Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Memorial Service Set for Robert Zeavin
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A memorial service has been scheduled for Sunday for Robert Zeavin, co-chair of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips’ national trial practice in its Litigation Division.
The firm said Zeavin, who was based in Los Angeles, died Thursday in Salt Lake City following a heart attack. The memorial has been scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at Elings Park in Santa Barbara. A firm spokesperson asked attendees not to wear black clothing, and suggested wearing hats and comfortable shoes.
Zeavin—who attended Occidental College and UCLA School of Law, and joined the State Bar in 1976—spent his entire career handling complex business litigation matters in a diverse group of subject matter areas, including insurance coverage, environmental law, copyright and trademark infringement, professional liability and intellectual property.
In 2008, he and Manatt Phelps co-lead counsel Barry Lee secured an over-$600 million jury verdict against The Boeing Company and its Boeing Satellite Systems International subsidiary for mobile satellite services company ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited. ICO sued Boeing for fraud, tortuous interference and breach of contract, and the verdict—which included interest and punitive damages—was reportedly the largest in the United States that year.
In the 1980s, he was one of three lead defense lawyers in one of the largest lawsuits tried in America, the 15-month trial over Shell’s environmental liabilities for cleaning up decades of pesticide pollution at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, located northeast of Denver.
He was also one of the lead lawyers in the MGM Grand retroactive insurance litigation, which occurred when the Las Vegas casino and hotel sued a number of insurers and its insurance broker after the carriers declined to reimburse the hotel for claims it settled after a disastrous 1980 fire. He represented major law firms, accounting firms and directors and officers of public companies in securities cases and other complex cases involving professionals.
Zeavin tried intellectual property and entertainment matters for clients as diverse as a large, publicly held manufacturer of personal care products, the producer of a James Bond movie and a bank that financed major motion pictures.
In 1985, he helped found Attorneys Insurance Mutual Ltd., a captive mutual insurance company owned and operated by some 20 large California law firms, and he served as chairman of AIM’s Claims and Underwriting Committee until 1993.
Zeavin lectured and published on various matters related to complex business litigation, including appearing as a speaker for the Practicing Law Institute on topics such as professional liability for lawyers, directors and officers liability insurance, complex business litigation issues and tactics, and environmental insurance coverage.
He also argued in the California appellate courts, as well as before the Sixth and Ninth circuits.
He is survived by his daughters Hadley and Georgia Zeavin, brother Michael Zeavin, and sister Lynne Zeavin.
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