Clients value Bill’s active collaboration with them. Faced with threatening regulatory actions and high-stakes litigation disruptive to their businesses and future plans, Bill’s clients know he quickly grasps the intricacies of their problems and understands what’s required to win. Nothing about Bill’s work is fungible. He strategically unites the most effective client-based personnel with select Womble Bond Dickinson lawyers, staff, and outside resources to drive success for the client in a rapidly changing regulatory and litigation climate. Drawing from his tenacity, four decades of experience, and current knowledge, Bill defuses emotionally charged situations. He infuses an element of steadiness-in-the-saddle to facilitate smooth negotiation, intelligent problem-solving, and a sharp focus on winning strategies to put his clients’ interests first.

Bill’s clients include diverse US and international manufacturers, importers, distributors, and long-term disability ERISA insurers. He was a leader in forming the national Propane Gas Defense Association among lawyers throughout the US resulting from his work with liquid propane gas providers and a supply system parts manufacturer. Bill leads the firm’s US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulatory group, and is a member of the national Product Liability Advisory Council. His courtroom skills have earned him membership as a Fellow in the selective American College of Trial Lawyers and as an Advocate in the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Honors and Awards

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Commercial Litigation, Litigation - Construction, Litigation - Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), Medical Malpractice Law - Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 1993 - Present
  • Super Lawyers Honoree, 2006 - 2019
Experience

Any result the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

  • Led sophisticated work alongside a law partner and in-house US counsel of a Chinese manufacturer, and its design and production engineers, to respond to allegations and rigorous investigation by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission Office of General Counsel of the Division of Compliance that the client untimely reported a product problem, which had led to a recall of millions of its products internationally. The potential civil penalty for untimely reporting was over $15 million. Success depended on distinguishing the client’s use of the same power supply which caused other manufacturers to recall their products. Our client prevailed, obtaining a final opinion from the Office of General Counsel stating in part, “Commission staff has decided not to pursue a civil penalty . . ..”
  • Led the defense of a group of manufacturers, importers and retailers of versions of a product for carrying infants which the CPSC Office of Compliance was investigating to mandate involuntary recalls (which would have bankrupted each of the small businesses). The CPSC asserted the carriers caused the death of infants. The defense challenged the unsupported “science” upon which the CPSC had based its demands for recall throughout the US and Canada (administered by Health Canada). The defense showed willingness take its position and proofs to court and the CPSC withdrew its demands.
  • Guided a manufacturer and international importer through a fast track voluntary recall with the CPSC Office of Compliance for two lines of furniture which were found to be non-compliant with industry tip-over standards. Worked intensively with the client in conducting all aspects of the recall, including customer and distributor relations, such that the Office of Compliance was satisfied and “closed the case with respect to the (Company’s) corrective action plan” in the shortest possible time. A dangerous regulatory penalty was averted and the client used its management of the recall to build beneficial relationships with its distributors and customers for the future.
  • Co-authored amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the national Product Liability Advisory Council in support of the winning position of Bristol-Myers Squibb. The US Supreme Court’s 8-1 opinion in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California (19 June 2017) maintained the clear distinction between general and specific jurisdiction to which corporate manufacturers and distributors are entitled. The ruling significantly curtails interstate forum shopping by plaintiffs’ lawyers seeking to file hundreds of individual civil actions and class actions in the most liberal state court jurisdictions in the US.
  • To reduce protracted litigation and uncertainties born of a litigious society, leads early trial readiness, working hard for the client to gain a dominant pretrial position, from which to leverage early resolution favorable to the client, whether by dispositive order from the court or settlement.
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Bar admissions

1967, North Carolina

Admitted to practice before:

  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina

Education

  • J.D., 1967, Duke University of School of Law
  • B.A., 1964, Duke University
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