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Robert R. Pohls

Attorney and Mediator

Telephone:

(925) 786-8960

Pohls Mediation LLC

Post Office Box 1063

San Ramon, CA  94583

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Full Profile
Text Box: Representative Cases

	2007	Established that life insurer has no duty to investigate a possible death claim 	until a legal representative is appointed for the beneficiary-estate [Estate of 	Grant v. State Farm Life Insurance Co., E.D. Cal. Case No. C05-02389-FCD 	(KJM)]

	2007	Established limits on post-Abatie discovery in ERISA benefits litigation 
		involving a structural conflict of interest [Beckstrand v. Electronic Arts Group 	Long Term Disability Plan, E.D. Cal. Case No. C05-00323-AWI (GSA)]

	2006	Obtained the Eastern District of California’s first dismissal of representative 	claims for unfair competition under Prop 64 [Starr-Gordon v. Massachusetts 	Mutual Life Insurance Co., E.D. Cal. Case No. C03-0068-LKK (GGH)]

	2004	Established that the “disclosed principal” rule required the dismissal of a 	policyholder’s claim of agent misconduct in connection with the sale of a life 	insurance policy [Magsayo v. Primerica Life Insurance Co., San Joaquin 	County 	Superior Court Case No. CV017399]

	2003	Established that California DOI cannot properly be joined to destroy diversity 	in disability income insurance claims litigation [Borsuk v. Massachusetts 	Mutual Life Insurance Co., N.D. Cal. Case No. C03-0630-VRW]

	2002	Successfully prosecuted California’s first-known litigated case involving the 	rescission of a long term care insurance policy [GE Capital Assurance Co. v. 	Golden, N.D. Cal. Case No. CV02-0282-RMW]

	2001	Obtained an order compelling an insurance agent to arbitrate claims of alleged 	sexual harassment against an insurance broker who did not sign the agent’s 	arbitration agreement [Miranda v. AFLAC, San Francisco County Superior 	Court Case No. 306747]

	1999	Successfully defended the first-known litigated case in California involving 	suitability and the sale of long term care insurance [Yudnich v. The Harvest 	Life Insurance Co., Napa County Superior Court Case No. 26-02844]

	1997	Expanded California’s market for long term care insurance by establishing 	California DOI’s authority to approve of tax-qualified long term care insurance 	policies [Congress of California Seniors v. Quackenbush, LA County Superior 	Court Case No. BC164481]

	1997	Filed an amicus curiae brief in the California Supreme Court on behalf of a life 	and health insurance trade association regarding the “imposter defense” 
		[AMEX 	Life Assurance Co. v. Superior Court (Slome Capital), 14 Cal.4th 1231 	(1997)]

	1997	Established limits on the availability of injunctive relief in actions governed by 	the Federal Arbitration Act [Davenport v. Blue Cross of California, 52 Cal.
		App.4th 435 (1997)]

	1996	Used the Harris Trust corrective legislation to obtain the nation’s first dismissal 	of fiduciary and co-fiduciary liability claims against an insurer holding ERISA 	plan assets in its general account [Tool v. National Employee Benefit 	
		Services, Inc., 957 F.Supp. 1114 (N.D.Cal. 1996)]

	1996	Established that the loss of a health care professional’s license to practice is a 	legal disability which does not qualify for benefits under a disability income 	insurance policy [Damascus v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 933 F.Supp. 	885 (N.D.Cal. 1996)]

	1992	Established that a life insurance company has a private right of action for 	“twisting” under California Insurance Code Section 781 against agents who 	misrepresent facts to induce policy surrenders [Kentucky Central Life 	
		Insurance Co. v. LeDuc, 814 F.Supp. 832 (N.D.Cal. 1992)]

	1992	In a disappearance case involving an accidental death policy, confirmed that 	the beneficiary bears the burden of proving the insured died as the result of an 	accident [Johnson v. Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Co., 799 F.Supp.75 	(N.D.Cal. 1992)]

	1992	Established that a change in premium is sufficient proof that a life insurance 	applicant’s smoking history was material [Kentucky Central Life Ins. Co. v. 	Marin Bay Park Trust, 958 F.2d 377 (9th Cir. 1992)]
Text Box: Executive Summary								


	▪  More than 20 years of experience as a civil litigator and trial attorney in state and federal 	courts throughout California

	▪  Founder and principal of a California law firm that American Lawyer Media’s annual survey 
	of law departments at the Fortune 500 identified as a “Go-To Firm” for Litigation in 2008

	▪  Leader of a statewide trial practice that emphasizes representing life, health, disability and 	long term care insurance companies in bad faith, ERISA and other forms of complex litigation

	▪  Former Chair of the Health & Disability Insurance Law Committee of the American Bar 	
	Association’s Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section
Text Box: Education
		
		University of California, Davis, School of Law 		     	Juris Doctor 
		Davis, California 					                  (1987)

		Bucknell University 		       	 Bachelor of Arts – Political Science 
		Lewisburg, Pennsylvania				  	      (1984)
Text Box: Employment

		Pohls & Associates                                                                          Principal
		San Ramon, California	                                                     (1999 – Present)

Principal of a civil trial practice law firm with a statewide litigation practice that involves complex forms of business, commercial, employment, financial services and tort litigation, but emphasizes representing insurers, banks and other members of the financial services industry in high stakes and complex lawsuits.  Non-litigation practice involves advising corporations and small businesses about business disputes, commercial relationships, employment practices, insurance coverage issues, litigation avoidance, nationwide regulatory matters and risk management.  Significant trial experience in state and federal courts throughout California.  Some litigation experience in other western states.  Formally trained mediator with substantial experience in all forms of alternative dispute resolution.  

Archer, McComas, et al.                                         Senior Litigation Associate 
Walnut Creek, California                                                            (1997 – 1999)

Senior Litigation Associate in a 30-attorney civil litigation law firm.  Partner-level 
responsibility for the defense of complex forms of business, commercial, construction 
defect, employment, insurance, personal injury and product liability litigation.  Developed 
a robust practice involving the representation of life, health and disability insurers in bad 
faith, ERISA and other forms of complex litigation.  Significant trial experience in state 
and federal courts throughout California.  Some experience managing litigation in other jurisdictions.  Substantial experience in all forms of alternative dispute resolution, including service as a court-appointed mediator.  

Fleming & Associates                                              Senior Litigation Associate 
San Francisco, California                                                      	    (1996 – 1997)

Senior Litigation Associate in an 8-attorney civil litigation law firm.  Partner-level 
responsibility for representing life, health and disability insurers in bad faith, ERISA and 
other forms of complex litigation, counseling clients about regulatory matters, and working with industry trade associations on lobbying efforts and the management of high-profile litigation.  Supervised the work of 6 attorneys administering a group legal services plan.  Developed various policies and procedures for firm-wide use.  Significant arbitration, trial and appellate experience in state and federal courts throughout California.  Some litigation experience in other jurisdictions.

Bowles & Verna                                                        Senior Litigation Associate 
Walnut Creek, California                                                       	    (1989 – 1996)

Senior Litigation Associate in a 30-attorney general practice law firm.  Practice initially involved representing Fortune 500 companies in all forms of business, commercial, employment, personal injury, product liability, real estate and tort litigation.  Practice later emphasized counseling financial services companies about litigation management, product development and regulatory issues, as well as representing life, health and disability insurers in bad faith, ERISA and other forms of complex litigation.  Significant arbitration and trial experience in state and federal courts throughout California.  Some appellate experience.

Ropers, Majeski, et al.                                                       Litigation Associate 
Redwood City, California                                                            (1987 – 1989)

Litigation Associate in a 110-attorney civil trial practice law firm.  Practice involved all 
forms of business, insurance coverage, personal injury and product liability litigation, but emphasized the defense of doctors, hospitals and nurses in medical malpractice actions.  Significant law and motion experience.  Some arbitration and trial experience.
Text Box: Bar Admissions

		State Bar of California (1987); U.S. District Court, Northern District of California; U.S. 		District Court, Eastern District of California; U.S. District Court, Central District of 			California; U.S. District Court, Southern District of California; U.S. Court of Appeals, 		Ninth Circuit
Text Box: Published Decisions

	             AMEX Life Assurance Co. v. Superior Court (Slome Capital), 14 Cal.4th 1231 (1997)
 Davenport v. Blue Cross of California, 52 Cal.App.4th 435 (1997)
 Morales v. Health Plus, Inc., 954 F.Supp. 464 (D. Puerto Rico 1997)	
 Tool v. National Employee Benefit Services, Inc. 957 F.Supp. 1114 (N.D.Cal. 1996)
 Damascus v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 933 F.Supp. 885 (N.D.Cal. 1996)
 Aetna Casualty & Surety Co. v. Merritt, 974 F.2d 1196 (9th Cir. 1992)
 Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. v. LeDuc, 814 F.Supp. 832 (N.D.Cal. 1992)
 LeDuc v. Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co., 814 F.Supp. 820 (N.D.Cal. 1992)
 Johnson v. Minnesota Mutual Life Ins. Co., 799 F.Supp. 75 (N.D. Cal. 1992)
 Kentucky Central Life Ins. Co. v. Marin Bay Park Trust, 958 F.2d 377 (9th Cir. 1992)
Text Box: Professional Associations (Past and Present)

		American Bar Association
     			Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Member
			 Health & Disability Insurance Law Committee, Former Chair
		     	Life Insurance Law Committee, Member and Former Vice-Chair
     			Litigation Section, Member
     			Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Member
		Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Associate Member
		Association of Life Insurance Counsel, Member
		Contra Costa County Bar Association, Member
		Defense Research Institute
		     	Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, Member
			 Employment Law Committee, Member
			 Life, Health & Disability Law Committee, Member
	     		Product Liability Litigation Committee, Member
		East Bay Claims Association, Member
		International Claims Association, Member
		Los Angeles County Bar Association, Member
Text Box: Articles and Speaking Engagements

		Litigating Subjective Disability Claims:  What Every Lawyer Should Know About
		   Disability Income Insurance Cases Involving Self-Reported Conditions (ALI-ABA, 
		   The Practical Litigator, May 2008)
		A Practical Guide for Effectively Using the Advice of Counsel Defense (DRI, Life, 
		   Health & Disability News, 2008)
		The Anatomy of a Bad Faith Case (ABA Annual Meeting, 2007)
		California Appellate Courts Continue Their Assault on Arbitration Provisions in Health 
		   Care Service Plans (DRI, Life, Health & Disability News, 2007)
		Enforcing Exclusions and Limitations in Life, Health & Disability Insurance Policies 
		   (DRI Conference on ERISA/Life, Health & Disability Insurance, 2003)
		Litigating Disability Insurance Claims Involving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
		   (ACI 5th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Claims, 2002)
		California Appellate Court Refuses to Order Insurer to Identify Other Psychiatric DI
		   Claimants Whose Claims Were Denied (DRI, Life, Health & Disability News, 2002)
		Long Term Care Insurance:  Selected Considerations for Insurers, Agents, Regulators 		   and Litigators (ABA, The Brief, 2001)
		Defense Strategies for Subjective Disability Claims (ACI 4th National Advanced Forum 		   on Litigating Disability Claims, 2001)
		California Supreme Court Rejects Comparative Bad Faith Defense (DRI, Life, Health & 
		   Disability News, 2000)
		Common Law Right to Fair Procedure Can Limit Insurer’s Right to Remove a 
		   Physician from its List of Preferred Providers (DRI, Life, Health & Disability News, 
		   2000)
		California Court Holds that Insurers Must Give Special Notice to Preserve the
		   Contractual Limitations Defense (DRI, Life, Health & Disability News, 2000)
		Hot Topics in Health & Disability Insurance (ABA Annual Meeting, 1999)
		The Ninth Circuit Rediscovers ERISA:  A Survey of Recent Cases (ABA, Health & 	      Disability Insurance Law Committee Newsletter, 1999)
		Surveillance Videos Can Be Withheld From Disclosures (DRI, Life, Health & Disability 		   News, 1998)
		Defense Strategies for Premium Offset Litigation (ABA, Life Insurance Law Committee 		   Newsletter, 1997)
		McCarran-Ferguson Should Preempt ADA Claims (DRI, Life, Health & Disability News, 		   1997)
		Contributor, Handbook on ERISA Litigation, 2d Ed. (Prentice Hall Law & Business)
		Federal Law Could Void Proposed ADR Initiative (The Recorder, Sept. 20, 1996)
		Developments in Managed Care (ALI-ABA, May 1996)
		Employee Benefits Litigation (NBI, April 1996)
		Americans with Disabilities Act (NBI, April 1996)
		Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (NBI, April 1996)
		Age Discrimination in Employment Act (NBI, April 1996)
		Reconciling 9th Circuit ERISA Cases on Equitable Estoppel (DRI, Spring 1996)
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