Robert M. LinnDirector
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Central 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 Western District of Pennsylvania
- U.S. Tax Court
- J.D., Columbia Law School,1985
- B.A., magna cum laude, Brown University, 1980
Bob is a senior Director with Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh, where he previously served as the Chair of the Firm’s 45+ lawyer Litigation Group for five years. Bob is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University’s School of Law and focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation, banking and lender liability litigation, non-compete/trade secret issues, intellectual property and employment law. He is licensed in both Pennsylvania and California and has litigated extensively in the federal and state courts of those jurisdictions as well as in other courts across the country. Throughout his more than 20-year career with Cohen & Grigsby, Bob has served on the Firm’s Management Committee and has chaired its Professionalism and Ethics Committee. He has consistently been selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list in the areas of Business Litigation, Intellectual Property Litigation and Employment Litigation and has routinely been listed in The Best Lawyers in America in each of those categories.
As a practicing attorney with more than 30 years of experience, Bob has successfully litigated scores of cases across a broad spectrum of legal disciplines, handling matters ranging from preliminary injunction hearings to jury trials and class action lawsuits. He has represented corporate and individual clients in high stakes lawsuits involving allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty as well as complex questions of contract law. Bob has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including banking, securities, gaming, health care, manufacturing and computer technology. He has both prosecuted and defended cases involving the breach of restrictive covenants as well as the theft of trade secrets and other competitive intelligence.
Select Representative Cases
Representative Cases on which Bob has served as lead litigation counsel:
- Successfully enforced exclusive, long-term supply agreement on behalf of manufacturer in the face of its customer’s attempt to circumvent the contract’s provisions by purchasing goods from a foreign supplier, resulting in negotiated settlement that preserved and expanded the parties’ business relationship.
- Settled breach of warranty action brought against international corporate client for more than $10 million on favorable terms, following summary judgment ruling finding that C&G client’s contractual terms and conditions limiting liability were controlling in a “battle of the forms” dispute.
- Obtained multi-million dollar settlement for publicly-held company that had asserted RICO claims against multiple parties that wrongfully failed to disclose financial improprieties in the operations of various business units acquired by C&G’s client.
- Following evidentiary hearing, defeated million dollar claim brought by supplier and obtained judgment in favor of manufacturing client on its counterclaims in commercial arbitration proceeding. Spang & Company v. Electro Magnetic Products, Inc., 2007 WL 2127714 (W.D. Pa. 2007).
- Obtained dismissal of claims asserted against international corporate client in federal court for breach of contract, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and promissory estoppel arising from outsourcing relationship. K-Tronic N.A., Inc. v. Vossloh-Schwabe, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28265 (D.N.J. 2006).
- Settled federal lawsuit on favorable terms for small distributor that had asserted that its distributorship agreement with Fortune 500 company was wrongfully terminated, an abrupt development that had threatened the continuing viability of its business.
- Obtained dismissal, based on preliminary objections, of plaintiff’s claims of professional negligence, fraud and misrepresentation brought against C&G’s technology client in case of first impression in Pennsylvania. Rapidigm, Inc. v. ATM Management Services, LLC, 63 Pa. D. & C. 234 (Allegheny C.C.P. 2003).
- Following evidentiary hearing, obtained dismissal of claims brought against mining company sued in arbitration for breach of “take or pay” contract.
- Obtained dismissal of California lawsuit alleging breach of contract and fraud brought against manufacturer and two of its officers based upon alleged misrepresentations in the asset purchase agreement used in C&G client’s acquisition of plaintiff’s business.
Non-Compete/Trade Secrets Litigation
- Successfully represented international corporate client in trade secrets litigation, enforcing injunction order preventing former executive from competing or otherwise working within the industry for more than 18 months and further requiring that he refrain from using or otherwise distributing the company’s competitive intelligence to third parties.
- Protected manufacturer’s competitive intelligence through patent infringement and trade secrets litigation, resulting in settlement through which C&G’s client acquired the infringing party’s business as well as safeguards against misuse of its confidential information.
- Based upon evidentiary hearing, obtained preliminary injunction order in favor of staffing client protecting its corporate intelligence taken by former executive in action brought under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Hudson Global Resources Holdings, Inc. v. Ralph H. Hill, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38326 (W.D. Pa. 2007).
- Following evidentiary hearing, obtained court order denying preliminary injunction motion brought against C&G’s individual clients and their start-up company based upon alleged violations of their non-compete covenants. Viad Corp. v. C. Alan Cordial, 299 F. Supp. 2d 466 (W.D. Pa. 2003).
- Obtained preliminary injunction enforcing non-compete covenants against former employees who had established competing technology business within prohibited geographic radius of employer’s headquarters. Scope of requested injunction ratified on appeal.
- Successfully defended three sales and recruiting executives of high tech firm in action brought to enforce their restrictive covenants, enabling them to form a successful competing technology consulting business that went public less than two years later.
- Settled on favorable terms a non-compete/trade secret action brought against several marketing and recruiting executives of software consulting firm, enabling them to form successful West Coast division of what subsequently became a nationally recognized technology firm.
- Obtained preliminary injunction enforcing non-compete covenants against former employee, preventing him from competing within prohibited geographic area for the full-term of his employment contract with service company.
- Obtained dismissal, with prejudice, via preliminary objections of eight-count complaint of former corporate executive who claimed that he had been promised a five-percent equity stake in industrial company years earlier that he now valued at more than $5 million. The trial court ruling was affirmed on appeal.
- Successfully defended technology client in federal court on West Coast against claims asserted by former executive who asserted entitlement to 25 percent of the company’s equity and more than $500,000 in salary and bonus payments.
- Settled on favorable terms a multi-million claim brought by the IRS against the former CEO of a publicly-held company accused of defrauding the government in connection with the tax treatment of the sale of his company shares in a leveraged buy-out.
- Obtained dismissal of breach of fiduciary duty and related claims on behalf of shareholder of closely-held health care entity, thereby avoiding a million dollar lawsuit brought by dissident shareholder who had claimed that he was wrongfully terminated and deprived of his equity interest in the company.
- Following an evidentiary hearing, successfully defended corporation in shareholder appraisal rights lawsuit challenging buy-out price for their publicly-held shares. The court found that in going private, the price that the company had offered to its dissenting shareholders constituted fair value under the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law.
- Obtained dismissal of claims brought against individual corporate directors of publicly-held corporation who were accused of trading upon inside information in violation of the federal securities laws and related state law provisions.
- Obtained dismissal of claims brought against C&G’s individual corporate director clients who were resident in Pennsylvania, on the grounds that they were not subject to personal jurisdiction in California based upon minimum contacts test. Roger B. Abbott v. Bernard Ebbers, 2004 WL 187419 (Cal. Ct. App. 1d. Jan. 30, 2004).
- Prevailed on appeal in appellate litigation, overturning trial court’s ruling that C&G’s individual corporate director client, resident in Pennsylvania, was subject to personal jurisdiction in California. Terry A. Serafini v. Syed Khadir, 68 Cal. App. 4th 70 (3d. Nov. 30, 1998).
- Following a bench trial, obtained judgment in favor of banking client in action based upon individual defendants’ personal guaranty of their corporation’s installment payment obligations under promissory note. Property Acceptance Corp. v. Merton Zitin, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59651 (E.D. Pa. 2007).
- Successfully represented bank in federal lawsuit brought to obtain payment for participation interest in syndicated real estate loan that it claimed its joint venture banking partner had mismanaged.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of banking client in class action alleging the wrongful imposition of improper interest charges and related banking fees. Mark B. Aronson and Shilesh Chaturvedi v. Capital One Financial Corp., 125 F. Supp. 2d 142 (W.D. Pa. 2000).
Intellectual Property Litigation
- Settled patent infringement action brought in the Southwest on favorable terms, forcing infringing party to recognize the validity of corporate client’s patent (which it had sought to have declared invalid through a preemptive declaratory judgment claim) and pay royalties for acts of infringement.
- Following evidentiary hearing, defeated preliminary injunction motion brought against corporate client for false advertising and related claims asserted under the federal Lanham Act. Derby Industries, Inc. v. Chestnut Ridge Foam, Inc., 202 F. Supp. 2d 818 (N.D. Ind. 2002).
- Successfully represented numerous corporations in connection with copyright infringement claims threatened by the Business Software Alliance for wrongful use of unlicensed software, enabling them to avoid onerous fines and other penalties that could have crippled their businesses.
- Settled trademark infringement claim brought against fledgling corporate client on West Coast for nuisance value, enabling the company to avert years of expensive litigation that it could not afford.
- Settled on favorable terms a breach of warranty/products liability lawsuit brought by home owners’ association and related parties involving a nearly 100-unit condominium building on West Coast, concluding more than five years of contentious litigation.
- Successfully defended lawsuit brought against client for breach of warranty and related claims involving the provision of certain products used in the construction of various condominium properties on the West Coast.
- Settled for nuisance value a products liability lawsuit brought on the East Coast alleging that C&G’s client provided defective products used in constructing ocean-front condominium building.
- Obtained civil judgment for nearly $1 million against former controller of manufacturing client who had stolen corporate funds to finance lavish personal lifestyle. Controller was subsequently convicted of federal criminal charges and sentenced to several years in prison.
- Obtained dismissal of claims asserted against health care client for alleged wrongful termination of employee benefits under ERISA.
- Settled on favorable terms numerous lawsuits brought against software consultants who joined end-user clients or other third parties in violation of the commitments that they had made to their employers under their written employment agreements.
Throughout his career with Cohen & Grigsby, Bob has served on the Firm’s Management Committee and has chaired its Professionalism and Ethics Committee. He also presently serves on the Firm’s Evaluation and Promotion Panel as well as its Hiring Committee and Shareholders Council. He served as Chair of the Litigation Group from 2002 through 2007.
Bob is an active speaker and author on various legal issues and has been frequently quoted in both the national and local media on topics ranging from employment matters to the laws of competition.
Bob is also a certified Federal Court mediator.
- “AV” rated attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, a certification that signifies his peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence
- Selected to the Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list
- Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America
- “Legal Ethics: Top Challenges,” NBI Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, December 2014
- “Corporate Espionage in the Electronic Age: Effective Strategies for Drafting and Detecting Theft of Competitive Intelligence,” Pittsburgh, PA, November 2010
- “Injunctive Relief in State and Federal Courts in Pennsylvania,” PBI Litigation Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, May 2010
- “Rules and Procedures for Federal Court Success,” NBI Litigation Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, March 2010
- “Life Cycle of a Freeze-Out Merger,” Pittsburgh, PA, February 2010
- “Interpreting ERISA,” NBI Human Resources: Advanced Issues and Answers Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, August 2009
- “Building an Ethical Foundation,” NBI Human Resources Law Update, Pittsburgh, PA, September 2008
- “Anatomy of a Lawsuit,” Attorney/Accountant Continuing Education Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA, January 2007
- “Avoiding Data Destruction Disasters – How Failing to Manage Your Electronic Records Could Cost You Your Next Case,” Pittsburgh, PA, November 2006
- “Enforcing Your Company’s Non-Compete Agreements and Protecting Its Trade Secrets,” Pittsburgh, PA, November 2004
- “Non-Compete Agreements,” American Health Lawyers Association, Physicians and Physician Organizations Law Institute, Hollywood, FL, February 2004