Robert R. Pohls

Robert R. Pohls

Attorney Profile

Top Rated Insurance Coverage Attorney in San Ramon, CA

Pohls & Associates
 | 111 Deerwood Road, Ste. 200, San Ramon, CA 94583
Phone: 925-956-1760
Fax: 888-567-2402
Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2019
Licensed Since: 1987
Practice Areas:
  • Insurance Coverage (50%),
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (20%),
  • Business Litigation (10%),
  • Employee Benefits (10%),
  • Employment Litigation: Defense (10%)
Attorney Profile

Rob Pohls is an AV-rated attorney who has been representing life, health, disability and long term care insurers in bad faith, ERISA and other complex forms of litigation for more than 30 years.  He is the principal of Pohls & Associates, a firm that he founded in 1999.  Although his practice is based in the San Framcisco Bay Area, Rob regularly litigates in state and federal courts throughout California.  On occasion, he also represents clients in high stakes and/or complex cases in other states.

Rob is active in the leadership of several professional organizations, including:  Association of Life Insurance Counsel; DRI's Life, Health & Disability Insurance Committee; International Claim Association; and Northern California Life Insurance Association.  He also is a former chair of the ABA's Health & Disability Insurance Law Committee.

About Robert Pohls

Admitted: 1987, California

Professional Webpage: http://www.califehealth.com/

Special Licenses/Certifications:

  • Court-Appointed Mediator, Contra Costa County Superior Court
  • VDRP Neutral, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • Attorney Settlement Officer and Mediator, U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • Mediator, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • ENE Evaluator, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeal, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
  • State Bar of California (1987)

Bar/Professional Activity:

  • International Claim Association (Health Committee, Member)
  • ABA Life Insurance Committee (Former Vice-Chair)
  • Northern California Life Insurance Association (Member)
  • International Claim Association (Life Insurance Committee, Member)
  • ABA Health & Disability Insurance Law Committee (Former Chair)
  • Association of Life Insurance Counsel (Member)
  • Defense Research Institute (Life, Health & Disability Insurance Committee, Annual Meeting Chair)

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:

  • Utilizing the Critical Two-Year Contestable Period, Speaker, ACI 2nd National Advanced Forum on Life Insurance and AD&D Claims and Litigation, 2013
  • The Calm Before the Storm:  Preparing for Changes in the Health Insurance Marketplace, Author, DRI Life, Health and Disability News, 2013
  • Health Insurance Law Update, Speaker and Author, DRI ERISA/Life, Health & Disability Claims Seminar, 2013
  • Is Fee-Based Planning in Your Future?, Speaker, CAHU Health Care Summit, 2012
  • Complex Claims Investigations, Speaker, ICA Annual Meeting, 2012
  • Four Things Agents Need to Know About Health Care Reform, Author, Broker World, 2012
  • Health Insurance Regulation and Litigation After NFIB v. Sebelius, Speaker, ICA Roundtable, 2012
  • The Interplay Between Securities Law/Broker-Dealer Rules and Insurance Statutory Requirements in Connection With the Sale of Variable Life and Annuity Products, Speaker, ACI 1st Advanced National Forum on Litigating Life Insurance and Annuity Claims, 2012
  • The Affordable Care Act Upheld:  Now What for Our Clients?, Speaker and Co-Author, DRI Webcast, 2012
  • Preparing for the Supreme Court Arguments About the Affordable Care Act, Author, DRI Webcast, 2012
  • LTC Mind Control, Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Conference, 2011
  • What Do Health Insurance Litigators Face in 2012 and Beyond?, Speaker, Webcast, Defense Research Institute, 2011
  • Health Care Reform:  The Grand Design, Speaker, Eastern Claim Conference, 2011
  • Proving Insurance Fraud, Speaker, Western Claim Conference, 2011
  • A History of Health Care Reform in America, Author, Annual Meeting, Defense Research Institute, 2010
  • Overview of the Affordable Care Act, Author, Annual Meeting, Defense Research Institute, 2010
  • Proving Life Insurance Fraud, Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Association, 2010
  • Mediating Disputed Health Insurance Claims, Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Association, 2010
  • LTC Overview:  Where It’s Been and Where It’s Going , Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Association, 2010
  • Rescission is Not a Four-Letter Word, Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Association, 2010
  • Health Care Reform:  What Does it Mean?, Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Association, 2010
  • National Health Care Reform:  What is it and What Does it Mean to You?, Speaker, Annual Meeting, Defense Research Institute, 2010
  • How to Effectively Manage Competing Death Benefit Claims, Author, International Claim Association, 2010
  • Legal Considerations for Life Underwriters, Speaker, Northern California Life Insurance Association, 2010
  • Mediating Disputed Health Insurance Benefit Claims, Speaker, Life, Health, Disability/ERISA Seminar, Defense Research Institute, 2009
  • National Survey of Life Insurance Caselaw, Speaker, Annual Education Conference, International Claim Association, 2009
  • An Introduction to Long Term Care Insurance, Speaker, Western Claim Conference, 2009
  • Litigating Subjective Disability Claims , Author, The Practical Litigator, ALI-ABA, 2008
  • The Effective Use of the Advice of Counsel Defense, Author, The Voice, Defense Research Institute, 2008
  • California Appellate Courts Continue Their Assault on Arbitration Provisions in Health Care Service Plans, Author, Defense Research Institute, 2007
  • The Anatomy of a Bad Faith Case, Speaker, American Bar Association, 2007
  • Enforcing Exclusions and Limitations in Life, Health & Disability Insurance Policies , Speaker and Author, Life, Health & Disability/ERISA Seminar, Defense Research Institute, 2003
  • California Appellate Court Refuses to Order Insurer to Identify Other Psychiatric DI Claimants Whose Claims Were Denied, Author, Life, Health & Disability News, Defense Research Institute, 2002
  • Litigating Disability Insurance Claims Involving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Speaker, 5th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Claims, ACI, 2002
  • Defense Strategies for Subjective Disability Claims, Speaker, 4th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Claims, ACI, 2001
  • Long Term Care Insurance:  Selected Considerations for Insurers, Agents, Regulators and Litigators, Author, The Brief, American Bar Association, 2001
  • California Court Holds that Insurers Must Give Special Notice to Preserve the Contractual Limitations Defense, Author, Life, Health & Disability News, Defense Research Institute, 2000
  • Common Law Right to Fair Procedure Can Limit Insurer’s Right to Remove a Physician from its List of Preferred Providers, Author, Life, Health & Disability News, Defense Research Institute, 2000
  • California Supreme Court Rejects Comparative Bad Faith Defense, Author, Life, Health & Disability News, Defense Research Institute, 2000
  • Hot Topics in Health & Disability Insurance, Speaker, Annual Meeting, American Bar Association, 1999
  • Handbook on ERISA Litigation, Contributor, Prentice Hall Law & Business, 1997
  • McCarran-Ferguson Should Preempt ADA Claims, Author, Life, Health & Disability News, Defense Research Institute, 1997
  • Defense Strategies for Premium Offset Litigation, Author, Life Insurance Law Committee Newsletter, American Bar Association, 1997
  • Surveillance Videos Can Be Withheld From Disclosures, Author, Life Insurance Law Committee Newsletter, American Bar Association, 1997
  • Reconciling Ninth Circuit ERISA Cases on Equitable Estoppel, Author, Life, Health & Disaiblity News, Defense Research Institute, 1996
  • Federal Law Could Void Proposed ADR Initiative, Author, The Recorder, 1996

Verdicts/Settlements:

  • Established limits on post-Abatie discovery in ERISA benefits litigation involving a structural conflict of interest [Beckstrand v. Electronic Arts Group Long Term Disability Plan, E.D. Cal. Case No. C05-00323-AWI (GSA)], 2007
  • Established that life insurer has no duty to investigate a possible death claim until a legal representative is appointed for the beneficiary-estate [Estate of Grant v. State Farm Life Insurance Co., E.D. Cal. Case No. C05-02389-FCD (KJM)], 2007
  • Obtained the Eastern District of California’s first dismissal of representative claims for unfair competition under Prop 64 [Starr-Gordon v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., E.D. Cal. Case No. C03-0068-LKK (GGH)], 2006
  • Established that the “disclosed principal” rule required the dismissal of a policyholder’s claim of agent misconduct in connection with the sale of a life insurance policy [Magsayo v. Primerica Life Insurance Co., San Joaquin County Superior Court Case No. CV017399], 2004
  • Established that California DOI cannot properly be joined to destroy diversity in disability income insurance claims litigation [Borsuk v. Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., N.D. Cal. Case No. C03-0630-VRW], 2003
  • Successfully prosecuted California’s first-known litigated case involving the rescission of a long term care insurance policy [GE Capital Assurance Co. v. Golden, N.D. Cal. Case No. CV02-0282-RMW], 2002
  • Obtained an order compelling an insurance agent to arbitrate claims of alleged sexual harassment against an insurance broker who did not sign the agent’s arbitration agreement [Miranda v. AFLAC, San Francisco County Superior Court Case No. 306747], 2001
  • Successfully defended the first-known litigated case in California involving suitability and the sale of long term care insurance [Yudnich v. The Harvest Life Insurance Co., Napa County Superior Court Case No. 26-02844], 1999
  • Established limits on the availability of injunctive relief in actions governed by the Federal Arbitration Act [Davenport v. Blue Cross of California, 52 Cal.App.4th 435 (1997)] , 1997
  • Filed an amicus curiae brief in the California Supreme Court on behalf of a life and health insurance trade association regarding the “imposter defense” [AMEX Life Assurance Co. v. Superior Court (Slome Capital), 14 Cal.4th 1231 (1997)], 1997
  • Expanded California’s market for long term care insurance by establishing California DOI’s authority to approve of tax-qualified long term care insurance policies [Congress of California Seniors v. Quackenbush, LA County Superior Court Case No. BC164481], 1997
  • Established that the loss of a health care professional’s license to practice is a legal disability which does not qualify for benefits under a disability income insurance policy [Damascus v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 933 F.Supp. 885 (N.D.Cal. 1996)], 1996
  • Used the Harris Trust corrective legislation to obtain the nation’s first dismissal of fiduciary and co-fiduciary liability claims against an insurer holding ERISA plan assets in its general account [Tool v. National Employee Benefit Services, Inc., 957 F.Supp. 1114 (N.D.Cal. 1996)], 1996
  • Established that a change in premium is sufficient proof that a life insurance applicant’s smoking history was material [Kentucky Central Life Ins. Co. v. Marin Bay Park Trust, 958 F.2d 377 (9th Cir. 1992)], 1992
  • In a disappearance case involving an accidental death policy, confirmed that the beneficiary bears the burden of proving the insured died as the result of an accident [Johnson v. Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Co., 799 F.Supp.75 (N.D.Cal. 1992)], 1992
  • Established that a life insurance company has a private right of action for “twisting” under California Insurance Code Section 781 against agents who misrepresent facts to induce policy surrenders [Kentucky Central Life Insurance Co. v. LeDuc, 814 F.Supp. 832 (N.D.Cal. 1992)], 1992

Representative Clients:

  • State Farm Life Insurance Company
  • Trustmark Insurance Company
  • Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company
  • The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
  • Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company
  • Primerica Life Insurance Company
  • MassMutual Financial Group
  • Combined Insurance Company of America
  • Genworth Financial
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

Other Outstanding Achievements:

  • Northern California "Top-Rated Lawyer" for Healthcare Law, 2013
  • DRI National Spokesperson on Health Care Reform, 2012
  • San Francisco Area "Top-Rated Lawyer" for Labor & Employment, 2012
  • San Francisco Area "Top-Rated Lawyer" for Insurance Law, 2012
  • Named in American Lawyer Media’s survey of law departments at the Fortune 500 as the principal of a “Go-To Firm” for litigation., 2008
  • Avvo.com rating:  10.0 (Superb)
  • Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating: AV - Preeminent

Educational Background:

  • Bucknell University (B.A., Political Science), 1984

Industry Groups

  • Disability Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Life Insurance
  • Long Term Care Insurance
Office Location for Robert R. Pohls

111 Deerwood Road, Ste. 200
San Ramon, CA 94583

Robert R. Pohls:

Last Updated: 2/8/2019

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