Photo of Kirk G. Warner

Kirk G. Warner

AA Contact Info

Jane Pfister
Phone: 919.838.2116


Kirk Warner is a lead trial lawyer focusing much of his practice on complex and challenging product liability and commercial bet-the-company litigation and contested topical areas such as motor vehicle, pharmaceuticals, biosciences, medical devices asbestos, industrial, tools and construction products defense. Kirk leads the firm’s Products Liability, Mass Tort and Catastrophic Loss, Asbestos and Toxic Torts, and Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation practice groups and is a senior litigator in the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Complex Contract Disputes and Construction Litigation teams with trial experience spanning across many litigation areas. He also has extensive experience representing a variety of government contractors with issues involving overseas war operations and advising clients involved in government interagency and contingency operations contractor issues. 

Kirk has significant experience in litigating, managing, and counseling clients on an array of litigation, including serving as lead counsel nationally, regionally and statewide to multiple major automotive and consumer products manufacturers. He has often represented product manufacturers involved in catastrophic explosion and fire lawsuits and he has investigated, litigated and tried cases throughout the United States in all levels of trial and appellate courts. Kirk has represented all major automotive manufacturers as well as many major pharmaceutical, medical and insurance companies, including many Fortune 500 companies in complex litigation matters in over twenty-five states and Guam. He also has trial experience in most general and commercial litigation categories including environmental coverage, contract, catastrophic loss and injury, wrongful death, commercial, construction, insurance and arson cases.

At the start of Kirk’s career, he was an associate with a national law firm in Cincinnati, and served as a member of the national defense team for the Rely Tampon-Toxic Shock Syndrome litigation. He was also involved in national asbestos coverage and other general and commercial litigation matters. While at that firm, Kirk also served as an Assistant Special Prosecutor for the State of Ohio in the investigation of the Ohio Savings & Loan crisis and the resulting prosecutions. He was a partner for over a decade at a Raleigh law firm where he continued his commercial, fire and catastrophic loss, construction, and product liability defense representation and trial practice.

Kirk is a retired Army Colonel, Iraqi War Commander, and Senior Army Judge Advocate who was legal counsel to three Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon and major Commands. He has led major investigations and tiger teams for the Department of Defense and large corporations. He was featured on CNN’s Lou Dobb’s Tonight “Heroes” series and has published two award-winning books: Zone of Action: A JAG’s Journey Inside Operations Cobra II and Iraqi Freedom and A Hoot in Hell’s Island: The Heroic Story of World War II Dive Bomber Lt. Cmdr. Robert D. “Hoot” Gibson.

Military Service

Colonel (Retired), United States Army, Judge Advocate General Corps

COL Warner retired from the United States Army in 2013 after 33 years of military service. He served as the Deputy Legal Counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon for three JCS Chairmen. In that role, he served on many Government Interagency Panels and Working Groups for Governmental Leaders and Deputies and as both an Advisor and an Investigating Officer for major National Security and Defense Department Inquiries, Events and Incidents. He also served as the first Commander of the 134th Legal Operations Detachment (LOD), Fort Bragg, North Carolina and as the Staff Judge Advocate of the Army’s Training Command. Deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), he became the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, Combined Joint Task Force-7 (Coalition Provisional Authority), Baghdad, Iraq immediately following the fall of Baghdad until September 2003 and was the Senior Judge Advocate in the Command Operations Center, Coalition Forces Land Component Command (U.S. Third Army), Camp Doha, Kuwait, during the march to Baghdad. He commanded the 12th JAG Detachment in OIF. COL Warner also served as a Team Chief, 12th Legal Support Organization and the Command Judge Advocate for the 171st Corps Support Group. He previously served as a Medical Service Corps Company Commander, Executive Officer and Department Chief for several hospital units. COL Warner is a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the Joint Forces Staff College, and the U.S. Army War College. He has chaired Advisory Boards, Tiger Teams and Working Groups as a Senior Army and Joint Service JAG Leader.

  • Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Commissioner, North Carolina Military Affairs Commission (Governor's Appointment: 2014-2017, Speaker of House Appointment: 2018-present)
    • Chairman, Quality of Life Committee
    • Member, Executive Steering Group 
  • Honorary and Ex Officio Member, The North Carolina Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism (Chief Justice’s Appointment) (2022-present)
  • Board of Directors, North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Foundation (2021-present)
  • Commissioner, North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission (Chief Justice's Appointment) (2010-2016)
  • North Carolina Bar Association
    • Board of Governors (2016-2019)
    • Executive Committee (2017-2019)
    • Council of Military & Veterans Law Section (2016-present)
    • NC Bar Foundation Oversight and Programs Committee (2017-present)
    • Chairman, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee (2013-2016)
  • Member, Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC)
  • Member, International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • Board of Directors, North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA) (2015-2018)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
    • President, Eastern North Carolina Chapter 
    • Board of Directors (2017-present)
    • Advocate (2022-present)
  • Vice-Chair, LAMP Committee, North Carolina Bar (Member, 2004-present; Vice-Chair, 2021)
  • American, North Carolina and Wake County Bar Associations
  • Veterans Life Center of North Carolina
    • Vice Chairman (2022-present)
    • Board of Directors (2021-present)
  • United Service Organizations of North Carolina, Inc. (USO of NC)
    • Board of Directors (2006-2016, 2018-2021)
    • Vice-Chairman (2006-2016)
  • Guest Instructor, North Carolina State University, Poole School of Management and School of Textiles
  • Board of Advisors, Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program, The Ohio State University
  • Member, Defense Research Institute (DRI)
  • Secretary, The North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • Chairman, Board of Directors, North Carolina March of Dimes (2002-2008)
  • President, Rotary Club of Raleigh (2015-2016)
  • Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Association, and Association of United States Army
  • Expedicionario Member, Military Order of the Carabao
  • Board of Directors, Triangle Football Officials Association (30 years experience as a high school football referee) (1983-2013)
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Benchmark Litigation, North Carolina Litigation Star (2015-2022)
  • Best Lawyers®, Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (2006-2022)
  • Best Lawyers®, "Lawyer of the Year," Raleigh Products Liability Litigation - Defendants (2020)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite
  • Recipient, Kirk Warner Award for Distinguished Service to the Military and Veterans, NCBA Military and Veterans Law Section (2018)
  • NCHSAA Golden Whistle Merit Awards for outstanding officiating service (2018)
  • Lou Dobbs Tonight, "Heroes" series, CNN (February 4, 2004)
  • News & Observer “Tar Heel of the Week, Fighting for Veterans (recognizing a notable North Carolinian who is having an impact on the Triangle Community), June 7, 2015
  • North Carolina Super Lawyers (2006-2022)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated

US military Decorations and Badges

  • Legion of Merit
  • Bronze Star Medal
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
  • Meritorious Service Medal (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Army Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
  • Army Achievement Medal (with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster)
  • Iraqi Freedom Medal (with 2 campaign stars)
  • Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
  • Global War On Terrorism Service Medal
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award (with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters)
  • Air Assault Badge
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge



  • Defended national residential property management company in putative class action claiming collection of improper rental eviction fees.
  • Defended national home and building supply company in product liability litigation claiming sino-nasal cancer from exposure to wood dust.
  • Defended national industrial and consumer products company in products liability litigation claiming leukemia from benzene exposure.
  • Defended recycling company in multiple catastrophic personal injury, property damage and business interruption damage federal lawsuits from explosion and fire at a trucking terminal in Charlotte.
  • Defended national home and building supply company in catastrophic personal injury products liability litigation claiming defective corded window blinds and resulting child strangulation/asphyxiation.
  • Defense of medical device company in a bet-the-company paraplegic injury lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged the paraplegia was the result of lower lumbar surgery involving lateral and contra-lateral access using a minimally invasive decompression medical device and micro-blade shaver system. The lawsuit was successfully resolved prior to trial.
  • Defense of major automotive manufacturer in asbestos mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuit brought by a national plaintiffs’ asbestos firm in South Carolina alleging decedent’s exposure to automotive brake and gasket dust. Defense verdict following four week trial.
  • Defense of gas regulator manufacturer in aggregated lawsuits involving four deaths and over forty workers injured in a catastrophic propane gas fire and explosion at the ConAgra Slim-Jim Plant in Garner, North Carolina. 
  • Defense of major pharmaceutical company in multiple pain pump lawsuits. The lawsuits claimed rotator cuff and shoulder joint deterioration from analgesic delivered in pain management infusion pumps following shoulder repair surgery. The cases were resolved through dismissal or transfer to MDL and ultimate settlement.
  • Defense of major security contractor for deaths of four independent contractors ambushed and killed on convoy in Fallujah, Iraq with national scope and implications and Congressional interest. This complex case involved federal and state lawsuits, Department of Labor and International Centre for Dispute Resolution proceedings, Congressional Sub-Committee hearings and multiple federal appeals in the United States Fourth Circuit and the Supreme Court.
  • Defense of surgical device manufacturer in a wrongful death action filed in the Middle District of North Carolina alleging that a tumor ablation device malfunctioned and caused the destruction of healthy tissue. Implementation of aggressive discovery and defense strategy resulted in dismissal of all claims that had been asserted against our client.
  • Lead counsel for major Public Utility Company in investigation and defense of a claim that involved damage to an archeological site during transmission ROW clearance on an Army installation. Led company investigation and defense of the government’s investigation and subsequent claims against company which resulted in favorable settlement and resolution of all claims and prosecution threats with a mitigation of other archeological sites along the ROW and a significant recovery in a subrogation claim against a third-party vendor.   
  • Defense of major automotive manufacturer in triple fatality accident involving allegations of defective stability and lack of electronic stability control in a sports utility vehicle and defective seat belt restraints in a pick-up truck and wrongful death damages claims for the two occupants of the truck. This unique accident involved the high speed rollover of the SUV onto the oncoming pick-up truck resulting in the deaths of all three occupants. Defense verdict obtained after a five week trial.
  • Defense of major pharmaceutical company in numerous consolidated personal injury lawsuits alleging that Thimerosal, the preservative used in many vaccines, caused autism in children. Following expert discovery and an evidentiary hearing, the court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment.
  • Defense of major automotive manufacturer in child paraplegic injury products case alleging defective design of child restraint systems and crashworthiness of mid-sized sedan. Six week trial resulted in a defense verdict.
  • Defense of major power tool manufacturer in federal products case resulting in loss of plaintiff's eye due to claims of nail gun defective design. Defense verdict following two week trial.
  • Defense of major latex glove manufacturer in a dozen latex allergy lawsuits in North Carolina as part of the national MDL. Cases were resolved through dispositive motions and favorable settlements.
  • Defense of major tire manufacturer in motor vehicle rollover accident resulting in brain-injured child.  Three week trial and two week retrial resulted in favorable resolution prior to verdict.
  • Defense of major tool manufacturer in amputation case alleging defective circular saw. Defense verdict after two weeks of trial.
  • Defense of multi-national consumer goods company in Rely tampon - toxic shock syndrome litigation nationwide. Member of the national lead counsel defense team. Specifically responsible for over 200 cases tried, dismissed or resolved in over twenty (20) states in federal and state trial and appellate systems.
  • Defense of largest electric utility in the United States involving death and catastrophic paraplegia injury claims brought by two fishermen in a fishing tournament who collided into a power tower in Lake Gaston. Favorable defense verdict following two week federal trial in admiralty.
  • Defense of major pharmaceutical manufacturer involving allegations that the menopause treatment drug Prempro caused cancer. The cases were ultimately transferred to a MDL in Arkansas where the claims were settled by the co-defendant/primary target. In re Prempro Products, 03-cv-015070-WRW, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock).
  • Prosecution of thorny contract/business dispute between buyer/seller of textile plant in Tarboro, NC with multiple disputes on continued operations. Two week federal trial settled favorably prior to verdict.
  • Defense of manufacturer of industrial chicken fryer from catastrophic fire loss in chicken processing plant in Hamlet, NC resulting in twenty-four deaths and aggressive litigation.
  • National Counsel defending tire inflator manufacturer in multiple wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases across the country achieving resolution through settlement or trial of significant, tough cases and claims.
  • Defense of engineering and manufacturing company from multiple death lawsuits from catastrophic rupture of hydrochloric acid pulp silo at a major papermill in North Carolina.
  • Defense of major automotive manufacturer in lawsuit involving deaths of a family of four claiming defective design and manufacture of an engine serpentine belt and power brake system in an ambulance which ran intersection.  Defense verdict after three weeks of trial.
  • Defense of major automotive manufacturer in a multiple fatality and partial paraplegic injury rollover accident with allegations of vehicle design defect claims of failure to have electronic stability control.
  • Defense of major trucking firm in multiple-death trucking accident lawsuit resulting in defense verdict.
  • Prosecution to enforce payment for delivery of military communications systems (PRC 77s) pursuant to US Government  contract to Honduras military and funds absconded by intermediary sales company. Three week trial in Dade County, Florida resulted in verdict for represented electronics company.

News & Publications



  • Eutaw Springs Eternal: Redemption of the North Carolina Continental Line
    Fall 2022
    Published by Continental Lines, North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • 04.05.2022
    Published by Koehler Books
  • The Surrender of Charleston: The End of the North Carolina Line
    Spring 2022
    Published by Continental Lines, North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • Incompletely Deranged: The NC Regiments at Valley Forge
    Fall 2021
    Published by Continental Lines, North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • Charlottesville and The American Revolution
    Spring 2021
    Published by Continental Lines, North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • 08.24.2020
    Published by Koehler Books
  • Guilford Courthouse: Judgment Notwithstanding Verdict
    Spring 2020
    Published by Continental Lines North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • Roadie to Guilford Courthouse and to Charleston!
    Fall 2019
    Published by Continental Lines North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • The Continuing Revolutionary War in the West Featuring the Leaders of the Continental Line, Our Society … and a Spanish Agent
    Fall 2019
    Published by Continental Lines North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • Reich to Darke: The Warner Family Journey from Palatine to Palestine
  • Ensign James Masterson - Soldier and Frontiersman, 1752-1838
    Spring 2018
    Published by Continental Lines North Carolina Society of the Cincinnati
  • Hastings’ Pudding: Gundebold to Gibson…And Everything in Between
  • The North Carolina Military Affairs Commission, Reveille, Vol. 1, No. 3
  • Fall 2015
    Published by The North Carolina State Bar Journal
  • Missing Movement: Applying the U.C.M.J. to Private Military Contractors
    Published by United States Army War College
  • Legal Lessons Learned from Afghanistan and Iraq
    2004 and 2005
    Published by Center for Law and Military Operations, Volume I and II
  • A JAG’s Journey in Iraq
    Spring 2004
    Published by North Carolina Bar Journal
  • Testing the Waters: America’s First Foray as a World Power, The 1895 Venezuelan Border Crisis, (M.A. Thesis)
    Published by North Carolina State University

Speaking Engagements


  • Speaker, “Perspectives on Professional Identity Formation: From Law Schools to Legal Practice,” Panel of the North Carolina Bar Association, N.C. Bar Center, Cary, N.C.
  • Panelist, "Professionalism As We Move into the Post-Pandemic World," North Carolina Bar Association, Cary, N.C.
  • Speaker, “Give a Hoot on Veterans Day: A Hoot in Hell’s Island,” Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Team Coach, Campbell University Law School, National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, Washington, D.C.
  • Panel Moderator, “Quality of Life,” North Carolina Defense Summit, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "PFAS Litigation: Past, Present, and Future," N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys Annual Meeting, Wilmington, N.C.
  • Team Coach, Campbell University Law School, National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, Washington, D.C.
  • Speaker, “Building a Rewarding Legal Career as a Trial Lawyer, Judge Advocate,…and More,” University of Dayton Law School, Leader Lecture Series
  • Lecturer, "Iraq War First-Hand Observations and Leadership Lessons from US Colonel (Ret) Kirk Warner (Career Conversation)," North Carolina State University Poole School of Management, Jenkins MBA Program
  • Speaker, “North Carolina Military Affairs Commission,” Veterans Rotary Club, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Team Coach, Campbell University Law School, National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, Washington, D.C.
  • Speaker, “Zone of Action: A JAG’s Journey in Operations Cobra II and Iraqi Freedom,” Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Panel Member, “Getting Ahead: Street Smart Lessons from Senior Corporate Leaders," NCSU Poole College of Management, Jenkins MBA School, Live Webinar
  • Team Coach, Campbell University Law School, National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, Washington, D.C.
  • Speaker, "75th Anniversary of D-Day," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Team Coach, Campbell University Law School, National Veterans Law Moot Court Competition, Washington, D.C.
  • Speaker, "100th Armistice Anniversary - Veterans Day," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Cobra II to Sweeney Todd, Phase III and IV Operations in Iraq: The Liberation and Occupation. – A JAG’s Journey," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Moderator and Participant, “Professionalism and Civility” Panel of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Duke University School of Law
    Durham, N.C., 2018
  • Panel Member, "Driving Around the World in One Day: Traffic Accident Liability and the Future of Autonomous Vehicles," Wake Forest Law Review 2017 Fall Symposium
    Winston-Salem, N.C., 11.2017
  • Lecturer, "Is My Kevlar Helmet Bulletproof?" Legal Aspects of the Product Cycle (Product Liability), North Carolina State University College of Textiles, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Four Cousins – The Remarkable Story of Four First Cousins and the Opening of the Ohio Frontier and the Northwest Territory from the American Revolution through the War of 1812," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Panel Leader, "Persuasive Arguments," N.C. Association of Defense Attorneys Annual Meeting, Hilton Head, S.C.
  • Speaker, “The Weaponization of Off-Label Use Issues,” Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) Spring Conference, Las Vegas, N.V.
  • Speaker, "Your Client is a Veteran, Now What?," UNC School of Law-sponsored Festival of Legal Learning Valor Symposium, Chapel Hill, NC..
  • Speaker, "North Carolina Courts / The Future of Legal Reform," NC Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Meeting, Cary, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Veterans’ Day – In Flanders Field the Poppies Grow," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Lecturer, Drug & Biotechnology Products Liability, MBA 586: Legal/Market Dynamics in Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Commerce, NC State University Jenkins Graduate School of Management, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, 2016 Military & Veterans Law Section Fall Program on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel (LAMP), North Carolina Bar Association, Cary, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Military and Veterans Law Engagement and Opportunities: The New NCBA Military and Veterans Law Section," Cumberland County Bar Association Presentation, Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Keynote Speaker, "How to Be An Authentic, Transformative Leader In Your Organizations and In Your Life," 37th Annual Bar Leadership Institute, Cary, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Cobra II to Sweeney Todd, Phase III and IV Operations in Iraq: The Liberation and Occupation. – A JAG’s Journey," Military Officers Association of America, Triangle Chapter, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - The Next Battle," 2015 Military and Veterans Affairs Committee (MVAC) Program on Legal Assistance for Military Personnel, Cary, N.C.
  • Speaker, "PTSD & Veteran's Issues," North Carolina Conference of Superior Court Judges, Asheville, N.C.
  • 05.2015
  • Speaker, "Serving Those Who Have Served," National Association of Bar Executives (NAPE), ABA Midyear Meeting, Houston, Texas
  • Speaker, "Veterans Treatment Courts," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Achieving Authentic, Transformative Leadership," NC Dental Society 2014 Leadership Academy, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Veterans Treatment Courts: The Next Battle," 2013 Senior Lawyers Division Fall Meeting, North Carolina Bar Association, Asheboro, N.C.
  • Speaker, "War of Wars: Insights from the Blackwater Litigation," 36th Annual Conference of the North Carolina Association of Defense Counsel, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  • Speaker, "Hobbies, Diversions, and Calls to Service: Interests Outside the Law Office," Wake County Bar -10th Judicial District Bar breakfast conference, Campbell Law School, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "War of Wars: Insights From the Blackwater Litigation: How to Manage Litigation Events that Defy All Rational Thought," National Product Liability Advisory Committee 2013 Spring Conference, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Speaker, "Building the Rule of Law in Transitional States," United States Army Judge Advocate Regional Legal Training Conference, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Speaker, "It May Not Be Right, But It’s Official - Football Refereeing 101," Rotary Club of Raleigh, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Justice Practice in the USAR," 2011 Staff Judge Advocate Course, The Judge Advocate General Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Va.
  • Speaker, "Being a Product Defendant in a Workplace Injury," North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys Seminar
  • Speaker, "Baghdad and Beyond," United Nations Association, Chapel Hill, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Multidistrict Litigition: Managing the Massed Messes," 27th Annual Conference of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
  • Speaker, "A JAG’s Journey in Iraq," Wake County Bar Association/10th Judicial District Bar, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "ROE v. Wading into the Multinational and Occupational Morass," XVIII Airborne Corps Rules of Engagement Conference, Fort Bragg, N.C.
  • Speaker, "A JAG’s Journey in Iraq," North Carolina State Bar Counselors Luncheon, Raleigh, N.C.
  • Speaker, "Insurance Coverage Law in North Carolina," National Business Institute, Seminar Presentation and Manual Update

Bar & Court Admissions

  • All North Carolina State Courts
  • U.S. District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina
  • Multiple United States District Courts
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces


North Carolina State University, M.B.A., Biosciences, 2015

U.S. Army War College, M.S.S., Strategic Studies, 2007

North Carolina State University, M.A., History, 1999

Duke University and University of Toledo, J.D., 1983

The Ohio State University, B.S., Zoology, 1980

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