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Robert E. Kaelin, a partner at Murtha Cullina, serves as co-chair of the Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights practice and chairs the Retail & Hospitality practice.

A seasoned commercial litigator, Bob advocates for clients in state and federal trial and appellate courts as well as in arbitration and mediation forums. He is a veteran of bench and jury trials and serves as a panel arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. His clients include community banks, national restaurant chains and commercial real estate companies.

Much of Bob’s commercial litigation practice revolves around:  

  • Foreclosures
  • Replevin actions
  • Connecticut Prejudgment Remedy Statue actions
  • Business disputes
  • Breach of Contract/Fraud actions
  • Franchise agreement claims
  • Uniform Commercial Code actions
  • Tortious interference claims
  • Lanham Act claims

Bob’s robust bankruptcy practice includes representation of:

  • Creditors’ Committees in Chapter 11 proceedings in Connecticut
  • Creditors in Chapter 7 and 11 proceedings across the United States
  • Debtors in Chapter 11 business reorganizations
  • Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 trustees as special counsel 
  • Secured creditors in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 cases
  • Commercial landlords in bankruptcy proceedings
  • Plaintiffs and defendants in bankruptcy avoidance and dischargeability actions

In addition, Bob represents commercial landlords and tenants in various disputes. He regularly appears in Housing Court Sessions in Connecticut on commercial eviction and landlord collection matters. Well-versed on the enforcement of exclusive use provision and Common Area Maintenance (CAM) audit claims, he has written and lectured on Connecticut’s Summary Process Eviction Statute. 

Outside of the office, Bob enjoys spending time with his family and is an avid skier and golfer.

  • Recently served as a Private Arbitrator in a complex commercial arbitration regarding numerous claims centering around a stock buy back agreement.

  • Recently served as an “Expert” in a legal malpractice action centering around issues involving the Connecticut Prejudgment Remedy Act and bankruptcy law.

  • Recently won summary judgment on behalf of a bank seeking to enforce its rights under a shopping center ground lease as leasehold mortgagee.

  • Representing the Alleged Debtor in a contested involuntary Capter 11 petition in the Virgin Islands Bankruptcy Court - St. Croix In re Sanitas Partners V.1., LLC.

  • Representing the official committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Kleen Laundry and Dry Cleaning Services Inc. Chapter 11 in the New Hampshire Bankruptcy Court.

  • Represented a large regional Bank in work-out with related borrowers that were in default under several multi-million dollar loans.

  • Successfully represented a former franchisee in obtaining a denial of a motion for preliminary injunction on a breach of contract and Lanham claim in the Connecticut District Court. and recently won the Arbitration on behalf of the former franchisee.

  • Successfully defended commercial landlord in fraud, misrepresentation, and CUTPA claims with trial judgment in favor of landlord on all counts (and affirmed on appeal).

  • Serving as lead counsel for the plaintiff in a federal court action seeking to set aside and recover over $28 million in fraudulently transferred assets (and enforcing a $3.275 billion dollar federal criminal restitution order).

  • Representing national restaurant chain on franchise matters, including, but not limited to, terminations, work-outs, franchisee bankruptcies and litigation.

  • Regularly represents lenders in bankruptcy proceedings (Chapter 11 and Chapter 7) in Connecticut and Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court.

  • Representing developers and real estate owners on commercial eviction and collection matters, as well as CAM dispute litigation.

  • Representing several clients in pursuing the enforcement of foreign judgments here in Connecticut.

  • Represented international corporation and several employees in breach of contract/fraud action in the Southern District of New York, including successful motion to dismiss thereby dismissing the claims against the individuals and successful motion for partial summary judgment eliminating the fraud claim.

  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Northeast Bankruptcy Conference Advisory Board

  • Connecticut Bar Association

    • Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section, 

      • Executive Committee, Chair 

      • Connecticut Bankruptcy Conference, Chair (2018-2021)

    • Litigation Section

  • Hartford County Bar Association

    • President (2017-2018)

    • President- Elect (2016-2017)

    • Treasurer (2015-2016)

  • International Council of Shopping Centers

  • Oliver Ellsworth Inn of Court

    • President (2022-present)

    • Counselor (2021-2022)

  • Turnaround Management Association, Connecticut Chapter Board of Directors (2022-present)

  • Speaker, "Litigating Lease Terms," International Council of Shopping Centers ‒ ICSC + U.S. Law (October 26, 2023)
  • Glastonbury Republican Town Committee, Past Member

  • Minnechaug Swim & Tennis Club, Past President

Areas of Focus