Robert S. Patterson - Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP

Robert S. Patterson

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2003

As a trial lawyer who understands business, Bob Patterson has spent the last 35 years representing all types of businesses in complex litigation in courtrooms from California to Florida. Bob combines business acumen with courtroom experience to assure his clients make informed business decisions about business litigation.

A seasoned courtroom lawyer, Bob loves the challenge of complex litigation. He is energized by the “learning experience” presented by complex cases with novel issues, identifies the key elements of the case and focuses his efforts on those factors that are “outcome determinative.” He regards each case as an opportunity to apply for his client’s benefit the lessons learned trying everything from personal injury to securities cases for companies large and small. He is a trial lawyer, rather than a litigator, who knows what will be important in the courtroom, and understands how to present complicated concepts about complex transactions in way that guides the fact finder to the best resolution for his clients.

Importantly but uniquely for a commercial trial lawyer, Bob understands business from an insider’s perspective. He has held leadership roles in numerous organizations, serves as the outside general counsel for several companies and served as the managing partner of his law firm for six years. He understands that business litigation does not exist in a vacuum, and appreciates the many organizational, tax, accounting and risk management issues that impact the development and the resolution of business disputes.

So, what is “complex commercial litigation?” Bob likes the “three-dimensional chess game” presented by commercial litigation that almost always involves considerations beyond the legal issues in the case. For example, there may be coverage issues that are dramatically impacted by the litigation, whether it is assuring coverage for a director sued for breach of fiduciary duty or managing a mass tort to assure a resolution within the policy limits. Disputes between shareholders involve not only complex accounting and business valuation issues, but also impact personnel and business operations. Bob sees more go wrong in business in one year than most CEOs (hopefully) see go wrong in a lifetime, and uses his experience working in many industries to develop a critical path for the resolution of those issues.

For example, the changing world of heath care presents unique issues in litigation: Bob loves the science involved in defending a medical malpractice case, but manages those cases with the perspective of his experience in managing litigation in all phases of the health care industry. Changes in reimbursement have stressed providers of all types, forcing a re-examination of vicarious liability issues inherent in the doctor/hospital relationship, and making the governance decisions about privileges, investigation and reporting particularly sensitive. At a corporate level, Bob understands applies his involvement in reimbursement issues and internal investigations of potential Stark Law violations to the defense of False Claims Act cases. At a more global level, Bob has defended a large hospital chain against allegations that it failed to provide appropriate charitable care, defended a major mental health care benefits provider against allegations that it wrongfully terminated a provider and has consulted on the anti-trust ramifications of the referral relationships between hospitals and large provider groups.

Rice UniversityBA Vanderbilt University Law SchoolJ.D.
Tennessee Bar FoundationNashville Bar AssociationTennessee Bar AssociationAmerican Bar AssociationAmerican Health Lawyers AssociationLeadership Nashville

Case History

Other Court Admissions
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • United States Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit
  • United States District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court, Middle District of Tennessee

Office Location

Roundabout Plaza, Suite 700
1600 Division Street
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Practice Areas

Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation (Intellectual Property)
Litigation - Intellectual Property