Rob is a partner in the firm's Admiralty & Maritime practice group. He is a U.S. Coast Guard licensed deck officer (since 1987) and focuses his practice on a wide range of maritime matters including both litigation and transactions.

Rob has represented shipowners in trials in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas and Washington, variously in both federal court and state court. Rob has also represented shipowners before state environmental agencies and in connection with U.S. Coast Guard investigations.

Rob handles litigation matters involving defense of seamen personal injury cases alleging negligence under the Jones Act and unseaworthiness under general maritime law; carriage of goods and passengers alleging breach of contract, personal injury, detention, demurrage, despatch, etc.; cargo damage cases under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, the Harter Act, common carriage and private carriage; collision and allision cases with issues of improper lookout, errors in navigation, obstructions to navigation, tug operations, latent defects, machinery failure, etc.; marine insurance; and in rem actions under Supplemental Admiralty Rules based on vessel arrests and cargo seizures. Rob handles transactional matters involving charter parties and contracts of carriage, which include time-, voyage-, and sub-charters, contracts of affreightment, booking notes, float agreements, common carriage and private carriage; vessel documentation and finance; and towage contracts.

  • Successfully defended shipowner in a jury trial in state court in Wisconsin in which the plaintiff alleged a career-ending back injury, resulting in a verdict for shipowner.
  • Successfully defended shipowner in a jury trial in federal court in Michigan in which the plaintiff sustained a career-ending injury, resulting in a verdict for shipowner.
  • Successfully represented a Great Lakes shipowner in connection with a grounding that resulted from the negligence of another vessel, resulting in a decision and award from the trial court in shipowner's favor.
  • Successfully represented shipowner in an enforcement proceeding brought by a state environmental agency, resulting in the agency dropping all charges of wrongdoing.
  • Successfully represented several shipowner in connection with an investigations by U.S. Coast Guard related to alleged wrongful discharge, resulting in no action against shipowners.
  • Successfully represented marine engineer in connection with criminal indictment for wrongful discharge of oil, which resulted in the U.S. Coast Guard dropping all charges.
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2019 to 2022 in the fields of Admiralty and Maritime Law, and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions-Defendants
Professional and Civic

Professional Associations

  • Maritime Law Association of the United States, proctor member, Maritime Torts Committee

Professional Activities

  • Propeller Club, Port of Cleveland, Board of Governors, 2010 to present, past president, secretary/treasurer 2014 to present