Kevin R. Gardner


Kevin R. Gardner has been representing clients in the federal and state courts for more than thirty years in complex commercial, construction and environmental litigation, class actions, product liability claims, employment restrictive covenant disputes, and trade secret litigation. His practice includes service as National Coordinating Counsel and Regional Litigation Counsel for multinational corporations. Mr. Gardner also has substantial experience handling crisis management issues for clients. He regularly assists companies in preparing and executing crisis management and emergency response plans.

Mr. Gardner has served as lead counsel for clients in connection with catastrophic losses and mass tort litigation, notably the Port Elizabeth Warehouse Fire, the Texas Eastern Pipeline Explosion, and the Seton Hall University dormitory fire. He has also represented clients and served as court-appointed liaison counsel in product liability and environmental mass tort/MDL litigation.

Qualified as a mediator pursuant to Rule 1:40, Mr. Gardner has served as the mediator in more than 400 private and court-ordered mediations. He has also served as an arbitrator by court appointment in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey and as a fee arbitrator by designation of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

For 28 years, Mr. Gardner has served as an adjunct professor, at Seton Hall University School of Law and Rutgers University Law School, teaching "Civil Practice in the Federal and State Courts of New Jersey," "Crisis Management: The Legal Aspects of Crisis Planning, Response and Recovery" and "Civil Litigation Strategy and Practice." Mr. Gardner has also been a lecturer at New York University's Graduate School of Business on the mediation of employment and commercial disputes.

Mr. Gardner received the 2013 Distinguished Service Award from the New Jersey State Bar Association for his contributions to continuing legal education. He is a faculty member of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy and a frequent speaker on civil practice issues, crisis management and other subjects for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Defense Research Institute, Rutgers Institute for Professional Education, USLAW Network, New Jersey Attorney General's Advocacy Institute and other organizations.

By appointment of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Mr. Gardner has served six terms as a member of the Supreme Court's Civil Practice Committee. Since 2002, he has been selected by his peers to be listed in Best Lawyers in America for Commercial Litigation and, since 2015, for Environmental Litigation. Mr. Gardner has also been elected by his peers to be a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, as well as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

While attending Seton Hall University School of Law, Mr. Gardner served as the Managing Editor of The Law Review. Upon graduation, he served as a law clerk to Hon. Robert L. Clifford, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of New Jersey. Mr. Gardner joined Connell Foley LLP in 1980.

Honors and Awards:

  • New Jersey State Bar Association Distinguished Service Award (2013)
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • "Best Lawyers in America," Commercial Litigation
    • Commercial Litigation
    • Environmental Litigation
  • "New York's Best Lawyers," Commercial Litigation 
  • New Jersey Super Lawyers 

Representative Experience:

  • In Re Durham Woods Litigation. Counsel for pipeline company in natural gas transmission line explosion and fire that destroyed 228 apartment units, resulting in over 1200 lawsuits and claims, with respect to the civil litigation as well as the criminal, NTSB and OSHA investigations
  • Passaic River Litigation. Counsel for public utility in Spill Act litigation concerning the environmental remediation of the Passaic River
  • PPA Litigation. Counsel for pharmaceutical manufacturer in product liability class actions and 110 individual cases, court-appointed defense liaison counsel
  • In Re Port Elizabeth Warehouse Fire Litigation. Counsel for public utility in $195 million fire litigation
  • Seton Hall University Dormitory Fire. Counsel for University with respect to OSHA, regulatory and criminal investigations, as well as civil litigation arising from dormitory fire that resulted in multiple fatalities and dozens of injuries
  • Ford Edison Plant Litigation. Counsel to environmental consulting firm in investigation by Department of Environmental Protection and civil litigation arising from decommissioning of automobile assembly plant
  • Bergenfield Apartment Explosion and Fire. Counsel for utility in litigation resulting from natural gas explosion that destroyed an apartment building, causing multiple fatalities and numerous injuries
  • Ultra Additives Chemical Plant Fire. Counsel for chemical company as to cause and origin, environmental and OSHA investigations, as well as insurance issues in connection with chemical plant fire
  • In Re PSE&G Derivative Shareholder Litigation, 320 N.J. Super. 112 (Ch. Div. 1998). Counsel for corporation in shareholder class action
  • Geraci v. Gaitway Farm, Inc. Counsel for stable owner in barn fire that destroyed 21 standard bred racing horses with respect to civil litigation and insurance issues


  • American Bar Association
  • New Jersey State Bar Association
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Risk and Insurance Management Society 
  • Defense Research Institute
  • USLAW Network
  • Adjunct Professor, Seton Hall University School of Law
  • Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University School of Law
  • Lecturer, New York University Graduate School of Business
  • Faculty Member, National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Faculty Member, New Jersey Attorney General's Advocacy Institute
  • Speaker, New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education
  • Master, Seton Hall Law School Inn of Court


85 Livingston Avenue
  • Seton Hall University (J.D., 1979)
  • Lehigh University (B.A., 1976)
  •  State of New Jersey
  • United States District Court for  the District of New Jersey
  • United States Court of  Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • United States Court of  Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Best Lawyers Award Badge