Robert B. Hopkins is chair of the firm's Baltimore office. He practices in the area of litigation with a concentration on transportation, products liability and commercial litigation both domestically and internationally. Mr. Hopkins also has represented clients in administrative proceedings before various federal agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board and the Department of Homeland Security. Mr. Hopkins has also counseled clients in large scale product recalls and reporting obligations under the laws enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and is one of only a handful of attorneys who has actually tried a case in federal court against the CPSC.
Mr. Hopkins is a 1988 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and a graduate of Trinity College.
Areas of Practice
- Commercial Litigation
- Products Liability
- Insurance and Reinsurance
- 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).
- CPSIA Compliance Programs. Assisted a range of companies (including major clothing and equipment manufacturers, importers and distributors) in setting up compliance programs dealing with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the "CPSIA"), which made dramatic changes to the laws enforced by the CPSC.
- CPSC Reporting. Represented a range of companies that are required to make mandatory reports to the CPSC as to defective products that could create substantial product hazards.
- CPSC Recalls. Handled a range of product recalls including the largest furnace recall in the history of the CPSC.
- CPSC Public Database Responses. Assisted companies in responding to and assessing consumer incident reports that are now being published on a newly created CPSC web site.
- Capsizing of Passenger Vessel LADY D. Representation of shipowner in various civil actions and before the National Transportation Safety Board with regard to the above capsizing.
- The Elk River Collision Proceedings. Representation of major shipowner in one of the most serious marine collisions to occur in Maryland waters in last 30 years.
- 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.
- First Marine Distributors v. M/V MARY LOU. Represented foreign ship owner in defeating claims brought relating to oil furnished in Egypt.
- Wallenius Lines North America, et al. v. U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, et al. Represented international transportation company in invalidating federal policy of for dealing with stowaways. Case was influential in subsequent changes in U.S. immigration laws.
- 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
- 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 U.S. News/Best Lawyers "The Best Lawyers in America," Admiralty and Maritime Law Category
Listed in Maryland Super Lawyers, 2009-2019
- Listed in Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition, March 2009
- 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
- GBC Leadership Class of 2009
- 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
- "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
Selected Speaking Engagements
- 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