Robert J. Guite: Lawyer with Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Robert J. Guite

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Practice Areas

  • Litigation
  • Employee Benefits/ERISA
  • Labor and Employment
University Seattle University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1992
Law SchoolUniversity of Montana, J.D., with highest honors, 1995 Managing Editor of Montana Law Review
Admitted1995, Montana; 1996, Washington; 2006, California; U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit

Robert Guite is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Guite focuses his litigation practice on commercial, class action, products liability, ERISA and insurance matters. He regularly advises retailers and consumer products manufacturers on brand protection and unfair competition litigation and represents employee welfare benefit plans, fiduciaries and insurers in ERISA fiduciary and benefits litigation. Rob also regularly represents clients in alternative dispute resolution processes and serves as lead counsel in mediations, arbitrations and judicial settlement conferences, at trial and on appeal.

Rob is co-author of "DOL Final Fee Disclosure Rules May Have Consequences for Fiduciaries Beyond Fines - Could Result in Increased Litigation and Government Enforcement," appearing in Bloomberg BNA's Pensions & Benefits Daily, and of "ERISA Fiduciary Claims: Planning, Protecting and Preparing for Class Actions," appearing in the Employee Relations Law Journal. He was also a speaker for the Washington State Bar Association, presenting "Employee Benefits: Introduction to ERISA Litigation." Rob is a member of the Board of Examiners of the Washington State Bar Association.


Representative Experience

· Serving as primary counsel and obtaining a dismissal of claims in a breach of fiduciary duty matter against ERISA fiduciaries and trustees.

· Serving as primary counsel to an electrical products distributor in class action litigation arising from damages caused by allegedly defective in-wall heaters.

· Obtaining dismissal of numerous claims and negotiating a favorable settlement on behalf of the manufacturer of siding in litigation brought by the developer and owner of a newly constructed 286-unit residential development over claims of design and manufacturing defects, fraud, misrepresentation and breach of warranty.

· Filing suit and achieving a prompt and favorable settlement on behalf of a client whose trademarks were being used by a competitor as ad-words or keywords in online advertising.

· Advising in a commercial dispute arising from the expulsion of a minority shareholder from a closely held professional corporation.

· Obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of a claim for benefits under an ERISA-regulated employee welfare benefit claim over assertions of conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty.

· Obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of wrongful foreclosure and consumer protection act claims against a residential mortgage lender and argument before the Court of Appeals.

· Representing the former owner of contaminated sites in litigation arising under Washington's Model Toxics Control Act; achieving dismissal of certain claims and negotiating a favorable settlement.

· Representing a condominium homeowners association in arbitration of the owners' claims for misrepresentation, negligent design and construction following the conversion of the property from apartments to condominiums.

· Representing the board of directors of a 110-unit residential cooperative in arbitration against the design and build contractor of heating and ventilation systems and achieved a favorable settlement on behalf of the cooperative.

· Serving as primary counsel in bad faith and breach of contract litigation arising from claims under a disability income policy and obtaining summary judgment on behalf of the insurer.

· Serving as a member of a trial team that obtained a defense verdict in class action products liability litigation involving home heating oil.

· Obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of unfair competition and trade secret claims of competing chains of health clubs.

· Resolving successfully a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

· Negotiating a favorable settlement in litigation involving the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.

· Successfully resolving a catastrophic personal injury claim on behalf of a snowboard binding manufacturer in a products liability matter.

Published Opinions

· Martorello v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 704 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (Obtained dismissal of fiduciary, bad faith and breach of contract claims in ERISA litigation)

· Beamish v. CNA Group Life Ins. Co., 487 F. Supp. 2d 1196 (W.D. Wash. 2007) (Obtained dismissal of all claims on summary judgment)

· Hedenburg v. Aramark Am. Food Servs., 476 F. Supp. 2d 1199 (W.D. Wash. 2007) (Obtained summary judgment on workplace discrimination, harassment and wrongful discharge claims)

· Messer v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 370 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (W.D. Wash. 2005) (Obtained summary judgment in ERISA benefits and fiduciary duty litigation)

· Futamura v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 305 F. Supp. 2d 1181 (W.D. Wash. 2004) (Obtained summary judgment over claims of conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty)

· LaPrease v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 347 F. Supp. 2d 944 (W.D. Wash. 2004) (Obtained summary judgment and dismissal of all claims for benefits in ERISA litigation)


· Martindale-Hubbell® AV Rated Lawyer

· Northern California Super Lawyer, 2011


· Candace L. Quinn & Robert J. Guite, DOL Final Fee Disclosure Rules May Have Consequences for Fiduciaries Beyond Fines, BNA Pension & Benefits Daily (April 25, 2012)

· D. Michael Reilly & Robert J. Guite, ERISA Fiduciary Claims: Planning, Protecting and Preparing for Class Actions, 31 Emp. Rel. L. Jour. 45 (2005)

· Robert J. Guite & Lisa A. Rodeghiero, Stratemeyer v. Lincoln County: Mental Injuries and Workers' Compensation Policy, 55 Mont. L. Rev. 525 (1994)


· Speaker, Keyword Advertising Litigation: Theory and Practice, San Francisco, CA (2010) (CLE)

· Speaker, Department of Labor ERISA Compliance Audits, 2009 Labor & Employment Seminar, Palo Alto, CA (CLE)

· Speaker, ERISA Developments and Litigation Trends, 2008 Labor & Employment Seminar, Palo Alto, CA and Los Angeles, CA (CLE)

· Speaker, Employee Benefits: Introduction to ERISA Litigation, Washington State Bar Association, Seattle, WA (2006) (CLE)


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Office Information

Robert J. Guite

Seventeenth Floor, Four Embarcadero Center
San FranciscoCA 94111


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