Robert is an experienced commercial and business litigation attorney. His clients rely on him for both his invaluable litigation skills and his insider knowledge of their business goals and concerns.
For more than 30 years, Robert has handled complex disputes on behalf of a variety of institutional clients at both the trial and appellate levels in state and federal court (including bankruptcy court), and before arbitration tribunals and administrative boards, including individual and class action disputes involving state and federal motor vehicle franchise statutes and regulations, fraud and fraudulent transfers, breach of contract, lender liability, creditor’s rights, privacy, antitrust, unfair competition, health care, and securities fraud.
Automotive Manufacturers and Franchise Law
For clients in the heavily regulated automotive industry, Robert brings an informed perspective in matters involving motor vehicle franchise law and other issues that affect automobile manufacturers, distributors and other sector stakeholders. Robert has defended motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors against claims, complaints and protests brought by dealers and prospective dealers involving franchise modifications and terminations, post-termination repurchase obligations, add-points, relocations, warranty reimbursement and chargebacks, the rejection of proposed asset-purchase agreements, anti-export policies, and performance standards.
In addition, Robert regularly advises motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors on state motor vehicle franchise law issues such as franchise modifications and terminations, post-termination obligations, asset purchase agreements, add-points, relocations, relevant market areas, facility and signage upgrades, advertising, floor plan financing, distribution networks (including for electric vehicle and government sales), licensing, incentive and warranty programs, export policies, and dealer insolvency, receiverships and bankruptcy.
Robert also negotiates and drafts various notices and agreements for motor vehicle manufacturers and distributors including notices of termination, modification and add-points, letters of intent, dealer sales and service agreements, facility agreements, performance agreements, no-protest agreements, no-appointment agreements, right of first opportunity agreements, termination agreements and vehicle repurchase agreements.
Robert has argued cases before the California Courts of Appeal, the Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Won a motion to dismiss a termination protest filed by a motor vehicle dealer with the California New Motor Vehicle Board. The motion, which was filed on behalf of the motor vehicle distributor that had issued a notice of its intent to terminate the dealer’s franchise agreement, was based on the Board’s lack of jurisdiction to hear the protest, and the Board’s ruling resulted in a dismissal with prejudice.
Negotiated with the court-appointed receiver and floor plan lender of an insolvent dealer. The court approved: (1) private foreclosure sale agreement providing for the repurchase of the dealer’s new vehicle inventory in the receivership estate; and (2) termination agreement providing for the termination of the dealer’s franchise agreement.
Won a motion to dismiss a fraud and unfair competition law action filed by a prospective dealer against a motor vehicle distributor. The motion was based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens.
Won a demurrer without leave to amend on behalf of a pension fund's self-insured health care plan in a dispute with a large medical provider seeking additional compensation. The order granting the demurrer and dismissing the matter with prejudice was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal.
Won a motion to dismiss a putative antitrust class action on behalf of a motor vehicle franchisor.
Won summary judgment for the beneficiary of a first-position deed of trust recorded against a residential property in a lien-priority action.
Defended a nationwide retailer in a putative class action alleging violations of the California Privacy Act.
Obtained court approval for court-appointed receivers to market and sell multi-tenant office buildings to third parties.
Successfully tried a judicial foreclosure action on behalf of the beneficiary of a deed of trust recorded against a multi-tenant residential property.
Won motion to dismiss a putative class action filed in federal district court against former directors of a company accused of federal securities law violations.
“Can You Keep a Secret? What Happens When You Don't? Privacy Violations in California,” Panelist, Association of Corporate Counsel, Southern California Chapter, January 2015.
“Navigating State and Federal Privacy Laws,” Panelist, California Receivers Forum Loyola VI, January 2015.
“Using AFA's to Stay on Budget—Top Strategies for Using Alternative Fee Arrangements to Control Legal Costs, and Get the Most While Spending the Least,” Panelist, Southern California Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, July 2013.
“Hot Topics in Commercial Real Property Foreclosures and Receiverships,” Panelist, Webinar, State Bar of California, 2011.
“Workouts 101,” Panelist, K&L Gates Seminar, Los Angeles, 2009.
Court Says Refinancing Lender Can’t Get No Satisfaction When Paying Down Existing Lender’s HELOC, K&L Gates Commercial Disputes Alert, October 2013 (co-authored with Matthew B. O’Hanlon).
Limited Liability for Information on Credit and Debit Card Receipts, Privacy & Data Security Law Journal, April 2007 (co-authored with Paul W. Sweeney, Jr., and Melanie H. Brody).
Federal Law Prohibits Certain Information From Being Printed on Electronically Generated Credit and Debit Card Receipts—Risk of Liability for Noncompliant Businesses, K&L Gates Privacy, Data Protection and Information Management Alert, January 2007 (co-authored with Paul W. Sweeney, Jr., and Melanie H. Brody).
Shook Hardy Picks Up Hogan Lovells Automotive Practice Leader in LA, The American Lawyer, May 21, 2020.