Rob concentrates his practice on commercial litigation in a broad range of subject areas, as well as intellectual property counseling and litigation. Rob has a particular wealth of experience litigating disputes arising from corporate insolvencies, including investigating claims for receivers and representing them in the assertion of fraud, RICO, and professional liability claims. In addition, he has successfully represented clients in cases involving the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, Title VII, breaches of contract, negligence, fraud, and intellectual property disputes.
In his intellectual property and entertainment law practice, Rob has secured, protected, and enforced the valuable intellectual property rights, and drafted and negotiated agreements, for software developers, advertising firms, clothing designers, manufacturers, artists, musicians, libraries, and entertainment concerns.
Rob also advises business clients, both entities and individuals, of their contractual rights in such areas as employment, severance, independent contractor agreements, intellectual property and technology. Finally, he advises clients on internet and social media issues.
Before joining Robinson Curley, Rob worked in New York at the entertainment law and intellectual property litigation boutique Gold Farrell & Marks, where he represented entertainers and other media clients. Prior to that, he was an associate at Proskauer Rose Goetz & Mendelsohn, where he worked on significant intellectual property, sports, and entertainment litigation matters.
Complex Commercial Litigation
- Domanus v. Lewicki, et al. (N.D. Ill.) - Obtained a $413 million judgment for victims of a RICO scheme, whose interests in a valuable close corporation were stolen by the company's management and their associates. The relevant opinions of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois can be read here and here.
- McRaith v. BDO Seidman, LLP, 910 N.E.2d 310 (Ill. App. 2009) - Represented Illinois Director of Insurance as liquidator of insolvent insurance companies, and won reversal of dismissal in multi-million-dollar accounting malpractice suit against the fifth largest accounting firm in the world. The Appellate decision provides a significant precedent for receivers, liquidators, and trustees of insolvent entities, as the court recognized severe limits to the imputation and equitable in pari delicto defenses asserted by BDO Seidman. The decision also established precedent in Illinois upholding the validity of certain tolling agreements.
- Confidential (M.D. Tenn./6th Cir.) - Represented insurance company receiver in a negligence case against large domestic banks involved in a massive insurance company looting and money-laundering scheme. After extensive procedural litigation, including a successful appeal of a denial of a motion to dismiss the banks' declaratory judgment actions, the case was favorably settled for the receiver.
- Dale v. ALA Acquisitions, Inc. (S.D. Miss./5th Cir.) - Represented insurance company receiver in RICO, fraud, and negligence case against persons and entities, including a major financial institution, involved in a massive insurance company looting and money-laundering scheme. Claims against multiple defendants were favorably settled for the receiver.
- Shapo v. Engle (N.D. Ill.) - Represented insurance company receiver in a RICO, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty case against former officers and directors of three looted insurance companies. After defeating motions to dismiss and extensive pre-trial litigation, the case was favorably settled for the receiver.
- Represented receiver of insolvent Rhode Island insurance companies asserting RICO, fraud, and negligence claims against entity that sold insurance companies to persons who proceeded to loot the companies of tens of millions of dollars. Defeated summary judgment motion on validity of negligent sale to looters claim, leading to substantial settlement before trial.
Intellectual Property and Entertainment
- Successfully defended manufacturer and importer of air purifiers against trade dress infringement claims in preliminary injunction hearing, leading to decision setting forth new law on effect of "co-branding" on the ability to establish distinctiveness or secondary meaning. The case ultimately settled favorably for client.
- Represented to favorable outcome client accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material by Hollywood production company.
- Obtained temporary restraining order for a software developer against a former employee who was using trade secrets and copyrighted materials to start a competitive venture. Once the restraining order was in place, the case settled favorably for client.
- Obtained a temporary restraining order for producer of television commercials against the broadcast of an infringing commercial, and shortly thereafter, a settlement pursuant to which the defendant agreed to kill the infringing spot entirely.
- Represented famous musician in $90 million fraud and professional negligence litigation against his former manager, accountant, and attorneys, defeating motions to dismiss and obtaining dismissal of $30 million counterclaims, leading to favorable settlements for client.
- Obtained injunctive relief for software developer in trade secret action against former employee.
- Obtained several trademark and copyright certificates of registration for up-and-coming Chicago fashion designer.
- Obtained several trademark and copyright certificates of registration for Chicago-based media and advertising company and related producer of long-running cable television show.
- Obtained trademark registrations for several small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Other Commercial Matters
- Won summary judgment for individual defendant in Illinois Consumer Fraud Act case against commercial landlord of Loop office building, and successfully defended the judgment on appeal.
- Won summary judgment for insured in coverage dispute with insurance carrier and successfully defended trial court's decision on appeal.
- Defeated motion to dismiss and ensuing motion to reconsider for plaintiff in Title VII employment discrimination and wrongful termination action, leading to favorable settlement for client before trial.
- Illinois, New York
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
- U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Sixth and Seventh Circuits
- United States Supreme Court
Memberships & Activities
- Lawyers for the Creative Arts (Treasurer, Member of Executive Committee and Board of Directors)
- International Association of Insurance Receivers
- North Park Elementary School (Former Member of Board of Directors)
- The Law School, the University of Chicago, J.D., 1988; Mandel Legal Aid Clinic
- Duke University, B.A., 1985
Publications & Presentations
- "Nuts & Bolts of Trade Secrets," Webinar for Financial Poise, IP 101-2016, May 2016
- "Strengthen Your Coaching Practice! Legal Strategies for Small Business Owners," Webinar for International Coach Federation, Chicago Charter Chapter, April 2016
- "Fact or Fiction: Defamation and Rights of Privacy/Publicity," Presentation at Pen to Digital Press: DIY Publishing in the Digital Age, February 2012, at John Marchall Law School
- Understanding Privacy and Publicity Rights in Illinois: What Artists Need to Know, Chicago Artists Resource, January 2012
- Strict Liability for Sexual Harassment by Supervisors, Illinois Bar Journal, September 2009
- Fact and Fiction: Defamation and Rights of Privacy/Publicity, Presentation at Pen to Press: The Fine Print in Self-Publishing, September 2009, at John Marshall Law School
- The Ins and Outs of Protecting Fashion Design, Presentation to Chicago Bar Association Media & Entertainment Law Committee, February 2009
- Directors of Insurance Companies: Do You Know To Whom Your Duties Run? National Association of Insurance Commissioners Annual Conference, 2000