Rob Weber has practiced at Wilson Elser for more than 25 years, building and maintaining long-term relationships with key clients across a broad range of industries. He is deputy senior managing partner of the firm and a member of its Executive Committee.
Rob concentrates in the areas of product liability, including pharmaceutical and medical device cases; general liability, including sports- and entertainment-related claims; premises liability, including commercial, retail, hospitality and property management and security; and insurance law, including complex insurance and reinsurance coverage matters. He is also co-chair of the Insurance Practice Team.
Leading business, sports and insurance enterprises rely on Rob’s exceptional level of experience and service to help them confidently navigate both complex and straightforward legal issues. Rob is forthright in assessing the likely direction of a case and recommending a strategy for resolution, while striving to provide efficient representation and avoid prolonged litigation.
Rob has served on the U.S. boards of two global insurance companies.
Areas of Focus
Rob has extensive, nationwide experience defending manufacturers and distributors of consumer, industrial, automotive and health care products. He was involved in appealing an important pharmaceutical product liability case, involving punitive damages, to the U.S. Supreme Court - particularly significant because tort cases rarely reach the country’s highest court - and was successful in obtaining reversal and remand back to state court.
General Liability & Casualty
Rob represents Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), Goldman Sachs, Viacom and its MTV and Paramount Pictures divisions, Abbott Laboratories, Vornado Realty Trust, and other major clients in complex, high-exposure bodily injury and property loss claims. He has represented both professional sports leagues and individual professional teams in liability matters. He also has defended retail, restaurant and hotel establishments and building owners and contractors in personal injury and property damage claims.
Throughout his career, Rob has addressed a multitude of issues for domestic and international insurance market clients. This work has involved policy drafting, coverage analysis, and coverage litigation and arbitration, including matters with exposures running into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Bad Faith Claim Against Insurer Ruled Unsustainable by New York Federal Courts Where Based on Same Facts as Breach of Contract Count
S.D.N.Y.: Bad Faith Claim Against Insurer Unsustainable
June 2, 2014
Two recent New York federal court decisions confirm that, under New York law, to sustain a claim against an insurer for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, the insured must demonstrate that the claim is based on a different set of facts than those for a claim for breach of contract under the policy.
New York Court of Appeals Holds Property Policy Time Limitation for Replacement Costs Suits Amounts to “ Claim Nullification”
NY Bars Time Limitation for Replacement Costs Suits
March 12, 2014
In a recent opinion, the New York Court of Appeals struck down property policy time limitation for replacement costs suits, holding it amounts to “ claim nullification” where the insured could not have reasonably completed replacement work in the required time period.
Unanimous Wisconsin High Court Sustains Broad Asbestos Exclusion That Comprehensively and Unambiguously Bars Coverage for Any Asbestos-related Loss
Broad Asbestos Exclusion Bars Coverage in Wisconsin
January 16, 2014
A case recently decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court illustrates an ongoing trend in asbestos case law. Even jurisdictions that tend to be more favorable for insureds are likely to sustain a broad asbestos exclusion that comprehensively and unambiguously excludes coverage for any asbestos-related losses, regardless of the underlying tort alleged.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Declares Portions of Marcellus Shale Act Unconstitutional, Upholds Local Regulation of Oil and Gas Operations
Pennsylvania Restores Ability of Municipalities to Limit Drilling
January 15, 2014
In a recent decision, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court confirmed municipalities’ constitutional right to limit gas drilling activities through local zoning rules and imposed a more structured state decision-making process to grant waivers from setbacks required for certain bodies of water.
Illinois Appeals Court Rejects Application of Absolute Pollution Exclusion to Claim for Unpleasant Odors Emanating from Hog Farm Manure
IL Appeals Court Rules on Absolute Pollution Exclusion
December 24, 2013
An intermediate Illinois appeals court rejected the applicability of the absolute pollution exclusion to a claim involving obnoxious odors emanating from hog farm manure, reasoning that the claim did not involve “ traditional environmental pollution” as required by an Illinois precedent interpreting the exclusion.
New Jersey Court of Appeals: Discovery Related to Bad Faith Claims Should Be Stayed Pending Resolution of Insurance Claims for UM/UIM Benefits
Proof of Coverage Must Precede Related Bad Faith Claims
December 18, 2013
An intermediate New Jersey appeals court recently held that discovery with respect to a claim of bad faith against an insurer before the plaintiff has proven his or her case for coverage may “ jeopardize the insurer’s defense of [an uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist claim] by disclosure of potentially privileged materials.”
Exclusion Requested by First Named Insured and Contained in the Prior Policy Is Binding on All Named Insureds, Even Those Unaware of the Exclusion
Exclusion Requested by First Named Insured Binding on All
December 10, 2013
In West Virginia, when the first named insured negotiates - and in fact specifically requests - a policy provision, then such provision will likely be enforceable against any other insureds under the policy or potential third-party beneficiaries, even if such parties are unaware of the existence of the provision in question.
Duty to Settle Absent a Demand? California Court Says No
CA Says No Duty to Settle Absent a Demand
November 15, 2013
An insurer is not liable under California law for failing to settle a liability claim when no settlement demand has been made and there was no evidence that the insurer knew or should have known the claimant was interested in settlement.
Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claim against Insurer for Indemnification or a Defense for a Privacy Claim under a Professional Liability Policy
Denial of Claim Not “ First Made” During Policy Period
November 12, 2013
In a recent decision, the Eleventh Circuit relied on a condition precedent for coverage based on prior wrongful acts being first made against an insured during the policy period. The Court held that the insurer properly denied coverage because under the policy, all claims from the same wrongful act based upon the interference with one’s rights of privacy or publicity are deemed to have been made on the same date, and the policy did not limit this broad language to only those acts committed by a single action.
New York Court of Appeals: Vandalism Coverage under “ Named Peril” Property Policy Can Apply Even When Malicious Act Is Not Directed at Covered Property
NY Expands Vandalism Coverage under Named Peril Policy
November 7, 2013
Answering two certified questions of first impression in New York, the Court of Appeals has expanded vandalism coverage under a Named Peril property policy where there was proof of malicious intent to damage or destroy property, even where the acts in question were not directed at - and did not bring vandals in direct contact with - the covered property.
Long-Awaited Colorado Court of Appeals Stresscon Decision a Mixed Bag
Colorado’s Stresscon Decision Likely Not the Last Word
September 24, 2013
A recent decision by the Colorado Court of Appeals may now require insurers to prove prejudice in order to deny coverage of a settlement negotiated without their knowledge or consent. However, the decision may also restrict insureds’ potential recovery of statutorily imposed double damages for unreasonable delay or denial because the court interpreted “ other insurance” clauses to limit such damages.
Lives and Businesses Interrupted by Rocky Mountain Floods
Rocky Mountain Floods: Is There Coverage and Will It Be Enough?
September 19, 2013
The Rocky Mountain floods raise a host of anti-concurrent cause issues. If there is no flood coverage or the water damage is excluded, what about potential resulting damage, such as earth movement, structural damage or mold? Colorado courts, for example, have historically enforced anti-concurrent cause language, but the severity of the damages may trigger legislative action overruling such decisions. Indeed, following the Superstorm Sandy losses, New York passed legislation limiting the application of anti-concurrent cause language so as to maximize coverage. The Colorado, New Mexico and Utah state legislatures all passed legislation of some kind in reaction to the considerable forest fire losses sustained in 2012, so it is feasible these states may react in kind to the 2013 flood losses.
Despite the Best of Intentions, Paving the Way for the Next Financial Meltdown
“ Too-Big-To Fail” Resolution Extends to Insurance Firms
August 22, 2013
Despite efforts by U.S. federal and international regulators to identify and eliminate the causes of the global financial meltdown of 2007-2009, and to impose increasingly burdensome regulatory regimes and financial reporting requirements, megabanks appear more than ever “ too big to fail” and insurance firms have not escaped the scrutiny and challenges besetting the financial markets.
Connecticut Supreme Court: “ Make Whole” Doctrine Is Default Rule, But Does Not Apply to Policy Deductibles
CT Supreme Court Formally Adopts the Make Whole Doctrine
August 9, 2013
In a case of first impression, Connecticut’s high court holds that an insurer’s right to subrogation under an insurance policy takes priority over any recovery right an insured may have by virtue of a deductible or self-insured retention.
Insurance Commissioners of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Tennessee Debate National and Global Regulatory and Solvency Issues for the Insurance Industry
Insurance Commissioners Speak Out
June 27, 2013
The Association of Insurance & Reinsurance Run-Off Companies (AIRROC) hosted an industry roundtable event to deliberate some of the most important and timely insurance regulatory topics. The final report appears in the Summer 2013 issue of AIRROC Matters.
Eighth Circuit Holds Abandoned Lead Concentrate Is a “ Pollutant” for Purposes of CGL Policy Absolute Pollution Exclusion
Eighth Circuit: Abandoned Lead Concentrate a “ Pollutant”
June 25, 2013
A June 13, 2013, decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms that environmental damage stemming from the abandonment of lead concentrate mined and processed on an insured’s property falls within the scope of a comprehensive general liability policy’s absolute pollution exclusion.
California Cities and Counties Can Allow, Restrict, Limit or Exclude Facilities that Distribute Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana Dispensary Challenges Zoning Laws
June 6, 2013
The California Supreme Court has concluded that actions by the State Legislature do not expressly or impliedly preempt the authority of California cities and counties - under their traditional land use and police powers - to allow, restrict, limit or exclude facilities that distribute medical marijuana.
New York Appeals Court Upholds Zoning Laws Banning Hydrofracking over State Oil and Gas Laws
State Oil and Gas Laws Do Not Preempt Local Ordinances
May 30, 2013
New York State currently has a moratorium on large-scale hydrofracking while awaiting the results of various reviews of the technique. Under cover of the moratorium and several delays in health and environmental analysis results, more than 150 municipalities in the state have passed bans or moratoriums on the hydrofracking process.
CA Supreme Court to Decide If Insurance Companies Can Be Sued under the Unfair Competition Law
CA: Can Insurance Companies Be Sued under the UCL?
May 23, 2013
On May 8, the Supreme Court of California heard oral arguments in a case that could decide whether an insured can bring a cause of action against its insurer under the Unfair Competition Law and if previous case law bars such an action.
Connecticut Supreme Court Relieves Insurer of Duty to Defend Personal Injury Suit against Additional Insured
CT High Court: “ Rare” Opinion on Insurance Coverage
April 18, 2013
Connecticut high court relieves an insurer of any duty to defend a personal injury suit against an additional insured where the underlying complaint does not plead any nexus between the underlying claimant’s use of the insured premises and her injuries.
Claims Associated with Event Cancellation Insurance Resulting from a Terrorist Act May Involve Complex Coverage Issues
The Impact of a Terrorist Act on Event Cancellation/Contingency Policies
April 17, 2013
The bombings that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013, have been classified as an act of terrorism. Whether the bombings meet the definition of a terrorist act that is found in most Event Cancellation/Contingency insurance policies exclusions or endorsements can raise significant coverage issues.
Illinois Appellate Court Endorses “ All Sums” Allocation Rule for Asbestos Bodily Injury Losses under Excess and Umbrella Insurers
IL Court Rules on Asbestos-Related Injury Claims Coverage
March 26, 2013
The First District Appellate Court of Illinois recently ruled that excess and umbrella insurers are jointly and severally liable for asbestos bodily injury losses under an “ all sums” approach to allocation, notwithstanding its rejection of the continuous injury trigger for asbestos bodily injury claims.
Insurers Lose Defense Reimbursement Battle in Washington State
Washington State Insurers Lose Defense Reimbursement
March 22, 2013
The Washington State Supreme Court’s recent opinion contains a dissent that is as lengthy as the majority opinion, and provides a road map for insurers to use in states that have not yet weighed in on the defense reimbursement question.
NJ Division of Civil Rights Finds School District Liable for Bullying
NJ School District Found Liable for School Bullying
March 7, 2013
In one of the first cases in which a New Jersey school district has been held liable for failure to adequately respond to school bullying, the decision from the NJ Division of Civil Rights outlines the factors that a trier of fact will consider when scrutinizing a school district’s response to bullying and serves as an example of the potential consequences for failing to remedy the problem.
Colorado Joins States That Exclude Insurance Coverage under Pollution Exclusion Clauses for Traditional and Nontraditional Pollution Events
Colorado Upholds Broad Nature of Pollution Exclusion Clauses
March 5, 2013
Reversing the Court of Appeals, the Colorado Supreme Court held that the absolute pollution exclusion bars coverage and respondents could not garnish the policy. The Court, after considering a La Junta city ordinance that prohibits discharge of “ pollutants” such as garbage and waste into the sewer system, held that the “ discharge of cooking grease amounted to a discharge of a pollutant.”
New York Implements New Claims Processing Rules and Voluntary Mediation Procedures for Disputed Superstorm Sandy Claims
New York Addresses Disputed Superstorm Sandy Claims
March 5, 2013
Governor Cuomo has announced an amendment to New York Insurance Regulation 64 permitting Superstorm Sandy claimants to engage in voluntary mediation for disputed or denied claims. A second measure modifies claims processing procedures that would ordinarily apply to insurers reviewing claims.
New York Federal Court Sustains Insurer Late Notice Disclaimer under New York’s 2009 Notice Prejudice Law
Notice Prejudice Law Upholds Late Notice Disclaimer
February 27, 2013
In a case of first impression, a New York federal court sustained an insurer’s late notice disclaimer under New York’s 2009 “ notice prejudice” law by holding that the insurer was prejudiced by a notice delay that materially impaired its ability to investigate and defend the claim.
Firm’s Bid for Defense of Claims Denied, Despite Clear Allegations of Legal Malpractice
Bid for Malpractice Defense Denied on Exclusions
February 21, 2013
A New York federal court has granted an insurer’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed a declaratory judgment action seeking a defense and possible indemnity in legal malpractice claims against its law firm insured. The Policy’s coverage was limited by two applicable exclusions, the “ business pursuit exclusion” and the “ business enterprise exclusion.”
Fourth Circuit Rules a Global Insurer’s Worldwide Coverage Exposes It to U.S. Jurisdiction in Coverage Litigation
August 7, 2012 Although requiring a party to defend itself in another country’s legal system imposes “ unique burdens” that call for special scrutiny, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded on July 9, 2012, in ESAB Group v. Zurich Insurance that a non-U.S. domiciled insurer had signaled that the burden of appearing in a forum such as South Carolina was “ not exceedingly onerous” when it contracted to defend its insured on a worldwide basis.
Living with U.S. Litigation
Lloyd’s Market Association
Anatomy of High Exposure Bodily Injury Claims: Case Studies in Risk Containment
Real Estate and Hospitality Client Advisory Board Event
Living with U.S. Litigation
Lloyd’s Market Association
Weber, Lum & Dell Present Risk Management Seminar in Atlantic City, NJ
October 26, 2011
Claims Handling Protocols & Basics of Premises Liability Litigation
Ocotber 10, 2011
Claims Management seminar
One Year after “ Sandy, ” Property Insurers Engulfed by Wave of Lawsuits
Unprecedented Influx of “ Sandy” Cases
December 11, 2013
Insurance companies with policyholders in the tri-state area find themselves in the crosshairs of several law firms intent on extracting damages in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Local attorneys are working side by side with out-of-state law firms familiar with the legal aftermath of hurricanes, including Katrina. Together, they are systematically filing lawsuits in both state and federal courts in lower New York and New Jersey. As part of their efforts, they have embarked on an advertising campaign to potential claimants, outlining in detail their qualifications and proposed approaches.
Wilson Elser Appoints Evans and Leghorn to Firm’s Operations Group
February 28, 2011 Wilson Elser has announced the recent appointment of two of the firm’s senior partners - Julie R. Evans and Thomas A. Leghorn - to its Operations Group (OG). (Also at White Plains Office)