Robert B. Wallace Senior Counsel

     

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Robert Wallace concentrates his legal practice on international and commercial law and litigation; construction law; insurance coverage; defense of directors, officers and lawyers; securities; antitrust; contract disputes, employment law and civil rights; environmental matters; railroads; e-discovery disputes; and insurance coverage disputes. He appears before international tribunals, state and federal courts, and their appellate courts.  

An active litigator for more than 40 years, Bob is a former trial and appellate attorney with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the National Coordinator for the Employment Law Project for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He has appeared as an arbitrator, taught courses in employment litigation at various law schools, and appeared as faculty in national and international seminars involving commercial and international litigation and arbitration.  

Although Bob has been involved extensively in litigation and arbitration, he finds that his greatest satisfaction is finding creative solutions to his clients’ problems. He uses his experience in national and international litigation and arbitration to apply logic, diplomacy and creativity to resolve many disputes long before they go through protracted litigation. Bob believes that while certain cases must go to trial, it should be the exception, not the rule. 

Areas of Focus

Government / International Practice
Bob practices in the area of international law and litigation before U.S. courts and international tribunals. 

He has represented corporations and the U.S. government in litigation, conciliation, arbitration and mediation. Bob has appeared before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and the ICC in Paris on behalf of U.S. and foreign corporations. His international cases include the defense of a general contractor in the reconstruction of a major city in the Middle East, the defense of an international hotel in a major trial in New York involving terrorist-type attacks in the Middle East, collecting sovereign loan defaults and obtaining bank funds from frozen deposits in Iran. He has obtained dismissal of major tort actions brought in U.S. courts involving injury and death in Iran and Afghanistan. His practice has included matters interpreted under laws of Dubai, France, England, Egypt, Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Employment & Labor
Bob’s four decades of labor and employment experience has included litigation against the major unions, airlines and manufacturers in the Washington area. He was National Coordinator for Employment Litigation at The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In private practice, Bob has used his early civil rights experience to counsel and defend employers in Title VII, FLSA, ADA, and ADEA, whistleblower and False Claims Act cases. Bob is a member of the firm’s National Employment practice.

Directors & Officers Liability
Bob’s legal practice includes significant experience with directors and officers liability issues. In defending and advising officers and directors during his 40 years of practice, he has been involved in significant antitrust, securities, ERISA and bankruptcy matters. 

Errors & Omissions
Bob practices in the area of insurance defense, with a particular emphasis in the defense of professional liability errors and omissions–related claims. The range of cases has included architects, engineers and surveyors in substantial construction disputes involving the placing of appropriate project and wrap-around insurance policies by insurance brokers for construction projects. He has also defended real estate agents in antitrust price-fixing cases brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and private litigants. 

Construction
Bob has litigated and arbitrated many significant international and domestic construction disputes during his career. In addition to his international construction litigation and arbitration experience, Bob has represented consulting engineers and auditors before the Illinois Commerce Commission in rate hearings growing out of the construction of four nuclear power plants. He also defended the structural engineer in a protracted arbitration involving delay damages in the construction of one of the tallest buildings in Philadelphia. Bob’s practice in the Washington, Maryland and Virginia area has included substantial construction disputes involving design professionals and general contractors. 

Contractors in the Battlefield
Bob has developed significant experience though his successful defense of contractors in the battlefield. He has defended leading contractors in state and federal courts in defending their release agreements and compensation plans. His most notable cases involve a decision in federal court in the District of Columbia establishing the Defense Base Act as the exclusive remedy for death and injury claims for employees working on U.S. government contracts. Of equal significance is a decision of the Delaware Supreme Court establishing the binding effect of pre-injury release agreements that apply to the parent corporations and affiliates of contractors in the battlefield.

Commercial Litigation
Bob’s commercial practice includes litigation in class actions, sales and distribution agreements, regulatory disputes, international claims, bank guarantees and rate hearings before state regulatory commissions. He has litigated a complex case involving the mortgage-backed securities market. Bob has represented clients in class actions brought under the Sherman Antitrust Act and the 1933 and 1934 Securities Acts. He has drafted distributorship and joint venture agreements and has represented clients in related commercial sales disputes. 

Class Actions
Bob started his practice as a civil rights litigator. In his early years of practice, he was involved in extensive regional and national class actions that resulted in the elimination of many testing practices, the integration of trade union apprenticeship programs and the substantial alteration of airline pregnancy polices. He has since been involved in the defense of anti-trust, employment and consumer class actions on a regional and national basis. Having appeared in more than 20 class actions, Bob has acquired a wealth of experience in advising his clients in class action matters, as well as resolving and defending class action disputes. Bob is a member of the firm’s Class Action practice. 

Insurance/Reinsurance 
Bob regularly advises insureds and insurers in coverage matters and has acted as lead or co-lead counsel in significant coverage arbitrations and litigation. He served as lead counsel in a major Bermuda arbitration involving the financial collapse of the then-largest Bermuda-based excess insurer. The arbitration focused on the application of the reinsurance treaty between the excess insurer and its various reinsurers. He has also acted as lead counsel in major litigation involving a coverage dispute over the application of a financial lines policy to mortgage fraud claims involving the largest underwriter of U.S. mortgages. Bob is a member of the firm’s Insurance Coverage practice. 

e-Discovery
Bob has been involved in e-discovery and analysis in connection with complex litigation for his entire 40 years of practice. In his early practice years, he worked with mainframe computers at University computer centers to profile and analyze national employers for discriminatory assignments, promotions and testing practices. More recently, he has managed and analyzed massive electronic discovery and multi-party litigation involving 300 terabytes of data. He has argued and prevailed on e-discovery-related motions and defended coding procedures and custodian selection procedures before federal courts. Bob is a member of the firm’s e-Discovery practice. 

Railroad 
Bob has litigated significant rail cases involving derailments, explosions and collisions. Bob is defending the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in multiple tort cases arising from a fatal collision of two subway trains in which nine people died and scores were injured. The case involved significant immunity, product liability and negligence issues. Bob is a member of the firm’s Railroad practice.

Representative Matters

Appeared as co–lead counsel in the successful defense of Inter-Continental Hotels, Inc. in the successful defense in the Southern District of New York and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of a damages trial arising out of a gun attack on patrons of the IHC Hotel in Cairo, Egypt, that killed and wounded multiple victims. The National Law Journal selected this trial result as one of the top ten defense verdicts of 2003.

Appeared as lead counsel in coverage litigation on behalf of National Union against Fannie Mae regarding mortgage loan irregularities by Fannie Mae’s service provider.

Appeared as lead counsel on behalf of the engineers and auditors in a $1 billion rate hearing and successfully opposed the rate increase request of Commonwealth Edison before the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Appeared as lead counsel in Bermuda arbitration defending a Bermuda insurer in a major reinsurance dispute involving more than $100 million in retrocessions to reinsurers. 

Acting as co-counsel for WMATA in defense of the Fort Totten Rail accident that resulted in multiple deaths and injuries to passengers in June 2009. 

Acted as co-counsel for a consortium of international banks and succeeded in collecting $50 million from an island nation in the Pacific that defaulted on an infrastructure loan. 

Appeared as lead counsel representing a transportation services company in connection with a 2001 rail tunnel accident in Baltimore; obtained summary judgment for client, the lessor of a tank car that was part of a freight train that derailed. The derailment led to a chemical leak and a fire that burned for five days.

Appeared as lead counsel representing the general contractor before an arbitration panel of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris. The claim exceeded $150 million and involved a massive public works project to modernize the infrastructure of the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. 

Appeared as lead counsel in obtaining a dismissal of claims against the structural engineer in a protracted arbitration involving one of the largest buildings in Philadelphia where the general contractor claimed more than $150 million in cost overruns alleging design defects.

Appeared as lead counsel on behalf of U.S. corporations and partnerships in obtaining judgments against the Islamic Republic of Iran before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal. 

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