HOWARD J. RUBINROIT is a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office, having merged his firm with Sidley in April 1987. Upon graduation from law school, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Nathan Jacobs of the New Jersey Supreme Court from 1969 to 1970.
Mr. Rubinroit is an experienced litigator, who has tried, among others, numerous complex business, contract, partnership, and real estate disputes in federal and state courts in several jurisdictions, and before arbitration tribunals. He has represented several different foreign interests and United States subsidiaries or affiliates of foreign interests, including United States subsidiaries of Japanese companies. His cases include the following:
World Market Center Arbitration
In 2009, Mr. Rubinroit co-chaired a Sidley trial team that won an international arbitration which the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal named as one of California’s top five awards in its listing of “Top Plaintiff Verdicts of 2009.” The case was tried on behalf of the lead investors in the billion dollar-plus World Market Center, a large showroom and trade show complex in Las Vegas. After a 26 day arbitration hearing, a unanimous three-member panel issued an award that restored the investors’ interests in the project (which the investors valued at approximately $100 million in 2006), ordered over $22 million dollars of monetary relief, and imposed sanctions of several hundred thousand dollars for spoliation of evidence and obstruction of discovery. In that hearing, Sidley was opposed by four significant law firms, including the heads of three national litigation practices.
He headed a team of lawyers from our Los Angeles and New York offices which, after a three week trial in the Southern District of New York, recovered a jury verdict and judgment of approximately $33 million in compensatory damages and $92.6 million in punitive damages in a business dispute involving breaches of fiduciary duty and fraud. The American Lawyer featured the victory in the “Big Suits” section of its August 2006 issue. The judgment was vacated, reversed in part, and remanded by the Second Circuit for further trial.
Equity Office Silicon Valley Lease Dispute
This case involved an unsuccessful attempt by a tenant of our client, Equity Office Properties, to rescind an approximately $200 million lease in the Silicon Valley. The judgment in favor of Equity Office was affirmed unanimously by the California Court of Appeal.
Mr. Rubinroit has represented Equity Office Properties in several other major disputes, including a lawsuit by a major Los Angeles developer concerning a proposed project in the Media Center in Burbank; a lawsuit by the major tenant in a downtown high-rise concerning rent escalation and common area charges; a dispute respecting claimed easements threatening the development of a large office building in Silicon Valley; and a dispute where the tenant of a building to be developed in San Francisco ultimately paid approximately $85 million to obtain cancellation of its lease.
This matter involved three related cases filed in the federal courts in Virginia and Washington, D.C., the purpose of which was to oust the general partner in four separate partnerships, each owning large hotels, and replacing him with general partners controlled by the Firm’s client. The cases were resolved after significant and contentious court proceedings, including a trial to judgment, as a result of which the former general partner’s interests were either eliminated or substantially reduced, and our clients were able to assume control.
Marina Del Rey Litigation
This matter involved litigation in the Los Angeles Superior Court and in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, to replace the managing general partner in two partnerships controlling 10 significant properties (three hotels, two retail centers, a mixed-use property, two apartment complexes, and multiple piers and marinas) in favor of general partners controlled by our clients, and to reorganize those partnerships in the Bankruptcy Court. After a 10 day trial, the Bankruptcy Court confirmed the Plan of Reorganization proposed by Sidley’s clients over two competing plans.
Colorado Soils Litigation
Mr. Rubinroit successfully represented Colorado’s largest home builder in five class actions brought in various Colorado state courts respecting alleged damage to thousands of homes built on expansive soils. The Firm’s client was able to resolve the matter by implementing an innovative warranty program designed by the Firm, which was totally funded by insurance proceeds.
Monterey Hills Development Litigation
He represented one of the two principal defendants in approximately 12 consolidated cases and related insurance coverage litigation in the Los Angeles Superior Court involving construction defects affecting some 1800 condominium units in the Monterey Hills Redevelopment Project. Despite having strict liability exposure, as a result of cross-claims and the insurance litigation, the Firm’s client ultimately obtained approximately 15% of the total $63 million settlement fund, plus all of its costs and attorneys fees.
Shopping Center Construction Litigation
Mr. Rubinroit has long represented major developers of shopping centers—including May Center, Inc., Simon Properties, and Macerich—in disputes concerning entitlements and construction defects.
Land Use Litigation
He has both counseled and brought or defended litigation on behalf of several large developers concerning various land use issues, including actions under CEQA.
Accounting, Law Firm and other Professional Negligence Matters
Mr. Rubinroit has represented major accounting and law firms in several significant malpractice matters over a number of years.
In the financial arena, Mr. Rubinroit has represented numerous banks and other institutional lenders, as well as borrowers, in cases involving loan defaults, loan restructurings, loan syndications, letters of credit, bad faith claims and bankruptcy reorganizations, often entailing difficult issues of property valuations.
Mr. Rubinroit’s professional affiliations and undertakings have included board memberships in the Beverly Hills Bar Association, committee positions with sections of the Los Angeles Bar Association and acting as an appointed referee in the resolution of disputes.