Robert N. Berg

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Robert N. Berg

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Retail & Apparel
Commercial & Business Litigation

San Francisco

Bar & Court Admissions

  • State Bar of California

Industry Association

  • Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California and Nevada
  • Professional Liability Underwriting Society

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association

Community Involvement

  • Temple Isaiah (Financial Board)
  • Anti-Defamation League (Past Board Member)


  • University of California, Hastings College of the Law, J.D.
  • University of California at Davis, B.A.

Robert Berg is a partner in M&R’s San Francisco office. His practice is focused on insurance (including coverage) and environmental law and civil litigation.

An insurance industry authority with over three decades of experience, Rob principally represents clients in large complex insurance coverage and bad faith disputes. Over the years, he has litigated many such cases, involving commercial general liability, professional liability, first-party coverage and admiralty policies. Rob also handles contractual commercial litigation and toxic torts, as well as matters involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), maritime law and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). In addition, he has successfully litigated numerous severe injury and death cases.

Of note, Rob frequently writes and speaks on topics impacting the insurance and environmental industries. Additionally, CBS Radio’s KFWB News calls upon him for legal commentary.

CERCLA Litigation: Litigated liability case between various defendants regarding cleanup costs associated with alleged perchlorethylene (PCE) spills.
Bad Faith: Bifurcated a trial under Insurance Code Section 11580, negated the relevant claims of bad faith, and proved a policy of insurance was not applicable to the terms of a judgment, saving client several million dollars.
Appellate: Represented an insurance company against Aerojet General in a complex case involving coverage issues, including trigger, effect and application of self-insured retentions, in addition to obligations of insurers to pay insureds’ investigative costs. The case resulted in three appellate decisions favorable to the insurance company client.
CERCLA Summary Judgment: Successfully argued that a client sued for water pollution in federal court under various theories could not be considered a proper “arranger” under CERCLA, and that the client could not be liable under the law of nuisance, a result never previously accomplished in the United States District Court, Northern District.
Contamination Coverage Dispute: Represented an insurance company in the seminal Shell Oil case that resulted in appellate decisions on important coverage issues, including obligations of insurers to pay investigative costs and the trigger, effect and application of self-insured retentions.
Contract Coverage Dispute: Provided counsel in many coverage disputes involving contract interpretation and application, including a large bad faith case that emanated from a dispute over the parameters of a $5M judgment. Successfully bifurcated the judgment, enabling insurance company client to put forth its coverage defenses first and to prevail at trial.
Contract Litigation: Represented a major retail chain in a large case involving a plaintiff paralyzed as a result of an accident at a facility owned by the retailer. Prior counsel withdrew, concerned with the potential exposure of the case, which could have been as high as $20M. Prevailed at trial and paid no damages based upon written indemnity provisions included in the contracts between the retailer and other defendants.
Environmental Response: Litigated an environmental response matter arising out of mandated cleanup costs for toxic chemicals allegedly disbursed by a dry cleaning business. Convinced the plaintiff that other parties were responsible for the polluted water, thereby avoiding cleanup payments.
Maritime Insurance: Represented a maritime insurance company in a dispute involving the high seas disappearance of a very prominent high tech executive. Devised and implemented a successful strategy that resulted in exposure being approximately 10% of the initial $10M demand.
Multi-layer Insurance Dispute: Represented insurance company in the insurance components of a $650M Los Angeles Archdiocese class action molestation case.
Toxic Tort: Litigated a large $500M water contamination case. Developed a multi-party strategy to reduce the number of exposed wells, due to the lack of evidence of pollutants exceeding the government maximum concentration levels (MCL). After numerous successful motions, the amount was reduced by 90% and the number of affected water wells was cut from 244 to 14.
  • Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers (2022-2023)