Mr. Schaffer is an experienced trial lawyer and appellate advocate. A former United States Supreme Court law clerk, he has over two decades of experience persuading trial and appellate courts in both routine and high stakes litigation, he has been recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” in Arizona by Benchmark Litigation, and he is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in Appellate Practice, Commercial Litigation and Antitrust Law (2012-2020).
Mr. Schaffer specializes in complex business, real estate, and corporate/partnership/LLC disputes and civil appeals of all kinds. His counsel is valued not only for his ability to prevail in court but also for his practical judgment in guiding clients through the uncertainty of litigation and implementing efficient strategies to streamline disputes. He is known for delivering results through comprehensive case strategy, boiling down complex cases into understandable themes, and communicating simply and effectively with judges and juries.
Mr. Schaffer joined Holden Willits PLC in 2019 and prides himself on delivering the same high-quality representation clients are accustomed to finding in larger law firms but with more efficient results.
Commercial Trial Practice
Mr. Schaffer has extensive expertise in complex commercial cases and has served as lead trial counsel in trials, hearings and other matters before state and federal courts and arbitrators. He has represented multi-national clients as well as regional and local businesses and individuals, as both plaintiffs and defendants, in a broad range of areas, including contract and lease disputes, business and partnership disputes, real estate and construction litigation, constitutional, statutory and regulatory matters, RICO, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty disputes, employment contract, lender liability, insurance and bad faith litigation, products liability and water rights.
Bob has served as lead counsel in defense of class actions and also has extensive experience representing clients in antitrust and other trade regulation matters including joint venture arrangements, unfair competition, hospital privileges, restrictive covenants, and noncompete agreements, and regularly counsels businesses and individuals on litigation risk and avoidance in these and other areas.
Bob has argued numerous appeals in the Arizona and California appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit. As an appellate specialist, Bob helps shape strategic decisions during trial court litigation handled by other professionals and has been retained by clients to assist and advise other lawyers during trial and in post-trial proceedings to present and preserve arguments for potential appeal. Bob is routinely retained to draft amicus curiae briefs on behalf of entities and trade associations.
Mr. Schaffer served as a law clerk to United State Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist (1998-99) and the Honorable Deanell R. Tacha on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (1997-98).
Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Schaffer practiced for 20 years at Lewis, Roca, Rothgerber, Christie LLP in Phoenix, Arizona.
Bob is a graduate of The University of Kansas, with highest distinction (’93) and Duke Law School (’96) where he served as an Articles Editor of the Duke Law Journal.
Awards and Recognition
- Bob is AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubell®, representing the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.
- Benchmark Litigation – “Future Star” and “Local Litigation Star” in Arizona
- The Best Lawyers in America – Woodward/White, Aiken, S.C. – Antitrust Law, Appellate Practice and Commercial Litigation, 2012-2020
- The Best Lawyers in America, Phoenix Antitrust Law, Lawyer of the Year, 2014
- Southwest Superlawyers – Business Litigation, 2012-2020
- Arizona Business Magazine, Top Lawyer in Arizona, 2013
- Regularly counsels businesses seeking appellate and special action review of critical trial court rulings.
- 1st HC, LLC v. Talamante, 2017 WL 1180268 (App. 2017) (obtained reversal of order denying stay of judgment pending appeal)
- Stueber v. Slayton, 2013 WL 2443122 (App. 2013) (obtained reversal of order setting supersedeas bond on appeal)
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix v. Superior Court, 204 Ariz. 225, 62 P.3d 970 (App. 2003) (obtained special action review of attorney-client privilege rulings in criminal grand jury proceedings)
- Regularly counsels businesses and nonprofits on avoiding antitrust issues arising in joint ventures and other business arrangements.
- Successfully defended Level I Trauma Center against antitrust claims by terminated physicians.
- Successfully defended golf resorts against antitrust claims arising out of discount golf card program.
- Represents plaintiffs and defendants in cases arising out of dealer/distributor/franchisee terminations.
- Regularly counsels businesses in disputes involving limited liability companies, close corporations, partnerships and joint ventures.
- Lead counsel for real estate developer in multi-million-dollar litigation involving breach of LLC agreement and later arbitration involving claims of duress arising out of settlement agreement; successfully resolved all claims before trial on favorable terms.
- Lead counsel for physician in dispute involving breach of buyout agreement with former partners.
- Lead counsel for organic foods manufacturer in dispute with joint venture partner.
- Lead counsel for overseas commodities trading company in asserting breach of contract, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation claims against U.S-based supplier.
- Lead counsel for homebuilder in successful defense of claims asserted by terminated subcontractors.
- Lead counsel for airlines and other aircraft owners in successful prosecution of claims arising out of aircraft maintenance, repair and storage contracts.
- Represented equity partner in multifamily housing joint venture asserting claims of breach of LLC agreements and fraud against construction development partner.
- Represented international airline in successful prosecution of claims arising out of software development contract.
- Lead counsel for small business challenging constitutionality of Phoenix city ordinance; successfully lobbied state legislature to pass legislation preempting the Phoenix city ordinance and successfully defended state law in constitutional challenge by City. See Puppies ‘N Love v. City of Phoenix, 283 F. Supp. 3d 815 (D. Ariz. 2017), vacating Puppies ‘N Love v. City of Phoenix, 116 F. Supp. 3d 971 (D. Ariz. 2015) (Dormant Commerce Clause).
- Lead counsel for national Protestant denomination in dispute with break-away local congregation over ownership of church property; successfully defended trial court ruling based on ecclesiastical abstention doctrine. Nokes v. Classis of the Southwest, R.C.A., 2016 WL 233103 (Ariz. App. 2016) (First Amendment church autonomy doctrine).
- Lead counsel for small business asserting inverse condemnation claims arising out of State of Arizona groundwater recharge project. South West Sand & Gravel, Inc. v. Central Arizona Water Conservation District, 221 Ariz. 309, 212 P.3d 1 (App. 2008) .
- Cable Arizona Corp. v. Coxcom, Inc., 261 F.3d 871 (2001) (Cable Communications Policy Act).
- KZPZ Broadcasting, Inc. v. Black Canyon City Concerned Citizens, 199 Ariz. 30, 13 P.3d 772 (App. 2000) (First Amendment).
Real Estate, Construction, Title Insurance
- Lead counsel for private real estate investment firm in two-week bench trial regarding dispute over access easement; prevailed on all claims and obtained substantial attorneys’ fees award. IMT Capital 11525 Blucher v. NMS Props., 2016 WL 827702 (Cal. App. 2016)
- Represented university in dispute over power line easements; successfully negotiated favorable easement agreement.
- Represented commercial landlords and tenants in complex lease disputes.
- Lead counsel for borrowers challenging deficiency judgments. Morgan AZ Financial, LLC v. Gotses, 235 Ariz. (App. 2014) (preservation of defenses in deficiency action after trustee’s sales).
- Represented owners, lenders, and title insurers in disputes over title restrictions, legal access to property, and mechanics lien validity and priority.
- Represented national retailers in disputes over alleged breach of restrictive lease covenants and rent-abatement provisions.
- Lead counsel for tenant-in-common seeking partition and sale of commercial property subject to fractionalized deeds of trust held by over 70 individual investors.
- Represented tenant-in-common in dispute over partition sale of farmland.
- Represented specialty manufacturer of planetarium domes against subcontractor for defective workmanship.
- Western Corrections Group, Inc. v. Tierney, 208 Ariz. 583 (App. 2004) (Arizona competitive bidding statute violated by construction management contract)
- Stone v. GEICO General Ins. Co., 731 Fed. App’x 688 (9th Cir. 2018) (Class Action Fairness Act removal jurisdiction).
- Jostes Concrete, Inc. v. MDC Holdings, Inc., 2012 WL 12893079 (D. Ariz. 2012) (dismissing class action complaint)
- Martinelli v. Petland, Inc., 274 F.R.D. 658 (D. Ariz. 2011) (denying class certification in RICO and consumer fraud class action).
- ESI Ergonomic Solutions, LLC v. United Artists Theatre Circuit, Inc., 203 Ariz. 94, 50 P.3d 844 (Ariz. Ct. App. 2002) (class certification under Telephone Consumer Protection Act).
Jurisdiction and Procedural Issues
- Represented former executive sued under clawback provision of executive compensation plan; obtained order requiring service of summons in China under Hague Convention. American Express Co. v. Rui, 2019 WL 185801 (D. Ariz. 2019).
- Lead counsel for United Kingdom-based manufacturer in subrogation action brought by American insurance company; obtained dismissal on grounds of forum nonconveniens
- Bowen Prods, Inc. v. French, 231 Ariz. 424 (App. 2013) (non-party at fault disclosure requirements under Ariz. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(5)).
- Troon H Pad, LLC v. First Am. Title Ins. Co., 2013 WL 440609 (Ariz. App. 2013) (Rule 26.1 disclosure requirements for computation and measure of damages).
- Lead counsel for Personal Representative of the Estate of Scott M. Coles in various matters related to Mortgage Ltd. bankruptcy. Stone v. Greenburg Traurig, LLP, 2010 WL 3023308 (D. Ariz. 2010) (probate exception to federal subject matter jurisdiction).
- Represented national franchise lender in various disputes involving transfer of venue
- Represented various non-Arizona businesses seeking dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction
Water Rights Litigation
- Successfully briefed and argued appeal before Arizona Supreme Court, obtaining reversal of a lower court decision that would have stripped the client of water rights alleged to be valued in excess of $20 million. Davis v. Agua Sierra Resources, LLC, 220 Ariz. 108, 203 P.3d 506 (Ariz. 2009).
- Successfully represented solar generating company in water rights dispute with irrigation district.
Publications & Presentations
- Author, “For Everyone’s Eyes Only: Protect Your Company from E-mail Peril,” Arizona Business Magazine, August-September, 2007
- Co-Author, “Arizona’s New E-Discovery Rules,” Arizona Attorney, February 2008
- Speaker, “Managing Electronic Discovery Costs,” Association of Corporate Counsel – Arizona Chapter, Nov. 2007
- Author, “Davis v. Agua Sierra Resources: Bringing Some Clarity to Groundwater Rights in Arizona,” Arizona Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, November 30, 2010
- Speaker, Water Rights Litigation in Arizona, 17th Annual Arizona Water Law Conference, August 14, 2009
- Moderator, “Honoring the Judiciary as a Co-Equal Branch of Government: A Dialogue with Distinguished Federal and State Judges,” The Director’s Roundtable, Jan. 2006
- Speaker, “Antitrust and IP in the Supreme Court’s 2005-2006 Term,” Joint Meeting of the Antitrust and Intellectual Property Sections, State Bar of Arizona, December 2005
- Panelist, “Personal Jurisdiction and Other Significant Civil Litigation Issues Arising From the Internet,” Arizona Federal District Court Conference, February 2003
- Ninth Circuit Approves Preemptive Denial of Class Certification, December 2009