Ann-Patton Hornthal, a shareholder of Roberts & Stevens, is devoted to handling litigation and pre-litigation matters on behalf of commercial clients in complex trial, regulatory, and appellate matters in state and federal courts and licensing boards, with an emphasis on professional liability defense and commercial disputes. Ann-Patton has represented clients in healthcare, legal, manufacturing, alternative-energy, and law enforcement sectors. She devotes a substantial portion of her practice to appellate work.
Ann-Patton’s peers have honored her in North Carolina Super Lawyer publications, and she has served as the President of the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of North Carolina. She recently served as the Vice Chancellor of the Harry C. Martin American Inn of Court and completed six years of service on the Board of Directors for Pisgah Legal Services, a nonprofit that provides free civil legal aid to the most vulnerable people in Western North Carolina. Ann-Patton is also an active member of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Defense Research Institute, and North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys.
- Professional liability defense, including legal malpractice defense on behalf of law firms and attorneys and negligence claims against real estate brokers
- Medical malpractice defense on behalf of hospitals, physicians, and nursing homes
- Commercial litigation and business torts, including breach of contract, fraud, unfair and deceptive trade practices, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of noncompete agreements, tortious interference with contractual or business relationships, breach of fiduciary duty, and veil piercing
- Healthcare litigation, including representation of professionals in actions initiated by professional licensing boards and of pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in tort litigation
- Appellate litigation, including extensive practice before the North Carolina Supreme Court and North Carolina Court of Appeals
- General civil litigation, including trusts and estates, personal injury, products liability, wrongful death, employment, defamation, and construction
- Property litigation, including toxic tort, trespass, nuisance, adverse possession, quiet title actions, and easement disputes
- Western District of North Carolina Federal Bar Association, Member 2010-present; Treasurer, 2014-2015; Vice President, 2016-2017; President, 2017-2018
- North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Co-Chair of the Women Litigator Committee (2015-2016) and member (2006-present)
- The Harry C. Martin American Inn of Court, Treasurer (2015-2018) and member (2012-present)
- North Carolina Business Court Rules Revision Committee, ADR Rules Subcommittee member (2015-present)
- Defense Research Institute, Member, 2006-present
- National Association of Women Lawyers, Outstanding Woman Law Graduate, 2006
- Mercer Law Review, Georgia Survey Editor, 2005-2006
- National and Georgia Intrastate Moot Court Teams, 2006
- North Carolina Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association for the Western District of North Carolina
- American Bar Association
Awards and Accolades
- The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2021-present
- Business North Carolina magazine’s Legal Elite: Young Guns, 2017
- North Carolina Super Lawyers: Civil Litigation: Defense, Rising Star, 2011-2013, 2016
- Author, case note, “A New Era of Dead-Beat Dads: Determining Social Security Survivor Benefits for Children Who Are Posthumously Conceived,” 56 Mercer Law Review 759, 2005
- With partner Wyatt Stevens, obtained a unanimous defense verdict for a North Carolina Highway Patrolman in a wrongful death lawsuit in the Superior Court of Guilford County, North Carolina. The Guilford County jury agreed that the trooper was immune from liability because he was pursuing a speeding motorist at the time his trooper vehicle entered the intersection where the accident occurred. Gerald Allmond as the Administrator of the Estate of Sandra Allmond v. North Carolina State Highway Patrol and James D. Goodnight, individually and Gerald Allmond, as Guardian ad Litem for Elijah Allmond v. North Carolina State Highway Patrol and James D. Goodnight, individually. (October 2014)
- With partner Wyatt Stevens, serving as local counsel with Dan Reidy and June Ghezzi of the Jones Day Law Firm, secured a unanimous defense verdict in a multi-million dollar complex products liability case in favor of a powdered infant formula manufacturer in federal court in the Western District of North Carolina. Kimberly S. Sisk v. Abbott Laboratories, No. 1:11-cv-00159-MR-DLH (W.D.N.C., March 2014).
- Successfully defended summary judgment for the defendant real estate broker and real estate company in a breach of fiduciary duty case where the owners sought damages in the form of attorneys’ fees associated with defending a prior third-party suit. Swanson- Robinson v. Hope, NO. COA11-665, 2011 N.C. App. LEXIS 2290 (N.C. App. Nov. 1, 2011).
- Obtained reversal of trial court judgment in excess of $500,000 against client property owners in a real estate broker’s lawsuit to recover his commission. Jim Lorenz, Inc. v. O’Haire, 711 S.E.2d 820 (N.C. App. 2011).
- With partner Jim Williams, represented defendant baby formula manufacturer in negligence action and obtained favorable outcome from North Carolina Supreme Court affirming revocation of pro hac vice admissions of out of state attorneys who made ex parte contact with the manufacturer’s retained expert. Sisk v. Transylvania Cmty. Hosp., Inc., 364 N.C. 172, 695 S.E.2d 429 (2010).
- Served as trial co-counsel and obtained jury verdict enforcing terms of a land conservation easement and awarding damages in an action for trespass, protecting a 500+ acre tract abutting Shining Rock Wilderness in Western North Carolina, which was subsequently affirmed by the N C Court of Appeals. Woltz v. Taylor, 2010 N.C. App. LEXIS 1575 (N.C. App. Aug. 17, 2010).
- Obtained dismissal of plaintiffs’ appeal relating to claims of breach of contract, tortious interference with contracts, slander, and unfair and deceptive trade practices against insurer. Atkins v. Peek, 668 S.E.2d 63 (N.C. 2008).
- Served as lead associate in appeal of Holloway v. Dept. of Crime Control and Public Safety, 197 N.C. App. 165 (2008), wherein the NC Court of Appeals upheld a defense verdict obtained from the Industrial Commission in a double fatality motor vehicle accident tort claim case against the North Carolina Highway Patrol. Served as lead associate in appeal where the N C Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in our client’s favor on plaintiffs’ claims of adverse possession and prescriptive easement over disputed tract of land. Jones v. Miles, 189 N.C. App. 289 (N.C. App. 2008).
- In a medical malpractice case, successfully argued that award of expert fees to defendant doctor was proper. Greene v. Hoekstra, 189 N.C. App. 179 (N.C. App. 2008).
- Obtained numerous favorable settlements and dismissals for corporate and individual clients over the last eight years.
- Please note that the outcome of any case cannot be predicated upon the past accomplishments set forth above.