Robert B. Hopkins is managing partner of the firm's Baltimore office and a partner in the Trial Practice Group. He also serves as a team lead of the firm's Transportation, Automotive and Logistics industry group. Rob is a life-long resident of Baltimore with deep civic ties to the city. He practices in the area of complex litigation with a concentration on products safety, maritime, transportation and commercial litigation. Rob has also counseled clients in large-scale product recalls and reporting obligations under the laws enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He is listed as one of Maryland's Super Lawyers and is listed in U.S. News/Best Lawyers in America. Rob is also listed as AV Preeminent® in Martindale-Hubbell® as rated by both peers and the judiciary.
Rob is a 1988 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and a graduate of Trinity College.
- CPSC Work . Advised and represented manufacturers, importers and retailers before the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in product hazard reporting, planning and implementing recalls, and compliance issues involving the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Flammable Fabrics Act, Federal Hazardous Substances Act, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, Poison Prevention Act and other state and federal regulatory schemes.
- Product Recalls . Handled large range of product recalls including recalls related to lithium ion batteries, wearable technologies, electronics, clothing, furnaces, HVAC systems, solar equipment, sporting goods, toys, tools and child resistant packaging.
- Vaccine Litigation . Defended international biotechnical firm with regard to its work on multibillion-dollar vaccine development.
- Glyphosate a/k/a Round Up Litigation . Defended food seller in lawsuit dealing with allegations that its products contained trace amounts of Glyphosate a/k/a Round Up.
- Product Liability Defense . Defense of manufacturers and sellers of products in various product liability actions.
- Product Handling . Assisted some of the world’s largest retailers of consumer goods as to compliance issues associated with the handling, storage, disposal and transportation of product.
- CPSC Penalty Matters . Defended various companies in CPSC penalty matters.
NRTL Compliance . Assisted product sellers/manufacturers as to compliance issues associated with certification by nationally recognized testing labs.
- CAPE ISTANBUL . Defended Turkish ship-owner, which had its vessel arrested. Vessel was released and arresting party issued letter of apology to owner.
- Maritime Limitation Actions. Represented both vessel owners and claimants in various maritime limitation actions.
- Maritime Personal Injury Matters . Represented both plaintiffs and defendants in numerous maritime personal injury lawsuits, recovering millions of dollars on behalf of various plaintiffs.
- Jones Act Compliance . Represented various maritime businesses (including businesses involved with offshore wind farms, offshore construction and water transportation between U.S. points) as to Jones Act compliance issues.
- Marine Commercial Contract Disputes . Litigated various marine commercial contract disputes including disputes related to vessel charters, transportation contracts, vessel builds, crewing contracts and maritime liens.
- Capsizing of Passenger Vessel LADY D . Represented ship owner in various civil actions and before the National Transportation Safety Board with regard to the above capsizing, which received international media attention and resulted in significant maritime regulatory changes.
- The Elk River Collision Proceedings . Represented major ship owner in one of the most serious marine collisions to occur in Maryland waters in last 30 years.
- FLSA Maritime Dispute . Defended Jones Act employer in class action brought by crew as to overtime issues under the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
- Wallenius Lines North America, et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, et al . Represented international transportation company in invalidating federal policy for dealing with stowaways. Case was influential in subsequent changes in U.S. immigration laws.
- Debarment Defense . Successfully overturned U.S. Army proposed debarment of major international biotechnical firm that restored the client to full contract eligibility.
- REIT Defense . Obtained on behalf of the special committee of the Board of Directors of JAVELIN Mortgage Investment Corp. (NYSE: JMI) a denial of a motion for preliminary injunction during class action litigation in Maryland, which allowed the completion of the sale of all the shares of JAVELIN to ARMOUR Residential REIT, Inc. (NYSE: ARR).
- Hoechst Celanese Corporation v. Aetna, et al. Lawsuit brought on behalf of international corporation against various insurance companies to recover multimillion-dollar environmental remediation claim.
- Security Company Defense . Defended a security services company in litigation against a real estate developer's breach of contract and negligence claims.
- Commercial Contract Disputes . Litigated various commercial contract disputes including disputes dealing with mergers and acquisitions, leases, royalties, construction and secured transactions.
- Software Litigation . Defended software developer in dispute related to source code.
- Securities Fraud Defense . Defended company accused of securities fraud by state regulators.
Product Safety Matters
Complex Commercial Matters
- Court of Appeals of Maryland
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
- University of Maryland School of Law, J.D., 1988
- Trinity College, B.A., 1985
Duane Morris LLP
- Partner, 2008-present
- Managing Partner, Baltimore Office, 2015-present
- Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver
- Shareholder, 1988-2008
- American Bar Association
- Baltimore City Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association
- Maryland State Bar Association
- Maritime Law Association of the United States
- American Maritime Cases, Vice President
Honors and Awards
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, 2008-2023
Named a Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in Admiralty and Maritime Law, Baltimore, 2020 and 2022
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Maritime Law Association of the United States, Board Member (2008-2011)
- Admiralty Law Institute, Board Member
- American Maritime Cases, Vice President
Civic and Charitable Activities
- Board of Living Classrooms
Baltimore City Planning Commission
- Commissioner, 2008-2016
- GBC Leadership Class of 2009
- Co-author, "Suez Canal Now Apparently Open, but Cargo Shippers Face Obstacles with Delay Damages," Duane Morris Alert, March 29, 2021
- Co-author, "Maryland to Lift Capacity Restrictions on Dining and Other COVID-19 Mitigation Measures; Masking and Distancing Mandates to Remain," Duane Morris Alert, March 10, 2021
- Co-author, "Under the Biden Administration, the Jones Act Is Here to Stay," Duane Morris Alert, February 3, 2021
- Co-author, "Maryland Tightens COVID-19 Restrictions on Bars, Restaurants, Hospitals and Other Indoor Establishments," Duane Morris Alert, November 18, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Recognizes Breach of Fiduciary Duty as an Independent Cause of Action," Duane Morris Alert, July 24, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland to Permit Indoor Dining, Reopen Casinos and Lift Additional Restrictions on Nonessential Businesses, Subject to Local Orders," Duane Morris Alert, June 11, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Enters Stage Two of Reopening Plan, Lifting Restrictions for Nonessential Businesses, Subject to Local Orders," Duane Morris Alert, June 4, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Governor Announces State Will Complete Stage One of Reopening Plan, Subject to Local Orders," Duane Morris Alert, May 28, 2020
- Co-author, "Many Maryland Counties and Cities to Retain Restrictions Despite Governor Lifting the Stay-at-Home Order," Duane Morris Alert, May 15, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Governor to Lift Stay-at-Home Order; Limited Businesses Permitted to Reopen, Subject to Local Orders," Duane Morris Alert, May 14, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Governor Announces Elective Surgery and Certain Outdoor Activities May Resume; Schools Will Remain Closed for Remainder of School Year," Duane Morris Alert, May 6, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Governor Announces Three-Stage Plan for Reopening the State," Duane Morris Coronavirus (COVID-19) Blog, April 24, 2020
- Co-author, "Maryland Executive Order Requires Face Coverings for Public Transportation, Foodservice and Retail Establishments; Physical Distancing Measures in Retail Spaces," Duane Morris Alert, April 16, 2020
- Co-author, "CPSC Product Safety Obligations Remain in Place During COVID-19; Some Recall Remedies Likely Delayed," Duane Morris Alert, April 6, 2020
- Author, "Court Finds Permanently Moored Riverboat Casino Not a Vessel," Duane Morris Alert, February 4, 2020
- Co-author, "The Jones Act Under Trump," May 9, 2017
Co-author, "3 Guidelines for Avoiding CPSC Penalties," May 1, 2017
- "U.S. Supreme Court Issues Significant Forum-Selection Decision," Duane Morris Alert, December 4, 2013
- Co-author, "New Safety Test Requirements for Children's Products Become Effective in February 2013," Duane Morris Alert, December 14, 2012
- Co-author, "Proposed FTC Labeling Regulations Would Impact Manufacturers and Importers of Wearing Apparel," Duane Morris Alert, September 25, 2012
- Author, "Offshore Wind Farms in US Waters Would Generate Both US and Foreign Maritime Jobs," Renewable Energy World, September 12, 2012
- "O'Malley's Proposed Wind Farms May Be Key to Boosting Maritime Workforce," Baltimore Business Journal, February 24 - March 1, 2012
- Co-author, "The CPSC Product-Safety Database: Now Live and in Full Operation," Duane Morris Alert, March 14, 2011
- "Congress May Repeal Maritime Law After Gulf Spill," The Daily Record, August 29, 2010
- "Cadmium Products Now in Crosshairs of Federal and State Legislators," Duane Morris Alert, April 9, 2010
- "Split Vote by CPSC Signals That Tracking Labels Must Be Placed on Children's Products by August 14, 2009," Duane Morris Alert, May 27, 2009
"CPSC Delays Enforcement of Lead and Phthalate Testing and Certification Requirements," Duane Morris Alert, February 2, 2009
"With Consumer Product Industry Struggling to Comply with New Safety Act, CPSC Holds Fast on Lead Ban, but Eases Other Compliance Positions," Duane Morris Alert, January 23, 2009
- "General Conformity Certificates Must Accompany Many Consumer Product Shipments Starting November 12, 2008," Duane Morris Alert, October 14, 2008
- "With Efforts Underway to Overhaul the CPSC, Now Is the Time to Re-Examine Consumer Product Safety Compliance Programs," Duane Morris Alert, May 28, 2008
- "American Maritime Cases: Seventy-Five Years (Plus) of Admiralty Reporting," Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, 33 (April 2002), 205
- Quoted, "Ocean City Wants Offshore Wind Turbines Built Farther from Shore. Is Their Request Possible?" Baltimore Business Journal, December 29, 2021
Selected Speaking Engagements
- Presenter, "Consumer Fraud and Consumer Product Safety Commission Issues in the Pandemic," Duane Morris COVID-19: Navigating Forward Webinar Series, May 6, 2021
- Speaker, "Hoverboards & Batteries," HarrisMartin Consumer Products Litigation Conference, San Francisco, October 3, 2016
- Panelist, "Hot Topics in Maritime Litigation: Key Supreme Court and Circuit Court Cases, Emerging Trends and What to Expect in the Year Ahead," American Conference Institute's 2nd Annual Forum on Admiralty & Maritime Litigation, Houston, February 27, 2013
- Speaker, "Damages: Assessing the Status of Punitive and Non-Pecuniary Damages in the Wake of Townsend and Defending Against Plaintiffs' Damages Claims," Houston, March 29, 2012
Speaker, "Complying With The New Canada Consumer Product Safety Act: The U.S. Perspective,” CPSC, March 29, 2012