Tony Lathrop is a seasoned corporate trial lawyer experienced in complex commercial litigation, transportation, land use, zoning/development, planning, and condemnation law. As a recognized leader within legal, transportation, and planning communities in North Carolina and nationwide, Tony brings valuable industry and governmental perspectives to client matters, which he approaches with an eye towards maximizing value and reducing future risk.

Overview

Tony utilizes his experience as a trial attorney and certified mediator to develop strategies seeking optimal trial results and other resolutions in high-stakes matters, and advises clients based on their business objectives and risk-reduction goals. Tony partners closely with his clients and offers valuable industry and governmental perspectives as a complement to his legal experience.

Tony has more than 30 years of experience representing a diverse portfolio of clients in a broad range of complex civil litigation and administrative matters. His clients include:

  • vehicle and aircraft manufacturers,
  • real estate developers,
  • engineering firms
  • transportation infrastructure firms,
  • various service providers,
  • mining/mineral transformation companies,
  • pulp and paper manufacturers, and
  • networking/cloud connectivity providers. 

Tony routinely collaborates with MVA colleagues on other practice teams to bring varied experience and perspectives to bear when the firm’s clients will benefit from a multi-disciplinary approach to matters.

Through his commitment to leadership in the legal, transportation, and planning communities of North Carolina, Tony has regular and significant interaction with local, state, and federal elected officials, and governmental agencies, trade organizations, interested stakeholder groups, and industry professionals on matters of policy and advocacy, project planning and management, funding, economic development, public-private partnerships, and general business development efforts. Tony has particular interest and experience in the areas of:

  • public infrastructure and transportation improvements
  • logistics and transportation issues, including the impact of the pandemic and disruption from advances in technology
  • residential, commercial, and industrial development
  • city-planning
  • transit-oriented development
  • public-private partnership and regional collaboration opportunities

Litigation

Tony partners closely with his clients and utilizes his experience as a trial attorney and certified mediator to develop strategies seeking optimal trial results or other resolutions in high-stakes matters and to advise his clients regarding strategies based on their objectives and risk-reduction goals. Tony offers valuable industry and governmental perspectives as a helpful complement to his legal experience.

He has represented his clients successfully in the state and federal courts of North Carolina, before mediators and arbitrators, and before North Carolina administrative courts and agencies. Tony’s recent matters include federal and state actions at the trial and appellate levels, and other matters involving:

  • breaches of communications services agreements
  • product liability
  • trade-secrets and unfair competition litigation
  • high-dollar casualty loss claims
  • eminent domain
  • rezoning for commercial and residential development
  • class action claims
  • COVID-19 related business interruption and event cancellation insurance claims
  • COVID-19 related workers’ compensation issues
  • and other breach of contract, intellectual property, and insurance matters

Transportation

Tony’s practice is multimodal, involving air, motor, and rail transportation. He handles both commercial and regulatory issues, with a focus on litigation, insurance, technology, government relations, and strategic planning. Tony has represented international and domestic clients in a range of transportation and logistics-related matters, including but not limited to, product liability litigation, insurance coverage disputes, catastrophic accidents, and municipal easement/right of way negotiations for public works and transportation infrastructure.

Tony’s leadership in transportation is punctuated by his service to the North Carolina Department of Transportation:

  • He was first appointed by Governor Roy Cooper in March 2017 to serve a four-year term as an at-large member on the North Carolina Board of Transportation. He was reappointed by Governor Cooper in August 2020 to represent the tenth transportation district. Tony has served as Chair of the Funding & Appropriation Strategies (FAST) Committee since 2017 and will continue his leadership as Chair of the Board’s Finance Committee and a member of the NCDOT Financial Planning Committee
  • In March 2019, former North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Jim Trogdon appointed Tony to serve as an Advisory Member of the NCDOT’s newly-formed NC FIRST (Future Investment Resources for Sustainable Transportation) Commission. The Commission is tasked with evaluating the state’s current and future transportation investment needs and advising the Secretary of Transportation of new or better ways to ensure that critical financial resources are available in the future

Tony regularly speaks before industry, government, and the public regarding the impending disruption of the transportation industry and the anticipated impact on funding, as well as the need for a regional approach to transportation planning to foster economic development and expand economic opportunity in both rural areas and urban centers.

Real Estate

Tony is a seasoned lawyer with extensive experience in land use, zoning and development, planning, and condemnation law. Tony has experience representing a diverse portfolio of clients successfully in a broad range of land use and real estate matters, including administrative proceedings and related pre-litigation counseling and litigation involving municipal planning, zoning, entitlement, and related land use and development regulations. His years leading the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission have provided Tony with a unique perspective and in-depth, inside knowledge of land use and zoning agency operations.

Tony has nearly a decade of leadership experience in Charlotte’s planning and community development arenas:

  • He currently serves as Chair of the Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Stakeholder Advisory Committee, which provides technical advice/input to the City’s Planning Department in the restructuring of its land use policies and zoning ordinance and provides a bridge for communicating with stakeholders about the progression of the project.
  • The UDO Advisory Committee was integral to the City’s Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) revision process, which resulted in the City Council’s adoption of new TOD Districts on April 15, 2019.
  • Tony was a member of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Commission from 2011 to 2017, and he served as the Commission’s Chair from 2014 through 2017. He chaired the Commission’s planning and zoning committees during his tenure and served as Chair of the Mecklenburg County Planning Coordinating Committee. 
  • Tony also currently serves on the Knight Foundation Charlotte Advisory Committee.


Notable

Notable

  • Advisory Member, NC FIRST (Future Investment Resources for Sustainable Transportation) Commission, 2019-present
  • Chair, Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance Advisory Committee, 2016-present
  • NCDOT’s Board of Transportation:
    • Member, 2017-present
    • Chair, Finance Committee (formerly the Funding & Appropriation Strategies (FAST) Committee), 2017-present
  • Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission:
    • Member, 2011-2017;
    • Chair, 2014-2017;
    • Vice Chair, 2013-2014;
    • Zoning Committee Chair, 2015-2017;
    • Planning Committee Chair, 2013-2016;
    • Zoning Ordinance Ad Hoc Committee Chair, 2015-2017
  • Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2010-2021; Workers' Compensation Law - Employers, 2010-2021
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2006-2021
  • Martindale-Hubbell, North Carolina Top Rated Lawyer
  • Benchmark Litigation "Local Litigation Star," General Commercial, 2015-2021
  • Member, Knight Foundation Charlotte Advisory Board, 2016-present
  • Member, North Carolina Business Court Rules Advisory Committee, 2015
  • Chair, Mecklenburg County Planning Coordinating Committee, 2014-2017
  • Chairman, Network of Trial Law Firms, 2011
  • President, Mecklenburg County Bar, 2006-2007

News

News

Commitment

Media

Recognitions

Insights

Media

Blogs and Resources

Alerts

Blog Posts

Affiliations

Affiliations

  • Certified Mediator, N.C. Superior Courts, N.C. Industrial Commission
  • Chair, Wildacres Leadership Initiative, which sponsors the Friday Fellows program, 2010-2011
  • Certified Specialist, Workers Compensation Law, North Carolina State Bar (Former Member, Worker's Compensation Specialization Committee), 2000-2010
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Local Patent Rules, WDNC, 2010
  • Member, North Carolina Council of Bar Presidents, 2007-present
  • Featured in a North Carolina Super Lawyers article entitled, "Setting the Bar", February, 2007
  • Featured in The Charlotte Observer in an article entitled, "Mecklenburg County Bar: Next President Likes Low Profile", June, 2006
  • North Carolina Bar Association: 
    • Chair, Workers Compensation Section, 2005-2006;  
    • Editor, Course and Scope Newsletter, 1999-2003
  • Trustee, North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, 2003-2006
  • Chair, Merit Selection Panels for two U.S. Magistrate Judges in North Carolina's Western District, 2003-2004 
  • Mecklenburg County Bar:
    • President, 2006-2007;
    • Chair, Bar Leadership Institute, 2001-2003
  • First chair, Mecklenburg Bar Leadership Institute, 2001-2003  
  • William C. Friday Fellow, 1999-2001
  • President, General Counsel and Director, Second String Santas, Inc., a non-profit providing over 3,000 presents annually to children in Mecklenburg County, 1997-2001
  • Aide, Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., 1983-1985
  • Appointed by Governor Hunt to the Governor's Crime Commission, 1982-1985
  • Recipient, Order of the Long Leaf Pine, North Carolina’s highest civilian honor
  • Former Member, Board of Visitors and Law and General Alumni Associations, UNC-Chapel Hill 
  • American Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys

Representative Experience

Representative Experience

Litigation

  • Representing and advising companies regarding COVID-19 related insurance claims involving business interruption, event cancellation and workers’ compensation
  • A breach of shipping contract matter involving freight shippers, carriers, and brokers
  • Representing a national real estate company in connection with municipal easements and rights of way for government public works and transportation projects
  • Representing a nonprofit development and finance company in a contested rezoning application for multifamily housing development
  • Representing a national fiber optic networking cloud connectivity provider in multiple contract and tort litigation matters
  • Successfully representing plaintiff-appellee in obtaining affirmation of the trial court’s order finding that the plaintiff had properly pleaded and alleged a claim for piercing the corporate veil against the defendants, and in obtaining reversal of the N.C. Court of Appeals decision which dismissed the case against an individual defendant who was an officer of the corporate defendant. Saft America, Inc. v. Plainview Batteries, Inc.,659 S.E.2d 39 (N.C. App. 2008) and 673 S.E.2d 864 (N.C. 2009) (PER CURIAM)
  • Vehicle and device products liability claims, defending international manufacturers of vehicles, aircraft, and medical devices, including catastrophic accident claims
  • Successfully defending workers’ compensation asbestos claim; finding of no liability for defendant/client affirmed. Seagle v. Kent-Coffey Manufacturing et al., 155 N.C.App. 221, 573 S.E.2d 772, 2002 WL 31894972 (N.C. App. 2002)
  • A coverage dispute over provisions of a contingent automobile liability insurance policy in connection with the vehicle leasing program of a Fortune 500 company
  • A breach of a contract claim (sale of a $40 million manufacturing facility), representing a plaintiff Fortune 500 corporation
  • A trademark infringement and breach of contract action involving competing cable television networks
  • An insurance contract dispute regarding retroactive workers’ compensation insurance premiums
  • A claim regarding a lapsed long-term care insurance policy
  • State law police/municipal liability and §1983 claims in Federal court in which summary judgment decisions for defendants were affirmed by the Fourth Circuit. Kling v. City of Monroe, 86 Fed Appx. 662, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 2093 (4th Cir. (NC) 2004); Nadelin v. City of Monroe, 166 F.3d 333, 1998 WL 802021 (4th Cir. (N.C.) 1998)
  • Obtaining defense verdict for employer/steeplejack welding contractor in trial of Woodson wrongful death claim. McDaniel v. Price, 93 CVS 154 (Rutherford County, N.C. Superior Court)

Transportation

  • Breach of shipping contract matter involving freight shippers, carriers, and brokers
  • Representing and advising companies regarding COVID-19 related insurance claims involving business interruption, event cancellation and workers’ compensation
  • Approximately 20 municipal eminent domain actions, representing both condemnors and property owners in a variety of matters, including transportation infrastructure projects
  • Representing a national infrastructure and engineering firm in connection with municipal public affairs matters
  • Representing a national fiber optic networking cloud connectivity provider in multiple contract and tort litigation matters
  • Representing a national real estate company in connection with municipal easements and rights of way for government public works and transportation projects
  • Vehicle and device products liability claims, defending international manufacturers of vehicles, aircraft, and medical devices, including catastrophic accident claims
  • A coverage dispute over provisions of a contingent automobile liability insurance policy in connection with the vehicle leasing program of a Fortune 500 company
  • A trademark infringement and breach of contract action involving competing cable television networks
  • Representing a commercial developer seeking to upzone property to erect an office complex

Real Estate

Tony’s recent matters and experience include:

  • Approximately 20 municipal eminent domain actions, representing both condemnors and property owners in a variety of matters, including transportation infrastructure projects
  • A trial and appeal representing a nonprofit development and finance company in contested rezoning application for multifamily housing development
  • Representing a commercial developer seeking to upzone property to erect an office complex
  • Representing a national real estate company in connection with municipal easements and rights of way for government public works and transportation projects
  • Processing and approving the new land use plan for Charlotte’s new Blue Line Light Rail Transit Corridor
  • Processing and making recommendations regarding zoning applications submitted to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Department
  • Serving as Trustee of the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund
  • Chairing the Charlotte Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Stakeholder Advisory Committee to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Planning Department in the process of rewriting the City’s zoning ordinance
  • Additional matters involving conditional use permits, government relations, vested rights, and deed restrictions


Speaking Engagements & Publications

Speaking Engagements & Publications

Speaking Engagements

  • Panel Moderator, “Infrastructure Series: Transitional Part 1,” Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, October 2020
  • Panelist, "A Conversation on Regional Mobility with Former Mayor Harvey Gantt," CONNECT Beyond, September 2020
  • “NC 101,” Centralina Council of Governments Manager’s Call – Transportation Focus, June 2020
  • Panelist, “Think Forum: Moving Post-COVID-19 – Regional transportation in Charlotte’s ‘new normal,’” HNTB, City of Charlotte & Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, May 2020
  • Panel Moderator, Regional Collaboration Panel Discussion, CRAFT Executive Committee Meeting, February 2020
  • Panelist, “The Future of Bus Rapid Transit,” UNC Clean Tech Summit,  February 2020
  • Panel Moderator, “NC F1RST Commission: Reflections on Creating Change,” NC DOT Transportation Summit, January 2020
  • NC FIRST Commission Update, Greenville-Pitt County Chamber of Commerce “Transportation Disruptors” Power Luncheon, December 2019
  • Panel Moderator, “Funding and Pricing a Just Transition,” Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) Road to Change Conversation, November 2019
  • NC FIRST Commission Update, Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization Board Meeting, November 2019
  • NC Transportation Finance Overview,” Urban Transportation Planning Course Guest Lecture, UNC Department of City & Regional Planning, November 2019
  • The Landscape of Mobility is Changing,” Roadways to a Safer Future Seminar Guest Lecture, UNC Department of City & Regional Planning, November 2019
  • Municipal Lens: Connecting the Region,” Charlotte Regional Business Alliance 2019 Summit, Oct 2019
  • Panel, “Anticipating the Disruption of Transportation Funding: A Call for Coordinated Regional Planning,” Triangle J Council of Governments Regional Summit, October 2019
  • “Funding Surface Transportation in North Carolina,” Regional Transportation Alliance, Triangle Mobility Partnership Meeting, September 2019
  • Panelist, “Understanding Industry Disruptors” Panel, Southern Transportation Civil Rights Executive Council (STCREC) Training Symposium, August 2019
  • “Future Funding Opportunities & Challenges for North Carolina Transportation,” International Right of Way Association (IRWA) Summer Education Seminar, August 2019
  • Transportation Luncheon on Disruptors, NC Go & Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, June 2019
  • “NCDOT Update” and “The Future of Transportation Funding & Necessity for Coordinated Regional Planning,” 2019 North Carolina Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Annual Transportation Conference, April 2019
  • The Future of Transportation Funding & Necessity for Coordinated Regional Planning,” Metropolitan Transit Commission (MTC) Meeting, April 2019
  • The Future of Transportation Funding & Regional Transportation Collaboration,” Charlotte Regional Alliance for Transportation (CRAFT) Technical Committee Meeting, March 2019
  • Panel Moderator, “The Future of Transportation Funding & Necessity for Coordinated Regional Planning,” Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization & Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization 2nd Annual Roundtable, March  2019
  • “Transportation Storytelling & Participant Engagement” Segment Leader, Centralina Council of Governments Regional Conference, March 2019
  • Moderator, “Preparing for a Changing Funding Landscape” Opening Session and “Creative Funding Solutions” Breakout, 2019 NC Transportation Summit, January 2019

Publications

  • Regular contributor to Moore & Van Allen's Litigation Law Blog, addressing emerging topics pertinent to state and federal litigation, land use and related business practices
  • “Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 introduced in Congress — a federal backstop for business interruption and event cancellation losses,” Westlaw, June 22, 2020
  • Featured in “Charlotte zoning is a family tradition for commission chair,” DevelopCLT, August 18, 2016
  • Quoted in “5 Tips For Better Communication With Clients,” Law360, April 22, 2016
  • “Arbitration at a Crossroads: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to Initiate Regulation Following Its Study Scrutinizing Arbitration and Class Action Waivers,” @Law the NALS Magazine for Legal Professionals, Winter 2015-2016
  • "D.R. Horton Déjà Vu: Will NLRB Be Forced To Respect Class Action Waivers For Employers Doing Business In 5th Circuit?” Mondaq, October 1, 2015


Education

B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1983

J.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1988

Admissions

  • North Carolina, 1988
  • All North Carolina state and federal courts
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
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