Robert S. Stern

Robert S. Stern

Senior Counsel

Los Angeles, (213) 892-5484

Education

University of Illinois (B.S., 1972)
University of Chicago Law School (J.D., 1975)

Bar Admissions

California

Clerkships

Hon. John Minor Wisdom, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit (1975-1976)

Bob Stern's practice has long focused on the defense of financial services litigation, primarily in the banking, securities, and accounting sectors.

In the area of banking litigation, Mr. Stern regularly represents banks in such matters, for example, in an antitrust action challenging the setting of interchange fees by the country’s largest ATM network, consumer class actions challenging various credit card practices and fees, and major contract disputes involving credit card processing. He also has represented numerous companies and their directors and officers in the defense of shareholders' class actions and SEC investigations involving accounting and financial disclosure issues. His clients further include national accounting firms on audit and tax malpractice issues, and in connection with regulatory and other concerns.

Mr. Stern recently concluded a three-year term as a Central District of California lawyer representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference. He is a recommended antitrust attorney by Legal 500 US. He also has been repeatedly recognized by Super Lawyers as a leading lawyer in the areas of business litigation, securities litigation, and professional liability defense. He has lectured and written on a variety of auditing and related litigation topics, and has twice been a panelist for the annual Accountants' Liability Program sponsored by the Practicing Law Institute.

Equally dedicated to community service organizations, Mr. Stern has held leadership roles in such organizations as the Jewish Federation Council's Community Relations Committee and the Constitutional Rights Foundation, where he concluded a term as Chair of the Board of Directors in December 2015. Mr. Stern also has played active roles in a number of civil rights actions, currently on behalf of a class of disabled students seeking equal educational opportunities in a local school district.

Mr. Stern has passed the CPA exam and, before becoming a lawyer, worked for both public and private accounting firms in the areas of auditing and tax services.  He clerked for the Honorable John Minor Wisdom of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and then held a management position in the Carter-Mondale Presidential Campaign in 1976.

In 1972, he graduated with high honors from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in accountancy, was elected to membership in Beta Gamma Sigma (the business college analogue to Phi Beta Kappa), and was named Outstanding Senior in the College of Commerce. In 1975, he graduated from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served on the Managing Board of The Law Review.

Sam Doe, et al. v. Pasadena Unified School District, et al.
(C.D. Cal.)   On behalf of class of students with behavior-related disabilities, prosecuting complaint seeking behavioral support services in neighborhood schools, as alternative to current policy of assigning such students to disabled-only segregated school that provides inferior education, extracurricular activities, and socialization.
In re ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation
(N.D. Cal.)  On behalf of client JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the joint defense group, won summary adjudication of claim that setting of network-wide ATM interchange fee was per se illegal in class action alleging price-fixing in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act., 554 F. Supp.2d 1003 (N.D.Cal. 2008). Then won summary judgment on remaining rule of reason claim on ground plaintiffs were indirect purchasers and hence lacked standing to bring claim. (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97009 (N.D. Cal.)). Won appeal (686 F.3d 741 (2012)), affirming district court dismissal. (2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14265 (9th Cir.)), and Supreme Court denied petition for certiorari (2013).
Grande, et al. v. Grant Thornton LLP
(C.D. Cal.)  Defeated class certification, then obtained dismissal with prejudice for Grant Thornton in a class action brought by former clients who had acquired tax shelters later deemed abusive by the Internal Revenue Service.
Rutherford. et al. v. FIA Card Services, N,A.
(C.D. Cal.)  Obtained dismissal with prejudice of class action challenging implementation of affinity company employee incentive program for submission of credit card applications. (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124424).
Shaner. et al. v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.
(D. Mass.)  Won dismissal, then First Circuit affirmance of dismissal, of Massachusetts class alleging bank's practice of adjusting credit card interest rate upon consumer's default violated Truth in Lending Act and state law. 570 F. Supp.2d 195 (E.D. Mass. 2008). aff'd, 587 F.2d 488 (1st Cir. 2009).
In re MTI Technology Corp. Securities Litigation
(C.D. Cal.)  Represented a computer storage company in a securities fraud class action that, after obtaining motion to dismiss rulings from the court that substantially narrowed the issues to be tried, our client settled on very favorable terms before any material discovery had occurred.
Garfield Bank v. Grant Thornton LLP
(Los Angeles County Superior Court)  Obtained complete defense verdict for Grant Thornton in a three-week trial of an audit malpractice case brought by a former bank client of the firm.
Hauk. et al. v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.
(C.D. Cal.)  Won summary judgment, then Ninth Circuit affirmance of that judgment, dismissing Truth In Lending Act claim in nationwide class action challenging interest rate practices for credit card balance transfers. Obtained a broad opinion about the limited scope of TILA that will have a far-reaching effect on the interpretation of that statute. 552 F.2d 1114 (9th Cir. 2009).
SP Syntax LLC v. Ernst & Young LLP, et al.
(Los Angeles County Superior Court)  Following a three-week trial, won a unanimous jury verdict on behalf of Ernst & Young (EY), defeating claims that it had made negligent representations in connection with financial statements issued by Syntax-Brillian, a manufacturer of flat-screen televisions that had filed for bankruptcy. Silver Point, a hedge fund, sought $50 million, alleging it would not have made a loan to Syntax-Brillian if not for alleged misrepresentations in EY's audit of the company. The jury, by a 12-0 vote, concluded that EY had made no misrepresentations. (2010)
Evans. et al. v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.
(N.D. Cal.)  Won dismissal, then Ninth Circuit affirmance of that dismissal, of nationwide class action alleging bank’s default credit card interest rate practices violated the Truth In Lending Act and California and Delaware law. 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5259 (N.D. Cal.); 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 4581 (9th Cir.).
AICPA Disciplinary Trial.
Represented Grant Thornton partner in a trial before a five-member Hearing Panel of the AICPA's Professional Ethics Division. After a two-year investigation, the Division accused the CPA of numerous violations of AICPA rules and professional standards in the provision of audit and tax services. At the conclusion of the trial, the Panel found the CPA innocent of all charges.
Huynh. et al. v. Chiao Tung Bank, et al.
Obtained dismissal, then Ninth Circuit affirmance of dismissal of class action seeking recovery of the dollar value of bank deposits made in Saigon, South Vietnam, before April 1975 and lost upon the overthrow of the government. 465 F.2d 992 (9th Cir. 2006).
Sam Doe, et al. v. Pasadena Unified School District, et al.
(C.D. Cal.)   On behalf of class of students with behavior-related disabilities, prosecuting complaint seeking behavioral support services in neighborhood schools, as alternative to current policy of assigning such students to disabled-only segregated school that provides inferior education, extracurricular activities, and socialization.
In re ATM Fee Antitrust Litigation
(N.D. Cal.)  On behalf of client JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the joint defense group, won summary adjudication of claim that setting of network-wide ATM interchange fee was per se illegal in class action alleging price-fixing in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act., 554 F. Supp.2d 1003 (N.D.Cal. 2008). Then won summary judgment on remaining rule of reason claim on ground plaintiffs were indirect purchasers and hence lacked standing to bring claim. (2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97009 (N.D. Cal.)). Won appeal (686 F.3d 741 (2012)), affirming district court dismissal. (2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 14265 (9th Cir.)), and Supreme Court denied petition for certiorari (2013).
Grande, et al. v. Grant Thornton LLP
(C.D. Cal.)  Defeated class certification, then obtained dismissal with prejudice for Grant Thornton in a class action brought by former clients who had acquired tax shelters later deemed abusive by the Internal Revenue Service.
Rutherford. et al. v. FIA Card Services, N,A.
(C.D. Cal.)  Obtained dismissal with prejudice of class action challenging implementation of affinity company employee incentive program for submission of credit card applications. (2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 124424).
Shaner. et al. v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.
(D. Mass.)  Won dismissal, then First Circuit affirmance of dismissal, of Massachusetts class alleging bank's practice of adjusting credit card interest rate upon consumer's default violated Truth in Lending Act and state law. 570 F. Supp.2d 195 (E.D. Mass. 2008). aff'd, 587 F.2d 488 (1st Cir. 2009).
In re MTI Technology Corp. Securities Litigation
(C.D. Cal.)  Represented a computer storage company in a securities fraud class action that, after obtaining motion to dismiss rulings from the court that substantially narrowed the issues to be tried, our client settled on very favorable terms before any material discovery had occurred.
Garfield Bank v. Grant Thornton LLP
(Los Angeles County Superior Court)  Obtained complete defense verdict for Grant Thornton in a three-week trial of an audit malpractice case brought by a former bank client of the firm.
Hauk. et al. v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.
(C.D. Cal.)  Won summary judgment, then Ninth Circuit affirmance of that judgment, dismissing Truth In Lending Act claim in nationwide class action challenging interest rate practices for credit card balance transfers. Obtained a broad opinion about the limited scope of TILA that will have a far-reaching effect on the interpretation of that statute. 552 F.2d 1114 (9th Cir. 2009).
SP Syntax LLC v. Ernst & Young LLP, et al.
(Los Angeles County Superior Court)  Following a three-week trial, won a unanimous jury verdict on behalf of Ernst & Young (EY), defeating claims that it had made negligent representations in connection with financial statements issued by Syntax-Brillian, a manufacturer of flat-screen televisions that had filed for bankruptcy. Silver Point, a hedge fund, sought $50 million, alleging it would not have made a loan to Syntax-Brillian if not for alleged misrepresentations in EY's audit of the company. The jury, by a 12-0 vote, concluded that EY had made no misrepresentations. (2010)
Evans. et al. v. Chase Bank USA, N.A.
(N.D. Cal.)  Won dismissal, then Ninth Circuit affirmance of that dismissal, of nationwide class action alleging bank’s default credit card interest rate practices violated the Truth In Lending Act and California and Delaware law. 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5259 (N.D. Cal.); 2008 U.S. App. LEXIS 4581 (9th Cir.).
AICPA Disciplinary Trial.
Represented Grant Thornton partner in a trial before a five-member Hearing Panel of the AICPA's Professional Ethics Division. After a two-year investigation, the Division accused the CPA of numerous violations of AICPA rules and professional standards in the provision of audit and tax services. At the conclusion of the trial, the Panel found the CPA innocent of all charges.
Huynh. et al. v. Chiao Tung Bank, et al.
Obtained dismissal, then Ninth Circuit affirmance of dismissal of class action seeking recovery of the dollar value of bank deposits made in Saigon, South Vietnam, before April 1975 and lost upon the overthrow of the government. 465 F.2d 992 (9th Cir. 2006).

Robert  Stern is recommended as a leading lawyer by Legal 500 US 2010 and Super Lawyers 2010.

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