Robert Kum


  • Robert Kum
  • Phone: +1 213 689 7424

    Import to Address Book

  • Duane Morris LLP
    865 South Figueroa Street, Suite 3100
    Los Angeles, CA 90017-5450

Robert Kum is a nationally recognized trial attorney focusing his practice on complex litigation matters in state and federal courts throughout the United States. He has a record of proven success in high-stakes jury trials, including jurisdictions recognized as plaintiff-friendly “judicial hellholes.” 

Working across multiple industries, including the automotive, chemical, consumer products and construction sectors, he has extensive experience in environmental and toxic torts, products liability, catastrophic injuries and dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. Mr. Kum also provides guidance to companies concerning the latest technological advances and cost-saving measures applied to various forms of litigation.

 Mr. Kum is sought-after to defend actions ranging from a single plaintiff to large mass torts. Additionally, he has served as a mediator for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Areas of Practice

  • Complex Commercial Litigation

  • Products Liability

  • Asbestos

  • Environmental and Toxic Torts

  • Employment Wrongful Termination and FEHA Claims

Representative Matters

    Berryman Products, Inc.

  • National coordinating and trial counsel for company specializing in high automotive products such as carburetor and brake cleaners in benzene and toxic tort lawsuits venued throughout the U.S.

  • Represented Berryman Products, Inc. in obtaining a defense victory in the James Zambos, et al. v. Berryman Products, et al. trial venued in Chicago. Plaintiffs claim decedent contracted a blood cancer due to his alleged exposure to a benzene-containing carburetor cleaner. On behalf of the estate, widow and heirs, Plaintiffs sought millions of dollars in damages from their wrongful death and survival claims including economic loss, pain & suffering and emotional distress damages. The jury returned a verdict in an amount a fraction of the damages sought. Due to settlements of the prior co-defendants, the verdict was completely offset, with judgment being entered for $0.

  • Represented Berryman Products, Inc. in obtaining a defense verdict in the Paul Simmons, et al. v. US Steel, et al. trial venued in Philadelphia. Plaintiffs allege decedent contracted Aplastic Anemia due to benzene from automotive products including carburetor cleaners and requested millions in dollars in damages.  After a short deliberation, the jury returned a complete defense verdict.

  • Represented Berryman Products, Inc. in a multi-plaintiff toxic tort case in Kern County, California involving more than 70 defendants; the plaintiffs claimed they contracted a rare cancer, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, due to their exposures at various oil well sites.  Just prior to trial, the court granted Berryman’s motion to sever the various plaintiffs’ claims on the grounds they were mis-joined because their claims did not arise out of the same transaction or occurrence.  As a result of this ruling, Plaintiffs’ cases were severed into separate actions for trial.  This resulted in Berryman being dismissed for nuisance value.

  • Granco Clark

  • Represented Granco Clark, Inc., a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of industrial furnaces and ovens used in metal processing facilities, in the Richard Shaffer v. Granco Clark et al. matter, obtaining a defense verdict in an asbestos case. Plaintiff, a former employee at its Vernon, California, facility, alleged that workplace asbestos exposure caused his colon cancer, which subsequently spread to his lung. After a causation challenge by Granco Clark, the court granted the request to bifurcate the trial into two phases: general and specific causation. During Phase One, the court granted the defense request to exclude the causation opinion from one of the plaintiff’s key expert witnesses, and the jury returned a defense verdict.

  • Obtained summary judgment during trial based on O’Neil replacement parts doctrine involving lawsuit in which Plaintiffs claim exposure to asbestos caused his mesothelioma.

  • Commercial/Business/Products Litigation

  • Trial counsel defending alleged violations of the Robinson Patman Act.

  • Defends class actions, including those involving deceptive marketing and pricing claims.

  • Represented Deutsche Bank National Trust Company and other related Deutsche Bank entities in a personal injury burn lawsuit where the buyer of a foreclosed home, owned by Deutsche, suffered third degree burns when a barbeque on the property exploded. Deutsche Bank obtained summary judgement on grounds that the home was sold in “as is” condition.

  • Defense verdict in product liability action for Home Depot and equipment manufacturer venued in the United States District Court of California (Eastern Division).

  • Obtained $450,000 jury verdict in breach of fiduciary duty/constructive fraud action venued in Los Angeles Superior Court.

  • Bench trial verdict obtained on behalf of insurance company in breach of contract action.

  • Hired by major construction company in catastrophic personal injury case after original counsel exposed client to extra-contractual liability and was eventually able to achieve a favorable settlement.

  • Toxic Tort/Asbestos

  • National trial counsel for major paint company involved in toxic tort/products liability claims.

  • Regional trial counsel for asbestos lawsuits involving equipment manufacturers, parts suppliers & friction clients. 

  • Defends various chemical companies in cancer and lung disease cases.

  • Provides consulting on Prop 65, HazComm and label and material safety data sheet compliance.

  • Defended public utilities in hexavalent chromium groundwater environmental litigation.

  • Defended national equipment manufacturer in silica and welding rod litigation.

  • Food Flavoring

  • Successfully defeated employment contract claims in arbitration on behalf of flavoring company.

  • Prosecuted and defended fraud claims including Securities 10b-5 claims for company specializing in natural and organic flavors.

  • Served as coordinating counsel for food flavoring company involved in domestic and international product liability and commercial disputes.

  • Member of trial team that obtained defense verdict in first diacetyl case to be tried in California.

  • Cosmetics, Fragrances

  • Obtained voluntary no-pay dismissals for a pharmaceutical distributor after filing summary judgment motions establishing that our client’s over-the-counter talcum powder was not contaminated with asbestos and that the plaintiffs’ personal injury claims were preempted by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act.

  • Successfully represented and obtained no cost dismissals for talc producers and suppliers.

  • Defended cosmetic and hair care companies in commercial and product liability lawsuits.
  • Medical Device/Pharmaceuticals

  • Represents manufacturers of medical implant devices and drug companies in product liability cases nationwide.
  • Trial counsel for employment wrongful termination, retaliation and FEHA claims for pharmaceutical company specializing on antiviral drugs used in the treatment of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS and other various disease.

  • Automotive/Trucking

  • Represents trucking companies including Penske Logistics LLC in commercial and personal injury matters.

  • Represents automobile companies in warranty and product liability claims.

  • Trial, Witness and Jury Consulting

  • Provides guidance to companies concerning the latest technological advances and cost-saving measures applied to various forms of litigation.

  • Provide expert and lay witness preparation for deposition and/or trial.

  • Provide jury and mock trial research.


  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania


  • Pepperdine University School of Law, J.D., 1996
  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1991


  • Duane Morris LLP
    - Partner, 2018-present

  • Sedgwick LLP
    - Associate/Partner, 2001-2017

Honors and Awards

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2023 and 2024
  • Listed in California Super Lawyers

  • Listed in California Super Lawyers Rising Stars

  • 2016 Sedgwick Inclusion and Diversity Award

Professional Activities

  • Defense Research Institute

    • Toxic Tort Subcommittee

Selected Publications

  • Quoted, “The Unseen Legal Turmoil Driving Beauty Brands to Shutter in 2023,” Glossy, October 25, 2023
  • Author, "Judicial Hellhole? Sign Me Up," Today’s General Counsel, June 2023 Issue
  • Mentioned, "California Jury Finds No Link Between Asbestos, Colon Cancer," LexisNexis Mealey's Litigation Report: Asbestos, June 8, 2022 
  • Quoted, "Bayer Gets Boost As It Preps For Roundup Showdown In Calif." Law360, February 3, 2020
  • Quoted, "New Talc Jury Gives J&J Chance To Stem Tide Of Legal Blows," Law360, December 6, 2019
  • Quoted, "J&J's Litigation Bravado In Sharp Relief After Epic Opioid Trial," Law360, September 20, 2019

  • Quoted, "J&J's 3-Deal Day Signals A Shift In Legal War Over Talc," Law360, March 29, 2019

  • Quoted, "Weil Gotshal Lawyers' Tough Tactics Sealed J&J Talc Win," Law360

  • “Consumer Products Act May Be Regulatory Overkill,” Law360

  • “An Overview of the Underlying Policy and Application of the Raw Material and Bulk Supplier Defenses,” DRI Toxic Tort Quarterly

  • “Reclassification of Two Industrial Chemicals in New Report on Carcinogens May Increase Toxic Tort Litigation,” Los Angeles Daily Journal