Robert Cooper Of Counsel




Robert Cooper handles appeals, writs and post-trial motions for clients represented by various Wilson Elser offices. Certified by the California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization as an appellate specialist, Robert is personally responsible for developing and executing legal strategies on appeal, selecting the legal issues to be presented to the appellate court, drafting or supervising the brief and presenting oral argument.

Robert has been lead appellate counsel in a substantial number of appeals arising in state and federal courts. In addition to arguing cases before the California Supreme Court, Robert has argued appeals in federal circuits and state appellate courts, ranging from real estate transaction disputes to class action certification rulings and ERISA matters. He also has prepared more than 35 writ petitions in state and federal courts. 

Robert's appellate experience covers various substantive areas, including professional malfeasance, attorneys’ fee disputes, constitutional law, anti-SLAPP litigation and punitive damages. In addition to successfully petitioning the California Supreme Court for review and writing amicus briefs in civil and criminal cases, he has obtained dismissal of appeals filed by opposing counsel based on procedural grounds in intermediate appellate courts.

In a recent case that garnered national attention, Robert successfully represented on a pro bono basis an undocumented immigrant who was seeking admission to the bar in the California Supreme Court. After the enactment of new legislation and in response to the Supreme Court’s order requesting appellate briefing, Robert prepared and filed appellate briefs addressing the intersection of the new state legislation in relation to federal immigration laws. Given the national publicity associated with the case, numerous amicus briefs were filed on behalf of both sides by more than two dozen law firms and institutions.

Based on his extensive appellate experience in representing plaintiffs and defendants, Robert has delivered presentations on appellate and writ practice from both perspectives.

Representative Matters

Obtained $16 million judgment against real estate tycoons in connection with securities fraud on remand after reversal of client’s initial $1.8 judgment in 13-year-old partnership lawsuit; appeal pending.

Represented prisoner in the U.S. Supreme Court in pro bono case challenging North Carolina prison policies under RLUIPA and the Free Exercise Clause of the federal constitution: Ben-Levi v. Brown, 136 S.Ct. 930 (2016) (Alito, J., dissenting from denial of certiorari and rejecting mootness defense based on reply arguments presented on client’s behalf).

Prepared cert petition in pro bono case on behalf of San Quentin inmate challenging constitutionality of California statutes governing civil rights claims for prisoner abuse (cert pending). 

Obtained reversal of $7.8 million jury verdict awarding well-known plaintiff/attorney $5,000 hourly rate in quantum meruit action against his former client; retained after entry of verdict to prepare post-trial motions and prosecute appeal.

Obtained reinstatement of pro bono client’s dismissed lawsuit after preparing merits briefs in the California Supreme Court on behalf of appellant challenging prison conditions in Pleasant Valley State Prison.

Obtained writ of mandate in the first instance after trial court denied summary judgment motion in major personal injury case where plaintiffs had demanded $25 million.

Prepared cert petition challenging statutory evidentiary presumptions based on the Due Process Clause in addition to challenging the California Supreme Court’s decision interpreting the Confrontation Clause in the same criminal case.

Prepared cert petition challenging nineteenth century Supreme Court cases that had refused to incorporate the Seventh Amendment through the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause to the States.

Prepared cert petition in First Amendment case re: the application of California’s right-of-publicity statute to non-celebrity plaintiffs.
Successfully represented forklift manufacturer sued for catastrophic personal injuries on appeal.
Successfully represented component part manufacturer in product liability appeal after plaintiff was rendered a paraplegic.
Successfully represented raw material supplier on appeal based on fatal explosion caused by chemical mixtures.
Represented manufacturer on appeal in subrogation case to challenge seven-figure judgment in favor of various insurers (settled). 
Represented equipment lessor as the plaintiff/respondent on appeal and successfully defended terminating sanctions awarded in client's favor.
Represented CGL carrier on appeal where putative insured sued various insurers for recovery of remediation costs of nearly $700 million; handled appeal after jury awarded seven-figure judgment against former client by preparing cross-appellant’s opening brief; judgment reversed by court of appeal (subsequently review granted by California Supreme Court on other issues).
Prepared petition for review challenging $10 million jury verdict upheld by appellate court in product liability case.

Prepared and argued post-trial motions challenging $8.3 million judgment (personal injury), seven-figure judgment (product liability), and seven-figure judgment (legal malpractice).

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