Photo of Robert J. Guite

Robert J. Guite

Partner
San Francisco
T: 415.774.3176
F: 415.403.6014

Education

  • J.D., University of Montana, 1995, with highest honors, Managing Editor of Montana Law Review
  • B.A., Seattle University, 1992, magna cum laude
  • Law clerk to the Honorable W. William Leaphart of the Supreme Court of Montana
  • California
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • 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
Overview
Honors
Experience
Publications & News

Rob Guite is a partner in the Business Trial Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco office.

Areas of Practice

Mr. Guite focuses his litigation practice on ERISA and insurance, commercial, construction, class action 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 and by putative classes. In addition, Mr. Guite counsels retailers and consumer products companies on brand protection and represents companies in unfair competition and false advertising litigation. He regularly defends consumer class actions and 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 (2015), 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, and of "ERISA Fiduciary Claims: Planning, Protecting and Preparing for Class Actions," appearing in the Employee Relations Law Journal.  Mr. Guite has received an AV® rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating an attorney can receive for legal quality and ethics.  Rob is a member of the Board of Examiners of the Washington State Bar Association.

  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV Rated Lawyer
  • Northern California Super Lawyer, 2011

Representative Experience

  • 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 and obtaining a dismissal of claims in a breach of fiduciary duty matter against ERISA fiduciaries and trustees.
  • Serving as primary counsel to an electrical products distributor in class action litigation arising from damages caused by allegedly defective in-wall heaters.
  • Obtaining dismissal of numerous claims and negotiating a favorable settlement on behalf of the manufacturer of siding in litigation brought by the developer and owner of a newly constructed 286-unit residential development over claims of design and manufacturing defects, fraud, misrepresentation and breach of warranty. 
  • 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.
  • Representing the owner of three recently-constructed apartment communities in Northern California in litigation against the developers, design professionals, general contractors and specialty contractors arising from profound design and construction defects from investigation of the defects through successful resolution of claims at mediation.  
  • Advising in a commercial dispute arising from the expulsion of a minority shareholder from a closely held professional corporation.
  • 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.
  • Obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of wrongful foreclosure and consumer protection act claims against a residential mortgage lender and argument before the Court of Appeals.
  • Representing the former owner of contaminated sites in litigation arising under Washington's Model Toxics Control Act; achieving dismissal of certain claims and negotiating a favorable settlement.
  • 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.
  • Representing the board of directors of a 110-unit residential cooperative in arbitration against the design and build contractor of heating and ventilation systems and achieved a favorable settlement on behalf of the cooperative.
  • Serving as primary counsel in bad faith and breach of contract litigation arising from claims under a disability income policy and obtaining summary judgment on behalf of the insurer.
  • Serving as a member of a trial team that obtained a defense verdict in class action products liability litigation involving home heating oil.
  • Obtaining summary judgment and dismissal of unfair competition and trade secret claims of competing chains of health clubs.
  • Resolving successfully a class action under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
  • Negotiating a favorable settlement in litigation involving the Uniform Trade Secrets Act.
  • Successfully resolving a catastrophic personal injury claim on behalf of a snowboard binding manufacturer in a products liability matter.

Published Opinions

  • 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)
  • Bush v. Liberty Life Assur. Co., 77 F. Supp. 3d 900 (N.D. Cal. 2015) (Obtained dismissal of certain claims for equitable relief and failure to provide plan documents in putative ERISA class action) 

  • 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)

  • Shappell v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1707 (E.D. Cal. Jan. 4, 2013) (Obtained judgment in favor of plan and dismissal of plaintiff’s ERISA claims); 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 87020 (E.D. Cal. June 21, 2012) (Obtained dismissal of plaintiff’s fiduciary claims and state law claims)
  • Martorello v. Sun Life Assur. Co. of Canada, 704 F. Supp. 2d 918 (N.D. Cal. 2010) (Obtained dismissal of fiduciary, bad faith and breach of contract claims in ERISA litigation)
  • Beamish v. CNA Group Life Ins. Co., 487 F. Supp. 2d 1196 (W.D. Wash. 2007) (Obtained dismissal of all claims on summary judgment)
  • 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)
  • Messer v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 370 F. Supp. 2d 1098 (W.D. Wash. 2005) (Obtained summary judgment in ERISA benefits and fiduciary duty litigation)
  • Futamura v. Unum Life Ins. Co. of Am., 305 F. Supp. 2d 1181 (W.D. Wash. 2004) (Obtained summary judgment over claims of conflict of interest and breach of fiduciary duty)
  • 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)

Articles

  • Co-editor, LexisNexis Practice Guide: Washington Contract Litigation (LexisNexis/Matthew Bender 2015) 
  • Candace L. Quinn & Robert J. Guite, DOL Final Fee Disclosure Rules May Have Consequences for Fiduciaries Beyond Fines, BNA Pension & Benefits Daily (April 25, 2012)
  • D. Michael Reilly & Robert J. Guite, ERISA Fiduciary Claims: Planning, Protecting and Preparing for Class Actions, 31 Emp. Rel. L. Jour. 45 (2005)
  • Robert J. Guite & Lisa A. Rodeghiero, Stratemeyer v. Lincoln County: Mental Injuries and Workers' Compensation Policy, 55 Mont. L. Rev. 525 (1994)

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, Bad Faith and Significant Case Law Update: Recent Developments in California, Washington and Montana Insurance Law, Pacific Claim Executives Association 2014 Annual Meeting, Dana Point, CA
  • Speaker, Keyword Advertising Litigation: Theory and Practice, San Francisco, CA (2010) (CLE)
  • Speaker, Department of Labor ERISA Compliance Audits, 2009 Labor & Employment Seminar, Palo Alto, CA (CLE)
  • Speaker, ERISA Developments and Litigation Trends, 2008 Labor & Employment Seminar, Palo Alto, CA and Los Angeles, CA (CLE)
  • Speaker, Employee Benefits: Introduction to ERISA Litigation, Washington State Bar Association, Seattle, WA (2006) (CLE)

Events