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Robert H. Griffin (Rob) is the Chair of the firm’s Trucking and Commercial Transportation Practice Group, and also co-Chair of the General Liability Litigation Practice Group. Rob has defended a wide variety of civil cases since 1986, and has been a member of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog since 1990. Rob now concentrates his practice in the defense of trucking and commercial transportation claims and lawsuits, including the investigation and coordination of investigations of such accidents prior to suit being filed. He also defends a variety of other types of cases involving serious or catastrophic injuries and wrongful death.
Rob also has in depth experience in handling lawsuits, disputes and inquiries regarding insurance coverage, both commercial and personal. He is recognized as one of the leading authorities in North Carolina in the area of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Rob has litigated hundreds of these cases in his career, and has, on numerous occasions, spoken and written on these issues.
In his career, Rob has tried dozens of jury trials, and has also defended many bench trials and arbitrations. His clients in these trials have included major corporations, trucking companies, bus companies, municipalities/governmental entities, insurance carriers, and individuals. Rob has successfully defended numerous cases on appeal before the N.C. Supreme Court and the N.C. Court of Appeals. He has also obtained defense verdicts in numerous jury trials in motor vehicle, trucking and commercial transportation suits.
The firm’s General Liability Litigation Section and the Trucking & Commercial Transportation Section (both of which are chaired by Rob) are active in providing continuing education for our clients and prospective clients. Rob has led and participated in many programs and seminars given on location and tailored specifically to the clients’ needs, including substantive legal issues, claims handling, prevention of accidents and litigation, document retention, etc.
Rob also maintains an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell, the most prestigious peer review rating that recognizes attorneys who have reached the highest levels of skill and integrity.
Rob and his wife, Charlotte, are long-time residents of Raleigh, and have three sons, Zack & Davis (twins born in 1992) and Sam (1995). They are very involved members of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, where Rob has served as an elected member of the Vestry and as chair/member of numerous committees and programs. Between work, Church, and coaching/cheering his sons in soccer, basketball, and baseball, Rob also finds (some) time for running, reading, and the occasional round of golf.
Cases or matters referenced do not represent the lawyer’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results.
- Successfully defended a national propane manufacturer in a Superior Court jury trial involving amputation of plaintiff’s leg.
- Obtained a defense verdict in a 3 week wrongful death jury trial against a tractor-trailer company. Plaintiff sought over $5.4 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury found no negligence by our client.
- Won a jury verdict in a declaratory judgment action brought by our client, an insurance carrier. The case involved interpretation of insuring language and exclusions in our client’s policy.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of our client, a major rental car company in a wrongful death action.
- Won a defense verdict in favor of our client, an uninsured motorist carrier. The verdict was later appealed and affirmed by the N.C. Court of Appeals. That decision was a case of first impression, setting precedent in N.C. in the area of UM stacking and leading to the amendment of the UM statute by the N.C. General Assembly.
- Defended a local dealership of a worldwide automobile company, and obtained partial summary judgment and dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages. The decision was appealed, and dismissal was affirmed by the N.C. Court of Appeals. The case set precedent in N.C. by establishing that the dismissal of punitive damages was an interlocutory order which could not be appealed until the entire case was concluded.
- Obtained the dismissal of all claims against a major construction company arising out of the death of a subcontractor’s employee during construction of a portion of Duke University Medical Center. The case was appealed and the decision affirmed by the N.C. Court of Appeals, and set new precedent in the area of tort liability in the relationship between general contractors and the employees of subcontractors.
Articles, Presentations, and Publications
- The Harmonie Group 2012 Spring Transportation Conference, Event Organizer
- “Claims Evaluation,” Accident Evidence Evaluation Session, The Harmonie Group Spring Transportation Conference, 2012
- “Working Together: Cost-Efficiency in Managing Litigation and Moving Cases Forward,” The Harmonie Transportation Seminar, 2011 & 2012
- “Common Evidentiary Issues,” Arkansas Trucking Seminar, 2011
- Presenter – “In Search of a Fair Shake: Bifurcation of Civil Trials in Trucking Cases,” The Harmonie Group Transportation Seminar in Nashville, TN and in Atlanta, GA, 2010
- Presenter – “Preparing the Truck Driver for Deposition,” The Harmonie Group Transportation Seminar in Phoenix, AZ and in Dallas, TX, 2009
- “Preparing and Presenting Your Damages Case,” Wake Forest University School of Law – Civil Trial Practice Seminar, 2008
- Presenter – “High-Low Arbitration,” The Harmonie Group Trucking and Transportation Industry Seminar, 2006 & 2008
- “Motions in Limine/Jury Selection,” N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys, 2005
- “Trucking Law and Cases in North Carolina,” Ryder Trucks, 2005
- “Recent Case Law and Developments in General Liability Litigation,” CSH Seminar 2003, 2005
- “Jury Selection,” N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys, 2003
- “A Walk Through a Defense Case,” N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys Young Lawyers Advocacy Skills Seminar, 2003
- “Damages: Personal Injury, Economic Loss, and Property Damage,” Wake Forest University, 2002
- “Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Law in North Carolina,” National Business Institute, 2002
- “Nuts and Bolts of a Defense Case,” N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys Rookie Seminar, 2002
- “The Interplay Between Workers Compensation Liens and UM/UIM Coverage,” CSH Seminar, 2002
- Case Presentation, Southeastern Freight Lines Claims Litigation Partnership Conference, 2000
- “Insurance Coverage and Policy Issues,” CSH Seminar, 1997
- “Anatomy of a Closed Head Injury Case: Defense Perspective,” N.C. Bar Association, 1994
Professional, Civic and Community Activities
- The Harmonie Group Trucking/Transportation Committee, Chair: 2012-2013; Vice-Chair: 2011 – 2012
- Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), Member
- Defense Research Institute (DRI) Trucking Law Committee Member
- Harmonie Group Transportation Committee Member
- N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys, Board of Directors: 2003 – 2006
- N.C. Bar Association Litigation Section, Executive Council: 2001 – 2004
- N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys Marketing and Development Committee, Chair: 2005 – 2006; Member: 2001- 2002
- Durham County Young Lawyers Division, President: 1989 – 1990; Vice-President: 1988 – 1989; Secretary: 1987 – 1988
- Defense Research Institute, Member
- St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, Vestry: 1998 – 2000; Stewardship Chair: 2001; Youth Committee Chair: 2005 – 2006; Newcomers Committee; Parish Retreat Committee; Technology Committee; Youth Christian Education Committee; Parish Discernment Committee
- St. Michael’s Parish Day School Board of Directors: 1998 – 2000
- Duke University Medical Center Melanoma Support Group: 1996 – 1997
- Maintains an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell