Our Attorneys

Robert C. Phelps

Of Counsel

Phone: (925) 210-2800

Fax: (925) 945-1975

Email: bphelps@glynnfinley.com


Robert C. Phelps is a 1982 graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, where he served as a member of the Minnesota Law Review. He became a partner in Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro in 1995. From 2000 to 2003, he was a partner in the San Francisco office of Skjerven Morrill, LLP. He returned to Pillsbury as a partner from 2003 to 2010, and joined Glynn & Finley as Of Counsel in March 2010. He specializes in complex commercial litigation and business counseling, including antitrust, franchise, marketing and distribution, insurance coverage and regulation, oil and gas and business torts. Mr. Phelps has extensive arbitration, jury and bench trial experience in both federal and state courts. He has also handled appellate matters in state and federal courts, up to and including the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Phelps has been repeatedly named a Northern California "Super Lawyer."

Representative Cases:

Commercial/Franchise Litigation

  • Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. M&M Petroleum, Inc. (S.D. Cal. and 9th Circuit). Represented Chevron in franchise termination litigation. Judgment for Chevron (including award of attorneys’ fees) affirmed on appeal.

  • Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. SSD Associates (N.D. Cal.). Represented Chevron in trial of franchise termination action. Judgment for Chevron. No appeal.

  • Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Michael Nahabet (C.D. Cal. and 9th Circuit). Represented Chevron in franchise termination action. Summary judgment for Chevron affirmed on appeal.

  • Sand Hill Ranch property litigation. Represented property owners of motocross facility in unlawful detainer action and before County permit agencies.


  • Automobile Direct Repair matters (Bureau of Automotive Repair). Represented automobile insurer in investigative matter before California Bureau of Automotive Repair. No action taken by Agency.

  • Legislative matters (Cal. Depart of Insurance). Testified as witness for insurance industry in opposition to proposed claims regulations. Proposed regulations not adopted.

Constitutional Law

  • Chevron v. Cayetano (Dist of Hawai’I, 9th Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court). Represented Chevron in challenge to constitutionality of state commercial rent control statute. Obtained summary judgment and partial affirmance by 9th Circuit.

Antitrust/Unfair Trade Practices

  • Petroleum Sales, Inc. v. Valero Marketing & Supply Company (N.D. Cal. And 9th Circuit). Represented refiner in Robinson-Patman action alleging price discrimination in setting wholesale gasoline prices. Summary judgment for defendant (including attorneys’ fee award) affirmed on appeal.

  • Carver, et al. v. Chevron, et al. (San Diego Superior Court and Cal. Court of Appeal). Represented Chevron in trial of antitrust action brought by current and former franchisees. Jury verdict on antitrust claims (and award of attorneys’ fees) affirmed by Court of Appeal

  • Lowe v. Chevron, et al. (San Francisco Superior Court). Represented Chevron in class action brought by current and former dealers alleging damages in excess of $3 billion. Jury verdict for defense. Judgment for defense in separate court trial of “Unfair Practices” claim.

  • Lightfoot v. California State Automobile Association (Contra Costa Superior Court). Represented insurer in lawsuit by body shop alleging unfair “steering” of customers. Judgment for Defendant following court trial.

Pro Bono

  • In re James Robinson, Jr. on habeas corpus (Cal. Supreme Court). On-going representation of death row inmate regarding post-conviction matters.

  • Network for Good v. United Way of the Bay Area (San Francisco Superior Court). Represented UWBA in action by customer of former UWBA subsidiary.

Areas of Practice:

  • Litigation

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Business Counseling

  • Commercial

  • Antitrust

  • Franchise

  • Marketing & Distribution

  • Insurance Coverage and Regulation

  • Oil & Gas

  • Eminent Domain

Bar Admissions:

  • California, 1982

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California

  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California

  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California

  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit

  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit

  • U.S. Supreme Court


  • J.D. – University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1982

    • Honors: Magna Cum Laude

    • Law Review: Minnesota Law Review, Member

  • B.A. – Macalester College, St Paul, Minnesota, 1979

    • Major: Political Science and Speech Communications

Published Works:

  • California Voters Limit Private Enforcement of Unfair Competition Law, November 4, 2004

  • The Discoverability and Admissibility of Electronic Evidence, Continuing Education of the Bar, May, 1999

  • Business and Professions Code Section 17200: Taking a ‘Fairness’ Case to Judgment, Competition, Vol. 8, No. 2, Fall, 1999

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • State Bar of California, Member

  • San Francisco Bar Association, Member

Past Employment Positions:

  • Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro, Partner, 1995 – 1999

  • Skjerven, Morrill LLP, Partner, 2000 – 2003

  • Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Partner, 2003 – 2010


  • Phi Beta Kappa