University of Illinois, B.A.
John Marshall Law School, J.D.
Mr. McNalis has been practicing law for over 35 years. After a career in public service with the Chicago Fire Department and the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, he joined the firm in June of 1986, when it was the Law Offices of Brian C. Powers. Currently, Mr. McNalis’ litigation practice concentrates on construction defects, large property losses, insurance coverage issues, business interruption, arson and fraud, as well as commercial litigation. He has handled a wide variety of cases from residential property losses to large commercial property losses with multi-million dollar damages at issue.
He is an experienced litigator having tried numerous criminal and civil trials to verdict. A sample of the type of criminals trials include DUI, child abuse, arson, and homicide arising from arson. In the civil arena, Mr. McNalis has tried cases in both the state and federal courts throughout Florida. The variety of civil cases tried includes insurance coverage disputes, catastrophe losses, arson, fraud, and defects cases. To date, one of Mr. McNalis’ more memorable trial witnesses was an arson detection dog who demonstrated her skills to the jury.
Mr. McNalis is versed in building construction having received extensive training in the fire academy, as a fire lieutenant, conducting fire safety inspections and training fire inspectors with the Chicago Fire Prevention Bureau. This experience has aided his abilities to handle construction and property damage cases. Additionally, he has served as an appraiser for property loss claims including fire losses and catastrophe claims for both residential and commercial properties.
Mr. McNalis started his paid career with the Chicago Fire Department in 1977, as a firefighter assigned to a rescue squad. During his involvement with the Chicago Fire Department, Mr. McNalis responded to numerous fires as well as incidents such as vehicular accidents, trapped individuals, plane crashes, boating accidents and industrial mishaps. He was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and became the first firefighter to be the legal advisor to the Chicago Fire Commissioner.
From June 1983 to June 1986, Mr. McNalis was an Assistant State Attorney in the Cook County State Attorney’s Office, Chicago, Illinois. One of Mr. McNalis’ assignments was with the the Special Prosecution’s Arson Task Force investigating and prosecuting arson related crimes throughout Chicago. Mr. McNalis was involved in the investigation of two cases involving the death of firefighters from arson fires. During his tenure there, he worked closely with fire investigators from the city, state, and Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms.
Mr. McNalis received his B.A. in Criminal Justice, cum laude, from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1974. He attended John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois and received his Juris Doctorate in 1979.
Mr. McNalis is admitted to the bars of the States of Florida (1986) and Illinois (1979), and is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern and Districts of Florida,
Mr. McNalis is a member of the Florida Bar Association and has previously served as Chairman of Florida Bar Grievance Committee 15F. Spanning 35 years of practice he has been a member of numerous legal and industry associations.
PUBLICATIONS AND LECTURES
Mr. McNalis has participated in and been a frequent lecturer at industry conferences, educational programs and public forums. Topics include investigation and prosecution of arson cases, investigation of fraudulent claims, insurance coverage issues, bad faith, claims handling, appraisal and civil litigation. Such seminars and lectures include, but are not limited to, the following:
Adjusting and Litigation Issues Following a Catastrophe
Assessing Damages after Catastrophe
Avoiding Bad Faith in Property Claims Handling
Case Law Update
Cause and Origin Investigation
Condominium Loss Coverage Issues
Discovery Issues Including the Claim File
Red Flags of Arson
Red Flags of Fraud
Handling Catastrophic Claims
Handling the First Party Bad Faith Claim/Lawsuit
Handling Water Losses
Insured’s Breach of Contract: Failure to Comply with Duties After Loss and Other Policy
Insurance Coverage Litigation
Interpretation of the Policy of Insurance
Misrepresentation in the Application
Mr. McNalis was an instructor for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for a college course in fire law. This course covered all aspects of the law as it relates to fire service including liability issues, arson and the laws regulating criminal investigations.
In addition to the experience Mr. McNalis gained fighting arson fires as a Chicago firefighter, he also received special training in investigating arson fires including:
Arson investigation conducted by the Illinois Department of Law Enforcement.
Arson investigation for trainers at the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg, Maryland.
Arson investigation for prosecutors at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms in Glencoe, Georgia.
Mr. McNalis is an adult leader in the Boy Scouts of America. He became active as an adult leader when his son joined Cub Scouts. After his son became a Boy Scout, Mr. McNalis took an active role in the troop as an Assistant Scoutmaster. Since joining the troop, Mr. McNalis has enjoyed the numerous backpacking treks he has lead for the scouts. When the troop needed a backup bus driver, Mr. McNalis qualified for a commercial driver’s license so that he could assist in driving the troop’s Prevost motor coach. He was also an advisor for the Venture Crew his daughter joined.
Mr. McNalis is an avid photographer and takes photos at many activities and events his children are involved in to share with all the participants. Several of his photographs have been printed in local papers and a magazine.
United States Army Reserves – 12th Special Forces Group Airborne (1972 – 1979)