Robert J. Guite is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm’s San Francisco office. Mr. Guite focuses his litigation practice on class actions, involving ERISA, insurance, false advertising, commercial, construction and products liability matters. He regularly represents employers/plan sponsors, plan administrators and insurers in ERISA and fiduciary litigation involving health and welfare benefits, retirement benefits and compensation plans defending claims brought by individual participants or beneficiaries.
In addition, Mr. Guite focuses his practice in defending food and beverage clients and retailers in class actions involving allegations of unfair competition and false advertising. He has extensive experience litigating cases involving business torts, bad faith, contracts, construction disputes, trade secrets, products liability and mass torts. Mr. Guite is admitted to practice in California, Montana and Washington and regularly represents clients in those jurisdictions.
Mr. Guite is co-editor of the LexisNexis Practice Guide: Washington Contract Litigation (2016) and the author of LexisNexis Practice Advisor articles on Trade Secret Misappropriation: Elements, Remedies and Defenses and False Statements, Defamation and Trade Libel.
He 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, “ERISA Fiduciary Claims: Planning, Protecting and Preparing for Class Actions,” appearing in the Employee Relations Law Journal. Mr. Guite is a Co-Chair of the San Francisco Recruiting Committee and Co-Chair of the firm’s Out at Sheppard LGBTQ Group.
- Represented beverage retailer in false advertising class action. Prevailed on motion for summary judgment.
- Obtaining a directed verdict and achieving dismissal of all remaining claims at trial on behalf of consumer products client, including dismissal of causes of action for unfair competition under the Lanham Act, defamation and tortious interference with business expectancy.
- Serving as primary counsel to an electrical products distributor in class action litigation arising from damages caused by allegedly defective in-wall heaters.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Successfully resolving a catastrophic personal injury claim on behalf of a snowboard binding manufacturer in a products liability matter.
- Cascade Yarns, Inc. v. Knitting Fever, Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 68623, 2015-1 Trade Cas. (CCH) P79,209 (W.D. Wash. May 27, 2015) (Obtained judgment as a matter of law at trial achieving dismissal of all causes of action, including claims for unfair competition under the Lanham Act, tortious interference with business expectancy and defamation)
- Magana v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51206 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2013) (Obtained dismissal of bad faith and breach of contract claims in ERISA litigation arising out of participant eligibility)
- 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)
- 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)
- J.D., University of Montana, 1995, with highest honors, Managing Editor of Montana Law Review
- B.A., Seattle University, 1992, magna cum laude
- United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
- United States District Court for the Central District of California
- United States District Court for the District of Montana
- United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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