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Robert Long
Robert A. Long
Partner
Washington +1 202 662 5612 rlong@cov.com Download V-card

Robert Long chairs Covington's Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Group. He has argued 18 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and played a substantial role in the briefing or oral argument of nearly 200 appeals. Named a Legal “Champion” by the National Law Journal and an “Appellate MVP” by Law360, he has been described by Chambers USA as “a great oral advocate” and “a brilliant lawyer” who “gets tremendous respect from the court.” Mr. Long, who also advises clients on administrative law and antitrust matters, was a law clerk to Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. From 1990 to 1993, he served as an Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. Mr. Long is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught administrative law and a seminar on the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office.

  • Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer (U.S. Supreme Court 2014). Mr. Long argued on behalf of Fifth Third Bancorp in this ERISA case. The Court vacated an adverse decision against the bank, holding that fiduciaries of Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) are not entitled to a “presumption of prudence” when a plaintiff challenges the fiduciary’s decision to continue offering company stock as an investment option, but such challenges must meet a series of requirements in order to survive a motion to dismiss.
  • National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (The Health Care Case) (U.S. Supreme Court 2012). Mr. Long was appointed by the Supreme Court to brief and argue a threshold jurisdictional issue in these cases, which challenged the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. The Court asked Mr. Long to argue that litigation challenging the Act’s minimum coverage provision is subject to the Anti-Injunction Act, which prohibits lawsuits brought to enjoin the collection of federal taxes. The Court held that the Anti-Injunction Act did not bar the litigation, but agreed with several of Mr. Long’s arguments in holding that the minimum coverage provision imposes a “tax” for constitutional purposes.
  • Conkright v. Frommert (U.S. Supreme Court 2010). Mr. Long was counsel to the Xerox Corporation pension plan in this ERISA case. The Court ruled for the Xerox Plan, holding that courts should defer to the plan administrator's good-faith interpretation of the terms of an ERISA plan, even when the plan administrator's initial interpretation was erroneous.
  • Watters v. Wachovia Bank, N.A. (U.S. Supreme Court 2007). Mr. Long was counsel to Wachovia Bank in this preemption case. The Court ruled for Wachovia, holding that national bank operating subsidiaries are supervised exclusively by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Mr. Long successfully argued this issue on behalf of the Wells Fargo Bank in Wells Fargo Bank N.A. v. Boutris (9th Cir. 2005) and on behalf of National City Bank in National City Bank of Indiana v. Turnbaugh (4th Cir. 2006).
  • Bell Atlantic v. Twombly (U.S. Supreme Court 2007), Leegin Creative Leather Products v. PSKS, Inc. (U.S. Supreme Court 2007), and Texaco v. Dagher (U.S. Supreme Court 2006). Mr. Long was counsel to the American Petroleum Institute, which filed briefs as amicus curiae in each of these antitrust cases. Twombly clarified the standard for dismissing a complaint. In Leegin, the Court overruled its prior decisions holding that vertical minimum resale price maintenance is a per se violation of the Sherman Act. Dagher addressed the legal standard for antitrust analysis of joint ventures.
  • CBS Corporation v. FCC (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit 2015). Mr. Long was counsel to CBS Corporation, the Walt Disney Company, and other media company petitioners. The court stayed, and subsequently vacated, an FCC order issued in connection with the FCC’s review of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV mergers, that would have made petitioners’ highly confidential business documents available to third parties.
  • Rouse v. Wachovia Mortgage FSB (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Cir. 2014). Mr. Long represented Wells Fargo Bank in this appeal, which held that the bank is not a citizen of California for purposes of federal diversity jurisdiction.
  • American Petroleum Institute v. EPA (U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit 2013). Mr. Long represented API in this case, which held that EPA’s cellulosic biofuel requirement for 2012 violated the Clean Air Act.
  • In re Family Dollar FLSA Litigation (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit 2011). Mr. Long was counsel to Family Dollar Stores in this appeal under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The court of appeals held that a store manager’s primary duty was management, and that she was exempt from the overtime requirements of the FLSA.
  • In re Zyprexa Products Liability Litigation (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 2010). Mr. Long was counsel to Eli Lilly and Company in this major class action appeal. Plaintiffs sought billions of dollars in damages under the federal RICO statute based on allegations that Lilly made misrepresentations about the safety and efficacy of its best-selling medication Zyprexa. The district court denied Lilly’s motion for summary judgment and certified a class of tens of thousands of insurance companies, pension funds and other “third party payor” plaintiffs. After granting Lilly’s request for permission to take an interlocutory appeal, the court of appeals held that the case could not proceed as a class action because plaintiffs needed individualized evidence of causation and injury to prove their claims. The court of appeals also ruled that Lilly was entitled to summary judgment on plaintiffs’ claim that the price of Zyprexa was too high.
  • Ortega v. Star-Kist Foods, Inc. (U.S. Supreme Court 2005). Mr. Long was counsel for Star-Kist Foods. The Court held that only one plaintiff in a multi-plaintiff case is required to satisfy the $75,000 amount-in-controversy requirement for federal diversity jurisdiction.
  • Harris Trust and Savings Bank v. Salomon Smith Barney (U.S. Supreme Court 2000). Mr. Long presented oral argument for Harris Trust and Ameritech in this ERISA case. The court held that a non-fiduciary party in interest that engages in a prohibited transaction may be sued for equitable relief, including restitution.
  • Bank One, Chicago, N.A. v. Midwest Bank & Trust Co. (U.S. Supreme Court 1996). Mr. Long presented oral argument on behalf of Bank One. The court held that federal courts have jurisdiction to decide interbank disputes arising under the Expedited Funds Availability Act.
  • Musick, Peeler & Garrett v. Employers Insurance of Wausau (U.S. Supreme Court 1993). Mr. Long argued this case for the United States. The court held that there is an implied right of action for contribution under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5.
  • Spectrum Sports v. McQuillan (U.S. Supreme Court 1993). Mr. Long argued this antitrust case for the United States. The court clarified the standard of liability for attempted monopolization in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act.
  • A list of Mr. Long's Supreme Court and other appellate cases is attached here.   
  • Law360, named to the "Appellate A-List"
  • National Law Journal, "Legal Champion"
  • Law360, "Most Valuable Player" - Appellate
  • Benchmark Appellate, National Litigation Star
  • Best Lawyers in America, listed for Appellate Litigation, Administrative Law, Banking and Finance Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and ERISA Litigation
  • Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers, Appellate Litigation
  • Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers, Appellate Litigation
  • Legal 500 US, Supreme Court & Appellate Litigation and ERISA Litigation
  • Washingtonian Magazine, Best Lawyers
  • DC Super Lawyers, Appellate; also ranked in the "Top 100" Lawyers in DC
  • Knight's Cross of the Order of Queen Isabella (awarded by the King of Spain for representing the Spanish Government in a case that determined ownership of two sunken warships)