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Robert R. Pohls

Rob Pohls has been helping to shape California insurance law for more than 25 years. He has successfully litigated insurance cases in virtually every state and federal courthouse in California, earning a national reputation for his distinctive ability to achieve favorable outcomes in disputes that involve challenging facts and/or novel legal questions.  His practice is devoted to the defense of bad faith, ERISA and other complex forms of litigation involving life, health, disability and long term care insurance.

Rob is a former Chair of the ABA’s Health & Disability Insurance Law Committee and has long been an active Member of DRI’s Life, Health & Disability Committee, the International Claim Association, and the Association of Life Insurance Counsel.  He also has been an Associate Member of the Association of California Life & Health Insurance Companies, as well as a Member of the Northern California Life Insurance Association.

Martindale-Hubbell has given Rob a peer rating of AV-Preeminent.  In 2008, American Lawyer Media's annual survey of Fortune 500 law departments recognized him as the Principal of a "Go-To Firm" for litigation.  In 2012, Rob was named a San Francisco Area "Top-Rated Lawyer," both for Labor and Employment Law and for Insurance Law.  He has earned the same honor every year thereafter. In 2012, the Defense Research Institute separately named Rob a National Spokesperson on Health Care Reform. The following year, Rob was named a Northern California "Top-Rated Lawyer" for Healthcare Law. More recently, Rob was selected as a Northern California Super Lawyer for 7 consecutive years (from 2014 through 2020).

Employment History

Pohls & Associates, Principal (1999-Present)

Archer, McComas, et al., Sr. Associate (1997-1999)

Fleming & Associates, Sr. Associate (1996-1997)

Bowles & Verna, Sr. Associate (1989-1996)

Ropers, Majeski, et al., Associate (1987-1989)


University of California, Davis (J.D. - 1987)

Bucknell University (B.A., Political Science - 1984)

Bar Admissions

State of California (1987)

U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

Pro Hac Vice:  Idaho, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Utah


Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association

Association of California Life & Health Insurance Companies

Defense Research Institute

International Association of Privacy Professionals

International Claim Association

Northern California Life Insurance Association


ADR Certifications and Service

Mediator and ENE Evaluator (USDC, N.D.Cal.)

Attorney Settlement Officer and Mediator (USDC, C.D.Cal.)

Published Decisions

Keller v. Albertson's Inc., 589 F.Supp.2d 1205 (C.D.Cal. 2008)

Mhadbi v. Jefferson Pilot Financial, 255 F.Supp.2d 1109 (N.D.Cal. 2003)

Davenport v. Blue Cross of California, 52 Cal.App.4th 435 (1997)

AMEX Life Assurance Co. v. Superior Court, 14 Cal.4th 1231 (1997)

Damascus v. Provident Life & Accident Insurance Co., 933 F.Supp. 885 (N.D. Cal. 1996)

Tool v. National Employee Benefit Services, Inc., 957 F.Supp. 1114 (N.D. Cal. 1996)

Kentucky Central Life Ins. Co. v. Marin Bay Park Trust, 958 F.2d 377 (9th Cir. 1992)

Kentucky Central Life Insurance Company v. LeDuc, 814 F.Supp. 832 (N.D. Cal. 1992)

LeDuc v. Kentucky Central Life Insurance Company, 814 F.Supp. 820 (N.D.Cal. 1992)

Johnson v. Minnesota Mutual Life Insurance Company, 799 F.Supp. 75 (N.D. Cal. 1992)

Articles and Speeches (Partial List)

Litigation and Long Term Care Insurance (ICA Annual Meeting, September 2015)


Complex Life Insurance Claims (ICA Annual Meeting, September 2014)


Master Class:  Litigating a Life Insurance, Accidental Death and Annuity Case From Start to Finish (ACI 2nd National Advanced Forum on Life Insurance and Accidental Death Claims and Litigation, July 2013)

Rescission and Post Claims Underwriting (ACI 2nd National Advanced Forum on Life Insurance and Accidental Death Claims and Litigation, July 2013)

Health Insurance Law Update (DRI ERISA/Life, Health & Disability Claims Seminar, April 2013)

Is Fee-Based Planning in Your Future? (CAHU Health Care Summit, October 2012)

Complex Claims Investigations (ICA Annual Meeting, October 2012)

Four Things Agents Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act (California Broker, September 2012)

The Interplay Between Securities Law/Broker-Dealer Rules and Insurance Statutory Requirements in Connection With the Sale of Variable Life and Annuity Products (ACI 1st National Advanced Forum on Litigating Life Insurance and Annuity Claims, July 2012)

The Affordable Care Act Upheld:  Now What For Our Clients? (DRI Webcast, July 2012)

Preparing for the Supreme Court Arguments About the Affordable Care Act (JDSupra, March 2012)

What Do Health Insurance Litigators Face in 2012 and Beyond? (DRI Webcast, Dec. 2011)

LTC Mind Control:  What Makes a Good Claims Examiner? (ICA Annual Meeting, Oct. 2011)

Proving Insurance Fraud (Western Claim Conference, Sept. 2011)

Health Care Reform:  The Grand Design (Eastern Claim Conference, March 2011)

National Health Care Reform:  What is it and What Does it Mean to You? (DRI Annual Meeting, Oct. 2010)

Rescission is Not a Four-Letter Word (ICA Annual Meeting, Oct. 2010)

Legal Considerations for Life Underwriters (NCLIA Quarterly Meeting, Sept. 2010)

How to Effectively Manage Competing Death Benefit Claims (ICA News, Summer 2010)

An Introduction to Long Term Care Insurance (Western Claim Conference, 2009)

National Survey of Life Insurance Caselaw (ICA Annual Meeting, 2009)

Mediating Disputed Health Insurance Benefit Claims (DRI ERISA/Life, Health & Disability Claims Seminar, 2009)

The Effective Use of the Advice of Counsel Defense (DRI, The Voice, 2008)

Litigating Subjective Disability Claims (ALI-ABA, The Practical Litigator, 2008)

The Anatomy of a Bad Faith Case (ABA Annual Meeting, 2007)

Enforcing Exclusions and Limitations in Life, Health & Disability Insurance Policies (DRI ERISA/Life, Health

& Disability Claims Seminar, 2003)

Litigating Disability Insurance Claims Involving Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (ACI 5th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Claims, 2002)

Long Term Care Insurance:  Selected Considerations for Insurers, Agents, Regulators and Litigators (ABA,

The Brief, 2001)

Defense Strategies for Subjective Disability Claims (ACI 4th National Advanced Forum on Litigating Disability Claims, 2001)

Hot Topics in Health & Disability Insurance (ABA Annual Meeting, 1999)

Surveillance Videos Can Be Withheld From Disclosures (ABA, Life Insurance Law Committee Newsletter, 1997)

Defense Strategies for Premium Offset Litigation (ABA, Life Insurance Law Committee Newsletter, 1997)

McCarran-Ferguson Should Preempt ADA Claims (DRI, Life, Health & Disability News, 1997)

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