Robert I. Westerfield
Phone: (925) 935-3300
Robert "Robin" Westerfield is a senior partner and seasoned litigator with particular expertise in handling insurance coverage matters and reinsurance disputes. His insurance practice focuses primarily on representing policyholder clients in disputes with insurers. The firm's insurance clients are a diverse group and include multi-national corporations, governmental entities, small businesses and individuals. In the reinsurance arena, he has represented reinsurers both in arbitrations and in jury trials.
While insurance matters can often be resolved informally, Robin has successfully litigated myriad claims in those situations where informal efforts at dispute resolution have failed. His rare and impressive track record includes several multi-million dollar jury verdicts and settlements totaling in excess of $100,000,000. In addition, he assists clients in their efforts to purchase or renew insurance by analyzing and comparing policy forms in order to secure the broadest and most cost effective coverage.
Some highlights of Mr. Westerfield's litigation experience include:
- Served as coverage counsel for Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. in connection with a five-week defamation trial in Gainesville, Florida where the plaintiffs were seeking a multi-billion dollar award. The disputes between the parties were settled during jury deliberations using a substantial contribution from A-B's insurance carriers.
- After investment advisor clients were forced to spend millions in defending against misappropriation and defamation claims, filed suit against carrier who ultimately agreed to pay defense costs and a substantial settlement.
Unanimous jury verdict against insurer for contractor that refused to cover theme park as an additional insured. Verdict was upheld on appeal and substantial attorney's fees were awarded.
- Successfully settled insurance litigation arising out of the Rhode Island Nightclub Fire.
- Multi-million dollar settlement obtained for public entity from insurer who refused to defend Natural Resources Damages claim.
- Lead counsel representing Certain London Market Reinsurers in a month long jury trial in San Francisco where the cedant was seeking over $15 million. After over five years of litigation, obtained unanimous defense verdict in favor of reinsurers.
Verdict against insurance carrier for security company that refused to defend brewery as additional insured. Trial court awarded all defense fees, settlement of underlying case and bad faith damages. Judgment upheld on appeal.
- Multi-million dollar verdict against insurer that refused to defend and indemnify water district in connection with homeowner claims.
- Obtained jury verdict in excess of $7 million against fire insurer, including punitive damages.
- Counsel for Sea World in action against insurers who refused to settle a lawsuit arising from an accident at a theme park. Sea World settled with the plaintiff and sued the insurers, and after a multi-week jury trial obtained full recovery of all defense and settlement expenses plus attorney's fees incurred in prosecuting the coverage action.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in history from Indiana University in Bloomington, Robin moved to California and attended Hastings College of the Law. He received his Juris Doctorate from Hastings in 1983 and thereafter joined the firm of Bronson, Bronson & McKinnon in San Francisco. He was an associate at Bronson for two years before joining with Richard T. Bowles in founding the firm in 1985.
Areas of Practice
- Insurance Coverage Matters
- Governmental Entities
- Insurance Coverage Litigation
- 90% Insurance Recovery and Bad Faith
- 10% Employment
- 90% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
- California, 1983
- U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1983
- U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2005
- University of California, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
- J.D. - 1983
- Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
- B.A. - 1979
- Major: History
- Anheuser-Busch InBev
- East Bay Municipal Utility District
- Santa Clara Valley Water District
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Contra Costa County Bar Association, Member
- American Bar Association, Member
- State Bar of California, Member
- Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee of ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Vice-Chair; Past Chair, 1996 - 2014
- Contra Costa Bar Association, 1983 - 2014
Pro Bono Activities
- Board of Directors - Family Life Center, 1992 - 2014
“With 24 lawyers and a total of 50 employees on our team, we have the resources to do battle with major insurance companies and corporate defendants.” Attorney Michael Verna