor law. With co-counsel Diane Bruns of this firm, as well as Mariette Geldenhuys and Elizabeth Bixler, Rich argued the case for marriage of same sex couples in the New York State Court of Appeals in July 2006. He also represented the "Cornell Seven" in a suit brought by the university’s women’s coaches to obtain equal pay for equal work and successfully represented the former Ithaca Building Commissioner as lead counsel in a claim of wrongful termination by the City of Ithaca.
Rich has lectured on legal issues at Cornell University and taught a class on the law at Elmira College. He is a former board member of the Science Center, Planned Parenthood, Tompkins County E.O.C., and the Community School of Music and Arts.
To make an appointment with Rich, please contact MaryJo Cobb
Cornell University, B.S. (with distinction), 1969
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Master of Science, 1971
Cornell University, Doctor of Jurisprudence (Order of the Coif), 1974
New York State, 1975
U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of New York
United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania