Robert is an appellate advocate and trial lawyer who helps clients design and pursue winning trial court and appellate strategies in federal and state courts across the nation.
Robert has extensive argument and briefing experience before the Supreme Court of Virginia, at both the petition and merits stages, and regularly advises corporate and individual clients on appeals before the Supreme Court of Virginia. To date, Robert has worked on over 200 appeals before the Supreme Court of Virginia. Robert’s experience before the Supreme Court of Virginia encompasses all aspects of Virginia law, including constitutional questions, tax matters involving both federal and state tax laws, issues of statutory interpretation, complex breach of contract and financial matters, expert admissibility and discovery issues, and tort and products liability matters.
Robert provided advice and guidance to the General Assembly of Virginia regarding the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals of Virginia. Since the expansion of the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals in 2022, Robert has briefed and argued multiple cases in the Court of Appeals and now regularly advises clients on trial and appellate strategies in light of the new appellate framework in Virginia.
In addition to his extensive experience before the Supreme Court of Virginia and Court of Appeals of Virginia, Robert has authored certiorari, merits, and amicus briefs in the Supreme Court of the United States in appeals involving the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. Robert also has argued before the Fourth Circuit, and has briefed appeals in the Third, Fourth, and Federal Circuits.
Robert was a law clerk for the Honorable Donald W. Lemons of the Supreme Court of Virginia from 2004-2006. During law school Robert interned for the Honorable James R. Spencer of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. While earning his law degree, he was honored as a member of the Order of Barristers.
Prior to law school, Robert served as the assistant to the president at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, and as the research assistant to the executive director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. As an undergraduate, he received the Edwin B. Kyle Award.
Cases that Robert has either briefed or argued include:
- In re Application of E. Ohio Gas Co., Slip Opinion No. 2023-Ohio-3289 (Supreme Court of Ohio Sept. 20, 2023) (regarding a challenge to an alternative rate-making plan adopted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio)
- Morgan v. Board of Supervisors, 883 S.E.2d 131 (Va. 2023) (regarding the pleading standard to satisfy the Friends of the Rappahannock test for standing in a land-use case challenging the zoning approval of a company’s distribution center)
- Commonwealth v. 1887 Holdings, Inc., 77 Va. App. 653 (2023) (regarding a manufacturer’s ability to elect the apportionment method of taxation in an amended return)
- of Isle of Wight v. Int’l Paper Co., 881 S.E.2d 776 (Va. 2022) (regarding whether a locality’s tax and retention grant scheme violated the Constitution of Virginia)
- Lee v. Belvac Prod. Mach., Inc., 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 27675 (4th Cir. Oct. 4, 2022) (regarding a claim of wage discrimination)
- Kittrell v. Fowler, 301 Va. 25 (2022) (regarding an interlocutory appeal challenging the standing of remainder beneficiaries)
- Ehrhardt v. SustainedMED, LLC, 2021 Va. LEXIS 29 (Apr. 1, 2021) (regarding the construction and interpretation of a stock purchase agreement and the award of attorney’s fees)
- Coon v. Fannie Mae, No. 19-1791, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 6810, 2021 WL 868919 (4th Cir. Mar. 9, 2021) (regarding an alleged breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing)
- Sae Han Sheet Co. v. Eastman Performance Films, LLC, 829 Fed. Appx. 601 (4th Cir. Nov. 17, 2020) (regarding dismissal for failing to abide by the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia)
- Int’l Paper Co. v. Cty. of Isle of Wight, 299 Va. 150, 847 S.E.2d 507 (2020) (regarding the requirement for uniformity in taxation under the Constitution of Virginia)
- Wal-Mart Stores East, LP v. State Corp. Comm’n, 299 Va. 57, 844 S.E.2d 676 (2020) (regarding the discretion given by the General Assembly to the State Corporation Commission to grant or deny retail-choice petitions)
- Smith v. Bank of America, N.A., Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 191559 (Dec. 10, 2020) (regarding whether a trial court’s abuse of discretion during a plea in bar hearing was harmless)
- Day v. MCC Acquisition, LC, 299 Va. 199, 848 S.E.2d 800 (2020) (regarding the construction of stock purchase agreement in the context of an interpleader action)
- Llewellyn v. White, 297 Va. 588, 831 S.E.2d 494 (2019) (regarding recovery pursuant to an underinsured motorist policy)
- Meade v. Bank of America, N.A., Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 180244, 2018 Va. Unpub. LEXIS 26 (Nov. 29, 2018) (regarding the construction of a deed in trust at a plea in bar hearing)
- Sierra Club v. State Corporation Commission, Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 171550, 2018 Va. Unpub. LEXIS 18 (Aug. 9, 2018) (regarding the construction of contracts between energy companies and the interpretation of the Code of Virginia and the Commission’s rules regarding Affiliates Act review)
- Barr v. Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, 295 Va. 522, 815 S.E.2d 783 (2018) (regarding the construction of the Constitution of Virginia and the Code of Virginia)
- Old Dominion Comm. for Fair Util. Rates v. State Corp. Comm’n, Supreme Court of Virginia Record Nos. 161519, 161520, and 161521, 2017 Va. LEXIS 136 (Sept. 14, 2017) (regarding the constitutionality of Code of Virginia § 56-585.1:1)
- Judicial Inquiry & Review Comm’n v. Bumgardner, 293 Va. 588, 801 S.E.2d 406 (July 20, 2017) (regarding the scope of permissible political conduct under Virginia’s Canons of Judicial Conduct)
- Palmer v. Atlantic Coast Pipeline, LLC, 293 Va. 573, 801 S.E.2d 414 (July 13, 2017); and Chaffins v. Atl. Coast Pipeline, LLC, 293 Va. 564, 801 S.E.2d 189 (July 13, 2017) (regarding the construction of Article I, § 11 of the Constitution of Virginia, and the interpretation and application Code § 56-49.01)
- Center for Public Integrity v. TitleMax of Virginia, Inc., Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 161108 (July 6, 2017) (unpublished order) (regarding the State Corporation Commission’s interpretation and application of Code § 6.2-101)
- Bristol University v. Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, No. 16-1637, 691 Fed. Appx. 737, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 10295 (4th Cir. June 9, 2017) (regarding the district court’s interpretation and application of accreditation standards and review of administrative proceedings)
- Shareholder Representative Servs., LLC v. Airbus Ams., Inc., 292 Va. 682, 791 S.E.2d 724 (Oct. 27, 2016) (regarding the construction and application of a multi-million dollar merger agreement)
- Andrews v. Richmond Redevelopment & Hous. Auth., 292 Va. 79, 787 S.E.2d 96 (June 2, 2016) (regarding an employment termination case, and the construction and application of Code § 15.2-1507 and Code § 2.2-3006)
- Holiday Motor Corp. v. Walters, 292 Va. 461, 790 S.E.2d 447, CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P19907 (Sept. 8, 2016) (regarding the admissibility of expert testimony and the duty owed by automobile manufacturers)
- BASF Corp. v. State Corp. Comm’n, 289 Va. 375, 770 S.E.2d 458 (April 16, 2015) (regarding the State Corporation Commission’s interpretation and application of Code § 56-46.1(F))
- Hyundai Motor Co. v. Duncan, 289 Va. 147, 766 S.E.2d 893, CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P19 (Jan. 8, 2015) (regarding the admissibility of expert testimony)
- RGR, LLC v. Settle, 288 Va. 260, 764 S.E.2d 8 (Oct. 31, 2014) (regarding the duty owed by landowners to those passing by on adjacent property)
- Funkhouser v. Ford Motor Co., 285 Va. 272, 736 S.E.2d 309, CCH Prod. Liab. Rep. P19,003 (Jan. 10, 2013) (regarding the admissibility of expert testimony)
- United States v. Stevens, 559 U.S. 460 (2010) (regarding whether 18 U.S.C. § 48 violates the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment)
- Horticultural Supply Co. v. The Scotts Company, No. 09-1231, 2010 WL 729498 (3d Cir. Mar. 4, 2010) (regarding a purported vertical conspiracy allegedly in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act)
- Caperton v. Massey Coal Co., 556 U.S. 868 (2009) (regarding whether a judge’s failure to recuse himself violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment)
- Spivey v. Bass, Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 080869 (Apr. 3, 2009 & June 12, 2009) (appointed by the Supreme Court of Virginia to represent an inmate in a declaratory judgment action that was granted merits review)
- Represented a university as plaintiff in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond in civil litigation alleging violations of Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act and other violations of Virginia law.
- Defense of financial institution against alleged violations of Virginia’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County.
- Defense of private equity firm in a putative antitrust class action alleging Section 1 violations in joint bidding for the acquisition of public companies in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
- Defense of the world’s leading marketer of horticultural products against alleged vertical conspiracy to allocate markets and fix prices that resulted in summary judgment in favor of client and the award of costs in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
- Defense of a national trucking company against allegations of price-fixing and other antitrust violations in multiple federal district courts, including proceedings before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, which resulted in consolidation and dismissal of all claims in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
- Defense of the world’s largest pork processor and hog producer against patent infringement claims that resulted in summary judgment in favor of client and the award of costs in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
- Defense of a telecommunications company against Robinson-Patman claims that resulted in summary judgment in favor of client in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
- Representation of pro bono clients in civil and criminal matters before various circuit, general district, and juvenile and domestic relations courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Investigations and Counseling Experience
- Representing clients in civil and criminal investigations by federal agencies.
- Representing clients in civil and criminal investigations by the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia.
- Counseled multinational and national corporations in matters under review by both the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
University of Richmond School of LawJD
Manuscripts Editor, University of Richmond Law Review2004
- University of VirginiaBA1995
Member, Boyd-Graves Conference
Member, Supreme Court of Virginia’s Court of Appeals Expanded Jurisdiction Rules Committee, 2021
Section Council, Virginia Bar Association Appellate Section, 2014-present
Member, Appellate Rules Advisory Committee, Supreme Court of Virginia, 2005-2010
Chair, 2012-2013; Vice-chair, 2011-2012, Antitrust Law Section, Virginia State Bar
- Speaker, Regularly presents CLEs on Virginia appellate and civil litigation matters, including at the VBA’s Annual Meetings and the VBA’s Appellate Summit
- Moderator, Big Changes Ahead for Civil Appeals in Virginia, October 27, 2021
- Hon. Donald W. Lemons, Supreme Court of Virginia, 2004-2005
- District of Columbia
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
- U.S. Supreme Court
Selected for Inclusion in “Virginia’s Legal Elite,” Appellate Law, Virginia Business, 2017, 2018. 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
Named to “Virginia Rising Stars,” Appellate, Antitrust Litigation, Business Litigation, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014
Recipient, E. Randolph Williams Award for Outstanding Pro Bono Service, 2008-2010
- Co-author, "Antitrust Law", Handbook of Virginia Local Government Law, 2010-present
- Author, Big Changes Ahead for Civil Appeals in Virginia, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, June 28, 2021
- Co-author, The Revised Handbook on Appellate Advocacy in the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Court of Appeals of Virginia, Virginia State Bar, 2011 Edition
- Author, July Antitrust Bulletin, McGuireWoods Legal Alert, July 14, 2011