Robert W. Harrison Partner




Robert Harrison has extensive experience in civil litigation with emphasis in the defense of professional liability (health care, lawyers, accountants and brokers), business litigation, employment law and products liability, including aviation matters. Bob also has experience defending premises liability cases and actions related to security guard conduct. He has tried more than 100 cases to jury verdict and has substantial experience in administrative hearings before the professional licensing boards of the state of California.

Because of his versatility and his ability to be appropriately assertive while remaining consistently civil, Bob is regarded by his clients and colleagues as the “go to” person for advice and validation when things get rough – and he welcomes the opportunity to accept the “911 call” and step in at the eleventh hour to bring a difficult case home.

Bob served as regional managing partner of Wilson Elser's San Diego office for more than 10 years. He is a past president of California Defense Counsel, the lobbying arm of the state's two defense associations in Sacramento; the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, the largest in-state defense organization in the country; and the San Diego County Barristers Club. He is a frequent speaker on trial tactics and other legal topics, and has been a presenter/demonstrator on multiple occasions for the ABOTA “Trial by Masters” program. Bob, a retired Captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve, enjoyed the opportunity to serve in command of two Naval Reserve Force ships, USS Pluck (MSO-464) and USS Hepburn (FF-1055), as well as a variety of other assignments during his six years of active duty and 20 years of naval reserve service.

View Bob's exemplar trial experience.

Areas of Focus

Professional Liability
Bob has focused much of his practice in the area of professional liability and has handled a significant variety of defense claims for professionals, including lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers and insurance brokers. Bob is an active participant in the ABA Standing Committee on Lawyers’ Professional Liability and a member of the Professional Liability Committee of DRI: The Voice of the Defense Bar. He currently serves as a “hotline” consultant for a lawyers’ professional liability carrier concerning risk management issues.

Product Liability
Bob has defended product liability suits for more than 25 years on behalf of a variety of product manufacturers and his trial experience includes the defense of several product liability matters. He has been involved in litigation related to hand tools, drill presses, fitness equipment, industrial equipment, electrical components, recreational equipment, vehicles and a variety of other manufactured items.

Bob has handled cases in the hospitality industry ranging from transactional matters such as site acquisition and contracts to site development and operational concerns, personal injuries and commercial litigation. Client organizations include service stations, supermarkets, taverns, hotels and arena facilities.

Bob represents aviation clients in matters ranging from airline crashes to employment disputes. He is experienced in commercial and general aviation. Clients include major airlines; manufacturers of aircraft, engines and other components; aircraft owners and operators; aviation mechanics; ground handlers; and cargo operators.

Accountants Liability
In the area of accountants’ liability, Bob has tried an accounting malpractice case to jury verdict with a decision favorable to the defendant accountant. He has handled other accounting matters that were resolved by settlement. Bob has also worked on some cases for a major third-party benefits administrator.

Lawyers' Liability
Bob’s legal malpractice experience spans 20 years and has included the defense of more than 50 lawyers in professional liability suits. His extensive trial experience includes three legal malpractice matters that all resulted in defense verdicts.

Medical Malpractice
During the course of his career, Bob has defended a substantial number of physicians, podiatrists, dentists and chiropractors at trial. He has tried numerous cases to jury verdict and has considerable experience in administrative hearings before the professional licensing boards of the state of California. He has experience in the defense of professional liability involving health care professionals, managed care organizations and medical patent-related issues.

Representative Matters

Recently received a defense verdict in a product liability case stemming from an industrial accident that involved a commercial tractor/mower. The experienced plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $43.6 million in damages.

In 2011, obtained a defense verdict in a case related to a service station accident in which the plaintiff alleged injuries requiring future care with a present cash value of $4 million to $10 million.

Successfully defended three physicians in a medical malpractice case. Plaintiff’s counsel sought $22 million for a brain-injured child. Case was selected by the National Law Journal as one of the “Top 15 Verdicts.”

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