Robert Wallan, co-chair of Pillsbury’s Chambers USA-ranked national Insurance Recovery and Advisory Practice, handles class actions, insurance recovery and business-related litigation and has recovered nearly $3 billion for clients.

Robert represents financial institutions, restaurants, retailers, manufacturers and others in company versus company disputes, consumer class actions and a range of “bet the company” cases. He often shifts exposure from clients to their insurers, despite coverage denials. Robert’s extensive litigation experience includes disputes related to mergers and acquisitions, distribution and license agreements, technology, lending practices, insolvencies and insurance coverage. He has tried dozens of cases in state, federal and appellate courts and before arbitration panels.

Representative Experience

  • Fluidmaster's lead counsel in insurance recovery and bad faith litigation over multiple insurers' refusal to defend and indemnify it in more than a dozen nationwide product liability mass and class actions. Prevailed on multiple summary issue adjudication motions, with final settlement coming just days before trial. Total recoveries of defense and indemnity exceeded $50 million, including Brandt fees.
  • Recovered defense and indemnity for a national bank against insurers who improperly denied D & O coverage claims on more than $150 million exposure for securities claims.
  • Led the Pillsbury team representing food distributor Custom Foods in state court litigation against reseller to recover more than $20 million in losses resulting from a massive government beef recall. Regular advice to a range of clients regarding product recalls, contamination and labeling.

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  • Lead counsel for Lenny & Larry’s in multiple nationwide class actions involving allegations of inaccurate nutritional labeling for its popular high-protein cookie. Obtained class favorable settlement on behalf of client approved by court in 2019.
  • Advising numerous financial institutions and other clients regarding the California Consumer Privacy Act with a focus on compliance, insurance and other risk management concerns.
  • Advise banks and other financial institutions, manufacturers, retailers, and restaurant chains in negotiating wording for D&O, cyber insurance, and professional liability policies.
  • Lead counsel for The Broad in federal litigation seeking coverage under a nonprofit D & O policy in connection with claims arising from the construction of its modern art museum in Los Angeles.
  • Represented Rayonier Inc. against former parent ITT in binding arbitration and related court proceedings in state and federal court in New York with final award exceeding $16 million arising from stock distribution agreement implementing a "spin-off" transaction. Continuing environmental insurance litigation on behalf of Rayonier in California state court has produced more than $20 million in insurance recoveries.
  • Advise numerous leading restaurant chains regarding brand protection strategy including trademark enforcement claims and litigation.
  • Advise retailers and product manufacturers on labeling issues and claims under the CLRA and many other consumer protection statutes.
  • Successfully defended former director and officer of Silicon Valley "incubator" company against breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claims brought by receiver in California and in related advancement proceedings in Delaware. Receiver conceded there was no defense to summary judgment motion, leading to court-approved settlement providing an express apology by receiver to client for the baseless claims filed.
  • Defeated class certification and obtained dismissal of consolidated nationwide federal suits against Medora Foods alleging false advertising based on "all natural" and GMO claims. Lead counsel in many similar suits.
  • Long-term representation of Stanford University in connection with insurance claims and litigation.
  • Defeated multiple motions for summary judgment against former directors and officers leading to $17 million recovery in federal litigation arising from a leveraged buyout and subsequent bankruptcy of a nutritional supplement manufacturer.
  • Served as trial and appellate counsel to largest policyholder group in the still ongoing $9 billion Executive Life Insurance Company insolvency proceeding. Recovery exceeds $2 billion to date for institutional policyholder group clients serving as indenture trustees under municipal bond offerings.
  • Defeated lender liability claim and obtained full recovery including legal fees for bank lending group in $50 million binding arbitration and related foreclosure litigation arising from the Chrysler bankruptcy.
  • Defended a domain name startup company and its principals in federal suit alleging fraudulent misrepresentations in a merger and sale transaction. Case settled on eve of trial with recovery of client's legal fees.
  • Represented Yogurtland in binding arbitration against distributor who alleged breach of long-term distribution agreement. Obtained defense award and recovery of legal fees.
  • Represented Toshiba Corporation in patent license suit involving DVD-ROM drives. Motion in limine wins led to favorable settlement on first day set for trial.
  • Represented Xerox Corporation outside directors in securities litigation and related coverage suit under D & O policy where insurer unsuccessfully sought to rescind excess policy.
  • Defeated certification in a nationwide class action against International Coffee and Tea, a national beverage retailer, in a series of lawsuits under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003 (FACTA), a federal statute regulating the information that can be printed on credit card receipts that took effect in December 2006. Defended more than a dozen other FACTA cases, obtaining highly favorable results in each instance. In addition, was able to secure insurance coverage to pay a majority of clients' legal fees and costs.
  • Represented In-N-Out Burger in multiple court proceedings involving the termination of a senior officer who had also served as co-trustee of certain family trusts that control the company. Filed suit on behalf of company alleging the officer had been caught embezzling and taking other actions against the company in contravention of his duties as officer, director and trustee. A confidential settlement followed, resulting in the dismissal of all related legal proceedings.
  • Represented major New York-based bank in district court trial and Ninth Circuit appeal against holding company of insolvent insurance company. Holding company interfered with $13 million special deposit contract; ultimately obtained recovery in bankruptcy proceeding.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of In-N-Out Burger in a federal suit against a CGL insurer which denied coverage for costs associated with customer medical treatment.
  • Represented Jack in the Box in coverage arbitration arising from a large California wage and hour class action settlement. Represented numerous other restaurant chains in similar claims, arbitrations, and litigation.
  • Notable Appellate Decisions
    • 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)

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Co-leader of the Insurance Recovery & Advisory practice, which is ranked nationally by Chambers USA and was named by Law360 as a Practice Group of the Year in 2015 and 2016.
  • Board of Governors, Association of Business Trial Lawyers, Los Angeles Chapter 2018 - present
  • Los Angeles Business Journal “Top 50 Litigators in Los Angeles” 2018

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  • General Counsel and Secretary, UCLA Alumni Association 2012-2014
  • California Epsilon House Corporation, administering UCLA’s largest fraternity student scholarship fund. President, 2014-2017, Chairman 2017- present
  • Legal 500 U.S., Insurance: Advice to Policyholders (2017-2019)

Speaking Engagements

  • California’s Consumer Privacy Act of 2018—Navigating the new statutory privacy standard in the world’s fifth largest economy. Presentation to the National Risk Management Society. Jointly presented with John Kline, ARM, Director, Risk & Insurance Management for Discover Financial Services. May 1, 2019.
  • Western Fires and Eastern Hurricanes: An Update on Losses and Recovery Strategy, Pillsbury’s California CLE Marathons, January 2018
  • Restaurant Delivery – New Models, New Choices, New Issues. UCLA Extension Restaurant Industry Conference, May 2017
  • Co-Presented the "Social Consciousness – Not Just for the Millennials" panel session at Corporate Counsel's West Coast General Counsel Conference in San Francisco in November 2015.
  • 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

Education

  • J.D., University of San Diego School of Law, 1986

    B.A., University of California, Los Angeles, 1982

Admissions

  • California

Courts

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

    U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

    U.S. District Court for the Central District of California