Adrianne is an attorney with a passion for representing her primary client base: architects, engineers, and other design professionals.
In addition to her broad-commercial litigation background, she has experience in all types of construction law disputes: from ones involving single-family residences to those arising on multi-million dollar commercial, industrial, utility, roadway, and healthcare projects. She also has deep knowledge of most construction industry standard form contracts and regularly advises her clients in the drafting and negotiation of their standard form agreements and project-specific contracts.
Not only a trusted counselor to many large and prestigious design firms, she also enjoys serving as a resource for smaller firms and young designers as they grow their businesses.
Adrianne is a strategic litigation planner with a thorough understanding of the needs of her clients. That understanding includes the ability to educate clients about the process of litigation; to budget fees and expenses accurately; to assess client risk and exposure with precision; and to develop and execute sound resolution strategies designed to minimize that risk.
Adrianne handled appeals that resulted in North Carolina decisions confirming the enforceability of limitation of liability clauses in design professional contracts and clarifying limitations on direct and derivative claims by contractors against design professionals. Adrianne regularly presents on risk management topics to clients and industry groups.
Adrianne is also active in the City of Charlotte, presently serving as secretary on the executive committee of the board of directors of Envision Charlotte—a public private plus collaborative that leads Charlotte’s progress as a global Smart City through innovations that strengthen economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and positive community impacts. She previously served on the board and as president of the Sedgefield Neighborhood Association.
In 2018, Adrianne was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the greater Charlotte area by the Mecklenburg Times. The annual list spotlights the important role women play in the greater Charlotte region and emphasizes community leadership and influence. She recently participated in CREW Charlotte's Authentic Leadership Program, joining a cohort of women, at all stages of their careers, on an intensive journey through self-discovery, learning how to understand and use their strengths, developing their own authentic leadership styles, and cultivating their full leadership potential.
Prior to joining HSSM, Adrianne practiced in the bankruptcy and financial restructuring groups of Moore & Van Allen, PPLC in Charlotte and Pillsbury Winthrop, LLC (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) in New York, New York. She is admitted to practice in the New York, North Carolina, and Virginia state courts as well as the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Western District of North Carolina.
Adrianne is a North Carolina native and a “Double Heel,” having attended both undergrad and law school at Chapel Hill, the former as a Morehead Scholar. When she is not practicing law, she spends her time managing and attending the busy sports schedules of her 12 year old son (baseball, football) and 8 year old daughter (soccer, gymnastics).
- Appellate Advocacy
- Commercial Litigation
- Construction Law
- Corporate Transactions, Governance + Disputes
- Design Professional Services
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Law, JD with honors, 2001, North Carolina Law Review, comments editor
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, BA with distinction, honors in English, 1998, Morehead Scholar
• Blaylock Grading Co. v. Smith, 658 S.E.2d 680 (N.C. App. 2008). Successful representation of design professional appellant, with reported decision confirming the enforceability of limitation of liability provisions in design professionals’ contracts under North Carolina law.
• South East Caissons, LLC v. Choate Constr. Co: & Falcon Engineering, Inc., 2022 WL 1146261 (N.C. App. Apr. 19, 2022) (unpub.). Successful representation of design professional appellee, with Court of Appeals decision affirming trial court award of summary judgment to engineering firm providing special inspection services with finding that subcontractor plaintiff failed to show that the engineer "exercised enough control of authority over Plaintiff's work as required to overcome the privity requirement." The decision is one of few (or perhaps the only) North Carolina appellate decision clarifying the limits of a third party to bring a tort claim against a design professional in the absence of privity of contract.
• Frye Reg’l Med’l Ctr. v. Hostetter & Keach, Inc., 753 S.E.2d 741 (N.C. App. 2013) (unpub.). Successful representation of design professional appellees, with decision clarifying limits on contribution and indemnity claims in construction law cases based upon the contractual relationship of the involved parties.
- Representation of contractors and design professionals in cases arising from design and construction defects, personal injury and wrongful death. Exemplary cases have involved roadway construction, water intrusion, mold and mold remediation, fire damage, structural design, geotechnical issues, retaining walls, zoning disputes, catastrophic industrial failures, wastewater treatment facilities, dams, utility damage, personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from occurrences in highway construction zones and on other construction sites.
- Representation of owners, contractors and design professionals in contract, payment, and lien disputes. Exemplary cases have involved delay analysis including critical path methodology, unforeseen site conditions, licensing issues, non-conforming work, materials disputes, liquidated damages, claims analysis, warranty issues, claims of lien, payment, and termination analysis.
- Drafting, review and negotiation of contracts for owner/developers, contractors, architects and engineers on commercial and residential construction projects, including modification and interpretation of AIA and EJCDC standard contract documents to suit needs of specific clients and projects.
- Coordination of appeals process and drafting of appellate briefs. Exemplary appeals have involved personal jurisdiction, arbitration clauses, contract interpretation, contribution and indemnity, necessity of expert testimony to prove breach of design professional’s standard of care, and enforceability of limited liability provisions in design professionals’ contracts.
- Representation of business entities and individuals in cases involving business dissolution, misappropriation of trade secrets and confidential information, fraud, Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices, breach of employment contract, and covenants not to compete.
Honors + Activities
- Martindale - Hubble® AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating
- Secretary, Board of Directors, Envision Charlotte
- Graduate, 2021-23 CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Charlotte Authentic Leadership Program
- Past president and board member, Sedgefield Neighborhood Association
- Member, CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women) Charlotte, Member Recognition Committee
- Member, North Carolina Bar Association & Construction Law Section
- Member, Mecklenburg County Bar Association
- Member, Women Lawyers of Charlotte
- Past co-chair, North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys, Government Action Committee
- Past director, National Association of Women in Construction, Charlotte Chapter