A seasoned attorney and well-respected litigator, Bob brings vast expertise in insurance coverage and asbestos defense litigation. Bob is the Chair of the firm’s Insurance Coverage Practice Group. Leveraging his deep industry knowledge and significant trial experience in state and federal courts throughout the United States, he is known for winning cases.
Bob rises to the challenge of complex disputes, working diligently to achieve favorable resolutions efficiently and cost-effectively for clients. He applies unmatched insights and creative lawyering to difficult cases, developing innovative strategies and methods rather than following the predictable path. Bob is proud to have prevailed in numerous significant, contentious jury trials, often swimming uphill but winning the jury to his side. Objective, factually driven, and modest, Bob is a powerful and reliable resource.
Bob has remarkable experience representing both insurance companies and policy holders. Proficient on both sides of the aisle, he has a competitive advantage and invaluable perspective. He counsels clients in commercial insurance issues involving coverage, recovery, and reconstruction of historical insurance policies, creating insurance coverage charts and matrices, and negotiating and designing multi-insurer-coverage claims-handling agreements.
He handles coverage litigation in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda involving:
- arbitration between primary and excess insurers;
- insurance coverage for Superfund sites;
- excess coverage for latent disease workers’ compensation liability;
- multi-trigger toxic tort vendors’ endorsement coverage under CGL policies;
- coverage under follow-form and manuscript excess and umbrella insurance policies, and “drop down” disputes among excess insurers for toxic tort liability; and
- surety bond funds control for public entity construction projects.
Bob knows asbestos litigation inside and out, serving as National Coordinating Counsel for numerous companies that are defendants in lawsuits around the country. He currently represents a leading ceiling tile manufacturer in asbestos personal injury, property damage, and other toxic tort litigation. Bob has handled asbestos cases in 37 states and Bermuda. He established his reputation as a winning litigator with major successes in state and federal jury trials in Maryland, West Virginia, Missouri, Kansas, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Illinois. He has supervised the defense of more than 100,000 asbestos personal injury cases for a gasket manufacturer, successfully resolving more than 70 percent of them. He has also managed the defense of more than 60,000 asbestos personal injury actions and 30 major asbestos property damage cases for fireproofing manufacturers.
Asbestos Bankruptcy Management and Consulting
Bob was appointed by Chief Judge Gregory Kishel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota, to serve as Trustee of the API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust. For more than 10 years, he has ensured the efficient and effective operation of the trust, for which he:
- develops and implements procedures to receive, process, and pay claims;
- manages the approval determination for all claims;
- prepares all annual and other reports required for the trust; and
- handles investments of trust assets.
In addition, Bob is a current and founding member of the Asbestos Liability Risk Analysis (ALRA) Group, a team of preeminent counsel who have handled and supervised the defense of more than 300,000 asbestos bodily injury cases throughout the United States.
Toxic Tort, Exposure, and Environmental Litigation
Bob represents defendants in the Midwest and throughout the United States in personal injury cases involving benzene, silica, styrene, ceramic fiber, and other chemical and particle toxic exposure. He’s a sought-after presenter and writer for insurance companies, trade groups, and scientific conferences regarding asbestos, benzene, indoor air pollution, EPA and OSHA regulations, medical monitoring, and emerging trends in toxic tort litigation.
Bob successfully defends professional liability cases involving title insurance agents, surety bond disbursing agents, life insurance agents, and ERISA pension plan actuaries. He helps clients to manage problems early and provides aggressive litigation defense when necessary.
- Minnesota (1979)
- U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota (1979)
- Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (2005)
- J.D., with honors, William Mitchell College of Law (1979)
- Editor and Staff Member, William Mitchell Law Revie
- B.A., cum laude, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN (1975)
Honors & Awards
- Senior Life Fellow, Foundation of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating, Martindale-Hubbell®
- Minnesota District Judges' Association, Jury Instructions Committee, Products Liability
- LexisNexis Mealey’s Publication, Toxic Tort, Advisory Council
- Leading Minnesota Attorney, The Legal Network
- Euromoney Publication (London) listing of The World’s Leading Environmental Lawyers
*AV® is a certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
- American Chemical Society (ACS)
- Asbestos Liability Risk Analysis (ALRA) Group, Current and Founding Member
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Minnesota State Bar Association (MSBA)
- Hennepin County Bar Association (HCBA)
Attorney Robert Brownson, as Trustee of the API, Inc. Asbestos Settlement Trust, is pleased to share that the API Trust has contributed to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation in memory of friend and colleague Michael Polk. Mike Polk served as Trust Advisor to the API Trust from 2007 until his death in 2018. Prior to that, he was Chair of Continue Reading
Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Kristi Brownson and Olivia Cooper, together with co-counsel from Mintz Levin of Boston, Massachusetts, have obtained a favorable ruling on sealing sensitive documents disclosed in discovery. Under new Local Rule 5.6 of the Rules for the United States District Court, District of Minnesota, Kristi and Olivia successfully convinced United States Magistrate Continue Reading
Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Robert Brownson and Olivia Cooper, together with co-counsel from Tressler, LLP in Chicago, have successfully defeated an attempt by the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and fourteen of its parishes, to amend their Complaint to re-assert claims for promissory estoppel, bad faith/breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent misrepresentation, and tortious interference Continue Reading
Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that prominent Minneapolis litigation attorney Joseph F. Lulic has joined the firm as a Senior Attorney. Before joining Brownson Norby, Joe was a founding partner of the Minneapolis litigation firm Hanson, Lulic & Krall, LLC. Joe comes to Brownson Norby with substantial background in all facets of litigation, with experience in insurance coverage, Continue Reading
On June 7, 2018, Brownson Norby, PLLC attorney Aaron Simon was a panelist on a Professional Liability Underwriting Society (PLUS) Panel and CLE/CE presentation on insurance agents and brokers errors and omissions standard of care, and related underwriting and risk management issues. The Panel discussed the duties and liabilities imposed upon insurance agents and brokers and factors to consider when underwriting Continue Reading
Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Robert Brownson and Olivia Cooper, together with their co-counsel from Tressler, LLP in Chicago, successfully defeated an attempt by an alleged victim of catholic priest abuse from being allowed to intervene in two pending insurance coverage cases by the Catholic Diocese of St. Cloud, Minnesota, thirty parishes within that Diocese, and the Continue Reading
Presentations and Publications
- Co-author, Current and Historical American Asbestos Regulations, 2017 Update, Brownson Norby, PLLC, 2017, BrownsonNorby.com/publications
- Co-Author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2016 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Liability Risk Analysis Group, September 1, 2017, http://www.alragroup.com/whitepapers.html
- Co-author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2013 and 2014 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Liability Risk Analysis Group, June 1, 2015, http://www.alragroup.com/whitepapers.html
- Co-author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2012 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Liability Risk Assessment Group, December 1, 2013, http://www.alragroup.com/whitepapers.html
- Co-author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Pfizer v. Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos Case Analysis: Parent Company Asbestos Liability, Asbestos Liability Risk Assessment Group, September 1, 2017, http://www.alragroup.com/whitepapers.html
- Co-author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2011 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Litigation Risk Analysis Group, October 15, 2012, http://www.alragroup.com/whitepapers.html