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Insurance Group Of The Year: Pillsbury
Robert L. Wallan
Robert Wallan is a senior litigation partner in Pillsbury’s Los Angeles office. Robert tries cases in the state and federal courts and in binding arbitrations, and often argues in state and federal appellate courts. As plaintiff's counsel, Robert has recovered nearly $3 billion for the firm's corporate clients. For the defense, he has helped clients avoid liability in numerous "bet the company" cases. Having tried dozens of cases in the courts and before arbitration panels, Robert advises clients on litigation avoidance strategies, and regularly helps clients shift exposure to insurers.
Robert served as managing partner of the firm's Los Angeles office and litigation department for many years, and currently serves on the firm’s finance committee and as co-chair of its Insurance Recovery and Advisory practice. Robert also serves as Secretary and General Counsel of the UCLA Alumni Association Board of Directors.
- Business Disputes. Robert has litigated and arbitrated many cases to judgment between companies including distribution and supply agreements, technology and other outsourcing agreements, and real estate transactions. Recent examples include a bet the company claim arising from a distribution agreement that resulted in a defense judgment and fee award for our client, and several disputes involving IT outsourcing contracts.
- Insolvency Proceedings. Robert regularly handles adversary proceedings arising from bankruptcies, including fraudulent transfer claims. He often represents litigation trusts, indenture trustees and receivers as well as lenders and other creditors. In the still ongoing $9 billion Executive Life Insurance Company insolvency proceeding, Robert served as trial and appellate counsel to the company's largest policyholder group, major banks serving as indenture trustees for a dozen municipal bond issues. In connection with a $50 million binding arbitration and related foreclosure litigation and lender liability claims arising from the Chrysler bankruptcy, Robert obtained a full recovery for the lender including legal fees, defeating all claims for recovery against the lenders. Robert has handled numerous matters involving defaulted municipal bonds including Mello Roos and other similar bonds secured by special tax liens.
- M & A Litigation. Robert has tried and arbitrated disputes over merger agreements, asset purchase agreements, spinoff agreements, and other corporate transactions. Examples include recovery of more than $25 million in arbitration and post-hearing court proceedings between ITT and a former subsidiary, a $17 million recovery arising from a leveraged buyout of a nutritional supplement manufacturer, and the complete defense of a domain name startup in a federal suit alleging fraudulent misrepresentations in a merger and sale transaction.
- Insurance Recovery and Advisory. Robert advises clients on policy forms and other concerns while purchasing and renewing coverage, and represents corporate policyholders in claims under D & O, General Liability, Property, Errors & Omissions, and other forms of coverage. Examples include obtaining coverage for directors of major public corporations named as defendants in securities class actions, coverage for companies named in consumer, wage & hour, and privacy class actions, coverage for mass tort groundwater contamination claims, and coverage for property owners facing loss from severe natural disasters.
- Class Actions. Robert represents retailers, manufacturers and financial institutions in a range of class actions, including alleged false advertising, privacy, securities and numerous statutory claims. Robert often handles both the substantive defense and the insurance coverage aspects of class litigation in order to best maximize coverage and minimize total cost to the client. He successfully shifted the costs of many wage & hour, privacy, FACTA, and other consumer class actions to our clients’ insurers. Clients have included several major technology companies, financial institutions, and restaurant companies including In-N-Out Burger, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf ®, Yogurtland, and Pinkberry among many others.
- Corporate Governance and Transactional Work. A material part of Robert’s practice involves helping clients stay out of court. Robert regularly advises owners, directors and senior management on a range of compliance, contract, executive compensation and governance issues. Robert also works with our corporate transactional partners to help clients understand and identify litigation risks in acquisitions, and to help minimize exposure from indemnity and other post-closing claims.
- Insurance Regulatory and Insolvency. Robert has advised on and litigated matters involving state regulatory requirements such as special deposits, licensing, and custodial performance and requirements. In addition to the Executive Life case, Robert has worked on other insurance company insolvencies including Executive Life New York, Fremont Indemnity, Superior National, Home, Mission and Reliance
- Patent and Technology. On the first day of trial, Robert helped a major Japanese electronics manufacturer achieve an extremely favorable settlement in a matter involving the licensing of patents for DVD-ROM drives. Robert has extensive experience with the copier and printer industry.
American Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association (Litigation section)
U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Southern and Central Districts of California, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Texas Commerce Bank v. Garamendi, 11 Cal. App. 4th 460 (1992)
Commercial National Bank v. Superior Court, 11 Cal. App. 4th 393 (1993)
Texas Commerce Bank v. Garamendi (TCB II), 28 Cal. App. 4th 1234 (1994)
In re Executive Life Insurance Company, 32 Cal. App. 4th 344 (1995)
SWH Corporation v. Select Insurance Company, 2006 WL 2786930
Bank of New York v. Fremont General Corporation, 514 F. 3rd 1008 (2008)
Zevnik v. Superior Court, 159 Cal. App. 4th 76 (2008)
Crisis Management: Planning for the Unplanned, Best Practices, and Communications. Presentation for The Legal Council Fall Seminar, November 2013
Is Your Company Prepared for a Crisis? Managing Public Relations and Operations. Chaired panel addressing food safety, public relations, social media and privacy in the restaurant industry. UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference, April 2013