P: (818) 205-9955 F: (818) 205-9944 E:

ROBERT M. FREEDMAN is a Partner with Tharpe & Howell, LLP, where he has been since starting his legal career 26 years ago. He specializes in litigation and business transactions.

  • Residential, Commercial and Public Works Construction Litigation: Arising out of property damage and economic losses due to design and construction defects; construction delays; property sales and lease transactions; as well as property maintenance, repairs and management. Issues include soils, environmental, building envelope, water intrusion, planning, engineering, ADA, and inverse condemnation.   Represented property owners, building product manufacturers, design professionals, HOAs, developers, general contractors, subcontractors, municipalities.
  • Property Damage, Personal Injury, and Wrongful Death Matters: Arising out of products and professional services; structural failures and collapse; losses related to soil movement, flooding, earthquakes, fires and landslides; trucking and transportation; construction site injuries and OSHA violations; mass-tort; premises and habitational liability; and medical care and products.
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation: Arising out of first and third party liability claims;  property and builders risk policies; workers’ compensation; professional and management liability policies; EPLI coverage; insurer indemnity, contribution, subrogation, intervention, and additional insured matters; surety bonds; insurance agency E&O and failure to procure claims;  and business interruption.
  • Business Litigation: Business entity and partnership disputes; product development, manufacturing and distribution agreements; employment, labor, and workers’ compensation matters; intellectual property such as business transactions, unfair competition, trade secrets, cyber security and computer software, copyrights and trademarks; and class actions and private attorney general matters.
  • Transactions: Personal and outside general counsel related to business entity formation and finance;  risk management; licensing and manufacturing agreements; employment and workers’ compensation issues; contracts for products and services including licensing, buy-sell, shareholder agreements, partnership and joint venture agreements, confidentiality and non-competition agreements; copyrights and trademarks transactions;  asset sales and mergers; internet sales and affiliate relationships; and real estate and construction contracts.

Notable Cases:

  • Fergosi Paint Company Fire: Represented insurance company in major subrogation action arising out of paint factory fire which burned down adjoining apartment buildings and shut down a significant portion of the city and freeway in San Francisco. Obtained full recovery of money spent to replace neighboring properties.
  • Northridge Meadows Building Collapse: Defended owner and property manager of an approximately 250 unit, three-story apartment complex that collapsed during an earthquake. Lawsuit involved a panel of elite plaintiffs’ lawyers who filed sixteen wrongful death actions and numerous consolidated personal injury lawsuits.
  • Historic Sweets Nightclub Shooting: Defended owner and property manager of well-known event venue in Oakland in premises liability lawsuit including claims of inadequate security, filed by victims of a mass shooting. Numerous college students were shot at random by an unidentified shooter during a Halloween Party called “Freight Fest.”
  • Deltopia Balcony Collapse: Defended property manager against numerous personal injury lawsuits arising out of the collapse of a second story deck of an apartment building in Isla Vista, CA. The collapse occurred while the deck was being used for a party during “Deltopia,” an annual Spring break event at UC Santa Barbara.
  • Shorecliffs Landslide: Defended a large San Clemente homeowners’ association against multiple lawsuits for property damages arising out of landslides that destroyed ocean-view, single family homes. Resolution included repair/replacement of properties and the ten year rebuilding of a canyon paid for by the City of San Clemente and revenues from newly constructed properties.

Legal Experience and Education: 1989 to Present – Partner with Tharpe & Howell, LLP.   Bachelor of Science from Golden West University in 1978.  Juris Doctor Degree in 1980 from Golden West University. National awards in Corporations and Civil Procedure.  Certified Litigation Management Professional (CLMP).  Certified Mediator with Strauss Institute at Pepperdine University.

Business Experience: 1977 to 1987 – President of Austin Merle Company, Inc., nationwide wholesale distributor of consumer products; experienced in design, manufacturing, importing, warehousing and distribution, and marketing of consumer products.

Professional Interests: Writer and speaker on various topics including risk transfer, alternative dispute resolution, social media evidence, insurance coverage, contracts, litigation management, and analytical case evaluations. Co-Chair of CLM ADR Committee and member of the American Bar Association.

Bar Admissions

State Bar of California
Washington State Bar

Court Admissions

All California State Courts

All Washington State Courts

U.S. Court of Appeals - Ninth Circuit

U.S. District Court - Central District of California

U.S. District Court - Northern District of California

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