Devoting his entire career to Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson, John Wester concentrates his practice in the trials and appeals of complex civil litigation. He represents clients at each level of the federal and state trial and appellate courts, has extensive experience in the North Carolina Business Court, and has prosecuted and defended numerous class action cases in both federal and state courts.
John routinely handles cases with a high probability of going to trial. He often enters a case after it is underway and, in some instances, is called in at the appellate stage. His trials and appeals encompass contract, corporate governance and shareholder rights disputes, federal securities claims, unfair trade practice and trade secret disputes, tax controversies, and employment discrimination claims.
In 1994, John was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Click here for a list of his representative experience. Notable cases include the following:
- Salaried employees of Cone Mills advanced federal securities and ERISA claims in Elmore v. Cone Mills Corporation, a federal class action to force Cone Mills to contribute a large pension surplus to an ESOP. John served as lead defense counsel in the action, resulting in favorable Fourth Circuit rulings followed by the federal trial court’s ruling of no liability for the company.
- John argued as lead defense counsel before the United States Supreme Court in Ford Motor Co. v. EEOC, the decision in which the Court established precedent for ending employer liability in employment discrimination cases.
- In Hyatt v. Shalala, a class action brought for North Carolina’s disabled citizens whose benefits had been denied or terminated by the Social Security Administration, John served as lead counsel for the class plaintiffs. He and his firm, in partnership with Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, prosecuted the case throughout its 20-year run in the federal courts, including a successful petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court and five arguments in the Fourth Circuit. As a result of this litigation, approximately 150,000 North Carolinians won new disability hearings under new standards and the Social Security Administration revised a national regulation on disability.
John has been recognized by Woodward/White Inc.’s The Best Lawyers in America
since 1993, with recent honors including:
- Charlotte Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year, 2015
- Charlotte Litigation: Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, 2013 and 2014
- Charlotte Litigation: Labor & Employment Lawyer of the Year, 2013
- Charlotte Appellate Practice Lawyer of the Year, 2012
- Charlotte Bet-the-Company Litigator of the Year, 2011
Also among John's professional honors is his inclusion each year since 2004 in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business for both Business Litigation and Labor & Employment. According to Chambers’ sources, “Wester is universally lauded by peers and clients,” one of whom notes, “He has exceptional intelligence and wit, and is a very strong advocate who is able to operate at all levels of the case.”
Benchmark Appellate has recognized John as one of ten Fourth Circuit Litigation Stars in North Carolina. In addition, he has regularly appeared in Business North Carolina’s annual listing of the state’s “Legal Elite.” John is consistently named in North Carolina Super Lawyers, being named six years as one of the Top 10 attorneys in the publication’s annual peer review rankings.
In 2009-2010, John served as President of the North Carolina Bar Association.
In addition to his term as President, his service to the North Carolina Bar Association has included co-chairing the Committee for Judicial Independence from 2010-14, chairing the Appellate Rules Committee from 2003-05, and chairing the Appellate Process Committee of the Chief Justice’s Commission on the North Carolina Business Court from 2002-04.
John served as North Carolina chair of the American College of Trial Lawyers from 2004-06.
John is Chairman of the Access to Justice Council (Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont) and is a director of the Lynnwood Foundation and the North Carolina Museum of History. He serves on the Board of Visitors of the Duke University School of Law. His past service includes the University of North Carolina Board of Visitors, the Morehead-Cain Scholarship selection committees, the Boards of Directors of the Mecklenburg County Bar and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, and Chairman of the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and ArtsTeach, Inc.