Stephanie provides thoughtful and tailored advice to clients in the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries and serves as the chair for the firm’s Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Practice Group.  Her practice focuses on serving retailers, business owners and operators, franchises, manufacturers, and distributors in premises liability matters, product liability actions, and business disputes.  Stephanie’s experience includes handling slip or trip and fall accidents, falling merchandise cases, negligent security claims, breach of contract and warranty actions, food liability cases, and commercial disputes, to name a few.

Stephanie also serves as vice chair for the firm’s Premises Liability Practice Group.  Her experience with premises liability cases includes not only representing her retail and hospitality clients, but representing housing authorities across the state and defending them against negligent security claims.

Whether resolving a case amicably through pre-suit mediation, vigorously defending a case through trial, or providing effective counsel on ways to limit and manage risks, Stephanie protects her clients’ interests and collaborates with them to understand and help achieve their goals.

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.

  • As co-counsel, successfully defended a housing authority in a case involving the death of a resident of a high rise facility for the elderly, which was alleged to have resulted from a criminal assault and inadequate security.
  • Obtained partial summary judgment for a retailer and owner of the retail company in a products liability case where Plaintiff fell from his wheelchair and made claims for negligence and breach of warranty against the manufacturer, retailer, and owner of the retail company.
  • In a commercial litigation case, obtained transfer of venue from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, pursuant to a forum selection clause between the parties.
  • At trial, obtained a “no negligence” verdict from the jury in a motor vehicle negligence case in Wake County.
  • Obtained summary judgment for the owner of a hotel in a premises liability case where Plaintiff alleged that she slipped on an area of wet carpet in her hotel room.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a defamation and misrepresentation case filed by a radiologist against an orthopedic surgeon, where Plaintiff radiologist contended that statements allegedly made by the Defendant orthopedic surgeon resulted in a lawsuit being filed against him for medical malpractice and fraud.
  • Obtained partial summary judgment for a housing authority in a wrongful death case where Plaintiff was seeking punitive damages and the housing authority was entitled to immunity.
  • As co-counsel, successfully defended a housing authority in a wrongful death case where an elderly resident of one of the housing authority properties was strangled to death in her apartment by a fellow resident.  Issues in the case included allegations of improper screening, admission, and retention of residents by the housing authority.  After a two week jury trial, the Plaintiff asked the jury to award over $10 million in compensatory damages.  The jury returned with a verdict of $132,000.

Articles, Presentations, and Publications

  • “Menu Labeling Update,” DRI Products Liability Seminar, February 2018
  • “Peeling Back the Label: Current Trends in False Labeling Claims,” In-House Defense Quarterly, Spring 2018
  • “Current Trends in Handling False Labeling Claims,” DRI Retail and Hospitality Litigation Seminar, May 2017 (panel moderator)
  • “Affordable Care Act:  Implications and Opportunities,” Harmonie Next Generation Cutting Edge Litigation Topics Seminar, November 2015, August 2016
  • “Legal Implications of Effective & Proper Use of Premises Camera Surveillance,” The Harmonie Group, Spring Conference (2016)
  • Women Rainmakers – Roadmap to Success, Contributing Author, DRI (2014)
  • Food Liability Claims & Litigation, The Harmonie Group, Fall Conference (2013) – manuscript
  • Franchisor Liability Issues, The Harmonie Group (authored section on NC franchisor liability, 2013)
  • “Hot Topics and Trends in the Retail Industry:  Seven Minute Drill” – DRI Retail & Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar 2012


Most Recent Posts


CSH Law Attorneys Assist in Bar Exam Interview Sessions

Several Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law) attorneys assisted with interviews for the February 2019 bar exam session for the North Carolina Board of Law Examiners. CSH Law is committed to giving back to the legal community and is proud to support the NC State Bar admissions process.… Read More


CSH Law Offices Host Dress for Success Clothing Drives

Throughout the month of April, the offices of Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP are hosting clothing and accessories drives to benefit Dress for Success. Dress for Success provides a network of support, professional attire and developmental tools to help women become financially independent and succeed in work and life.… Read More


CSH Law Attorneys Published in DRI Publication

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP (CSH Law) attorneys were recently featured in the Spring 2018 edition of In-House Defense Quarterly. The article, “Current Trends in Handling False Labeling Claims,” discusses legal issues surrounding labeling of food items.… Read More


Stephanie Poley to Address DRI Product Liability Seminar

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Stephanie Gaston Poley, Chair of the Retail, Restaurant and Hospitality Practice Group at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP, will speak at the DRI Product Liability Seminar on Feb. 9.  Stephanie and Richard Heller, General Counsel for Legal Sea Foods, will present “Menu Labeling Rules: What’s New and Where Will We Go From Here?”… Read More


Stephanie Gaston Poley Publishes Retail & Hospitality Article in DRI For the Defense

DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar

Stephanie Gaston Poley, Chair of the Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Practice Group at Cranfill Sumner & Hartzog LLP, was recently published in the July 2017 edition of For the Defense. Stephanie’s article “Seven Years of Growth” gave a recap of the 2017 Retail and Hospitality Seminar and the committee’s plans for the upcoming Annual Meeting in Chicago.… Read More


CSH Law Attorneys to Present at Harmonie Conference

Keyboard with an "information" button instead of "enter" button

Stephanie Gaston Poley and Dan Katzenbach will appear as featured speakers at the Construction & Cutting Edge Litigation Topics Seminar presented by the Harmonie Group. The event is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Embassy Suites Atlanta-Perimeter.… Read More


Tips for Hiring Your Seasonal Help


Stephanie Gaston Poley and Virginia Wooten are featured in the July 2016 edition of At Your Service, the magazine for the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association. Their article, “Tips for Hiring Your Seasonal Help,” explains the legal issues that must be considered when hiring seasonal staff. … Read More