Robert D. Brownson

Robert D. Brownson,


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I advocate for my clients, no matter the issue, always serving their best interests. Fueled by hard work and determination, I will not give up. I am committed to delivering superior results.

A seasoned attorney and well-respected litigator, Bob brings vast expertise in insurance coverage and asbestos defense litigation. 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.

Insurance Coverage

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.

Asbestos Litigation

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.

Professional Liability

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.

Bar Admissions

  • 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)

Representative Cases

Asbestos Litigation
Major Class Actions, Federal Court Multidistrict Litigation and Consolidated Personal Injury Trials in Asbestos Litigation
Professional Liability Litigation



Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Kristi K. Brownson and Robert D. Brownson, along with co-counsel, won an important ruling from the United States District Court in Minnesota when Brownson Norby client Conwed Corporation was dismissed from an asbestos lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction in Minnesota. Relying upon recent United States Supreme Court decisions restricting where corporations may Continue Reading

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Aaron Simon Named Rising Star

Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that Aaron Simon has been named a 2017 Rising Star by Minnesota Super Lawyers. Aaron was honored in the category of Professional Liability. Aaron's practice includes the defense of insurance agents, insurance brokers, insurance agencies, and other professionals against liability claims. It includes defending such claims if they arise, and also advising and Continue Reading

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Brownson Norby Volunteers at PLUS Charity

On June 15, 2017 Brownson Norby, PLLC Attorney Aaron Simon and Project Assistant Ian Kalis participated in the PLUS North Central Chapter's volunteer charity event making sandwiches for Minneapolis Recreational Development (MRD). MRD is an organization dedicated to serving the homeless, vulnerable individuals, disadvantaged youth, and their families in the Twin Cities. Enabled by donations from volunteers, every night MRD founder Continue Reading

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2017 MIIAB Convention

On May 10, 2017, Brownson Norby, PLLC attended the 2017 Minnesota Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association (MIIAB) convention in Minneapolis. Present at the Brownson Norby, PLLC booth were Managing Partner Kristi Brownson along with attorneys Aaron Simon, Lindsey Streicher, and Olivia Cooper. All enjoyed speaking with, and meeting, convention attendees. As part of the convention, Aaron Simon presented at Continue Reading

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Lindsey Streicher and Olivia Cooper Profiled

The May, 2017 Next Generation Special Issue of Minnesota Attorney At Law magazine profiles young Minnesota attorneys already making an impact. In its article titled, Superstars Rising, Brownson Norby, PLLC associate attorneys Lindsey Streicher and Olivia Cooper are profiled. The article focuses upon Lindsey's work in regulatory law and Olivia's work in insurance coverage litigation. Brownson Norby, PLLC congratulates Lindsey and Olivia Continue Reading

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Kristi Brownson Obtains Significant Insurance Ruling

Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to report that Managing Partner Kristi K. Brownson successfully obtained an Order dismissing a case where it was alleged that the firm's insurer client owed prejudgment interest upon an appraisal award involving a homeowners' insurance policy. It has recently been asserted by some counsel representing insurance policyholders that the Minnesota statute governing an insurance claim appraisal must include prejudgment Continue Reading

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Presentations and Publications

  • Co-author, Current and Historical American Asbestos Regulations, 2017 Update, Brownson Norby, PLLC, 2017,
  • Co-Author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2016 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Liability Risk Analysis Group, September 1, 2017,
  • 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,
  • Co-author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2012 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Liability Risk Assessment Group, December 1, 2013,
  • 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,
  • Co-author, Asbestos Claims and Litigation: Update and Review: 2011 New Case Filing Summary and Analysis, Asbestos Litigation Risk Analysis Group, October 15, 2012,

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