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Robert M. Dato

Robert M. Dato

Of Counsel


  • Trade Secrets & Employee Mobility
  • Products Liability Law
  • Appellate Law
  • Litigation

WSG Practice Industries


California, U.S.A.


Robert M. Dato primarily represents clients in business litigation and employment matters, with particular emphasis on appeals and related proceedings. Mr. Dato, a Certified Appellate Specialist in California since 1996, has handled more than 400 appellate matters in state and federal courts throughout the United States and served as the national coordinating appellate counsel for two major pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Mr. Dato was previously a senior research attorney to Presiding Justice David G. Sills of the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana, where he prepared approximately 200 appellate opinions in substantive areas ranging from family law to complex business litigation matters. He also occasionally served as the court’s writ attorney, reviewing and making recommendations regarding writ petitions filed with the court.

Mr. Dato is the author of CEB’s Handling Civil Appeals: Action Guide, a co-author of CEB’s Civil Appellate Practice treatise, and a contributor to CEB’s “Civil Procedure During Trial” treatise. He is currently a member of the Orange County Bar Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee.  He is a past chair of the State Bar’s Committee on Administration of Justice and a past chair of the Orange County Bar Association’s Appellate Law Section. Mr. Dato is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell. Mr. Dato was recognized as a 2016 and 2019-2021 Southern California Super Lawyer, as well as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in the area of Commercial Litigation by American Lawyer Media in conjunction with Martindale Hubbell.

Bar Admissions

  • California


  • University of San Diego School of Law
Areas of Practice

Appellate Law | Litigation | Products Liability Law | Trade Secrets & Employee Mobility

Professional Career

Significant Accomplishments

California Supreme Court

  • Jarrow Formulas, Inc. v. LaMarche 31 Cal.4th 728 (2003)
  • Temple Community Hospital v. Superior Court 20 Cal.4th 464 (1999)
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court 18 Cal.4th 1 (1998)

California Court of Appeal

  • R.E. Loans, LLC v. Investors Warranty of America, Inc. 212 Cal.App.4th 1432 (2013)
  • Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. 174 Cal.App.4th 967 (2009)
  • Cohn v. Corinthian Colleges, Inc./Angels Baseball LP 169 Cal.App.4th 523 (2008)

United States Court of Appeals

  • California Scents, Inc. v. Surco Products, Inc. 406 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 2005)
  • Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc. 951 F.2d 1128 (9th Cir. 1991)
  • Brock v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 874 F.2d 307 (5th Cir. 1989)

New York

  • Hymowitz v. Eli Lilly & Co. 73 N.Y. 2d.487, 541 N.Y. S.2d 941 (1989)


Buchalter COVID-19 Client Alert: San Francisco Moves to Lowest COVID Tier in California, Begins Process of Reopening Non-Essential Offices; Other Bay Area Counties Slower to Follow
Buchalter, November 2020

On October 20, 2020, San Francisco County was upgraded to the “minimal” tier within the California COVID-19 tracking system, meaning it has the fewest restrictions on reopening all businesses as promulgated by the State of California. In order to qualify for the “minimal” tier, a county must have an infection rate of less than one daily new positive COVID case per 100,000 residents and have a positive test rate of less than 2% for two consecutive weeks...

Additional Articles

  • Ethically Speaking-Today’s Lesson: Don’t Conspire Against Your Lawyer
  • March 2018 Ethically Speaking – Potential Perils of “Litigating on the Courthouse Steps”

WSG's members are independent firms and are not affiliated in the joint practice of professional services. Each member exercises its own individual judgments on all client matters.

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