Robert M. Palumbos is chair of the Appellate division of Duane Morris' Trial Practice Group. Mr. Palumbos helps companies and entrepreneurs resolve complex legal issues in appellate and commercial litigation. He is an experienced appellate lawyer with a track record in over 100 appeals of preserving trial court victories and reversing trial court losses. Mr. Palumbos has briefed and argued appeals in state and federal courts throughout the United States. His appellate work covers a wide range of legal areas, such as RICO, corporate governance, administrative agency law, real estate and insurance coverage.
Mr. Palumbos is the vice-chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee and a former co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association's Appellate Courts Committee. He is also an adjunct professor of appellate advocacy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Amicus Curiae Brief Committee.
In addition to his appellate work, Mr. Palumbos represents companies in complex commercial litigation in trial courts throughout the United States. He handles high-stakes cases involving RICO, antitrust, securities, and class actions, often winning those cases early in the process before trial through strategic motions practice. His clients include leaders within the energy, venture capital investment, software and hardware design, pharmaceutical, and financial services industries.
Before entering private practice, Mr. Palumbos was a judicial clerk to the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Mr. Palumbos is a 2005 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and former editor of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review. He is also a graduate of Johns Hopkins University (M.A., B.A.), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Mr. Palumbos serves on the board of Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) and the development committee for Friends School Haverford.
In re America-CV Station Group, Inc., 56 F.4th 1302 (11th Cir. 2023): Obtained reversal from U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on behalf of three pre-petition equity interest holders who were stripped of their $65 million equity investment in the debtor companies during bankruptcy.
Represented SEPTA, a public transport company, as lead counsel in a dispute concerning the constitutionality of the statutory damages cap as it applies to the Commonwealth.
Represented Deutsche Bank, an investment banking company, as lead counsel in a Third Circuit appeal that is part of a multi-year, multi-jurisdiction effort to collect on a judgment. This appeal involved Deutsche Bank’s effort to prevent the transfer of partnership interests and a partnership distribution that provided an opportunity for partial recovery.
Represented Ammex, LLC, a duty free store selling gasoline, in two appeals in the Sixth Circuit dealing with complex constitutional and statutory issues relating to the interplay among the Commerce Clause, the Clean Air Act, and federal regulation of duty-free stores.
Represented Penske Logistics, LLC, a transportation services company, in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court about applying an aspect of the forum non conveniens doctrine under Pennsylvania law.
Represented Cardone Industries, an auto parts manufacturer, as lead appellate counsel in a Pennsylvania Superior Court appeal from the grant of summary judgement in Cardone Industries' favor in a misappropriation of trade secrets cases; involving a novel legal issue of what evidence was required to establish damages where an alleged trade secret was used in a competitive bidding context.
Represented Powder Springs Logistics, LLC, a joint venture between affiliates of Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. and Colonial Pipeline Company, in a “bet the company” case where the court held that Powder Springs is permitted to blend butane into gasoline shipped on the Colonial pipeline because shippers receive the quality of gasoline they were promised at delivery. The filed-rate doctrine barred the plaintiff’s claims because the plaintiff impermissibly sought to expand its rights as a shipper under Colonial’s tariff to receive only on-specification gasoline; the decision is the first to approve of the practice of butane blending by pipelines and will be an important precedent for regulated energy clients.
Represented renowned mooncake manufacturer Mei-Xin (Hong Kong) Limited, a subsidiary of Maxim’s Caterers Limited, in obtaining an appellate victory from the Third Circuit, reversing the grant of preliminary injunction against Maxim’s and Mei-Xin after Mei-Xin sought to terminate its distribution agreement with Golden Fortune Import & Export Corporation.
- Represented Rose Acre Farms, one of the largest egg producers in the United States, in successfully defending a judgment in a class action that Rose Acre had not illegally conspired to reduce the national supply of eggs and inflate prices. In re Processed Egg Prod. Antitrust Litig., __ F.3d __, 2020 WL 3407761 (3d Cir. June 22, 2020).
Obtained dismissal of out-of-state seller for lack of personal jurisdiction in a decision rejecting the use of alter ego and stream of commerce theories of jurisdiction. Fulano v. Fanjul Corp., 236 A.3d 1 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2020).
Counsel to employer in the Connecticut Appellate Court and Connecticut Supreme Court in a decision clarifying the legal standard for constructive discharge under Connecticut law. Karagozian v. USV Optical, Inc., 238 A.3d 716 (2020).
Filed an amicus brief on behalf of the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) in the United States Supreme Court concerning Rutledge v. the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), arguing that federal law does not preempt states from overseeing pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices and regulating reimbursement, and that stripping the states of this regulatory power leaves pharmacies without remedy and threatens critical care to the most vulnerable patients.
Counsel to Ford Motor Company in a products liability case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that favorably resolved two legal issues of first impression and secured the affirmance of summary judgment on warranty and consumer fraud claims. Coba v. Ford Motor Co., 932 F.3d 114 (3d Cir. 2019).
- Obtained the complete reversal of a jury verdict and a new trial on behalf of railroads subject to repetitive stress injury claims under the Federal Employers' Liability Act based on evidentiary errors at trial. Buttaccio v. Am. Premier Underwriters, Inc., 175 A.3d 311 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2017).
- Appellate counsel in a Pennsylvania Supreme Court case establishing that the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing does not apply to limited partnership agreements subject to Pennsylvania's Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act. Hanaway v. The Parkesburg Group, LP, 168 A.3d 146 (Pa. 2017).
- Obtained the complete affirmance of a multimillion-dollar arbitration award, including on the issue of whether an award by a majority of an arbitration panel in a common law arbitration is enforceable under Pennsylvania law. Strausser Enterprises, Inc. v. Segal and Morel, Inc., 2016 WL 4905677 (Pa. Super. Ct. July 6, 2016), appeal denied, Nos. 530-532 MAL 2016 (Pa. Dec. 21, 2016).
- Counsel to a real estate developer in appeals relating to an investor dispute that resulted in the affirmance of a judgment in favor of our client on fiduciary duty, conversion, and equitable claims, and the termination of a second lawsuit based on the application of res judicata. Hanaway v. The Parkesburg Group, LP, 132 A.3d 461 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2015); Hanaway v. Sadsbury Associates, LP, No. 224 EDA 2016, 2017 WL 375030 (Pa. Super. Ct. Jan. 26, 2017).
Appellate counsel to Wright Medical Technology in federal and state appeals from MDL involving hip replacement components.
- Represented a class of investors in a feeder fund to a hedge fund in appeals to the Eleventh Circuit and Delaware Supreme Court relating fiduciary duty and breach of contract claims. Culverhouse v. Paulson & Co. Inc., 791 F. 3d 1278 (11th Cir. 2015); Culverhouse v. Paulson & Co. Inc., 133 A.3d 195 (Del. 2016).
- Obtained complete affirmance of summary judgment on novel issues in the Third Circuit relating to copyright preemption and claims under RICO, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Lanham Act. Counsel to client in a Ninth Circuit appeal based on the preclusive effect of the Third Circuit judgment. Collegesource, Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc., 597 F. App'x 116 (3d Cir. 2015).
- Represented Yellow Pages Group, LLC on successful appeal to the Eleventh Circuit from a jury trial under the Copyright Act and for breach of license agreement. Yellow Pages Photos, Inc. v. Ziplocal LP, 795 F.3d 1255 (11th Cir. 2015).
- Represented developers before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in a case that favorably determined the level of specificity required for development plans submitted under Pennsylvania’s Planned Residential Development statute. Newtown Square East v. Township of Newtown, 101 A.3d 37 (Pa. 2014).
- Obtained a precedential decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, as lead appellate counsel for the Latin American Coalition, affirming the dismissal of a RICO claim and establishing that property owners do not violate the Immigration and Naturalization Act by knowingly renting apartments to undocumented aliens. Delrio-Mocci v. Connolly Properties, Inc., 672 F.3d 241 (3d Cir. 2012).
- Successfully argued in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit that a district court erred by denying a preliminary injunction in a corporate governance dispute involving a closely held limited liability company. Health & Body Store, LLC v. JustBrand Ltd., 480 F. App'x. 136 (3d Cir. 2012).
- Lead counsel in successful appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversing agency error in immigration proceedings. Grenade v. Holder, 324 F. App'x 88 (2d Cir. 2009).
- Obtained from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court a reversal on behalf of Toll Brothers, Inc., holding that parties to a zoning hearing, who are not party appellants to the land use appeal, lack independent standing to appeal. Stuckley v. ZHB of Newtown Twp., 79 A.3d 510 (Pa. 2013).
- Obtained a precedential decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit confirming the proper test for taxpayer residency in the U.S. Virgin Islands and reversing the district court's finding after a nonjury trial that several taxpayers had failed to establish Virgin Islands residency. Vento v. Dir. V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue, 715 F.3d 455 (3d Cir. 2013).
- Represented the Association of Corporate Counsel, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Philadelphia Bar Association, as amici curiae, in an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which the court, quoting extensively from the amicus brief, reversed a line of intermediate appellate decisions by holding that the attorney-client privilege protects communications made by attorneys to clients. Gillard v. AIG Insurance Co., 15 A.3d 44 (Pa. 2011).
- Represented the Pennsylvania Department of Banking in two groundbreaking enforcement actions to enjoin illegal payday lending at approximately 100 stores across Pennsylvania, and by a Nevada-based Internet lender. Pa. Dep't of Banking v. NCAS of Delaware, LLC, 948 A.2d 752 (Pa. 2008); Cash America Net of Nevada, LLC v. Pa. Dep't. of Banking, 8 A.3d 282 (Pa. 2010).
- Counsel to Travelers Insurance in a cross-appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit resulting in a favorable reversal on the issue of coverage under a legal malpractice policy and affirmance on the issue of bad faith. Post v. St. Paul Travelers Insurance Co., 691 F.3d 500 (3d Cir. 2012).
- Obtained reversal of summary judgment against Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., surety for a $100 million construction project, in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit based on the interpretation of a conditional payment clause in a construction subcontract. Sloan v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., 653 F.3d 175 (3d Cir. 2011).
- Counsel to a major regional grocery chain in an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from the denial of class certification in a putative class action alleging violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. Stillmock v. Weis Markets, Inc., 385 F. App'x 267 (4th Cir. 2010).
Represented Fanjul Corporation, one of the largest sugar companies in the world, in obtaining a complete dismissal on the merits in a case brought by plaintiffs who alleged that they had been unlawfully evicted by a subsidiary of Fanjul in the Dominican Republic.
- Obtained a complete victory prior to trial for AcademyOne, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based internet company, in action brought by a competitor alleging violations of RICO, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the Lanham Act. CollegeSource, Inc. v. AcademyOne, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43684 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 22, 2011) (dismissing RICO claims); 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153197 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 25, 2012) (granting summary judgment), aff'd, 597 F. App'x 116 (3d Cir. 2015).
- Counsel to one of world's largest software vendors in civil RICO litigation brought by municipality that was dismissed at the pleading stage. County of Marin v. Deloitte Consulting LLP, 836 F. Supp. 2d 1030 (N.D. Cal. 2011).
- Obtained dismissal of RICO claims at motion-to-dismiss stage on behalf of major commercial real estate developer. Litigated remaining contract and fiduciary duty claims and obtained a settlement the client found favorable. Kolar v. Preferred Real Estate Investments, Inc., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 48781 (E.D. Pa. June 19, 2008), aff'd, 361 F. App'x 354 (3d Cir. 2010).
- Counsel to Preferred Resin Holding Company, an international supplier of hydraulic fracturing proppants, in multimillion dollar litigation under a supply contract. Obtained a settlement the client found favorable after litigating contract issues through summary judgment in Delaware Superior Court. CRS Proppants LLC v. Preferred Resin Holding Co., Del Super. No. N15C-08-111 MMJ (CCLD).
- Represented Unilife Medical Solutions, Inc., a manufacturer of injectable drug delivery systems, in a litigation and arbitration under a Customization and Commercial Supply Agreement, obtaining a very favorable settlement for the client. Unilife Med. Solutions, Inc. v. Biodel, Inc., Conn. Super. Ct. No. DBD-CV15-6018082-S.
- Class counsel in antitrust class action that resulted in multimillion-dollar settlement for a class of terminated truck dealerships. Cumberland Truck Equipment Co. v. Detroit Diesel Corp., Case Nos. 05-cv-74594 (E.D. Mich.).
- Defeated two putative class actions against a leading yacht manufacturer based on alleged product defects. ACH Enters. 1 LLC v. Viking Yacht Co., 817 F. Supp. 2d 465, 466 (D.N.J. 2011); Cauble v. Viking Yacht Co., 10-cv-61892 (S.D. Fla. 2011).
- Represented international supplier and trader of precious metals in AAA arbitration hearings relating to supply contracts and pricing issues. Johnson Matthey Inc. v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co.
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 2005
- Associate Editor, Senior Editor, University of Pennsylvania Law Review
- Order of the Coif
- The Johns Hopkins University, M.A., 1999
- The Johns Hopkins University, B.A., 1999
- Phi Beta Kappa
- University Honors
- Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2014-present
- Associate, 2006-2013
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
- Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, 2006
- American Law Institute
- Member (2023-present)
- University of Pennsylvania Law School
- Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy (2017-present)
- Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Appellate Court Procedural Rules Committee
- Vice Chair (2017-2021)
- Member (2015-2021)
- Pennsylvania Bar Association's Business Law Institute
- Course Planner (2014-present)
- American Inn of Court, University of Pennsylvania Law School (2009-2012)
- Bar Association of the Third Federal Circuit (2010-present)
- American Bar Association
- Council of Appellate Lawyers, Appellate Judges Conference (2012-present)
Philadelphia Bar Association
- Appellate Courts Committee (2011-present)
- Co-Chair of Appellate Courts Committee (2018)
Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Appellate Advocacy Committee (2011-2016, 2018-present)
- Member of Amicus Curiae Brief Committee (2018-present)
Honors and Awards
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2023 and 2024
- 2014 Lawyers on the Fast Track by The Legal Intelligencer
- Listed in Pennsylvania Rising Stars
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Board, LIFT–Philadelphia, 2014-2015
- Contributor, Duane Morris Appellate Review Blog
- Co-author, "Consent or Not Consent? U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Constitutionality of Consent-by-Registration Statutes," Duane Morris Alert, November 11, 2022
- Co-author, "Registering to Do Business in Pennsylvania Does Not Confer General Jurisdiction Over Foreign Corporations," Duane Morris Alert, December 23, 2021
Mentioned in "Egg Producer Fights 3rd Circ. Appeal After Antitrust Verdict," Law360, September 13, 2019
Quoted in "Sunoco Emissions Must Be Regulated In Toto, Pa. Court Told," Law360, September 9, 2019
Mentioned in "6th Circ. Won't Block Mich. Enforcement Of Gasoline Regs," Law360, August 21, 2019
Mentioned in "Ford Fuel Tank Defect Suit Is A Non-Starter, 3rd Circ. Finds," Law360, July 8, 2019
Mentioned in "Class Action Over Ford Truck Fuel Tanks Rightly Dismissed, 3rd Circuit Rules," The Legal Intelligencer, July 8, 2019
Mentioned in "3rd Circ. Releases Cemetery Co. From Stock-Drop Claims," Law360, June 20, 2019
Co-author, "Supreme Court Rejects Bare-Metal Defense in Products Liability Cases Under Maritime Law," Duane Morris Alert, March 21, 2019
Mentioned in "Court Rejects Optician’s Constructive Discharge Claim," Connecticut Law Tribune, January 8, 2019
Mentioned in "Pa. Court Denies Asbestos Case Against Ford, Advance Auto," Law360, July 24, 2018
Quoted in "Limit on Whistleblower Damages Mandated by Pa.’s Sovereign Immunity, Gov’t Lawyers Argue," The Legal Intelligencer, November 29, 2017
Mentioned in "Railroads Get New Trial After Occupational Injury Verdict," Law360, November 16, 2017
- Quoted in "Justices: No Good-Faith Duty in Pre-Act 170 Limited Partnership Agreements," The Legal Intelligencer, August 25, 2017
- Quoted in "Pa. Limited Partners Can't Rely On Pre-2017 Good-Faith," Law360, August 22, 2017
- Mentioned in "Sheller Urges Justices To OK Standing In FDA Risperdal Row," Law360, March 17, 2017
- Mentioned in "Pa. Justices Snub Developer's $15M Arbitration Award Appeal," Law360, December 22, 2016
- Mentioned in "Third Circuit Affirms Interest On NFLer's Island-Buy Restitution," Law360, September 7, 2016
- Co-Author and Course Planner, Advanced Issues in Civil Practice and Procedure in Pennsylvania Courts, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Publication No. 2015-8892 (2015)
- Mentioned in "Investor Asks 11th Circuit To Revive Sino-Forest Loss Suit," Law360, June 9, 2015
- Mentioned in "FDA Accused Of Helping J&J Cover Up Risperdal Data," Law360, January 30, 2015
- Quoted in "Developers win big in Pa. Supreme Court ruling," Philadelphia Business Journal, September 24, 2014
- Co-Author and Course Planner, Advanced Issues in Civil Practice and Procedure: Judicial Review, Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Publication No. 2013-7853 (2013)
- Co-author, "Expert Evidence in the Third Circuit," Scientific Evidence Review: Admissibility and Use of Expert Evidence in the Courtroom, Monograph No. 9 (2013), No. 8 (2008)
- Mentioned in "CollegeSource's IP, Contract Suit Against Rival Tossed," Law360, October 29, 2012
- Co-author, "Antitrust Class Action Settlements," in Antitrust Class Actions Handbook, American Bar Association, 2010
- Co-author, "Unique Aspects of Appellate Practice in the Third Circuit," A Practitioner's Guide to Appellate Advocacy, American Bar Association, 2010
- Co-author, Indirect Purchaser Lawsuits: A State-by-State Survey, American Bar Association, 2010
- Co-author, "Supreme Court Confirms Application of Twombly to All Civil Cases," Duane Morris Alert, May 21, 2009
- Comment, Within Each Lawyer's Conscience a Touchstone: Law, Morality, and Attorney Civil Disobedience, 153 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1057 (2005)
Selected Speaking Engagements
Speaker, “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Strategies for Litigating in a More Favorable Forum,” Association of Corporate Counsel of Greater Philadelphia, May 4, 2022
Speaker, “Jury Instructions and Verdict Forms,” Duane Morris LLC In-House CLE Program, March 17, 2022
Speaker, “Error Preservation Strategy and Post-Trial Motions,” National Business Institute, December 16, 2021
- Speaker, "Long Story Short: Key Practices for Structuring and Writing Persuasive Briefs," ALI CLE Webinar, September 13, 2021
- Speaker, "New Issues and Case Law Related to 'Forum Non-Conveniens,'" Pennsylvania Defense Institute, Webinar, August 24, 2021
Speaker, "Long Story Short: Key Practices for Structuring and Writing Persuasive Briefs," American Law Institute, Philadelphia, January 25, 2019
Speaker, "Persuasive Legal Writing," Duane Morris LLC In-House CLE Program, January 24, 2019
Moderator, "Am I in the Right Place? Tips on Whether to Appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court and/or Commonwealth Court," Philadelphia Bar Association, November 7, 2018
Panelist, "U.S. Supreme Court Roundup, 2017-18 Term," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, August 14, 2018
Speaker, "Writing to Persuade," Duane Morris LLP In-House CLE Program, October 6, 2017
- Speaker, "Strategies for Issue Preservation," Duane Morris LLP In-House CLE Program, December 9, 2016
- Speaker, "Long Story Short: Key Practices for Structuring and Writing Persuasive Briefs," American Law Institute, Philadelphia, December 8, 2016
- Moderator and Speaker, "Advanced Issues in Civil Practice and Procedure in Pennsylvania Courts," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, August 14, 2015
- Speaker, "Legal Writing for the 21st Century," Pennsylvania Bar Association Civil Litigation Section Retreat, April 17-19, 2015
- Speaker, "Writing to Win," Duane Morris LLP In-House CLE Program, January 16, 2015
- Speaker, "The Rules of Evidence: A Practical Toolkit," National Business Institute, December 12, 2014
- Speaker, "Remedies Under Pennsylvania Law for Minority Shareholders Claiming Oppression," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, November 13, 2014
- Speaker, "Fiduciary Duties in the Era of Benefit Corporations and Hobby Lobby," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia, November 12, 2014
- Speaker, "Legal Writing in the 21st Century," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Mechanicsburg and Philadelphia, October 15 and 28, 2014
- Speaker, "Justiciability Doctrines," Pennsylvania Bar Institute, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, August 15 and 29, 2013
- Speaker, "Records Retention for Manufacturers: Building a Successful Program," Association of Corporate Counsel, Webcast, May 22, 2012