Ryan is passionate about helping clients resolve employment and professional liability matters. He enjoys building lasting relationships with his clients and employs a proactive approach that seeks to minimize risk before litigation arises. When litigation is unavoidable, Ryan is skilled in representing clients before state and federal administrative agencies, state courts, federal courts, appellate courts and professional administrative or licensing boards.

Ryan has litigated numerous cases as lead counsel to favorable* jury verdicts and appellate decisions in North Carolina.  20 years of experience has sharpened Ryan’s litigation and counseling skills. His experience and results are described below.

Defense of Employers

Ryan’s employment practice includes representation of companies and human resource managers against claims of wrongful termination, retaliation, alleged violations of Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA, and REDA (other claims under EPLI policies). He has been successful* in obtaining favorable results for clients in administrative hearings before the EEOC, Employment Security Commission (now the Department of Commerce, Division of Employment Security), the Department of Labor, and Office of Administrative Hearings. In addition to representing clients in litigation, Ryan assists human resources professionals in companies, colleges and municipalities with handling discipline, termination and other various employment issues by focusing on proactive measures that organizations can put in place to resolve conflicts and potential claims before costly litigation arises.

Defense of Professionals

Ryan also defends licensed professionals (accountants, appraisers, attorneys, chiropractors, collection agencies, dentists, insurance agents/brokers, and real estate agents/brokers) against claims of professional negligence and malpractice made by former clients in all North Carolina Courts and before professional licensing or administrative boards such as North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners, North Carolina State Board of Certified Public Accountant Examiners, North Carolina Real Estate Commission, North Carolina Appraisal Board, and the North Carolina Board of Chiropractic Examiners. While defending these professionals, Ryan assists them with handling the personal difficulties and frustrations that arise from these claims.

Defense of Municipalities

Ryan has extensive experience in representing municipalities in employment matters and also in litigation related to ordinances and land use issues.  He is experienced in working with municipal officials, board members and their local counsel in resolving or litigating issues if necessary.

*Cases or matters referenced do not represent the attorney’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.

Representative Matters

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.

Employment Litigation Results

  • Ryan and Meredith Fitzgibbon Hamilton obtained summary judgment in the employer’s favor dismissing claims of age discrimination under the ADEA in the Western District of North Carolina Federal Court.  The court found the employer had a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the termination of the employee and therefore, the claim for age discrimination should be dismissed.  (2019).
  • Obtained summary judgment in a State Personnel Act claim arising out of an alleged wrongful termination and breach of contract.  Plaintiff failed to show that he was entitled to the protections of the State Personnel Act as he had not been employed for the requisite amount of time or otherwise avail himself of the State Personnel Act. (2015)
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a college in the Middle District of North Carolina dismissing plaintiff’s Title VII claims of sexual harassment.  Plaintiff alleged that certain actions of her supervisor, including winking and leaning over her desk created a hostile work environment.  The Court rejected her claims and held that the actions of the supervisor even taken as true did not amount to the creation of a hostile work environment. (2011)
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a County Board of Elections in the Eastern District of North Carolina as to all plaintiff’s claims under Title VII for failure to promote based on alleged discrimination of race, gender and retaliation.  Plaintiff had worked at the Board of Elections for over twenty years and when the Director of Board of Elections position opened she applied and a person of a different race was hired. (2010)
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a county in the Middle District of North Carolina dismissing plaintiff’s Title VII claims for sexual harassment and state claims of wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Plaintiff failed to file her federal claims within the time prescribed by the required administrative remedies through the EEOC and, as such, her claims were dismissed. (2006)
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a housing authority in the Western District of North Carolina dismissing plaintiff’s Title VII claims of racial discrimination, and state law claims under the Retaliatory Discharge Act and negligent hiring and retention.  Plaintiff claimed that certain offensive words related to his race which were used sporadically resulted in a hostile work environment.  Plaintiff failed to show that the alleged racial actions of employer were severe and pervasive and the Court accepted the legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for plaintiffs’ termination. (2002)
Professional Liability Results
  • Obtained dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of Plaintiff homebuilder’s claim for malpractice against client appraiser.  Plaintiff alleged appraiser’s inflated appraisal induced him to go forward with the construction of a home.  The Court held that the appraiser only had a duty to the bank who had hired the appraiser to perform an appraisal to be used in a lending decision regarding Plaintiff. (2016)
  • Obtained dismissal of investigation by the Board of CPA Examiners into client accountant’s actions in uncovering fraud by client’s employees.  The Board dismissed the action finding no wrongdoing on the part of Ryan’s accountant client. (2016)
  • Obtained dismissal of a bank’s Third-Party Complaint seeking contribution and indemnity against client law firm.  The client attorney had obtained a settlement for its client and received its percentage of the proceeds pursuant to a fee agreement.  The bank then sought to recover a portion of the fee claiming that it had an equitable lien on the proceeds of the suit because the bank was a lienholder and the underlying litigation resulted in the payment of damages to the property that was subject to the lien.  (2015)
  • Obtained dismissal pursuant to 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure of loan servicer’s claim for legal malpractice against client attorney who allegedly performed original closing of the loan that had been assigned to the loan servicer.  The Court held that the loan servicer did not have standing to file a suit against the client attorney for legal malpractice, and dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.  The Court also noted it did not believe that a loan servicer, who was not a client of the attorney, could sue the client for legal malpractice under state law. (2015)
  • Obtained a dismissal of a Board complaint against client dentist before the North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners.  Complainant alleged that client dentist failed to provide proper follow up care and instructions.  After a hearing before the Board, the Board dismissed complainant’s claims. (2014)
  • Obtained a pretrial voluntary dismissal from plaintiff Title Insurance Company for claims of legal malpractice against client attorney.  Ryan discovered that the co-defendant borrower had attempted to commit fraud by providing a loan number to her closing attorney that did not correspond to the property she was refinancing.  The co-defendant borrower had two loans on two different properties for an identical amount (taken out at the same time) with the same bank and after she presented a loan number to the property uninvolved with the refinance and it was paid off, she sold the unencumbered property free and clear.  The Title Insurance Company determined that the elaborate scheme would not have been discovered by any attorney and that the standard of care for the real estate closing was not breached. (2013)
  • Obtained dismissal of a complaint against client chiropractor before the Board of Chiropractic Examiners.  Complainant alleged client chiropractor had injured her through a course of treatment.  After a full hearing, the Board dismissed claims against the chiropractor. (2012)

Articles, Presentations, and Publications

  • Presented “Oops! Now What? Managing Claims Repair and Protecting a Client’s Reputation” at the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Professional Liability Conference in New York City on 12/5/19
  • Presented “Put into Practice: Risk Management Tips for Attorneys” at the Lawyers’ Mutual Insurance Company’s Annual Roadshow in Clemmons (10/29/2019), Asheville (10/30/19), Greensboro (10/31/19), and Concord (11/22/19)
  • Presented “Changing Interpretation of the ‘Legitimate Non-Discriminatory Reasons’ for Termination in Employment Law” at the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys Fall Conference in Greensboro on 10/4/19
  • Presented “Human Resources Law: What You Need to Know Now (Discrimination & Harassment)” on behalf of National Business Institute in Charlotte on 9/24/19
  • Presented “Shifting Landscapes: Adapting Your Firm To Emerging Threats” on behalf of E&O carrier CNA to attorney insureds in Charlotte on 8/27/19
  • Presentation for CEU Institute 8/2017:  “Ahead of the Curve:  Ethical Risk Management for Lawyers”
  • Presentation for Counsel on Litigation Management entitled “Introduction to Legal Malpractice,” June 8th, Charlotte, NC
  • Bar Grievance? Malpractice Claim? 8 Actions to Help Weather the Storm, March 24, 2015, LinkedIn
  • What Professionals Can Learn from National Championship Coaches’ Post-Game Comments, April 16, 2015, LinkedIn
  • Presentation for CEU Institute 8/2015:  “Competitive Edge: Law Practice Risk Management/Conflict of Interest”
  • “Civil Conspiracy: Lawyers’ Vicarious Liability for Clients’ Torts,” January 2011, For The Defense
  • “Consequences of Employees Use of Social Networking Sites that Every Employer Should Consider” – Catawba Valley SHRM and City of Newton,  2009
  • “Revisions to the Americans with Disabilities Act effective January 1, 2009,” North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys Employment Law Seminar, 2009
  • “North Carolina Retaliatory Discharge Act,” Risk and Insurance Management Society seminar presentation, 2008

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In May 2020, Legal Aid of North Carolina launched an effort to help North Carolinians who were struggling to pay rent and were facing eviction. Legal Aid paired available emergency financial support with a search for volunteer attorneys from across the state who could help negotiate past and future payments with landlords.… Read More


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DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Ryan Bolick, a Partner at Cranfill Sumner LLP (Cranfill Sumner), was featured in the April edition of For the Defense. Ryan’s article, “Considerations for Pre-Suit Resolution of Professional Liability Claims,” examines creative ways to handle professional liability claims while avoiding lawsuits and protecting a client’s reputation.  Ryan presented this topic along with Roseanne DeBellis of Great American Insurance Company and Mark Scruggs of NC Lawyers Mutual, at the DRI Professional Liability Conference in NYC in December 2019. … Read More


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Cranfill Sumner LLP’s (Cranfill Sumner) Charlotte office hosted a delegation of 27 attorneys from the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) on March 19.  The IVLP is a short-term, international exchange program for professionals that provides nearly 5,000 professionals each year with the opportunity to learn from their colleagues in a specific field in the United States.… Read More