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Robert E. Ryan

Chair, Professional Liability

Overview

Robert Ryan is Chair of the Professional Liability group and Co-Chair of the Trial Practice group at Connell Foley. A five-time Certified Civil Trial Attorney as certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, Bob has dedicated his professional practice for over 35 years to the litigation and trial of substantial matters.

Bob’s practice places particular emphasis on the representation of attorneys, architects and engineers in major professional malpractice litigation. In this regard, Bob has served as lead counsel in the representation of state, regional, national and international professional firms in significant litigation matters venued in both the state and federal courts.

In the legal malpractice arena, Bob has had the privilege of representing many of the nation’s and region’s most prestigious law firms — including several firms in the Am Law 100 — in litigation actions sounding in professional liability, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Bob’s extensive experience in the representation of attorneys and law firms in a wide range of disciplines, including commercial and business law, litigation, tort law, product liability, environmental law, real estate law, taxation, bankruptcy, matrimonial law, and financial and business transactions, has allowed Bob to develop a deep understanding of the unique issues confronted by attorneys faced with substantial claims of professional fault, including claims inculpating the Rules of Professional Conduct.

With respect to his representation of architects and engineers, Bob’s knowledge of the complexities of significant construction and design malpractice claims is reflected in his successful representation of some of the nation’s finest architectural and engineering firms in pre-litigation and litigation matters venued in the state and federal courts as well as in alternative dispute resolution forums. On this front, Bob has represented architects and engineers on claims arising from a wide range of public and private projects, including projects involving New York and New Jersey bridges, cultural centers, office structures, wastewater treatment plants, parking garages, condominium and office complexes, and major roadways.  

Beyond the professional liability arena, Bob is a seasoned trial attorney, having litigated and tried a wide variety of substantial and complex matters, including medical malpractice, general liability, product liability, catastrophic construction accidents, wrongful death, design and construction-related property damage and economic loss actions, declaratory judgments and environmental law matters in the state and federal courts. As Co-Chair of the firm’s Trial Practice Group, Bob “knows where the Courthouse is” and is available to serve as trial counsel in significant litigation matters in both a commercial and non-commercial setting.

Experience

Representative Experience

Among his notable engagements, Mr. Ryan has provided representation to professionals in litigation and ADR forums:

  • Representation of a major international law firm in state court litigation in defense of substantial claims of professional liability and breach of fiduciary duty arising from professional services rendered in a commercial arbitration. Secured Summary Judgment in favor of the client, dismissing the claims of professional liability, and won a unanimous jury verdict at trial for the client in the amount of $2 million
  • Representation of international environmental engineering firm relevant to professional liability claims of public entity in federal court litigation arising from design and construction services on plant renovation project at a major New Jersey wastewater treatment facility
  • Representation of national engineering firm relevant to professional liability claims of contractor in federal court litigation arising from design, construction and contract administration on a major bridge project for the New Jersey Department of Transportation
  • Representation of international engineering firm in state court litigation arising from claims of public entity sounding in professional liability related to design, construction, contract administration and product specification regarding substantial centrifuge project at a major New Jersey wastewater treatment facility
  • Representation of national engineering firm on claims of professional liability related to bridge rehabilitation projects
  • Representation of international law firm in state court litigation in defense of substantial claims of professional liability and breach of fiduciary duty arising from professional services rendered in a commercial transaction and arbitration
  • Representation of regional law firms regarding malpractice claims arising from tax, estate and property transfer transactions
  • Representation of architectural, engineering and surveying firms relevant to pre-litigation and litigation claims of professional malpractice by private project developers and contractors regarding all aspects of professional services, including project evaluations, design, governmental approvals, construction and contract administration, delay claims and construction defect claims
  • Representation of engineering and surveying firm in state court litigation involving claims of professional liability arising from alleged surveying error that impacted project approvals and subsequent sales of condominium and townhouse units
  • Representation of national engineering firm in defense of contractor claims of project delays due to professional malpractice in state court litigation arising from design, construction and contract administration on New Jersey bridge project
  • Representation of regional engineering firm relevant to state court litigation arising from contractor claims to substantial damages for project delays arising from New Jersey commercial office and related garage project
  • Representation of project architect in state court litigation in defense of claims of owner of professional malpractice related to design and construction of major commercial warehouse in northern New Jersey
  • Representation of engineering firm in state court litigation involving wrongful death claim relevant to public roadway relocation project
  • Representation of engineering firm relevant to multiple wrongful death claims arising from renovation of commercial gas facility
  • Representation of engineering firm in state court litigation arising from claims of improper design and construction supervision on commercial projects
  • Representation of engineering firm in state court litigation in defense of professional malpractice claims of public entity and contractor relevant to stadium renovation project in northern New Jersey
  • Representation of architect in state court litigation on claims involving design and construction of public cultural facility

Activities

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Former Member,  New Jersey State Bar Association, Professional Malpractice Insurance Committee
  • Certified Civil Trial Attorney − New Jersey Supreme Court (1988, 1995, 2002, 2008 and 2012)
  • Member, Irish American Bar Association of New Jersey
  • Member, Trial Attorneys of New Jersey
  • Member, American Bar Association, Sections on Litigation, Professional Liability, Product Liability, and Insurance Law
  • Member, Professional Liability Underwriting Society
  • Member, Professional Liability Section−Defense Research Institute
  • Member, Professional Liability Section−USLAW Organization
  • Allied Member, New Jersey Society of Architects
  • Continuing Education System Lecturer, The American Institute of Architects, Professional Liability, and Risk Management
  • Former Member, New Jersey State Bar Association, Health and Hospital Law Committee, Subcommittee on Education
  • Former Member, New Jersey Supreme Court District VC Ethics Committee
  • Friend, Irish American Cultural Institute

Presentations

  • Seminar: "Professional Liability and Legal Malpractice Developments in 2010" (July 2010)
  • "Legal Malpractice: Professional Liability and the Rules of Professional Conduct in 2010," sponsored by New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association (NJCCA) (June 2010)
  • Seminar: Professional Liability and Risk Management for Engineers" (April 2008)

News & Insights

Honors

Irish Legal 100, The Irish Voice (2013-2016)

New Jersey Top Rated Lawyers for AV Preeminent Rating of Martindale-Hubbell (1986-2017)

New Jersey's Top Rated Lawyers, Inside Jersey magazine (2012)

New Jersey Super Lawyers (2005-2006, 2008-2017)
  • Top 100 (2005-2006)

AV Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell (1986-2017)

Education

Seton Hall University (J.D., cum laude, 1979)

Saint Peter's College (B.A., History, 1976)

Admissions

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