Robert W. Thielhelm Jr.

Partner

Orlando
T +1.407.649.4072
F +1.407.841.0168

"[Rob is a] tremendous advocate who is great at analyzing and coming up with arguments to support your position."

— Chambers USA 2014

Overview

Rob Thielhelm is a civil trial lawyer who practices in the area of commercial litigation and is the Litigation Practice Group Coordinator for the Orlando office. Having practiced with the firm for more than 23 years, and known for his ability to handle complicated matters, Rob is trusted for his view and guidance on challenging, complex issues. He is relentless in his work and obtains the best results possible for his clients through the development of novel, creative approaches and strategies. Rob has successfully served as lead counsel in trial, arbitration and appellate proceedings. As the Orlando office's Ethics Partner, Rob guides others on a wide variety of complicated ethical issues.

Rob is ranked by Chambers USA in the area of Litigation: General Commercial in Florida. He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America© in Commercial Litigation.

Select Experience

  • Represented a leader in the energy business in various breach of contract and construction disputes and obtained numerous favorable results.
  • Represented the distributor of biotech products used in dialysis in a breach of contract claim against a biotech industry leader. After the distributor brought a suit to recover outstanding receivables, the defendant biotech company counterclaimed, seeking millions for tortious interference and other business torts. After litigating the matter for many years, including more than 136 depositions and an unsuccessful but contentious trial the biotech company brought against Rob and the firm seeking disqualification for an alleged conflict of interest, the distributor obtained a very favorable settlement.
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Experience

  • Represented a leader in the energy business in various breach of contract and construction disputes and obtained numerous favorable results.
  • Represented the distributor of biotech products used in dialysis in a breach of contract claim against a biotech industry leader. After the distributor brought a suit to recover outstanding receivables, the defendant biotech company counterclaimed, seeking millions for tortious interference and other business torts. After litigating the matter for many years, including more than 136 depositions and an unsuccessful but contentious trial the biotech company brought against Rob and the firm seeking disqualification for an alleged conflict of interest, the distributor obtained a very favorable settlement.
  • Tried a week-long trial on behalf of an owners' association that was renting space to a restaurant. The restaurant claimed fraud in the inducement and breach of contract, alleging that the association failed to disclose certain building conditions that required extensive repairs. The restaurant sought $1.8 million in damages, plus attorney's fees. The jury rejected most of the claims and awarded a small fraction of the amount sought. Rob was also able to defeat the attorney's fee claim, which exceeded the amount recovered. 
  • Has extensive experience representing numerous clients in trial courts and arbitration proceedings in the hospitality industry. These claims involved construction, trade secrets, noncompetes, restrictive covenants, breach of contract claims and a variety of business torts.
  • Tried a case involving a boundary line dispute based on an assertion made by owners of a historic cemetery that they had succeeded to title. After a four-day trial, the opposition settled, and judgment was stipulated in favor of the client.
  • Represented a client in a title insurance dispute in the Northern District of Georgia arising out of a massive fraud by a closing agent that left a multimillion-dollar short in the agent's trust account. Obtained a summary judgment in favor of the client on all claims.
  • Defended the principal of a bankrupt company against massive claims by bond companies for breach of indemnity and fraudulent conveyance. Prevailed on appeal on the breach of indemnity claims and defended the client on fraudulent conveyance claims, which were settled on the eve of trial and dropped as part of the settlement. Ultimately, all claims, including the claims for breach of the indemnity and negligence, were settled for less than 1 percent of the amounts demanded.
Representative Cases
Arbitration 
  • Represented Siemens in a AAA proceeding instituted by Alstom for the breach of a manufacturing definitive agreement between the parties concerning stator core laminations and punchings. The initial claims in this matter totaled approximately $15 million. After the initial exchange of claims and documents, this matter was resolved with a favorable settlement for the client. Alstom Canada v. Siemens Power Generation, Inc.
  • Represented TIME in a AAA arbitration proceeding regarding claims for breach of certain earnout provisions of a purchase and sale of assets. HT&T's claims exceeded $7 million. After extensive discovery and the first days of arbitral hearings, this matter resulted in a favorable settlement for the client. Tempus International Marketing Enterprises, Inc. v. HT&T, Inc. 
Construction Litigation 
  • Represented the plaintiff, a general contractor, in a suit against the school board and supervising architect that arose out of the construction of an elementary school. J.D. Pirrotta Company v. Volusia County School Board, Volusia County, Florida. 
  • Prosecuted claims on behalf of Walt Disney World Co. against Lee Lewis Construction Company and the architect, Flatow Moore, for deficiencies in the design and construction of the Grand Floridian Convention Center at Walt Disney World. Walt Disney World Co. v. Lee Lewis Construction, State Circuit Court, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Florida. 
  • Prosecuted claims on behalf of Walt Disney World Co. for damages exceeding $15 million arising out of various breaches of contract by the defendants to design and build a replacement fleet of 12high-capacity monorail trains. Walt Disney World Co. v. Transportation Group, Inc., and Bombardier, Inc., v. Asei Brown Boveri (ABB Traction, Inc.), State Circuit Court, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Florida. 
  • Defended Ride & Show Engineering in complex construction litigation arising out of the design and installation of the "Jaws" and "Earthquake" attractions at Universal Studios (Florida). Universal Studios of Florida v. Ride & Show Engineering, State Circuit Court, Ninth Judicial Circuit, Orange County, Florida. 
Securities Litigation
  • Representing plaintiffs in securities and common law fraud claims pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida with related proceedings in AAA arbitration. Initially obtained a jury verdict and subsequent judgment in excess of $44 million. Case is awaiting retrial after reversal by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Badger, et al. v. Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company
Commercial Litigation
  • Defended 58 of 60 named defendants, including the American League, National League and all of the constituent team members of the two leagues against antitrust and tort claims. Frank Morsani and Tampa Bay Baseball Group v. Major League Baseball, et al., State Circuit Court, 13th Judicial Circuit, Hillsborough County, Florida. 
  • Represented the defendant in breach of contract and fraud in the inducement claims. Prevailed on the breach of contract claims after a jury trial, significantly reduced the damage claim and defeated the attorney's fee claim such that the client considered the result a success. Skylark Sports, LLC v. Island Beach Club Condominium Association of Volusia County, Inc., State Circuit Court, Seventh Judicial Circuit, Volusia County, Florida. 
  • Successfully represented the defendants in breach of commercial lease and breach of personal guaranty claims. Caravan Hotel Properties v. Tempus International Marketing Enterprises, Inc., State Circuit Court, Orange County, Florida. 
  • Successfully represented the defendant in tort and RICO claims arising out of a title agent defalcation resulting in a multimillion-dollar shortage in the title agents' escrow accounts. Stewart Title v. American Pioneer Title Insurance Company, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. 
  • Defended a real estate developer and his family against breach of contract and fraudulent conveyance claims. Bond Safeguard Insurance Co. v. Ward, et al., United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. 
Appellate Practice
  • Represented a local government entity in an appeal to the Florida Supreme Court and obtained a unanimous decision, quashing the decisions of the lower courts. Charter Review Comm'n. of Orange County, Florida v. Scott, 19 Fla. L. Weekly 662 (Fla. 1994). 
  • Represented the appellee and obtained a per curiam affirmance validating the final default judgment. Brown v. Webster, 5th DCA. 
  • Represented the appellant and obtained relief from an Order of Contempt. Madson v. Madson, 636 So. 2d 759 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994). 
  • Represented the respondent/employer before the Unemployment Appeals Commission, the Fifth District Court of Appeal of Florida, the Florida Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court. Brown v. Jacobs & Goodman, P.A., and Florida Unemployment Appeals Commission, 636 So. 2d 36 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994), rev. denied, 642 So. 2d 1362 (Fla. 1994), cert. denied, 115 S.Ct. 733 (U.S. 1995). 
  • Obtained the dismissal of appeal filed by individual and corporate appellants on behalf of a receiver. Brown v. Powell, as Receiver of the Assets of Goldcor, Inc., 5th DCA. 
  • Represented the appellee and obtained a per curiam affirmance in an appeal concerning the interpretation of contracts. Clark v. Dettloff, 5th DCA. 
  • Successfully represented the appellee, obtained an affirmance of final judgment, and represented the appellee during numerous post-decision motions in both the trial and appellate court. Tom's R.V. Center, Inc., v. Bancamerica Private Brands, Inc., 5th DCA. 
  • Represented appellant, PCNB Environmental Laboratories, Inc., before the Human Relations M/WBE Certification Appeals Board. PCNB Environmental Laboratories, Inc
  • Successfully obtained an affirmance of summary judgment. Costa v. MMG Development Corp., 59 So. 3d 332 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011). 
  • Successfully obtained a per curiam affirmance on behalf of appellee. Winchester Developers LLC v. Morrow Investors, Inc., 50 So. 3d 619 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010). 
  • Successfully obtained an affirmance of dismissal with prejudice. Java TC, Inc., v. Town Centre Boca Raton Trust, 20 So. 3d 860 (Fla. 3d DCA 2009). 
  • Successfully obtained an affirmance of summary judgment. LeTresor, LLC, v. Town Centre Boca Raton, 17 So. 3d 1238 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009). 
  • Successfully obtained an affirmance of summary judgment. Dragovich v. Magical Cruise Co., Ltd., 925 So. 2d 1141 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006). 

Recognitions and Memberships

Recognitions

  • Chambers USA: Litigation: General Commercial in Florida (2012 to 2016)
  • The Legal 500 United States (2016)
    • Recommended in Real Estate and Construction: Construction (including construction litigation)
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2013 to 2018)
    • Orlando: Commercial Litigation
  • Martindale-Hubbell: AV Preeminent

Memberships

  • George C. Young Central Board Inn of Court
  • Federal Bar Association: Orlando Chapter, Immediate Past President
  • American Bar Association
  • Florida Bar Association
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • U.S. District Court Middle Grievance Committee

Community

  • A Gift for Teaching: Board Member, former Board Chair
  • Central Christian Church Disciples of Christ
    • Moderator
    • Board of Trustees

Pro Bono

  • Worked with the Orange County Charter Review Commission in an appeal regarding ballot questions put to the electorate involving amendments to its charter. After the trial court and intermediate appellate court had found the ballot questions unconstitutional, Rob began representing the Commission and obtained a unanimous reversal from the Supreme Court of Florida.
  • Represented the stepmother of a 13-year-old who had been living in the stepmother's house for seven years. Following the husband's death, the child's natural mother reclaimed custody of the child. Successfully defeated standing objections and obtained regular visitation rights for the stepmother.
  • Represented a woman against claims that she improperly damaged wetland property she had purchased. Defended the client through discovery and obtained a settlement in which the client did not have to pay penalties.

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • Florida

Education

  • J.D., University of Florida Levin College of Law, 1990, with honors
  • B.A., Duke University, 1986