About Robert T. Smith

For clients across a variety of industries from health care to financial services Robert Smith tackles their most important legal challenges, including civil and criminal appeals, dispositive motions at the trial-court level, enforcement actions and government investigations.

Effective advocacy in high-stakes appeals and trials

Rob excels at drafting creative and concise arguments that resonate with judges. Drawing on his experience as a federal appellate clerk, Rob has served as the principal author of dozens of briefs in federal and state appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court, and has assisted on critical motions in federal and state trial courts throughout the country. Rob's written advocacy has covered a wide range of substantive areas, including constitutional law and federal preemption, health care fraud and abuse, federal criminal law, and commercial, financial services, and intellectual property disputes.

Rob also has substantial experience as an oral advocate. He has argued high-stakes appeals before the US Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and Federal Circuits. He also has appeared numerous times in trial courts, where he has successfully argued dispositive motions earning, in one case, the dismissal of all felony charges against a corporate defendant.

In addition, Rob has assisted corporate and individual clients at trial. In one federal jury trial that Rob co-chaired, he delivered the opening statement, cross-examined the government's expert witness and argued the vast majority of motions. In another criminal case, Rob served as a legal consultant to the defense team and drafted many of its motions. In both cases, Rob helped lay the foundation for verdicts of acquittal for his clients on all charges.

Beyond his appellate and trial work, Rob assists corporate and individual clients in navigating the difficult circumstances that surround governmental enforcement actions and investigations, including proceedings under the False Claims Act. Rob has conducted internal investigations, advised on criminal and civil exposure, managed responses to subpoenas and negotiated with lawyers at the Department of Justice, various US Attorney's Offices and regulatory agencies.

In his active pro bono practice, Rob has successfully argued an appeal to the Second Circuit on behalf of a transgender client asserting claims of discrimination, secured a verdict of acquittal for an indigent client indicted on federal wire fraud charges and persuaded the Sixth Circuit to allow an inmate a second chance to challenge his state-court conviction based on claims of actual innocence.

Rob began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable John M. Walker Jr., Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to and during law school, Rob served as a legislative assistant and legislative correspondent to Representative Rush D. Holt of the US House of Representatives.

⇣   Expand to read more

Practice Focus

  • Appellate and Supreme Court litigation
  • Insurance and health care fraud litigation
  • False Claims Act investigations and litigation
  • White-collar defense and investigations
  • Financial services litigation

Representative Experience

  • Argued on behalf of major health care system and university before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in multiple lawsuits alleging fraud and retaliation under the False Claims Act and discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Secured dismissal of all claims from the District Court after proving that plaintiff had engaged in litigation-related misconduct. Obtained unanimous, precedential opinion from the Fourth Circuit affirming the sanction of dismissal. Rangarajan v. Johns Hopkins Univ., 917 F.3d 218 (4th Cir. 2019), cert. denied, 139 S. Ct. 2762 (2019).
  • Represent dozens of pharmacist organizations as amici curiae before the US Supreme Court in defending a State law that regulates pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from claims of preemption under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Previously represented community pharmacist organizations as amici curiae in two appeals before the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  • Represent large insurers before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York in affirmative litigation against medical practices accused of insurance fraud.
  • Successfully represented two securities professionals in a petition for review before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging an administrative finding of securities fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • Successfully represented publicly traded company in appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The company had been pursuing FDA approval to market its signature drug for a new indication. A group of plaintiffs filed a putative class action under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, alleging that the company misled investors about the prospects of FDA approval. The Third Circuit affirmed dismissal of the plaintiffs’ complaint.
  • Successfully represented transgender ironworker in appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit alleging discrimination and retaliation against his union and two of its officials. In a precedential opinion reinstating the client's lawsuit, the Second Circuit recognized for the first time that allegations of transgender discrimination are sufficient to state a claim for breach of a labor union's duty of fair representation, an implied cause of action under the National Labor Relations Act. Fowlkes v. Ironworkers Local 40, 790 F.3d 378 (2d Cir. 2015).
  • Successfully represented The Retail Property Trust, a wholly owned subsidiary of Simon Property Group, Inc., in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, arguing that the Labor Management Relations Act does not preempt traditional state-law property claims for trespass and private nuisance asserted against a labor union that was arguably engaged in a secondary boycott at the time. The Ninth Circuit agreed in an important precedential opinion that overturned an adverse decision by the district court. Retail Property Trust v. United Bhd. of Carpenters & Joiners of Am., 768 F.3d 938 (9th Cir. 2014).
  • Represented publicly traded company in appeal before US Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit raising question whether Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act divested State courts of concurrent jurisdiction to adjudicated covered class actions arising under Securities Act of 1933.
  • Successful argument before US Court of Appeals for Sixth Circuit, obtaining authorization for client to file second challenge to state court conviction through actual innocence gateway of Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.
  • Chief author of a successful petition for a writ of certiorari and a reply brief, securing from the US Supreme Court vacatur of an adverse judgment that had been entered against the firm's clients in a tax case. Grapevine Imports, Ltd. v. United States, 636 F.3d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 2011), vacated and remanded by 132 S. Ct. 2099 (2012). Also chief author of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Grapevine Imports in a related case before the Court, challenging the executive's authority to overrule by regulation a prior decision of a court. United States v. Home Concrete & Supply, LLC, 132 S. Ct. 1836 (2012).
  • Defended medical company sued by competitor for tortious interference with contract and other common-law claims. Secured dismissal of the complaint by the US District Court for the District of Maryland.
  • Represent corporate executive charged with conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and federal program bribery in the US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
  • Successfully represented a corporate client charged with felony violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Argued a motion to dismiss the felony counts of the indictment on the basis that the federal government had failed to promulgate regulations that imposed liability on contractors for failing to comply with substantive regulations enacted under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. United States v. Wood Group Prod. Servs. Network, Inc., No. 15-cr-197 (E.D. La.), appeal dismissed, No. 16-30561 (5th Cir.).
  • Successful defense of client, as co-chair of federal criminal trial in the US District for Eastern District of Virginia, against 10 counts of wire fraud. Representation included delivering opening statement to jury, cross-examining government's expert witness and making an argument that led to district court to adopt key jury instruction that helped secure judgment of acquittal.
  • Successful defense of corporate client, as member of trial team, against charges of conspiracy and tampering in violation of Clean Water Act; assisted with formulation of winning legal strategy and served as primary draftsman for number of key motions and memoranda, which led to favorable jury instructions and judgment of acquittal.
  • Represented high-profile foreign national in OFAC sanctions matter and successful petition for removal from Special Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List by Office of Foreign Assets Control and two other sanctions lists maintained by the US Department of State.
  • Assisted publicly held company in negotiating a non-prosecution agreement resolving alleged violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1030. 

Presentations and Events