William C. Heck


New York
Phone number
(212) 808-7817

Bill Heck is involved in complex corporate litigation, including mass disasters and toxic torts. Bill represents major corporations involved in sophisticated commercial litigation, such as disputes over real estate and the purchase and sale of businesses, and also handles litigated trusts and estates matters. Bill has four decades of experience in mass disasters and toxic tort litigation, including cases involving asbestos, Agent Orange, silicone breast implants and Bhopal. He is also skilled in resolving related insurance coverage matters for these types of litigation claims, as well as in the operation of joint defense and judgment-sharing groups.

Over the course of his career, Bill has been involved in a number of high-profile, high-stakes and long-running litigations. Notably, he has represented Hercules Incorporated since the late 1970s in Agent Orange litigation, where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the last U.S. Agent Orange cases brought by both U.S. veterans of the Vietnam War and Vietnamese citizens. Bill is currently assisting in the defense of an Agent Orange lawsuit filed in a suburb of Paris, France by a Vietnamese national.

Since 1984, Bill has represented Union Carbide Corporation in Bhopal-related litigation. In the U.S., he obtained summary judgment for Union Carbide in two cases in federal District Court regarding environmental claims arising out of the operation of a chemical plant by a former subsidiary located in Bhopal, India, which were affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Bill represented the seller of a major Park Avenue office building in a dispute with the purchaser over a failed closing during the credit crisis, obtaining summary judgment in favor of the seller in the Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Court permitting the seller to retain a $39 million deposit, which was affirmed on appeal.

Selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.) in the Trusts & Estates—Litigation area, Bill co-chaired the successful 11-day trial of a $6 million undue influence case in New York Surrogate’s Court. He also achieved a significant monetary settlement for five clients, including The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, in a will contest, and in another matter successfully prosecuted objections to an executor’s accounting.

Also listed among New York’s Super Lawyers, Bill continues to be involved in serious, complicated cases, where he is able to succeed against the odds. His commitment to delivering creative lawyering across many decades of practice is manifest in his ability to figure out a way to win a case without having to go to trial. Bill has spent his entire legal career at Kelley Drye, a testament to his dedication and commitment not only to the firm, but also to his clients and their constituents. As a result, Bill is also relied upon by his colleagues for the ability to collaborate, as well as to identify paths to resolution that require novel or innovative approaches to overcoming even the most daunting obstacles.

Although I am a litigator through and through, my clients truly appreciate that I have been able to find a way to win many of their cases without having to settle or try them in court.”

In re Will of Avonne Keller, Surrogate’s Court, State of New York, County of New York, File No. 1847/2015.

In re Will of Howard Wallace, Surrogate’s Court, State of New York, County of New York, File No. 2709/2006.

In re Agent Orange,” 517 F.3d 76 (2d Cir. 2008) and 517 F.3d 104 (2d Cir. 2008).

Sahu v. Union Carbide Corp., 04 Civ. 8825, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91066 (S.D.N.Y. June 26, 2012), aff’d, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 13357 (2d Cir. June 27, 2013).

Sabu v. Union Carbide Corp., 07 Civ. 2156, 2014 WL 3765556 (S.D.N.Y. July 30, 2014), aff’d, 2016 WL 2990941 (2d Cir., May 24, 2016).

Donerail Corp. v. 405 Park LLC, 2011 WL 9305749 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Co., Sept. 23, 2011), aff’d, 103 A.D.3d 131 (1st Dep’t 2012).

Pro Bono

Appointed as a special master by the New York Appellate Division, First Department, to act as a settlement mediator on a pro bono basis.

The Best Lawyers in America© (Woodward/White, Inc.), Trusts and Estates Litigation, 2015–2023.

Listed in New York Super Lawyers, 2007–2023.

Tufts Lawyers Association (alumni organization).