Eduardo Robreno

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Eduardo Robreno
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Current Court Information:
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
Title:   Senior Judge
Position:   Seat #9
Service:
Appointed by:   George H.W. Bush
Active:   06/30/1992 - 8/31/2012
Senior:   09/01/2013 - Present
Preceded by:   Louis Pollak
Personal History
Born:   1945
Hometown:   Havana, Cuba
Undergraduate:   Westfield State College, B.A., 1967
Law School:   Rutgers U. Law, J.D., 1978
Grad. School:   U. of Massachusetts, M.A., 1969

Eduardo C. Robreno is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He joined the court in 1992 after being nominated by President George H.W. Bush. Robreno assumed senior status on September 1, 2013.[1]

Robreno was the first Cuban-American to become a federal judge in the United States.[2]

Early life and education

Born in Cuba, Robreno later became an American citizen. Robreno graduated from Westfield State College with his bachelor's degree in 1967 and from the University of Massachusetts with his master's degree in 1969. He went on to graduate from Rutgers University School of Law with his J.D. in 1978.[3]

Professional career

Robreno began his legal career in Philadelphia with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he served from 1978 to 1981. Robreno then worked as a private practice attorney licensed in the State of Pennsylvania from 1981 to 1992, and also served as a part-time Lecturer at Rutgers Law School from 1992 to 1996.

Judicial career

Eastern District of Pennsylvania

On the recommendation of Arlen Specter, Robreno was nominated by President George H.W. Bush on November 26, 1991, to a seat vacated by Louis Pollak. Robreno was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 26, 1992, on a Senate vote and received commission on June 30, 1992.[4] On September 1, 2013, Robreno took senior status.

Notable cases

Multidistrict asbestos litigation case remanded to Southern Illinois (2014)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Mann v. Anchor Packing, et al, 2:08-89372-ER / MDL-875)

On January 30, 2014, Judge Robreno remanded plaintiff's suit filed on behalf of decedent J.W. Heggie to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.[5]

In the underlying case, Helen Mann filed suit against Westinghouse Electric Corporation on behalf of Heggie, alleging Heggie was exposed to asbestos after working with Westinghouse’s turbines and switchgear. Mann claimed Heggie developed an asbestos-related disease and lung cancer as a result of the alleged exposure, and died as a result. Mann's case was transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in October 2008 as part of the Multidistrict Asbestos Products Liability Litigation, though both parties agreed that Illinois law applied to the case. Westinghouse then filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging there was insufficient evidence to establish causation.[5]

Judge Robreno granted Westinghouse's motion in part as to Heggie's alleged asbestos exposure from the company's turbines, and denied it in part as to Heggie's alleged asbestos exposure from the company's switchgear. Specifically, Robreno noted that there was no "clear statement of Illinois law" as to the issue of the "bare metal defense" which would be determinative as to Westinghouse's liability.[5] In so denying summary judgment as to this aspect of the case, Robreno stated:

Whether Illinois law recognizes this defense (i.e., whether Illinois law holds a switchgear manufacturer liable for component parts incorporated into its product which it neither manufactured nor supplied) is a matter of policy. A court situated in Illinois is closer to - and has more familiarity with - Illinois law and policy. As such, rather than predicting what the Supreme Court of Illinois would do, the Court deems it appropriate to remand this case for a court in Illinois to decide this issue.[5][6]
Judge Robreno suggested that the case would be ready for trial as soon as the Southern District of Illinois placed it on its docket.[5]

Winfrey defamation case settled out of court (2009-2010)

     United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
On March 15, 2009, Judge Robreno allowed a lawsuit against talk show host Oprah Winfrey to proceed. Nomvuyo Mzamane, the former headmistress of the South Africa Leadership Academy for Girls, sued Winfrey over statements that were made at a 2007 press conference that Mzamane considered defamatory. Winfrey settled the case out of court in March 2010.[7]

See also

External links

References

Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Louis Pollak
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
1992–Current
Succeeded by:
NA


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