The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) is the largest public retail energy aggregation in Ohio, serving 800,000 electric and gas customers across 13 counties. NOPEC’s electric supplier abruptly notified NOPEC that it was terminating its contract, thus leaving NOPEC’s nearly half-million electric customers to return to utility service at higher rates. Bricker attorneys sprang into action to prevent NOPEC’s customers from paying these increased rates. The team negotiated a new complex electricity supply contract with NOPEC’s replacement supplier (worth approximately $1 billion); and, within 10 days, our client had signed a new three-year contract. With our assistance, NOPEC obtained two waivers from the PUCO to meet the expedited enrollment timeline. Meanwhile, within two weeks, our litigation team settled a TRO and injunction case involving the original supplier, which resulted in a multi-million-dollar settlement payment to NOPEC. In addition, our energy litigation team dissolved an ex parte TRO issued against NOPEC to a competitor regarding the NOPEC customer enrollment process. We also obtained a complete dismissal of the competitor’s lawsuit on the basis that the PUCO had exclusive jurisdiction over the matter.
Kurtis A. Tunnell
Leading the third largest firm in Columbus, Kurt Tunnell is the Managing Partner of Bricker & Eckler and serves as the Chair of the Executive Committee. Kurt, his management team, the Executive Committee and eight practice group chairs are responsible for the strategic and operational direction of this major Ohio law firm.
Under Kurt’s leadership, the firm has grown its Ohio platform with offices in Southeast Ohio, including Marietta and Barnesville, to support the development of the region and its involvement in the shale play. Additionally, the firm expanded its presence in 2016 with the addition of a downtown Dayton location and the relocation of its Southwest Ohio office to downtown Cincinnati. Kurt established a leadership program within the firm to grow its leadership capacity and provide opportunities for young partners and senior associates to make early contributions to the firm. He has been a leader and champion in the development of an innovative firm-wide wellness program which has received national recognition by UnitedHealthcare. And under his stewardship, Bricker was named to the National Law Journal’s Mid-size Hot List for 2013.
Kurt is a passionate advocate for and leader of diversity and inclusion initiatives in the legal profession. He is an active member of the national Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and has participated in recruiting OhioHealth, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, White Castle, Abercrombie & Fitch and DHL Excel to join Nationwide Insurance as Columbus-based members of LCLD. Since 2010, he has led the Columbus Bar Association Managing Partner Diversity Initiative, which was recognized as one of Columbus Business First's 2016 "Outstanding Diversity Resource of the Year" and with the 2015 American Bar Association Partnership Award. Within the firm and throughout the legal community, Kurt has championed programs and training on implicit bias and the development of effective pipeline and mentoring initiatives. One of these programs included a curated art exhibit at Bricker & Eckler featuring diverse local artists.
A former Chief Legal Counsel to Ohio Governor George Voinovich, Kurt has built a practice that centers on the intersection of public policy and politics. He has unique experience in developing and operating legislative coalitions to advocate major public policy goals through the Ohio General Assembly, the Governor’s office and the various departments and agencies of Ohio government. Specifically, he has spearheaded advocacy efforts on behalf of the more than 200-member Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice, which established Ohio as a national leader in comprehensive tort reform initiatives. Kurt has led legislative initiatives that have reduced and broadened the insurance premium tax, applied Ohio's tax abatement law to all electric generation facilities, eliminated the tax on prescription pharmaceutical samples and maintained the interests of nonprofit hospitals from the incursion of for-profit systems. He has assisted the development of a coalition of advanced energy companies, including solar, wind and biomass business, to advocate adoption of a renewable energy portfolio standard in Ohio. And Kurt has counseled numerous coalitions opposing a variety of petition and ballot issues that have hindered business interests.
Kurt has extensive experience in Ohio judicial elections. Since the 1998 election cycle, he has been substantially involved in every Ohio Supreme Court biennial election and is also significantly involved in Court of Appeals elections across the state. He has filed numerous amicus briefs in courts across Ohio on matters of public policy for various business and trade organizations.
Kurt serves as legislative counsel to the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies, general counsel to the Ohio Manufacturers' Association, legislative counsel to the American Insurance Association in Ohio, special Ohio counsel to the National Federation of Independent Business, and as special Ohio counsel to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Prior to assuming his position as Bricker’s Managing Partner, he was general counsel and parliamentarian to the Ohio Republican Party.
- Treasurer and Member, Harry C. Moores Foundation
- Member, The Executive Order of the Ohio Commodore
- Participant, Leadership Columbus, 1989
- Co-Leader, Leadership Columbus, 40th Anniversary Alumni Engagement, Class of 1989, 2016
- Panelist, "Develop Regional Connections," Leadership Council on Legal Diversity annual meeting, September 29, 2015
- Panelist, “Effective Communication,” Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation Leadership Institute, January 23, 2015
- Speaker, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, May 15, 2015
- Chair, Managing Partner Diversity Initiative, Columbus Bar Association, 2011-present
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Ohio State Bar Association
- Member, Columbus Bar Association
- Listed, Best Lawyers in America (Government Relations Practice), 2011–2017
- Listed, Ohio Super Lawyers (Government Relations; Energy & Natural Resources; Legislative & Governmental Affairs), 2005–2007, 2012–2017
- Listed, Central Ohio Power 100, Smart Business, 2001–2012
- Recipient, Outstanding Lobbyist Award, Ohio Lobbying Association, 1995, 2006
- Ranked as AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
- The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law (J.D. with honors, 1987); President, Society of International Law OSU Graduate and Professional Academic Board
- University of Toronto (M.A., 1985); Rotary International Scholar
- Hastings College (B.A., magna cum laude, high distinction in political science, 1983); Harry S. Truman Scholar 1981; Who's Who at Hastings College
Bricker attorneys named 2017 Ohio Super Lawyers
Bricker & Eckler attorneys earn Best Lawyers 2017 recognition
Bricker & Eckler opens office in downtown Dayton’s Water Street District
Represent API-Ohio, a state affiliate office of the American Petroleum Institute in governmental affairs and lobbying activities before the Ohio General Assembly, the Governor’s Office and related statewide executive agencies. The firm has participated in high-profile and successful lobbying efforts regarding proposed legislative changes to the oil and gas severance tax and other oil and gas statutes in Ohio. In addition, we played an active role in numerous rule-makings before the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, including the horizontal well-site construction rules and emergency/incident notification rules. The firm has also been involved in negotiating various rule packages before Ohio EPA, the Ohio Department of Commerce and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio relating to incident notifications, air emissions from compressors and other facilities, and call before you dig procedures.
A Huguenot named Tonnellier leaves France to come to America via England for his faith. Six generations, now named Tunnell, work the land as farmers and pursue their faith, including one who serves with Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois legislature. Faith continues through the seventh generation, but one leaves the land to become a lawyer. (The Nebraska family farm, which Kurt now owns, has been in his family for 125 years.)
An avid hiker and cyclist, Kurt recently completed his sixth “fourteener,” a mountain peak with an elevation of over 14,000 feet. Kurt, his daughter and his son-in-law are pictured here in Colorado atop Mount Lincoln, his personal favorite.
Through his service on the Board of Northwest Bible Church, Kurt has become an advocate for The Malawi Talent Fund, which ministers to the people of Malawi, Africa, by developing businesses to employ the vast number of Malawians who have no means to support themselves.