“Every problem has its own story. By adapting what we learn from past experiences to fresh, innovative ideas, we can devise a successful approach to our problem solving.”
For 35 years, Robert has specialized in insurance recovery on behalf of policyholders. As Chair of the Insurance Recovery group and a member of the firm’s Litigation practice, Robert litigates complex disputes against insurance companies on behalf of corporations seeking coverage for all manner of claims involving every form of risk and exposure such as those arising out of products, securities, directors & officers, energy, automotive, financial institutions, and health, among others.
Robert has argued appeals in the second, third, fourth and eighth U.S Courts of Appeals, as well as the California Court of Appeal, San Francisco Division. Among other noteworthy representations, in MBIA, Inc. v Federal Ins. Co., 652 Fed. 3rd 152 (2nd Cir. 2011), Robert obtained a sweeping first impression decision requiring insurance companies to pay defense costs from the initiation of government investigations before suit was filed. This decision allowed companies to access vast amounts of insurance that previously had been contested. The MBIA decision also granted coverage for Special Litigation Counsel, a routine cost incurred in the defense of derivative actions that insurance companies also regularly contest. Robert also led a team on behalf of International Paper Company through a series of trials, mediations and arbitrations that ultimately recouped nearly $1 billion in costs including damages, class counsel fees, notice programs and administrative costs. Prior to the coverage litigation, Robert led a court-mandated mediation of the underlying class action itself that ultimately settled the dispute.
Robert’s practice is national and international in scope. He has experience in state and federal courts throughout the US, as well as in adjudicative bodies in the United Kingdom. Notably, Robert has been involved since its genesis in disputes arising out of the Bermuda form insurance policy which requires arbitrations in the UK under NY law. In addition to insurance recovery, he also has represented clients in multidistrict litigation including the defense of consumer subrogation claims brought by a number of homeowner insurance companies against Electrolux. In a unique instance but one that was in the client’s best interest, he successfully defeated an MDL.
The thrust of Robert’s practice is innovative problem solving through all forms of dispute resolution. Robert believes that it is paramount to be poised to reach global resolutions when warranted while at the same time being fully prepared to take a matter through the entire adjudicative process. Robert adheres to a philosophy that decision making needs a story that allows one to understand consequences, including those that are likely and unlikely. As a client once put it, “one size fits one.” By taking all of that into account, Robert believes he and his team can effectively and efficiently serve as his clients’ advocate.
District of Columbia
United States District Court for the District of Columbia
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States Supreme Court
J.D., cum laude, Tulane Law School, 1979
B.A., Cornell University, 1975
Previously ranked nationwide and in New York in Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder, Chambers USA
Best Lawyers in America – Best Lawyers (2006-2018)
Who's Who Legal as one of America's Leading Business Lawyers in Insurance Recovery
The Legal 500's guide to outstanding attorneys nationwide for Insurance: Advice to Policyholders (2011)
Represented International Paper against 22 of its insurance carriers in a nationwide products liability class action. The first phase of the case resulted in a $93.2 million jury verdict that included an award for bad faith in International Paper's favor. The trial of the second phase returned a $383.3 million verdict in International Paper's favor.
Represented International Paper in court supervised mediations resulting in the settlement of three large nationwide class actions.
Represented MBIA in a landmark case obtaining substantial defense costs in D&O insurance cases arising out of shareholder, SEC and NYAG actions.
Represented Wright Medical Technologies in connection with a coverage dispute over the manufacture and sale of alleged defective medical devices.
Represented Hess Corporation in actions concerning MTBE in product liability litigation.
Represented Phillips Petroleum Company as its successor companies in a number of coverage disputes.
Represented Dupont in one of the first Bermuda form disputes with X.L. and ACE Insurance Companies.
Represented Fuisz in obtaining a seminal decision obtaining coverage for defamation in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeal.