Robert A. Julian

Partner

Los Angeles
T +1.310.442.8887
F +1.310.820.8859

Overview

Robert Julian has more than 35 years of experience resolving high stakes disputes for his clients in complex litigation involving multiple parties and claims, breach of fiduciary duty cases and related corporate investigations, with an emphasis on such cases in an insolvency setting. In the past several years, Robert has successfully defended more than $1 billion in five cases, and supervised the recovery of more than $500 million in plaintiffs’ cases for his clients.

He has substantial experience with issues that arise in troubled company settings, including fiduciary duty and agency disputes; insider control; director, officer, and professional liability claims, and related authority issues; direct vs. derivative shareholder claim ownership disputes; treatment of insurance coverage; fraudulent and preferential conveyances; joint venture disputes; pension claim disputes; disguised loan and other property of the bankruptcy estate disputes; alter ego and equitable remedies; lender-debtor disputes; mandatory and equitable subordination claims; right to jury trial and bankruptcy jurisdiction battles; resolution of plaintiff claims in bankruptcy; withdrawal of the reference; centralization of tort claims in the bankruptcy and district courts; abstention over claims in favor of state court; and insurance receivership disputes; and bank and bank holding company failures.

Select Experience

  • In Cayman Islands and Delaware litigation, obtained full indemnification of client’s $125 million liability and litigation costs in case filed against fund auditors and manager.
  • Created the strategy and managed ten years of plaintiff’s litigation for large utility/telecommunications client, leading to the only insolvent utility/telecommunications bankruptcy that turned into a solvent entity with over $100 million of plaintiff recoveries and the defense of multiple claims. Case involved three separate plaintiff’s suits against directors, officers, investment firm, law firm; defense of multiple creditor claims; resulting in asset pool that paid unsecured creditors and preferred shareholders in full, and distribution to common stockholders.
  • Obtained state court judgment enforcing consultant's right to arbitrate contract dispute and Court of Appeal affirmance of judgment.
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Experience

  • In Cayman Islands and Delaware litigation, obtained full indemnification of client’s $125 million liability and litigation costs in case filed against fund auditors and manager.
  • Created the strategy and managed ten years of plaintiff’s litigation for large utility/telecommunications client, leading to the only insolvent utility/telecommunications bankruptcy that turned into a solvent entity with over $100 million of plaintiff recoveries and the defense of multiple claims. Case involved three separate plaintiff’s suits against directors, officers, investment firm, law firm; defense of multiple creditor claims; resulting in asset pool that paid unsecured creditors and preferred shareholders in full, and distribution to common stockholders.
  • Obtained state court judgment enforcing consultant's right to arbitrate contract dispute and Court of Appeal affirmance of judgment.
  • Settled shareholder derivative claims against holding company directors, and represented directors in resolution of FDIC claims and resulting government investigation.
  • Resolved corporate claims against CEO at conclusion of confidential internal investigation.
  • Achieved favorable outcome while defending officer of failed property mortgage insurance company on trade secret claims.
  • Defended seller of major company against claims for breach of an equity purchase agreement and alleged violation of confidentiality and anti-competition provisions of the agreement. Resolved the case on favorable terms after six months of litigation.
  • Defended liquidation trustee against disputed $23 million late unsecured claim — resolved claim after court trial and mediation. Defended trustee against second claim to $22 million of disputed preferred stock dividends and interest, resolving claims after court hearings and mediation.
  • Represented litigation trustee in derivative suit against former directors and officers of failed sub-prime lender on breach of fiduciary duty claims, recovering $30 million for the trustee and the creditor estate.
  • Successfully defended client against a claim filed for a share of a $600 million estate and an insurance policy that defended such claims, after the probate estate was distributed and closed.
  • Represented a paint trade association in a two-week trial over the constitutionality of a $20 million annual state regulatory fee, successfully obtaining a judgment upholding the assessment as a valid regulatory fee.
  • Negotiated a $28 million settlement on behalf of client who served as a trustee of a failed company that sold all its assets without shareholder approval.
  • Defended director of a failed Silicon Valley firm in a $50 million lawsuit regarding breach of duty to creditors while in the "zone of insolvency," resulting in the California Court of Appeal's first published decision on the duties of directors in the "zone of insolvency."
  • Represented beneficiary of late client’s trust instruments in actions to set aside gifts to his lawyers, and for related damages. Obtained a court ruling on a punitive damages discovery motion that client’s counsel “appears to have been deceptive about his actions and likely engaged in unethical behavior with respect to the disposition of client’s estate, and there is a good chance that Plaintiff may prevail under her legal malpractice claim at trial.” Settled both actions on eve of trial.
  • Represented trustee in action against directors and officers of a failed telecom company for breach of fiduciary duty and waste on eve of bankruptcy filing, recovering $21 million in mediation on eve of trial.
  • Represented insurance holding company in Chapter 11 reorganization case involving question of whether the bankruptcy court could enjoin a judgment creditor’s enforcement of a $42 million fraud judgment against the debtor’s insurance subsidiary, which could not file for bankruptcy protection under federal law. Obtained injunction protecting insurance company pending appeal of judgment.
  • As lead insolvency litigation counsel, valued and structured out of court settlement matrix for resolution of asbestos claims against asbestos product manufacturer.
  • Represented taxpayers in action to recover sales tax they paid on their purchases of coal, on the grounds that taxpayers' conversion of chemical energy in coal to electrical energy was a "resale" of the energy in coal, and hence not a taxable transaction under California's "resale" tax exemptions.
  • Represented university in litigation over a fiduciary duty-accounting and commercial dispute involving health care premiums. Obtained full recovery for university after six-months of litigation.
  • Successfully defeated creditors' breach of fiduciary claims that former bankruptcy trustee should be denied all fees for his services in the case for allegedly damaging estate for amounts exceeding $250 million, and recovered an award of all the trustee's fees, $4.5 million plus a $2.5 million bonus.
  • Obtained $7.7 million recovery on behalf of estate in breach of fiduciary duty and subordination action against officers and directors.
  • Obtained appellate ruling that Orange County taxpayer rights could be enforced via a class action in mandamus, and structured a settlement that permitted the 2,400-member class to qualify for $49 million of tax refunds.
  • Recovered 100 percent of university's losses from energy brokers on breach of fiduciary duty claims arising out of the university's sale of energy in the California market.
  • Successfully defended trustee against $200 million of claims for breach of fiduciary duty and recovered more than $5 million for trustee. Additionally recovered more than $170 million for the charitable trust. Served as court-appointed chairman of global settlement effort that resolved all litigation and closed five-year-old case.
  • Successfully defended aerospace firm to judgment against $450 million of design defect claims arising from FAA grounding of 747 cargo planes, recovering $2.5 million for client's defense.
  • Represented client in a breach of fiduciary duty case regarding adequate insurance coverage, recovering $5.75 million on the eve of trial.
  • Served as co-lead counsel for litigation trustee in a breach of fiduciary duty action against directors, officers, and audit firm in one of the nation's largest financial institution failures. Recovered $24 million after 12 months of litigation.
  • Represented a lender group on a $72 million claim in a Chapter 11 case and as lead counsel in the defense of a lender liability action. Successfully resolved all claims in the Chapter 11 plan after several mini-trials and a four-day confirmation hearing.
  • Represented insurance company in a broker liability case regarding appropriate insurance coverage. Recovered $6.65 million after one year of litigation, one-day advisory jury trial in Orange County Superior Court, and a two-day mediation.
  • As co-lead counsel, represented consulting M&A and strategic advisory firm in subordination action against the largest shareholder. After one year of litigation, involving primarily a bankruptcy jurisdiction dispute among the district, bankruptcy and state courts, negotiated a $19 million recovery: subordination/avoidance of a $15 million secured claim; and $4.25 million cash payment.
  • Represented consulting M&A and strategic advisory firm in the defense of $160 million of claims filed by securities class action plaintiffs in bankruptcy and district court. Responsible for four-year litigation strategy that resulted in complete defense of all claims, and estate’s right to a $13 million fund derived from proxy solicitation on eve of bankruptcy.
  • Represented client in multi-party litigation involving the Department of Corporations and FSLIC, as successors to separate state and federal thrift associations. Key issue focused on the legality of a $25 million loan portfolio owned by client that was arranged by the state thrift. The California Department of Corporations claimed client was liable for the alleged illegality and thereby contributed to the thrift’s failure. Settled the litigation by cross-claiming against FSLIC for indemnity, and using FSLIC settlement payment to settle client’s alleged liability to Department of Corporations.
  • Represented insurance company in federal court action against failed savings association for money due on an obligation allegedly tainted by commercial bribery. Issues included actual and apparent authority of de facto officers of association, criminal conspiracy, commercial bribery, RICO claims, subrogation, and executory contract issues in bankruptcy. After a four-week jury trial, recovered $7.2 million verdict on plaintiff’s case and a defense verdict on the association’s RICO counterclaims.
  • Successfully defended insurance company to judgment (affirmed on appeal) when a splinter group of securities class plaintiffs brought mandamus action to compel the state insurance commissioner to place insurance company in receivership for its part in the failure of a large Northern California mortgage broker operation.
  • Obtained district court order vacating judgment and directing new trial in state court on jurisdiction grounds and practical considerations. Case produced leading Ninth Circuit decision on core/non-core bankruptcy jurisdiction.
  • In a case of chapter 11 bankruptcy, created Administrative Order No. 1 procedures to withdraw the reference of mass tort claims and centralize the claims in district court, obtaining injunction centralizing such claims.

Reported Decisions

  • Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, v. Kenwood Investments No. 2, LLC, 2017 WL 895800 (Court of Appeals, 1st District)
  • In the Matter of Estate of Larry Hillblom, 2011 WL 2436603 (N. Mariana Islands)
  • Equilon Enter. v. State Bd. of Equalization, 189 Cal.App.4th 865 (2010)
  • Berg & Berg Enterprises v. Boyle, 178 Cal. App. 4th 1020 (2009)
  • In re Touch America Holdings, Inc., No. 03-11915, 2009 Bankr. LEXIS 1279 (Bankr. D. Del. May 14, 2009)
  • In re Touch America Holdings, Inc., No. 09-084-SLR, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 13745 (D. Del. February 24, 2009)
  • In re Touch America Holdings, Inc., 401 B.R. 107 (Bankr. D. Del. 2009)
  • In re Touch America Holdings, Inc., 381 B.R. 95 (Bankr. D. Del. 2008)
  • Searles Valley Minerals Operations v. State Bd. of Equalization, 160 Cal.App.4th 514 (2008)
  • In re Touch America Holdings, Inc., No. 03-11915, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 4167 (Bankr. D. Del. December 17, 2007)
  • In re Southeast Banking Corp., 314 B.R. 244 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2004)
  • In re Southeast Banking Corp., 314 B.R. 238 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2004)
  • In re Southeast Banking Corp., 314 B.R. 250 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2004)
  • Bunker v. County of Orange, 103 Cal. App. 4th 542 (2002)
  • Piombo Corp. v. Castlerock Properties (In re Castlerock Properties), 781 F.2d 159 (9th Cir. 1986)
  • A.H. Robins Co., Inc. v. Piccinin (In re A.H. Robins Co., Inc.), 788 F.2d 994 (4th Cir. 1986)
  • Gold Circle Stores v. Riviera Finance - East Bay, 540 F. Supp. 15 (N.D. Cal. 1982)
  • Gauvin v. Wagner (In re Gauvin), 24 B.R. 578 (Bankr. 9th Cir. 1982)

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Daily Journal, Top 100 Lawyers in California (2019)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2007 to Present)
    • California: Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
    • California: Commercial Litigation
    • California: Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Southern California "Super Lawyer" (2007 to 2019)
    • Corporate Counsel Edition (2008)

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • California

Education

  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law, 1979
  • B.A., University of San Francisco, 1976