Robert W. Cobbs is a partner in Cohen Milstein's Antitrust practice. In this role, he represents individuals and organizations in civil litigation, particularly antitrust class actions.
Mr. Cobbs is highly regarded for helping manage large, high-profile antitrust class actions involving collusion in the financial markets for specialist investment products, where he represents workers' pension funds suing the world's largest investment banks.
He is also known for his analysis of the underlying economic and legal issues and developing deep and nuanced understandings of complex fact patterns and is regularly called upon to participate in large cases against tech giants, oil and gas companies, and other powerful corporations.
Currently, Mr. Cobbs is litigating the following notable matters:
In re Interest Rate Swaps Antitrust Litigation (S.D.N.Y.): Cohen Milstein serves as Co-Lead Counsel and represents the Public School Teachers’ Pension and Retirement Fund of Chicago and other proposed buy-side investor class members in this ground-breaking putative antitrust class action against numerous Wall Street investment banks. Plaintiffs allege that the defendants conspired to prevent class members from trading interest rate swaps on modern electronic trading platforms and from trading with each other, all to protect the banks’ trading profits from inflated bid/ask spreads.
Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, et al. v. Bank of America Corp. et al. (S.D.N.Y.): Cohen Milstein is representing Iowa Public Employees Retirement System and other investors who allege that six of the world’s largest investment banks, including Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and UBS, conspired together to prevent the modernization of the $1.7 trillion stock lending market in order to maintain control over this important financial market. Since February 2022, the court has granted preliminary approval of a total $580 million in settlements.
Mr. Cobbs’ recent successes include:
- ExxonMobil - Aceh, Indonesia (D.D.C.): On May 15, 2023, eleven Indonesian citizens represented by Cohen Milstein settled a high-profile cross-border human rights lawsuit with ExxonMobil Corporation a week before a jury trial was scheduled to begin. The confidential settlement brought an end to two decades of litigation. Plaintiffs alleged that Indonesian soldiers hired by ExxonMobil to guard its facility tortured, abused, sexually assaulted, and murdered members of their families.
Google Wi-Fi Litigation (N.D. Cal.): Cohen Milstein was co-lead counsel in a nationwide class action alleging that Google violated the Wiretap Act when its Street View vehicles secretly collected payload data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks. Plaintiffs defeated a motion to dismiss raising novel Wiretap Act issues, and the ruling was affirmed on interlocutory appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The court approved a $13 million settlement in March 2020.
- Anadarko Basin Oil and Gas Lease Antitrust Litigation (W.D. Okla.): Cohen Milstein was co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in a class action alleging that Chesapeake Energy and SandRidge Energy conspired to rig bids for land leases held by private landowners in Oklahoma and Kansas. This litigation followed the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2016 indictment of a co-founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy for allegedly participating in this bid-rigging conspiracy. In April 2019, the court granted final approval of a $6.95 million settlement.
Prior to joining Cohen Milstein, Mr. Cobbs clerked for the Hon. Pierre N. Leval, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and for the Hon. J. Rodney Gilstrap, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.
Mr. Cobbs graduated from Amherst College with a B.A., magna cum laude, and received his J.D. from Yale Law School. During law school, he served as a Notes Editor of the Yale Law Journal and as a Submissions Editor of the Yale Journal on Regulation.
From 2007-2010 Mr. Cobbs served as a staffer for Chairman Henry Waxman on the House Oversight Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he worked on energy and climate policy.