Robert P. O'Brien, Partner

Mr. O'Brien's practice is focused upon the defense of claims in commercial litigation. He has had extensive experience in defending maritime claims (including cargo damage, collision, personal injury, and death), inland marine claims, non-maritime trucking industry claims (including cargo damage, personal injury, death and coverage issues), claims involving warehousemen, freight forwarders, transportation brokers and terminal operators, as well as claims involving commercial contract disputes. He has served on the firm's Management Committee and as Chairman of the firm's Litigation Section.

He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Maryland State Bar Association, the Baltimore City Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute and the DRI Trucking Law Committee. Mr. O'Brien has been a proctor member of the Maritime Law Association of the United States since 1981 and he is currently a member of the MLA's Maritime Torts and Casualties Committee. Mr. O'Brien has also served as an Assistant Editor of American Maritime Cases since 1981. He is the author of such articles as Admiralty Jurisdiction Over Pleasure Craft Torts, 36 Md. L. Rev. 212 and What You Need to Know About the Amended Wrongful Death Statute, The Defense Line, Spring 1997.

Mr. O'Brien was recognized by Maryland Super Lawyers as a top attorney in Transportation, Maritime and Admiralty Law from 2008-2010, and 2012-2019. He has also been peer-selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® in areas of Admiralty & Maritime Law since 2010.

Published Works

  • Admiralty Jurisdiction Over Pleasure Craft Torts, 36 Maryland Review, 1977
  • Admiralty-Division of Property Damage, 35 Maryland Review, 1976

Representative Clients

  • Gard P & I
  • North of England P & I
  • The Swedish Club
  • The American Club
  • Japan P & I
  • Hartford
  • Chubb
  • St. Paul/Travelers

Representative Cases

  • Professional Communications, Inc. v. Contract Freighters International, 171 F.Supp 2d 546 (U.S. District Court, District of Maryland 2001)
  • Murphy v. Edmonds, 325MD342 (Court of Appeals 1992)
  • Consumer Protection Division v. Outdoor World Corporation, 91 Md. App. 275, 603 A.2d 1376 (Md. App. 1992)
  • Mare Schiffahrtskontor GmbH & CO. KG v. MV OCEAN HAVEN, 763 F.2d 633 (4th Circuit 1985)
  • Amstar Corp. v. M/V Alexander T.M, 472 F.Supp 1289 (U.S. District Court 1979)

Bar Admissions

  • Maryland, 1977
  • U.S. District Court District of Maryland, 1977
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 4th Circuit, 1980


  • University of Maryland School of LawBaltimore, MD
    J.D., 1977, with Honors
    Law Review: Notes and Comments Editor, Maryland Law Review, 1975-1977
  • Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimore, MD
    B.A., Philosophy, 1973


  • Maritime Law Association of the United States
    1981 - Present
  • Maritime Law Association Maritime Torts and Casualties Committee
  • DRI
    Trucking Law Committee
  • American Bar Association
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • Baltimore City Bar Association
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