Robert B. Sykes


Salt Lake City, Utah
Managing Partner
Phone: (801) 533-0222
Fax: (801) 533-8081


Robert B. Sykes was born in Newfoundland into the family of a career Air Force officer. The family was stationed many places, including a three year stint in Germany in the 1960s. By the time the family finally settled in Oswego, N.Y., Bob was in the 9th grade but it was his 10th school due to the many moves. When Bob left Oswego for college in the "Wild West" of Utah, he had never been west of Buffalo, N.Y.

Mr. Sykes is president of the Salt Lake City law firm of Robert B. Sykes & Associates, P.C., which emphasizes litigation in cases involving serious brain, spinal cord and other injuries. Over a 37-year period, his firm has successfully litigated or tried to jury verdict dozens of complex cases involving a variety of personal injuries and wrongs arising from traffic accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, industrial accidents, unsafe pharmaceuticals, birth injuries, slander, police misconduct, and civil rights. The firm has successfully appealed many cases to the Utah Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit.

Mr. Sykes is currently serving on the Board of Governors of the Utah Association for Justice and the Board of Trustees of the Brain Injury Association of Utah. He has frequently been invited to lecture other lawyers at legal seminars in Utah and around the country on a variety of topics including brain injury, evidence and trial practice. He is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Utah and a graduate of the University of Utah College of Law. He served six years in the Utah legislature. He is a member of the United States Supreme Court Bar, the Tenth Circuit Bar, the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, and the Utah State Bar, and litigates frequently in both federal and state courts.

During his 37 years of practice, Bob Sykes has been involved in several landmark cases including the Houghton v. State of Utah class action, which is nearing completion. This class action was filed in 1995 and has been to the Utah Supreme Court four times in its 16 year history. The State of Utah failed to pay its "fair share" of the Medicaid recipients' attorney fees incurred in securing Medicaid lien reimbursements for the State. This resulted in a class of about 1225 indigent Medicaid recipients, going back to 1991, with an average projected recovery of approximately $2000 per indigent, which should be paid shortly. In a 2010 order, the trial court stated "[f]or a small firm like RBSA to undertake this 15-year commitment of time and resources, under these circumstances, is extraordinary. Few, if any, lawyers or firms would have undertaken such a commitment. Moreover, the work was expertly performed by accomplished counsel. It is because of the work and tenacity of RBSA that there is an award in this case. And it is because of the extraordinary work of RBSA that there is a projected participation rate in this class action on Group 1 of greater than 80%. Such a participation rate is nearly unheard of in the class action arena."

Robert B. Sykes is married to Rebecca McKay. They have three daughters and one son.

Areas of Practice:

  • Animal Bites - Plaintiff
  • Apparel
  • Assault & Battery - Plaintiff
  • Chemicals & Cosmetics
  • Class Actions
  • Complex Litigation
  • Dental Malpractice
  • Federal Appellate Practice
  • Federal Trial Practice
  • Machinery & Tools
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Medical Products & Devices
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents - Plaintiff
  • Motor Vehicle Defects
  • Pharmaceutical Products
  • Police Misconduct
  • Premises Liability - Plaintiff
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Slip and Fall - Plaintiff
  • State Appellate Practice
  • State Trial Practice
  • US Supreme Court
  • Wrongful Death - Plaintiff

Bar Admissions:


Representative Cases:

  • State v. Streight, 108 P.3d 690 (Utah 2004)
  • Harding v. Bell, 57 P.3d 1093 (Utah 2002)
  • Toone v. Weber Co., 57 P.3d 1079 (Utah 2002)
  • Houghton v. Dept. of Health, 57 P.3d 1067 (Utah 2002)
  • Young v. Salt Lake School District, 52 P.3d 1230 (Utah 2002)
  • Wallace v. Estate of Jackson, 972 P.2d 466 (Utah 1998)
  • Cruz v. Middlekauff Lincoln-Mercury, 909 P.2d 1252 (Utah 1996)
  • USF&G v. Sandt, 854 P.2d 519 (Utah 1993)
  • Dawson v. Dawson, 841 P.2d 749 (Utah App. 1992)
  • Mounteer v. Utah Power & Light, 823 P.2d 1055, 773 P.2d 405 (   )
  • Oneyeabor v. Pro Roofing. Inc., 787 P.2d 525 (Utah 1990)
  • Gardner v. Edward Gardner Plumbing & Heating Inc., 693 P.2d 678 (Utah 1984)
  • David v. Industrial Commission, 649 P.2d 82 (Utah 1982)
  • Wilde v. Mid-Century Ins. Co., 635 P.2d 417 (Utah 1981)
  • Tuttle v. Henderson, 628 P.2d 1275 (Utah 1981)
  • Mallory Engineering, Inc. v. Ted R. Brown & Associates, 618 P.2d 1004 (Utah 1980)
  • Ross v. Ross, 592 P.2d 600 (Utah 1979)

Honors and Awards:

  • Utah State Bar - Lawyer of the Year, 2011.
  • Utah Association of Justice - Bulldog Award, 2010.
  • NAACP Civil Rights Worker of the Year - 1986.
  • Civil Rights Worker of the Year, NAACP, 1986

Professional Associations and Memberships:


    • German


    • "Effectively Preparing Your Client and Taking and Defending Depositions", Utah Trial Lawyers Association, May 11, 2005
    • "Controversies in Neuropsychology - What Attorneys Need to Know", Utah Trial Lawyers Association and Brain Injury Association of Utah, March 4, 2005
    • "The Continuing Problem of Coaching in Depositions", Utah Trial Lawyers Association, December 2, 2004
    • "When Opposing Counsel Represents Fact Witnesses During Discovery: A Measured and Ethical Response", Utah Trial Lawyers Association, December 2, 2004
    • "HIPAA Roadblocks: Navigating Phony Obstructions to Obtaining Medical Records", Utah Trial Lawyers Association, December 2, 2004
    • "Spoliation Update: Legal Theories and Ethical Issues", Utah Trial Lawyers Association, December 2, 2004
    • "Using Before and After Witnesses to Prove Your Case", Utah Trial Lawyers Association and Brain Injury Association of Utah, February 6, 2004
    • "Spoliation: New Strategies for an Old Ethical Problem", The Utah Trial Lawyers Association, December 4, 2003
    • "Abusive Deposition Objections: How To Ethically Even the Playing Field", The Utah Trial Lawyers Association, December 4, 2003
    • "Preparation and Trial of the Traumatic Brain Injury Case", Idaho Trial Lawyers Association, October 10, 2003
    • "Strategies for Combating Dirty Tricks - Analysis, Responses and Solutions", Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, April 10, 2003
    • "Case Evaluation, Acceptance or Rejection of the TBI Case & Redial Preparation", Utah Trial Lawyers Association and Brain Injury Association of Utah, March 28, 2003
    • "Handling the Wrongful Death Case in Utah - The Plaintiffs Perspective", Loran Education Services, April 5, 2002
    • "The Rule 35 Examination in TBI Cases" and "Defense Tactics in TBI Cases", Utah Trial Lawyers Association and Brain Injury Association of Utah, March 15, 2002
    • "Creative Use of PowerPoint in Your TBI Case", Utah Trial Lawyers Association and Brain Injury Association of Utah, February 2, 2001