John has litigated business disputes involving all sorts of contract, tort, equitable, and statutory claims or defenses throughout his more than 25 years with Brooks Pierce. He also routinely advises clients about how to avoid or limit problems and disputes.

Recent examples of John’s work include obtaining the dismissal of various claims against a professional client, which was affirmed by the Fourth Circuit in its first published opinion recognizing the Barton Doctrine. Subsequently, the same clients obtained a sanctions award of over $300,000 against the individuals and lawyer who filed the underlying lawsuit against them. In another case, John obtained a seven-figure arbitration award for negligent misrepresentation against a professional advisor and other fund managers. John’s clients have also prevailed in a series of proceedings involving improper actions by a majority member of an LLC.

John also regularly handles matters affecting businesses before various regulatory and administrative agencies. 

Learn more about this practice area

John has successfully tried numerous personal injury or wrongful claims to a verdict, on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants. He has handled jury trials involving such claims in each of the six largest cities in North Carolina, among other locations.  

John has also successfully arbitrated personal injury matters, and successfully litigated workers compensation claims for both injured employees and self-insured employers. John’s experience with OSHA regulations, and his regular handling of employment and construction litigation, complements and informs his personal injury practice.

The personal injury or wrongful death claims John has tried or otherwise litigated have involved many different common-law and statutory causes of action – including, for example, the Federal Employers Act (FELA) and the Safety Appliance Act (SAA) – and have involved accidents or incidents occurring in many different contexts, including construction defects, defective products, automobile and train collisions, and various industrial or other workplace accidents.

Learn more about this practice area

John has successfully tried cases on behalf of employers involving contentions of wrongful termination, discrimination, retaliation (including alleged REDA violations), as well as various other employment torts such as tortious interference with contract. He has also successfully litigated federal claims involving purported violations under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII and section 1981, among others.  

John also routinely handles litigation involving, and advises clients about, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, and trade secrets. He has both obtained injunctions enforcing such agreements, and has successfully opposed claims for such relief.

John also frequently represents clients in proceedings before the North Carolina Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, as well as federal authorities, involving alleged OSHA violations, both under the General Industry and the Construction Standards. Most recently, John has negotiated significant reductions in proposed fines leveled under the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard.

Learn more about this practice area

John frequently advises clients about their rights and obligations under various types of insurance policies. John also litigates, where advisable, coverage disputes. He has handled such disputes or issues arising under numerous kinds of policies including general liability, homeowners, automobile, professional liability, employment practices liability (EPL), as well as certain specialty polices.

John’s involvement in insurance coverage litigation began as an outgrowth of his personal injury and business litigation practices. By virtue of the knowledge and experience gained from these related practice areas, he is able to litigate the underlying lawsuit as well as, when appropriate, any resulting or subsequent action involving insurance coverage for that underlying case.  

John also has successfully handled a number of disputes between business and their workers compensation insurers, particularly involving “retroactive premiums” and issues concerning whether the insurer properly handled the underlying compensation claim.

Learn more about this practice area

Over the course of his career, John has handled a wide variety of disputes and lawsuits arising out of construction projects. He has represented entities at almost every level including owners and developers, lenders, engineers and other learned professionals, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers.

In one of his most recent construction cases, John and his co-counsel negotiated — shortly before a ten-day arbitration proceeding was to begin — a resolution of a well-documented eight-figure claim against a subcontractor for less than seven figures. In another recent case, John secured summary judgment, based solely on the opposing party’s dispositive motion, in favor of a lending agent on claims for equitable subrogation and unjust enrichment.

Learn more about this practice area

Recognized as a "Litigation Star" by Benchmark Litigation for General Commercial (2019)

Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) in Business Litigation (2013-2019)

Recognized in Super Lawyers Business Edition for Business Litigation (2015)

Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell

Recognized in Benchmark Litigation for Personal Injury and Labor and Employment; recognized as a “Local Litigation Star” for North Carolina (2015-2017) 

Member, American Bar Association (1987-present)

Member, North Carolina Bar Association (1987-present)

Member, Wake County Bar Association (1999-present)

Member, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel

Member, Litigation, Employment and Construction Sections, American & North Carolina Bar Associations

Youth Soccer Coach (CASL) (2003-2012)

"Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Deals Significant Blow to Traditional Contractor-Subcontractor Relationship," NCBA Change Order Blog, Construction Law Section of the NC Bar Association, 2017 (co-written with Arty Bolick)

While I handle cases and problems involving what are now considered to be a number of different “practice areas,” in my experience, a thorough understanding of the commonalities of the litigation-process—the rules of procedure and evidence for the relevant court or tribunal, and the nature of the relevant jurist(s) and the fact-finder — is at least as important to a successful result as mastery of the underlying subject area. This is particularly so when one practices with a law firm such as Brooks Pierce, where, if I haven’t previously dealt with a more arcane or unusual topic, I almost certainly have a partner who has that specific experience and is happy to share his or her knowledge and assist as needed.

Indeed, I often discover that having several different perspectives on a particular claim or defense that comes from knowing the different ways a particular doctrine is typically dealt with within the confines of a specific litigation area is very helpful, especially when the problem at hand requires a more novel or unorthodox solution. 

I enjoy doing a variety of activities “outdoors” in my spare time—getting outside to do things is made easier by the fact that I live in a relatively rural section of eastern Wake County. In addition to fishing, hiking and photographing nature, my principal recreational pursuits are bicycle riding, both solo and with various local groups, and scuba diving. I particularly enjoy diving the many wrecks and ledges that lie offshore of our state’s coast. If you are scuba diver who hasn’t explored the diving North Carolina has to offer, please call me to discuss: talking about it is almost as rewarding as actually going diving.

I seek to optimize case outcomes in collaboration with my clients, considering their risk tolerance, the available resources, and the risk/reward aspects of the case. I’m ready, willing and able to try cases whenever advisable or necessary.

Recent Publications & Media


Brooks Pierce has been named the 2019 “North Carolina Law Firm of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation...(read more)
Forty-four Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2019 edition of North Carolina Super...(read more)
Brooks Pierce has been named a “Highly Recommended” law firm for general litigation and “...(read more)
Thirty-eight Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2018 edition of North Carolina...(read more)
Brooks Pierce has been named a “Highly Recommended” law firm in North Carolina in the 2018 edition...(read more)
Thirty-eight Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2017 edition of North Carolina...(read more)
Brooks Pierce has been named a “Highly Recommended” law firm in North Carolina in the 2017 edition...(read more)
Benchmark Litigation, a trusted independent research organization, named Brooks Pierce the 2016 "...(read more)
Thirty-six Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2016 edition of North Carolina Super...(read more)
Brooks Pierce has been named a “ Highly Recommended ” law firm in North Carolina in the 2016...(read more)
Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 26 of the firm’s attorneys have been named to the 2015...(read more)
Thirty-six Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2015 edition of North Carolina Super...(read more)
Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 27 of the firm’s attorneys have been named to the 2014...(read more)
Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 39 lawyers, representing 46% of the firm’s attorneys,...(read more)

Recent Publications & Media