Construction & Real Estate Creditors' Rights & Banking Commercial Disputes & Litigation Insurance Coverage Professional Liability Tort Litigation
Candice R. Broock Christopher T. Carson Alisa Hardy Jeffrey M. Kilmer (ret.) Donald W. Kolb James P. Laurick Robert S. May Robert B. Miller Robert C. Muth Kurt C. Peterson Graham M. Sweitzer Peter J. Viteznik Stephen C. Voorhees Bob Patterson Douglas H. Swayne

Our Professionals

Attorny Robert S. May

Robert S. May
Attorney at Law

Kilmer Voorhees & Laurick, P.C.
732 NW 19th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209

Tel 503-224-0055 ext. 241
Fax 503-222-5290

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Rob May joined Kilmer Voorhees & Laurick in 2014. Previously, Rob was a shareholder and practice group leader at Portland’s largest insurance defense firm. His practice focuses on serving the needs of the insurance industry in first party insurance defense, defense of complex casualty claims and coverage. Rob has developed a niche in arson, bad faith, marine/boat claims and premises liability.

Rob graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 1997. Prior to law school he worked for several years as a Senior Claim Representative for State Farm Fire and Casualty Company where he handled residential and commercial property claims and subrogation. After graduating from law school Rob worked in the entertainment industry as associate general counsel for the nation’s largest producer of music and live entertainment. Rob’s personal experience and knowledge of claims handling practices and the insurance industry gives him a unique perspective when defending insurers.

An accomplished trial lawyer, Rob has taken over 30 civil cases to verdict in both state and federal courts. Rob also serves as defense counsel for a number of Oregon colleges and universities. Rob is a regular guest lecturer at Willamette University College of Law teaching direct and cross examination of medical witnesses. He is a frequent presenter for national and local insurance and legal organizations such as the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel, Multnomah Bar Association, CPCU Institute and the Oregon Association of Defense Counsel.

Representative Matters

Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in Multiple District Federal Litigation
Rob served as lead coverage counsel for one of three companies who insured the Jesuits during a 30 year period when sexual abuse was alleged to have occurred. This exceedingly complex case involved over 500 claimants from five western states represented by over 100 attorneys. These claims ultimately settled for $167,000,000 which was, at the time, the largest settlement of its kind.

Rob’s client was the only one to successfully enforce the aggregate limit for sexual molestation, thereby significantly limiting the company’s exposure and ultimate liability to a mere fraction of the other carriers. Further, only Rob’s client successfully argued they are not obligated to contribute to significant post-bankruptcy defense costs.

Learning from the landmark Archdioceses of Portland settlement, which did not preclude subsequent lawsuits, Rob negotiated a buy-back of his client’s policies, accompanied by a channeling injunction, in order to prohibit any future claim against his client’s policies.

First Party Bad Faith in Washington
Plaintiffs’ home in Seattle, Washington was severely damaged by an accidental fire. The insureds immediately hired a public adjuster who, over the next 24 months, peppered the insurer with unreasonable demands in an attempt to establish the basis for bad faith and statutory violations. The insureds filed suit against Rob's client seeking damages of $681,869.00 plus attorney fees, estimated at $250,000.

The U.S. District Court in Seattle granted Summary Judgment in favor of the insurer, making several rulings on issues previously unsettled in Washington. Specifically, the U.S. District court ruled that:

  • The continuing tort doctrine does not apply to bad faith;
  • Since the insured presented inaccurate information as to the age of some items on their property inventory, the inventory as a whole was flawed and rejected by the Court;
  • The insurer could not make an accurate calculation of the value of the claim due to the insureds’ failure to provide accurate ages of the property. The insured therefore failed to prove a loss of more than unadjusted advances paid by the insurer; and
  • An insurer who allegedly underpays a claim has not “denied a claim for coverage or payment of benefits.” RCW 48.30.015(1). Underpaying, or undervaluing a claim is not a denial of coverage or refusal to pay benefits, and therefore does not entitle plaintiff to attorney fees or a finding of bad faith.

Insurance Broker liability in Oregon
Plaintiff was found liable for nearly $24,000,000 for catastrophic injuries suffered by workers injured when a beam collapsed. Defendant’s insurer denied the obligation to defend or indemnify. The insured, in turn, sued its insurer, the retail agent, and our client, the wholesale broker (general agent) alleging negligent procurement and breach of contract.

We moved for summary judgment on behalf of the broker alleging, among other things, that our client was the agent of the defendant insurer, not the insured. Therefore, the insured cannot recover purely economic damages because there was no requisite “special relationship.” We further argued that the defendant retail agent’s knowledge of the insured’s liability insurance needs (and failure to procure adequate coverage) is not imputed to our client. The trial court agreed, granting our motion for summary judgment. The defendant insurer and the defendant retail agent proceeded to trial.

Presentations and Articles

Rob has written articles and presented on the following topics:

  • Six Building Blocks of Effective Claim Handling
  • Working With Defense Counsel: What to Expect, What to Demand
  • Washington SIU/Fraud Case Study
  • Washington Bad Faith
  • Oregon SIU/Fraud Case Study
  • Additional Insureds and Named Insureds: Identifying and Avoiding Pitfalls
  • Property Claim Best Practices
  • Avoiding Excess Verdicts
  • Defending Attorney Fee Claims
  • Ethics in Claim Handling
  • Legalized Cannabis and the Insurance Industry
  • Adjusting Business Income Claims

Areas of Practice

  • 1st Party and Bad Faith
  • Coverage
  • Fraud/SIU
  • Commercial Liability and Mass Tort Litigation
  • Premises Liability
  • Product Liability

Education

  • Willamette University College of Law, J.D., 1997
  • University of Rochester, New York, B.A., Economics, 1990

Admissions

  • Washington State Bar
  • Oregon State Bar
  • Idaho State Bar
  • Texas State Bar (Inactive)
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon
  • U.S. District Court for the Districts of Eastern and Western Washington

Professional & Civic Involvement

  • Member, Oregon State Bar Association
  • Member, Washington State Bar Association
  • Member, Idaho State Bar Association
  • Member, Texas State Bar Association (Texas)
  • Member, Oregon Association of Defense Counsel
  • Member, Washington Defense Trial Lawyers Association
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Associate Member, Loss Executive Association