Lee University, B.A., Political Science, summa cum laude, 2008
The University of Texas School of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2011
Bobby Debelak is an attorney in the firm’s Houston office whose diverse practice includes handling energy, insurance, and property litigation matters. Bobby is a highly versatile litigator, who has built a practice ranging from cost-sensitive interpleaders and eviction dockets to complex, multi-state RICO, class action, and insurance fraud litigation. Since joining EMH he has represented clients of all sizes, from individuals and small businesses to national insurance and energy companies.
Bobby is a first choice lawyer and resident expert on the intricacies of RICO litigation, having successfully defended several large RICO cases. Professionally, Bobby also remains involved with moot court organizations in the Houston area, serving as a judge for formal competitions and as a practice judge and resource for various local teams.
Outside the office, Bobby stays active, reads at least a book a week, is an avid boxing fan, and has mastered the art of the long weekend. Bobby and his dog Erwin are both conversant in German and are committed Texas Longhorns.
RICO, Class Action & Complex Litigation
- Ulti-Mate Connectors, Inc. v. American General Life Ins. Co., et al.; Cause No. 14-1051 (C.D. Cal.). Represented American General and a former employee in a putative class action suit brought against American General, former employees, several individual advisors, Welfare Benefit plans, and the plans’ administrator. Alleging fraudulent misrepresentations in the sale of the Plans based on certain tax and financial representations, Plaintiffs brought RICO, commonlaw, and statutory claims against all Defendants. Bobby was a core member of the team that defeated Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, after which the case resolved on mutually agreeable terms. Ulti-Mate Connectors, Inc. v. Am. Gen. Life Ins. Co., No. CV-141051, 2016 WL 2968046 (C.D. Cal. May 18, 2016) (slip copy) (denying class cert.).
- Karoline Smith, et al. v. American General Life Insurance Company, et al.; Case No. 5:16-cv-1893 (C.D. Cal.). Represents American General and a former employee in a fourteen-plaintiff mass action suit brought against American General, a former employee, and several individual advisors. Plaintiffs allege there were fraudulent misrepresentations in the sale of the Voluntary Employee Benefit Plans based on certain tax and financial representations, bringing RICO, commonlaw, and statutory claims against the Defendants.
- Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB et al. v. PHL Variable Insurance Company, et al., Cause No. 13-499 (D. Del.). Represented The Phoenix Companies in a mass action lawsuit brought by the trustee of approximately sixty life insurance trusts alleging that Phoenix violated RICO, various state consumer protection statutes, and committed fraud in allegedly issuing life insurance policies that it intended to rescind. After several rounds of briefing and after successfully transferring the case to the District of Delaware from California, the Court granted in part Phoenix’s motion to dismiss and eliminated Plaintiffs’ RICO claims.
- Richards v. Direct Energy Services, LLC, No. 14-1724 (D. Conn.). Represents Direct Energy in a class action lawsuit relating to Direct Energy’s variable rate pricing practices to its Connecticut consumers. After briefing, Direct Energy successfully eliminated other states’ from Plaintiffs’ class definition. The case otherwise remains pending, with class certification and summary judgment papers briefed to the Court.
- Consulted on numerous other class and mass actions involving RICO claims brought against insurers and their officers and directors.
Property, Construction, and Landlord-Tenant
- Represented Western National Life Insurance Company in a roofing contract dispute where the roof of WNL’s customer service facility bubbled and cracked, creating leaks and exposing the roof structure. The case was mediated to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
- Represented Prologis, a multi-national commercial property owner, in disputes in Texas and New Jersey relating to a roof leak dispute in one of its 400,000 sq ft. Texas facilities. The highly technical and expert-heavy dispute involved a half dozen parties, including the architect, general contractor, roofing subcontractor, and parts manufacturers and suppliers. The case was successfully resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
- Manages landlord-tenant and forcible detainer docket for multiple institutional residential and commercial property owners, with experience in repair and remedy issues; title issues and disputes; small claims Issues with tenants; abandoned properties and UCC creditors (in commercial rentals); residential lease terminations due to domestic violence and court orders; security device replacement; tenants filing bankruptcy, which necessitates the need to file motions in the bankruptcy court to have the stay lifted (and often negotiate with their counsel); negotiations and disputes with HOAs; debt collection and consumer protection claims; Section 8 payments and collections from prior property owners.
- Represented defendants DIS and American General against claims of breach of contract and violations of the DTPA, among others, arising from Defendants’ handling of Plaintiff’s disability benefits claim. Defendants’ second motion for summary judgment was fully granted.
- Represented The Phoenix Companies in a series of disputes involving the California and Connecticut deceptive trade practice acts and unfair insurance practices acts.
- Counsel-of-choice for Southtree, a Tennessee-based digital media company.
- Counsel-of-choice for Whiteboard Network, LLC.
- Represented Olympic gold medalist Chad Hedrick in an employment dispute.
- Represented accounting group and former employee to a walk-away settlement in which Plaintiff, who alleged breach of contract and misappropriation of trade secrets claims, took nothing.
PUBLICATIONS & SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS:
CLE Presentation “From Complaint to Answer: The First 30 Days.” (2016)