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Robert A. Huddleston

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Education

  • Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley, 1975. Graduated with special distinction of "With Highest Honors."
  • Juris Doctor degree from U.C. Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law, 1978.

Admissions to Practice Law

  • Admitted to practice before all Courts in the State of California and the United States District Court, Northern District, 1978.
  • Admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1980.
  • Admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, 1982.

Work Experience

  • Associate with the Law Office of Edward R. Fitzsimmons, 1978-1980.
  • Law Office of Robert A. Huddleston (sole proprietorship) and Huddleston & Wetherell (partnership), 1980 to 2009.
  • Tonsing, Heimann & Huddleston (partnership) and Tonsing & Huddleston (partnership), 1985 to 1988.
  • Law Office of Robert A. Huddleston (sole proprietorship), 1988 to 2009. The Law Office of Robert A. Huddleston consisted of Robert A. Huddleston, three associate attorneys, and staff.

Summary of Practice Areas

  • From 1978 to the present have represented numerous businesses (individuals, partnerships, and corporations) in their formation, organization, on-going issues, employment issues, sales, purchases, and dissolution.
  • From 1978 to the present have represented numerous businesses (individuals, partnerships, and corporations) in disputes and litigation involving formation, organization, on-going operational issues, employment issues, sales, purchases, and dissolution.
  • From 1978 to the present have represented numerous parties (both plaintiffs and defendants) in all types of litigation involving real estate, including construction defect suits, stndard of care for real estate agents and brokers, standard of care for mortgage brokers, nuisance cases.... mechanic's lien actions, unlawful detainers, and cases involving allegations of fraud, negligence, breach of fiduciary duties, and the like.

Summary of Trial Experience

Have tried over 30 jury trials and over 60 court trials.

Represented a group of plaintiffs in a complex claim of breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and embezzlement over the operations of four related businesses spanning over six years. After a six week jury trial, obtained a Judgment for the plaintiffs in excess of $1,000,000, including punitive damages.

Represented a group of defendants in a complex Franchise Investment Law claim wherein eleven plaintiffs who had invested in nine different franchise locations for a nationally franchised business sought in excess of $14,000,000. Judgment was obtained for all but one client after a ten week jury trial. The verdict that was against the one client was set aside by the trial court. The Judgment was affirmed in a precedent-setting published decision establishing the applicable statute of limitations for Franchise Investment Law claims.

Represented an owner of a 600 unit apartment complex that had been inundated with toxic mold in its claim that clean-up and repair costs should have been covered under the owner’s insurance policy. After three years of litigation and on the eve of trial, a multi-million dollar settlement was achieved for the client.

In 2005 Mr. Huddleston, together with Anthony W. Hawthorne, represented defendants in the trial of an action for nuisance, negligence, trespass, and breach of a previous settlement agreement between the plaintiff and the defendants’ predecessors-in-interest. The plaintiffs sought both damages and injunctive relief arising from a mudslide. The damage claims were tried to a jury in Contra Costa Superior Court. The jury returned a verdict for the defendants. The injunctive relief claims were then tried before the trial judge. The defendants were denied all requests for injunctive relief. The plaintiffs thereafter appealed the Judgment to the Court of Appeals. Mr. Huddleston represented the defendants in the defense of the appeal. The Judgment in favor of the defendants was affirmed in the appeal. The defendants then petitioned the California Supreme Court for review of the Court of Appeals decision. Mr. Huddleston represented the defendants in opposing that petition. The California Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs petition for review.

In 2007 Mr. Huddleston and Mr. Sipos, representing separate groups of investor-plaintiffs in consolidated cases, sued SunAmerica Securities (a subsidiary of AIG). The plaintiffs were a group of SunAmerica clients who invested in a phony scheme to sell municipal bonds perpetrated by Edwin Torres, the Branch Manager for SunAmerica’s office in Moraga, California. Torres plead guilty to federal wire fraud charges and was incarcerated. The plaintiffs claimed that SunAmerica was liable on a principal-agency basis, for negligently hiring Torres, and for failing to properly supervise him. After an eight week jury trial in Contra Costa County Superior Court, SunAmerica was found liable and the plaintiffs were awarded their lost principal plus prejudgment interest, totaling $1,653,971. In addition, the jury found that SunAmerica had advance knowledge of Torres’ unfitness and employed him as a financial advisor and Branch Manager with a conscious disregard of the rights and safety of its customers. This entitled the plaintiffs to the possibility of punitive damages in a bifurcated proceeding. SunAmerica and the plaintiffs settled for a confidential amount prior to the jury returning a verdict on plaintiffs’ request for punitive damages.

In 2009 Mr. Huddleston represented a commercial real estate limited partnership in an action against its former general partner for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The claim sought the return of improper management fees and losses from self dealing by the general partner. The case was tried in Alameda County Superior Court with Mr. Huddleston’s clients awarded over $750,000.

Summary of Appellate Court Experience

Have argued cases on behalf of clients before the United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Judicial Circuit and the California State Courts of Appeal for the First, Second, and Fourth Appellate Districts.

Summary of Mediation and Arbitration Experience

Volunteered for over ten years as an Arbitrator for the civil arbitration panel for the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Arbitrated over 50 cases through that program.

Volunteered and acted as a mediator under the Contra Costa County Superior Court’s SMART program and the Contra Costa County Superior Court’s SMARTER program (for the courts of limited jurisdiction). Also retained privately as a mediator. Acted as a mediator in excess of 50 cases.

Been appointed and acted as both a Judge Pro Tem for the Contra Costa County Superior Court and as a temporary Discovery Referee in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Been appointed by the Contra Costa County Superior Court in ten separate complex business or real estate cases to act as a Special Master to handle all aspects of discovery disputes, pretrial scheduling conflicts, law and motion matters, and Settlement Conferences.

Appointed by the Superior Court to act and render a decision under a fact-finding reference which resulted in presiding over a trial that lasted approximately ten days and involved numerous issues involving easements and access to a privately-owned driveway.

Regularly serve as Judge Pro Tem for the Discovery Commissioner in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Expert Witness

Been retained as an expert witness in approximately ten cases. The areas of work as an expert witness include an attorney’s standard of care in business litigation, in real estate litigation, and in business transactions. The areas of work as an expert also include the standard of care for a real estate broker and a mortgage broker in residential purchase, sale, and lending transactions.