Joel Rhine has decades of experience in complex litigation, including catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases, construction accidents and defects, trucking accidents, products liability, class actions and mass torts. After law school, Mr. Rhine began private practice with the mega-firm Hunton & Williams, working on some of the country’s largest cases, including two nuclear power plant construction cases. Mr. Rhine thereafter joined his extended family in Wilmington, North Carolina and at the age of 30, promptly obtained an eight-figure verdict in Federal Court, which, at the time, was the largest verdict in New Hanover County history. His practice progressed steadily from there, recovering hundreds of millions for his clients.
Mr. Rhine gained a national reputation in the EIFS or Synthetic Stucco fiasco, described by an assistant attorney general as “the largest consumer problem ever to hit North Carolina.” Mr. Rhine filed the first EIFS case and obtained the first multi-million dollar verdict against a manufacturer of this product. After Mr. Rhine’s team obtained this EIFS verdict, cases settled nationwide, giving thousands of homeowners adequate funds to repair their homes.
After EIFS, Mr. Rhine has handled cases throughout the United States and locally. He is best known for his work with scientists and engineers and his presentations on the topic are well received in legal seminars.
Mr. Rhine’s recent results include a significant award to three Plaintiffs injured in the Florida International University Pedestrian Bridge Collapse; obtaining the largest settlement ($24 million) in the Chinese Drywall litigation in New Orleans; and numerous catastrophic collapse cases, including obtaining a $750,000 jury award in Brunswick County right before COVID. Mr. Rhine’s experience in handling the Oak Island Beach bridge collapse cases was very helpful in prosecuting other collapsed deck, railing and bridge claims. Mr. Rhine also obtained a $9 million verdict in a multi-fatality parasailing death case off Brunswick County beaches; a $3.1 million recovery in a bus collision case that occurred Virginia; and a $2 million local trucking case. Mr. Rhine was class counsel and obtained a settlement in excess of $25 million against Pella Windows in the North District of Illinois (Eubank, et al v. Pella Corporation and Pella Windows and Doors). He likewise served as co-lead counsel in Finerman et al v. Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc, and International Cruise & Excursion Gallery in the Middle District of Florida, which settled for over $16.5 million.
Mr. Rhine has been repeatedly recognized as a leader in the legal profession. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” for over a decade and has been chosen as one of North Carolina’s Top 100 for several years. He is listed among the nation’s “Best Lawyers,” and Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite; he holds an AV rating on Martindale Hubbell. Rhine Law Firm is ranked as a Tier 1 Best Firm by U.S. News and is listed in the National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
Mr. Rhine received a B.A from the University of Tampa, where he received an academic scholarship, was inducted into four honor societies, was awarded the Political Science Graduate Award for attaining the highest GPA among Political Science graduates, and lettered on the varsity baseball team.
Mr. Rhine then received his Juris Doctor degree in 1988 from Wake Forest University School of Law, where he was elected to The Wake Forest Law Review. He was published twice in the Law Review while a student and received the Wake Forest Law Review award.
Finally, and above all, Mr. Rhine is a devoted family man. He and Alice Rhine just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary in May. Their son, Michael, graduated from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at UNC-Chapel Hill and is an associate in a private equity firm in Washington, DC. Their daughter, Julia, just received her bachelors from UNC-Chapel Hill and will attend UNC School of Law in the fall.