Richard M. Dighello


Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C.
Goodwin Square
225 Asylum Street - 20th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103

Tel: 860.548.2633


Richard M. Dighello, Jr. is a Shareholder in the Hartford office of Updike, Kelly & Spellacy. Since joining the Firm, Mr. Dighello has focused his practice in the areas of construction law, product liability, asbestos defense, toxic tort, professional defense and commercial litigation.

In construction matters, Mr. Dighello’s practice involves the representation of design professionals, owners, contractors and subcontractors in all aspects and stages of construction projects from initial conception and contract negotiation to construction and final completion. In addition, his practice includes resolution of any disputes that may arise relating to a project through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and/or litigation.

In 2023, Mr. Dighello was honored by being named a Fellow of the Construction Lawyers Society of America.

As noted on its website – The Construction Lawyers Society of America is an invitation-only construction lawyer honorary society with membership limited to 1,200 practicing Fellows from the United States and internationally. The purpose of the CLSA is to recognize deserving, experienced, and highly qualified lawyers, to provide an outlet for scholarly authorship of legal articles on construction practice, to provide additional sources for professional development, to promote superior advocacy and ethical standards in the practice of law, to assist in community involvement by its membership, and to advance a superior judiciary, and body of distinguished neutrals, by taking relevant positions on issues or legislation affecting judicial compensation and/or benefits, as well as those affecting the American litigation processes.

Mr. Dighello recently served as lead trial counsel and obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a structural engineer/special inspector following a five-week jury trial.

The Plaintiffs alleged, among other things, that UKS’s client (one of four defendants) in the consolidated litigation, breached its professional duty as it pertained to certain special inspections occurring throughout the construction of a retail store, thereby causing substantial damages to the Plaintiffs in the form of remedial repairs and lost profits.  The defense of the client was that while there may have been a duty to the Plaintiffs insofar as the client agreed to perform certain special inspections, the client in no way breached that duty nor did its actions cause any of the alleged damages.

Specifically, Plaintiffs argued that the client did not comply with certain provisions of the Connecticut Building Code or the professional standard of care for the provision of engineering/special inspection services.  Through direct and cross examination of multiple fact and expert witnesses, Attorney Dighello was able to establish that to the extent a duty was owed, Plaintiffs failed to prove a breach of the required standard of care, causation, or damages.  The client prevailed on claims of both professional negligence and negligence per se.

The Defendant’s verdict was especially compelling considering that the jury awarded the Plaintiffs substantial damages (amounting to approximately $17,000,000) as to the other defendants.

Mr. Dighello is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association, Defense Research Institute and Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association.

Mr. Dighello is also involved in his community serving in various capacities with the following organizations:

  • Greater New Britain Chamber of Commerce, Chair, Board of Directors
  • Community Foundation Greater New Britain – Member, Board of Directors and Catalyst Foundation
  • Saint Paul Church, Kensington, CT – Member of Finance Council
  • Friendship Service Center, New Britain, CT – Member, Board of Directors
  • New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT – Member, Facilities Committee
  • City of New Britain Board of Ethics, Chairperson
  • Central Connecticut State University Community Advisory Board – Member

Mr. Dighello graduated from Xavier High School in Middletown, CT. He graduated magna cum laude from Quinnipiac College in Hamden, Connecticut in 1993 with a B.A. in History. In 1996, Mr. Dighello received his J.D. from Boston University School of Law.

  • Author, “Expert Witnesses: Critical Components of a Successful Litigation Plan”, Construct! Construction Litigation Committee Newsletter, American Bar Association, Winter 2005
  • Author, “The Government Made Me Do It – Vietnam, Agent Orange and The Government Contractor Defense,” Mass Torts Litigation Newsletter, Vol 3, No. 1, Mass Torts Litigation Committee, American Bar Association, 2005
Speaking Engagements:
  • Speaker: “How Design Documents Can Prevent or Cause Construction Claims in Connecticut”, Lorman Education Services Seminar, January 2007
  • Speaker: “Product Liability: Practical Strategies and Tips for Avoiding and Defending Lawsuits”, Alliance for Technology Day and Dinner, Mini Medi 2006, October 2006

For more than fifty years, the Firm has concentrated on meeting the multi-faceted needs of the construction, design and development industries. We have successfully represented design professionals, owners, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, building committees, insurers and others.

The Firm has been involved in the development, design and construction, management and/or dispute resolution process of many of the major construction and development projects in Connecticut over the last five decades, as well as in a number of other states around the country, and globally. Those projects include commercial buildings, schools (including universities), medical facilities, museums, green (LEED) projects, distribution facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, landfill facilities, high-rise buildings, malls, hotels, condominiums, high-end residences, transportation related projects, utility projects, energy related projects and others.

As construction counsel for our clients, we stay actively involved from the conceptual and contract forming stage through the conclusion of the project, working with our clients to promptly address, mitigate and/or resolve any legal issues or problems that may arise during each phase of the project. That work may include negotiation, mediation, litigation, arbitration, appeals and/or other dispute resolution alternatives. We have handled disputes from the simplest fee and/or liability claims to the most complex multi-phase and multi-party construction disputes. We also assist clients with lien and bond claims, in order to secure payment or clear title.

We also provide in-depth knowledge and experience in preparing, negotiating and reviewing contracts of all forms (both standard industry form and customized versions), bid issues (preparation of bid forms, review of bid documents and bids themselves for compliance and resolution of bid disputes), contract interpretation, assistance with the change order process, mechanics’ liens, environmental counseling, employment issues and assistance with selection of appropriate technical experts.

Updike, Kelly & Spellacy, P.C. combines its historic Connecticut roots and entrepreneurial spirit to provide legal and public affairs representation across diverse practice areas and industries. Our attorneys have diverse backgrounds, talents, interests, and experience. This diversity empowers us to provide to our clients proactive and innovative representation and solutions to the complex issues and needs of our clients. Individually qualified, our attorneys work as a team in order to offer our clients guidance over multiple practice areas.

With offices in Hartford, New Haven, and Middletown, UKS prides itself on being at the center of law, business, community and politics within the State of Connecticut. We maintain one of Connecticut’s oldest public affairs practice groups, have forged long-standing relationships with local, state and national government decision makers, and participate in numerous business and other organizations and associations engaged in the political process. As a result, we enjoy access to prominent business leaders and government officials throughout Connecticut.