Robert Peterson

Robert Peterson

Professor Robert Peterson has been very active throughout his career with the Santa Clara University School of Law community. He served as associate dean for academic affairs of the law school for five years and is currently the director of graduate legal programs. In addition, he has spent many summers directing Santa Clara Law’s programs in Oxford, Tokyo and Costa Rica. Peterson also serves as a mediator for the U.S. District Court.

Before joining Santa Clara Law in 1970, Professor Peterson was a teaching fellow at the University of Illinois and taught at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit. He clerked for U.S. District Court Judge Robert F. Peckham in 1968 and earned a diploma in law from Oxford University in 1977.

J.D., Stanford University, 1966

B.A., San Diego State University, 1963

Areas of Specialization
Civil Procedure, Torts, Product Liability, Evidence

Affiliations and Honors
Treasurer and president-elect, San Jose chapter, American Inns of the Court
California State Bar’s Standing Committee on Insurance Law

Recent Articles by Robert Peterson

Assisted Driving Is Taking Over

The power of 35. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning features could curtail injury claims by as much as 35%. The California Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that in 35% of crashes the brakes were not applied. It is striking that these two numbers match. These […]

New Questions on Uber and Lyft

One of the more interesting and challenging issues to surface is the status of drivers at transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft. Are some or all of them employees? A federal court in California just ruled that this issue may be resolved in a class action (although this is subject to appeal). […]

First Lyft Fatality Shows Inadequacies of California Law

A Lyft passenger was killed over the weekend near Sacramento, an incident that underscores inadequacies in California’s insurance laws. As reported in Forbes, the Lyft driver saw a stalled Kia on Interstate 80 and swerved to the right, hitting a tree. One passenger died. The second passenger and the Lyft driver were injured. An incident like this […]

California Law on Uber et Al.: Model for All States?

On Sept. 17, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law AB 2293 (Bonilla) regulating insurance coverage for  transportation network companies (“TNCs,” such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar). Two purposes of the bill were: (1) to fill a possible gap in coverage caused by an exclusion in personal automobile policies and (2) to allocate responsibility between […]

Insuring Uber et Al.: A Rollercoaster Ride

The Santa Cruz Board Walk includes an old-fashioned rollercoaster ride named the Big Dipper. Establishing appropriate insurance requirements for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber, Lyft, SideCar and Ride Share has been like a ride on the Big Dipper. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has jurisdiction over TNCs as “charter party carriers” — […]

‘Sharing Economy’ Has Tricky Insurance Issues

Imagine the unimaginable – you accidentally injure a passenger or pedestrian with your car. How much insurance do you carry to protect them or yourself? Like many, you may carry only $15,000 per individual injury (the minimum, unchanged since 1967, required by California). If your income is low enough to qualify, you may carry a […]

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