Robert is a litigator in high-stakes matters concerning land and government. Robert has unique experience in complex and high-value real estate and regulatory disputes, defense of real estate attorneys and other real estate professionals in liability and regulatory matters, multi-faceted environmental rulemaking and permitting in the emerging 1,4-dioxane regulatory landscape, and in navigating rights, responsibilities, and authority in matters of property and of governmental regulation.

REAL ESTATE LITIGATION AND COMMERCIAL TRANSACTIONS

Robert has represented investors, commercial developers, real estate industry professionals (such as attorneys, brokers, surveyors, and appraisers), and parties to commercial real estate transactions, both as a courtroom litigator and, where licensure and regulatory discipline are at issue for his clients, as counsel before regulatory boards.  Robert’s practice as a real estate litigator encompasses disputes throughout the life cycle of the real estate industry, where he has represented clients in disputes over multi-million-dollar purchase and sale transactions; liability and disciplinary claims against industry professionals; disputes over property rights (including water or coastline rights); disputes over liability following land development; and in navigating issues in title and title insurance that can appear even into the late stages of property ownership. Robert’s legal arguments on mortgages have also been adopted by the North Carolina Court of Appeals, resulting in new law cited as authority by local and national legal treatises such as Strong’s N.C. Index and Corpus Juris Secundum.

Robert’s work as a litigator and regulatory counsel in the real estate industry is bolstered by his experience as a transactional attorney in commercial real estate deals.  In addition to his work as a litigator, Robert also represents select clients as buyers or sellers in commercial real estate transactions, in which practice he has helped his clients purchase, sell, and finance commercial real estate in many counties across North Carolina.

GOVERNMENTAL REGULATION

Robert has unique experience advising clients on complex regulatory matters concerning novel questions under federal and state law.  He advises clients on permitting and agency rulemaking, represents clients before the Office of Administrative Hearings and the North Carolina Rules Review Commission, and has submitted written arguments to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality concerning the Department’s permitting activity in novel regulatory spheres.  Robert has also negotiated at the agency head leadership level at the Department of Environmental Quality about clients’ regulatory and permitting disputes and has liaised with the highest levels of leadership at the North Carolina General Assembly concerning the regulation of forever chemicals.

Robert’s work includes navigating litigation and administrative disputes over emerging contaminants and the “forever chemical” regulation (e.g., the emerging 1,4-dioxane regulatory landscape), where he litigates in key rulemaking and adjudication proceedings concerning the future of North Carolina’s 1,4-dioxane regulation.  Robert also has experience advising clients on complex CAMA permitting issues, and in evaluating governmental regulation of property and businesses involving agencies ranging from the United States Forest Service to the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission and Department of Health and Human Services.  Robert regularly monitors certain agency rulemaking efforts and notable litigation concerning agency authority at the State and Federal levels, including at the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of North Carolina, in ongoing efforts to keep his clients abreast of regulatory changes.

CREDITORS’ RIGHTS AND BANKRUPTCY

Robert maintains a creditors’ rights practice where he has special experience in advising creditors in complex bankruptcies with national and international reaches, and in analyzing and arguing the intersection of state property law and federal bankruptcy law when his clients’ recoveries are at risk.  Robert also assists clients with recovering losses from debtors prior to a debtor’s bankruptcy, in which regard he assists clients in asserting their claims against debtors, and in collecting on judgments by reaching property rights beyond the assets that a debtor may immediately have available at hand. .

CLIENT SERVICE

Robert works closely with transaction counsel, in-house counsel, and the client to provide efficient advice and counsel focused on his clients’ ultimate outcomes. He balances zealous advocacy with clear, effective presentation, and when matters turn complex Robert takes pride in close analysis of legal and factual issues. He has counseled clients and litigated cases in North Carolina’s administrative, district, superior, and appellate courts; in the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and all of North Carolina’s federal district courts; in select North Carolina bankruptcy courts; and in matters with State regulators and before the North Carolina Rules Review Commission.

Robert maintains an AV rating with Martindale Hubbell, a prestigious peer review rating that recognizes his professional excellence for legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards.

EDUCATION AND PRIOR EXPERIENCE

Robert formerly practiced in commercial litigation and commercial real estate transactions (both for buyers and sellers) in Greensboro, North Carolina. A Raleigh native, Robert earned undergraduate degrees in philosophy and history at NC State University before earning a master’s in philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Robert studied law at the University of North Carolina, where he graduated with honors after serving on the First Amendment Law Review and the Holderness Moot Court’s international law team.

Results

  • Argued to the North Carolina Rules Review Commission in opposition to proposed 1,4-dioxane rulemaking by the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, on grounds thereafter adopted by the North Carolina Rules Review Commission in its objection to the proposed rules.
  • Earned dismissal of a winning bidder’s appeal in a foreclosure proceeding, arguing that the bidder’s rights in a foreclosure proceeding do not include the right to force the sale of the underlying property once borrower and lender reinstate the loan.
  • Earned dismissal of counterclaims and third-party complaints by a real estate seller, in a lawsuit based on the seller’s breach of a contract to convey commercial property.
  • Earned dismissal of all claims against an HVAC manufacturer in a lawsuit based on alleged defects in HVAC units throughout a large apartment complex.
  • Obtained voluntary dismissal from plaintiffs in underground utility case by leveraging jurisdictional, expert witness, and evidentiary issues to obtain a favorable outcome for client.
  • Earned dismissal of substantial counterclaims by a commercial tenant in a lease dispute, leading to a favorable outcome at mediation.

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