Overview

Robert J. Kaler is a national trial and appellate lawyer handling complex commercial litigation, including business, financial, securities, trade secret, intellectual property, technology systems, healthcare, medical devices, fraud, unfair competition, commercial contract, real estate, and major project engineering and construction cases, both national and international. He is ranked in Best Lawyers in America and other prominent legal reviews, including the 2019 Chambers USA – America's Leading Lawyers for Business, which reports that he handles "a variety of commercial disputes, class actions, and IP litigations on behalf of major corporations," is active in "both trial and appellate courts," and is considered "an incredibly smart lawyer." He was named one of the "Top Ten Lawyers" of 2003 by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, is a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, and is a member of the Diversity Law Institute, which seeks to advance the interests of women and minorities in the legal profession and the justice system.

Mr. Kaler has served as lead counsel for public companies, major banks and financial institutions, government authorities and agencies, and private organizations and individuals in numerous high stakes jury and bench trials, arbitrations and injunction proceedings throughout the United States.  In recent years, he successfully represented a leading healthcare organization in federal court litigation in Virginia over the failure of its new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system; obtained federal court injunctions in Massachusetts requiring the operator of a client's 1,200-mile fiber optic telecom network to continue to perform its contract during the pendency of a dispute; successfully defended a medical device manufacturer against $150 million class action securities fraud claims; and defended a major finance leasing company against $55 million fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims, ultimately obtaining a jury verdict exonerating the company.

Mr. Kaler and his trial teams have also resolved many cases short of trial, which is often the client's goal, through early and effective investigation of the facts, including advanced electronic discovery, innovative settlement initiatives and strategic pretrial motions practice. These efforts are greatly facilitated by the firm's substantial presence in major business and financial centers throughout the country, and its coordinated national litigation practice, which includes industry specific knowledge in a wide range of areas, and experience in handling local, national and international cases at all administrative and appellate levels, as well as in the state and federal trial courts.

In this regard, Mr. Kaler has extensive appellate as well as trial experience, having represented clients in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Third and Fourth Circuits, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the New York State Appellate Division, among others. Examples of significant cases in which he has acted as lead appellate counsel include: Axia NetMedia Corp. v. Mass. Tech. Park Corp., 889 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2018); G4S Technology v. Mass. Tech. Park Corp., 479 Mass. 721(Mass. Supreme Judicial Ct. 2018); Cascade Yarns v. Knitting Fever, Inc., 755 F.3d 55 (1st Cir. 2014); In re Boston Scientific Securities Litigation, 686 F.3d 21 (1st Cir. 2012); Idnani v. Mehrotra and Venus Capital Man., Inc., 76 Mass. App. 1125 (2010); Nisselson, Trustee of Dictaphone Litigation Trust v. Jo Lernout, et al., 469 F.3d 143 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 550 U.S. 918 (2007); Robinson Laboratories, Inc. v. Herley Industries, Inc., 86 Fed. Appx. 459 (2nd Cir. 2003); Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Inst. v. Saks Fifth Avenue, 284 F. 3d 302(1st Cir.), cert den. 537 U.S. 1001 (2002); Ceska Sporitelna, a.s. v. Unisys Corporation, 116 F.3d 467 (3rd Cir.), cert den. 522 U.S. 1069; Chesapeake Paper Products Co. v. Stone & Webster Engineering Corp., 51 F.3d 1229 (4th Cir.); The pH Group, Ltd. v. David Birch and Cognetics, Inc., 985 F.2d 649 (1st Cir.); CCIA v. Associated Dry Goods Corporation., 799 F.2d 6 (1st Cir.); Idnani, et al., v. Mehrotra and Venus Capital Management, Inc., et al., 76 Mass. App. Ct. 1125, 924 N.E.2d 781 (2010); Tamerlane v. Warwick Insurance Co., 412 Mass. 486, 590 N.E.2d 191.

Mr. Kaler has represented clients in a wide range of industries, including but not limited to financial services and banking, information technology, telecommunications, engineering and construction, healthcare and medical devices, microbiological products, manufacturing, retail sales, real estate, hospitality and international trade. More detailed descriptions of illustrative cases in which he has acted as counsel are listed under the Experience section above.  He also spends a significant amount of time each year on pro bono work, most recently advising on and representing disabled applicants for Social Security disability benefits, both administratively and in U.S. District Court.

Experience

  • Lead Trial Counsel for U.S.-Based Biomedical Research Organization in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems Litigation
    Represented leading U.S.-based biomedical research organization, specializing in the acquisition, manufacture, storage, and distribution of standard reference microorganisms and tissue types, in large-scale investigation and subsequent U.S. District Court litigation over the failure of its new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Directed nationwide investigation and analysis of ERP system technical and performance issues and impact of same on client's international distribution system; conducted comprehensive fact and expert witness examinations; commenced Federal Court action to recover losses arising out of ERP system failures; and served as lead counsel in the extensive pretrial and trial court proceedings that followed. Case resolved on eve of trial. (2017-2018).
  • Intellectual Property/Information Technology Trade Secrets Litigation
    Successfully defended an application software development company in a $20 million-plus breach of contract, unfair trade practices, tortious interference, and trade secret misappropriation case arising out of a worldwide product line purchase and distribution agreement for sophisticated Geospatial data processing software. Obtained summary judgment in favor of the client ruling that the client did not breach the agreement, and that the agreement had been wrongfully terminated by the plaintiff, resulting in a dismissal and settlement of the case. See Netezza Corporation v. Intelligent Integration Systems, Inc., C.A. No. 09-4961-BLS1 (Mass. Sup. Ct. 2010 Business Litigation Section).
  • Lead Trial and Appellate Counsel for Fiber Optic Telecommunications Network in Engineering and Commercial Contract Matters
    Defended major telecommunications network, both in the trial court and on appeal, against large-scale breach of contract claims by the design-builder of its 1,200-mile fiber optic broadband cable system. See G4S Technology, LLC v. Massachusetts Technology Park Corporation, 33 Mass. L. Rep. 301 (2016), 34 Mass. L. Rep. 142 (2017); 479 Mass. 721, 99 N.E.3d 728 (2018) Also served as trial and appellate counsel for Network Owner in obtaining state and federal court injunctions requiring the Operator of the Network, and its foreign parent company, to perform their contractual obligations with respect to the continued operation of the Network after they defaulted on same, and successfully defended federal court injunction on appeal. See Axia NetMedia Corporation v. Mass. Tech. Park Corp., 252 F.Supp.3d 52 (D. Mass. 2017), aff'd, 889 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 2018).
  • Defense of NYSE Company Against $150 Million Securities Fraud Class Action and Appeal
    Defended NYSE-listed medical device company against securities fraud claims under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rule 10b-5, obtained a final judgment in the U.S. District Court dismissing those claims, and successfully defended against the plaintiffs' appeal of that judgment in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. See In Re Boston Scientific Securities Litigation, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106042, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. (CCH) P96545 (D. Mass. 2011), affirmed, 686 F.3d 21 (1st Cir. 2012).
  • U.S. District Court Jury Trial of $52 Million Fraud Claim Against International Equipment Financing Company
    Defended a large international equipment finance leasing company in a multimillion-dollar federal court jury trial involving claims of breach of contract, fraudulent and negligent inducement, secured transaction issues under the Uniform Commercial Code, and alleged breach of fiduciary duty. Obtained jury verdict in favor of the client and an award of $2.8 million in litigation costs after four years of litigation and a three-week jury trial. See CSI Leasing, Inc. v. Lycos, Inc., C.A. No. 05-10017-RWZ (D. Mass.).
  • State Court Jury Trial of $28 Million Engineering and Design Defect Claims for Public Convention Center Owner
    Represented the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority in its multi-year litigation against the joint venture of architectural and engineering firms that designed the new 1.7 Million-square-foot Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. Client recovered $24 Million in damages to correct design deficiencies in roof drainage, waterproofing, roadway, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems after five weeks of jury trial. See Massachusetts Convention Center Authority v. HNTB Corporation, et al., C.A. No. 04-4335 BLS (Mass.).
  • U.S. District Court Jury Trial of $55 Million Technology Failure Claim Against Two Major Engineering Firms
    Successfully defended two multinational corporations against $55 Million fraud and breach of contract claims in a federal court jury trial arising out of international agreements for the transfer of chemical reprocessing technology used in the design and construction of a large chemical plant in Gujarat, India. Obtained jury verdict exonerating the clients and recovering licensing fees owed to them. See Mistry Prabhudas Manji Engineering Put. Ltd. v. Raytheon Engineers & Constructors, et al., 213 F. Supp. 2d 20 (D. Mass.).
  • International Litigation of $104 Million Information Technology Systems Claim
    Represented a $10 billion European bank in a successfully resolved three-year federal court litigation against its computer systems provider, including extensive international discovery, trial court proceedings, and appellate proceedings in the U.S. Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. See, e.g., Ceska Sporitelna, a.s. v. Unisys Corporation, C.A. No. 96-4152, 1996 US Dist. LEXIS 15435 (E.D. Pa.), affirmed, 116 F.3d 467 (3rd Cir. 1997), cert den., 522 U.S. 1069 (1998).
  • Defense of Nationwide Insurance and Securities Companies in State Court Fraud Action
    Successfully defended national securities brokerage and insurance companies against multimillion-dollar fraud and negligence claims arising out of the former agency's administration of an employee retirement plan and allegedly negligent tax advice in connection with the sale of annuities. See Hatziiliades v. Marino, Nationwide Life Insurance Company, et al., C.A. No. 2010-CV-1849 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2013).
  • U.S. District Court Jury Trial in Massachusetts on $30 Million Fraud and Unfair Trade Practices Claims
    Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a U.S. computer software company and its president in a four-year complex litigation, culminating in a three-week jury trial in the U.S. District Court and a subsequent appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, during which $30 million fraud and breach of contract claims against both clients were dismissed. See The pH Group, Ltd. v. David Birch and Cognetics, Inc., 985 F.2d 649 (1st Cir.).
  • U.S. District Court Jury Trial in New York Regarding the Sale of a $10 Million Electronics Business
    Represented a U.S. electronics firm and its president in a month-long New York Federal Court jury trial on multimillion dollar claims of fraud, unfair competition and breach of contract claims arising out of the sale of an electronics manufacturing business, and the breach of related commercial agreements. Jury awarded the individual client approximately $2 million in damages. See Robinson Laboratories, Inc.et al. v. Herley Industries, Inc., 86 Fed. Appx. 459 (2nd Cir.).
  • Defense of Medical Products Company in Trademark Infringement Action in U.S. District Court 
    Massachusetts counsel in successful defense of medical products company against federal trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition claims seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief and damages in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Massachusetts. See Solmetex LLC v. DentalEZ, Inc., Ramvac Dental Products, Inc., Apavia, LLC, 150 F. Supp. 3d 100 (D. Mass. 2015).
  • Defense of NYSE Life Sciences Company Against Product Liability Claims Relating to FDA-Approved Medical Device
    Successfully defended a medical device manufacturer against product liability claims in New Hampshire state court relating to Class III medical device, and obtained with prejudice dismissal of all claims on federal preemption grounds. See Daviduk v. Edwards Lifesciences (U.S.) Inc., Dkt. No. 218-2015-CV-01263 (N.H. Sup. Ct. 2016).
  • Real Estate and Environmental Litigation on Behalf of Healthcare Provider
    Successfully defended commercial tenant healthcare provider against disputed claims that it breached its lease, violated the Massachusetts Oil and Hazardous Release Prevention Act (M.G.L. c. 21E), and negligently contaminated the leased premises with hazardous materials. Case involved disputed claims that the healthcare provider was liable for the cost of an environmental cleanup under principles of subrogation. See Steadfast Insurance Co. v. The Forsythe Institute, Inc., C.A. No. 13-12169-GAO, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 141061 (D. Mass. 2014).
  • Representation of Publicly Traded Hotel Owner in Major Engineering/Construction Deficiency Case 
    Successfully represented a New York Stock Exchange-listed real estate investment trust (REIT), in a multi-million dollar engineering and construction litigation seeking to recover the client's long-term costs to repair and remediate structural portions of one of its major hotel properties in Boston. Case was settled on the eve of trial after extensive pretrial fact discovery, pretrial motions practice, expert witness examinations on complex engineering and damages issues. See DiamondRock Hospitality Limited Partnership, et al. v. Suffolk Construction, et al., C.A. No. 12-0307-BLS1 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2014).
  • Defense of U.S. District Court Shareholder Derivative Action Against Public Company Directors
    Defended the board of directors of Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) in a shareholder derivative action filed against them in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts alleging that they breached their fiduciary duties in connection with their direction and management of the company's securities filings, financial reporting, ethics compliance, and product distribution and quality control systems. Obtained final judgment dismissing all claims against all clients with prejudice after a year of litigation. See Barrington et al. v. Abele, et al, C.A. No. 1:10-cv-11054-NMG (U.S. Dist. Ct. Mass. 2010).
  • Defense of Massachusetts State Court Shareholder Derivative Actions Against Public Company Directors
    Successfully defended the board of directors and senior officers of a large publicly traded corporation against consolidated shareholder derivative actions alleging breaches of fiduciary duty in connection with allegations raised in a federal qui tam whistleblower action against the corporation. Obtained final judgment in favor of the clients dismissing all claims against them with prejudice. See Drummond, et al. v. Tobin, et al., Kurtz, et al. v. Tobin, et al., Lin, et al. v. Tobin, et al., 28 Mass. L. Rep. 77, 2010 Mass. Super. LEXIS 345 (December 16, 2010).
  • Defense of Large Commercial Bank on UCC/Secured Transaction Claims
    Successfully defended a large commercial bank against breach of contract, fraud and unfair trade practices claims brought by the disappointed purchaser of assets in a secured party sale of machinery and intellectual property under the UCC that had been invalidated by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. See RP Machine Enterprises, Inc. v. UPS Capital Business Credit, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63823 (D. Mass. 2007).
  • Defense of $100 Million European Investment Fund Against U.S. District Court Securities Fraud Claims
    Defended a European investment fund against class action securities fraud claims brought in U.S. federal court pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, § 10 (b) and SEC Rule 10b-5 arising out of the collapse of a multinational language recognition software company. See In re Lernout & Hauspie Securities Litigation, 236 F. Supp. 2d 161 (D. Mass. 2003).
  • Litigation and Arbitration of Participation Rights in a $200 Million Hedge Fund
    Represented the founding investors of an international hedge fund in a successful U.S. arbitration seeking to enforce their rights under a Subscription Agreement entitling them to share in the annual management and performance fees generated by the fund, and granting them preemptive rights of participation in related hedge fund management operations. See Idnani, et al., v. Mehrotra and Venus Capital Management, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 08-0301 - BLS 1 (Mass. 2007), affirmed, 76 Mass. App. Ct. 1125 (2010).
  • Massachusetts State Court Jury Trial on Real Estate Transaction
    Lead trial counsel in a Massachusetts Superior Court jury trial relating to the disputed exercise of option rights to a large parcel of commercial real estate in Western Massachusetts. See Polaris Development Company v. Ragsdale, C.A. No. 99-2000c (Mass. Sup. Ct. 2000).
  • False Advertising/Unfair Competition Litigation for International Trade Group
    Represented an international trade group and U.S. manufacturer in their successful appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit on the issue of the requirements for asserting false advertising and unfair competition claims under the federal false advertising statute, 15 U.S.C.§ 1125, et seq., and related state laws. See Cashmere and Camel Hair Manufacturers Institute et al., v. Saks Fifth Avenue, et.al., 284 F.3d 302 (1st Cir. 2002).
  • Lanham Trademark Act Litigation for National Trade Association
    Obtained preliminary and permanent injunctive relief on behalf of a national trade association against the continued marketing of mislabeled goods. Case established the standing of the trade association to seek and obtain injunctive relief under the federal Lanham Trademark Act, and clarified the requirements for obtaining such relief. See Camel Hair and Cashmere Institute of America v. Associated Dry Goods Corporation, et al., 799 F.2d 6 (1st Cir. 1986).
  • Defense of U.S. District Court Shareholder Derivative Actions in Massachusetts and Delaware
    Defense of the board of directors and senior officers of a public company against shareholder derivative actions in the federal and state courts of Delaware and Massachusetts, asserting claims of breach of fiduciary duty, corporate waste, unjust enrichment, and alleged mismanagement in connection with the company's product distribution and sales activities, and its efforts to comply with federal securities laws. See Iron Workers District Council, et al. v. Elliott, et al., C.A. No. 1:10-cv-00699-SLR (U.S. Dist. Ct. Delaware 2010); Israni v. Elliott, et al., C.A. No 10-4024 (Mass. Sup. Ct. 2010).
  • Massachusetts State Court Jury Trial for Boston Real Estate Developer on Fraudulent Conveyance Claims
    Won a jury verdict in favor of a Boston real estate developer in a state court jury trial on fraudulent conveyance and common law contribution claims arising out of the operation of a commercial building complex in Boston. The defendant's fraudulent conveyances of assets were set aside and the client was awarded damages. Bloom v. Wolfe, et al., C.A. No 92-0472-D (Mass. Sup. Ct.).
  • Appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Insurance Industry Issue
    Lead appellate counsel for a casualty insurance company in a successful appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court which altered the Massachusetts rule applicable to the computation of time in insurance policy cancellation cases, but held that the change would not be applied retroactively against the client insurance company for the reasons argued on appeal. See Tamerlane v. Warwick Insurance Company, 412 Mass. 486, 590 N.E.2d 191 (1992).
  • Defense of Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) Claims
    Defended breach of fiduciary duty and related failure to investigate claims under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) against a corporate director in connection with alleged losses resulting from the company plan's $46 million investment in preferred stock of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). Diana D. Merriam, et al. v. DSM, Inc., et al., C.A. No. 1:11-cv-10577 (D. Mass.).
  • Representation of Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in U.S. District Court Litigation
    Successfully defended the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in a federal court action brought against it by an air transport company seeking to enjoin the bank's operation of the Federal Reserve's nationwide check transportation system and challenging the bank's procurement procedures for that system. See Corporate Air, Inc. v. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, C.A. No. 91-30275-Z, 1994 US Dist. LEXIS 13757 (D. Mass. 1994).
  • New York State Supreme Court Jury Trial for Fortune 500 Company
    Defended a Fortune 500 company in a two-month jury trial in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan involving fraud, breach of contract, and unfair trade practices claims arising out of the multimillion dollar sale of a computerized graphics and information technology business. See, e.g., Volt Systems Development Corp. v. Raytheon Company, 155 A.D.2d 309, 547 N.Y.S.2d 280.
  • Defense of Large Commercial Bank in Securities Registration Case
    Represented a large commercial bank in a securities action brought against that bank and a number of other defendants in connection with the alleged sale of unregistered securities in violation of federal and state securities laws. See Levi C. Adams, et al. v. Hyannis Harborview, Inc., et al., 838 F.Supp. 676 (D. Mass. 1993).
  • Defense of Major Surety Company in U.S. District Court Payment Bond Litigation
    Defended a major surety company in a federal court action seeking to compel it to pay out on a surety payment bond. Court granted the client's motion to stay federal court action and compel arbitration in accordance with the underlying contract. See Thomas O'Connor & Company, Inc. v. Insurance Company of North America, 697 F.Supp. 563 (D. Mass. 1988).
  • Litigation of $50 Million Government Contract Bid Protest Proceeding 
    Represented the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, instrumentalities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in bid protest proceedings challenging their award of a $50 million contract for the statewide expansion of fiber optic networks. Obtained a favorable decision dismissing the bid protest and affirming that the award of the contract complied with the Massachusetts Design-Build Statute. Maverick Constr. v MA Broadband Institute/MA Technology Collaborative, Bid Protest No. RFP 2011-MBI-08. (2011).
  • Defense of Company Director Against Shareholder Claims of Breach of Fiduciary Duty
    Obtained dismissal of shareholders' claims for declaratory relief, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of contract against a director and officer of a large private corporation arising out of a dispute concerning the implementation of stock transfer and right of first offer restrictions in the corporation's articles of organization. See Merriam v. DeMoulas, et al., C.A. No. 10-02681 (Mass. Sup. Ct 2010).
  • Appellate Securities Litigation for Overseas Investment Fund
    Served as appellate counsel for an overseas investment fund defending against securities fraud claims brought by the bankruptcy trustee of a defunct corporation. Obtained dismissal of all claims against the client. See Alan Nisselson, Trustee of Dictaphone Litigation Trust v. Jo Lernout, et al., 469 F.3d 143 (1st Cir. 2006), cert. denied, 550 U.S. 918 (2007), on remand, 568 F. Supp. 2d 137 (D. Mass. 2008).
  • Mediation and Settlement of International Contract Dispute for U.S. Electronics Company
    Represented a U.S. electronics company in pursuing breach of contract and related tort claims against a foreign company with which it had entered into an exclusive international marketing and distribution agreement governing the sale of complex audio sensor equipment. The claims were settled for a substantial payment to the client after a series of negotiation and mediation sessions in London.
  • Defense of $10 Million Structural Defect Claim
    Lead trial counsel for a U.S. construction company in a two-year arbitration (52 days of hearings) arising out of alleged structural failures in a major condominium complex. Successfully defended the client against a $10 million claim brought against it by the condominium developers, and obtained an award of over $400,000 in favor of the client.

Credentials

Education
  • American University, J.D.
  • Dartmouth College, B.A.
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • District of Columbia
  • Massachusetts
  • New York
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • 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 District of Columbia Circuit
Memberships
  • American Bar Association (ABA) 
  • Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA) 
  • Boston Bar Association (BBA)
  • District of Columbia Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association (NYSBA)
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) 
  • International Bar Association (IBA) 
  • Diversity Law Institute (DLI)
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA — America's Leading Business Lawyers guide, Leaders in their Field - Litigation: General Commercial, 2010-2019
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Construction Law, 2008-2019; Commercial Litigation, 2018, 2019 
  • Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2012-2018
  • Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, Top Ten Lawyers of 2003
  • Litigation Counsel of America, Fellow
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow

Publications

News