Robert P. Fitzsimmons is a lifelong resident of Wheeling, West Virginia, and attended Wheeling Central Catholic High School. He received his Bachelor degree from Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Bob attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, where he graduated with highest honors and was inducted into the Heusler Honor Society while achieving his Juris Doctorate degree. Throughout High School, College and Law School Bob worked during summer and Christmas vacations on permit for Local 83 United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters, Steamfitters and Sprinklerfitters of the United States where His father and brothers were all members.
Bob Fitzsimmons has tried more than 150 trials and has achieved more than 150 verdicts and settlements in excess of $1 million. His litigation experience is diversified and involves cases dealing with medical malpractice, construction accidents, fraud, car accidents, truck accidents, insurance bad faith, products liability, insurance coverage, college coaches' and University contracts, NCAA Violations on behalf of Universities, coaches and players, toxic exposures, employment discrimination, nursing home abuse, motorcycle accidents, wrongful death, train accidents, dog bites, drunk driving accidents, defective drugs, electrocutions, child molestation, burn injuries, birth injuries, ATV accidents, mesothelioma/asbestos claims and class actions.
In 1985, Bob Fitzsimmons was elected to the governing body of the West Virginia State Bar, the Board of Governors, for a three-year term. He also was appointed by the West Virginia Supreme Court to committees which revised the West Virginia Rules of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Professional Conduct and the Rules of Evidence. From 2004 to 2010, he served as a member of the West Virginia State Bar Lawyer Disciplinary Board Investigative Panel. He is presently a member of The Judicial Ethics Investigation Committee. Bob also was appointed by the Governor as a Boxing Commissioner for the State of West Virginia's Athletic Commission and served from 2003 to 2007.
In 1997, Bob was retained to represent Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame Center Mike Webster in his disability lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL). "Iron Mike" was ultimately awarded total and permanent disability as a result of football-related concussions. Mike Webster's lawsuit against the NFL seeking retroactive benefits was reported as the only lawsuit lost by the NFL on a total disability claim which was the first lawsuit alleging brain injury as a result of football related activities.
Bob Fitzsimmons was retained to represent West Virginia University in its lawsuit against its former football coach, Rich Rodriguez, who left the university to become the head football coach at the University of Michigan. He successfully sued WVU’s former coach for recovery of the full liquidated damage clause set forth in the employment contract.
Bob Fitzsimmons, together with Dr. Julian Bailes and Dr. Bennet Omalu founded the Brain Injury Research Institute (BIRI), which is now located at NorthShore University Hospitals in Chicago, Illinois. These three individuals together with Dr. Jenn Hammers presently serve as Co-Directors of the institute, whose purpose is to study and examine the effects of head trauma and concussions, specifically including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is a permanent and progressive disease that can be caused as a result of concussions and head trauma. The institute has autopsied the brains of more than 40 individuals, including former NFL players, WWE wrestlers, professional boxers, college and high school football players, and military veterans. BIRI's research and studies have played an instrumental role in encouraging the NFL and other contact sports associations to properly diagnose, manage and treat concussions. Their work has been prominently featured in the September 2009 issue of GQ Magazine, as well as Nightline, Good Morning America, HBO Real Sports, ESPN's Outside the Lines, Men's Journal, Reader's Digest, and theNew York Times.
Throughout his career, Mr. Fitzsimmons has been consistently recognized as a West Virginia Super Lawyer. In 2008, Bob was the leading vote getter for all West Virginia Super Lawyers and he has finished in the top 10 on multiple occasions. In 2010, Bob was named one of the top 75 plaintiffs' trial lawyers in the country based upon a survey entitled Trial Lawyer Kingpins conducted by Mark Behrens, partner of Shook, Hardy & Bacon, and Of Counsel, Cary Silverman. This honor was achieved from a survey of defense counsel, in-house attorneys, and individuals to create "a list of worthy attorneys based not only on their legal experience, but their influence throughout the industry."
In 2011, Bob was appointed to serve on a three-person mediation panel with Attorney Michael Rozen, of Feinberg Rozen LLP, and Don O'Dell, of Lamp O'Dell Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry PLLC to mediate the claims of the 29 miners killed in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster which occurred in Boone County, West Virginia, on April 5, 2010, together with numerous personal injury and other types of claims.
In 2012, Bob received the Bishop's Cross Award for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia, from the Most Reverend Bishop Michael Bransfield. In 2018, Bob received a papal appointment from Pope Francis appointing him as a Knight of the Order of St. Gregory.
Mr. Fitzsimmons also has extensive appellate experience, handling in excess of 60 cases resulting in published appellate decisions, many of which have changed the laws in West Virginia in order to better protect our citizens and their rights.
Bob Fitzsimmons is licensed to practice in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania and has been admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and the Northern and Southern Districts of West Virginia.
Mr. Fitzsimmons' practice has also involved representation of universities and players for alleged NCAA violations and both universities and coaches on contractual negotiations and related contract issues. Mr. Fitzsimmons' clientele has included universities, college coaches, professional athletes, politicians, lawyers, judges, and numerous businesses including Regional and National Media.
- "Postmortem Autopsy-Confirmation of Antemortem [F-18] FDDNP-PET Scans in a Football Player With Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy,” Neurosurgery, Vol. 82, Issue 2, 237 – 246, February 2018
- "In Vivo Characterization of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy Using [F-18] FDDNP Pet Brain Imaging," Proc Natl Acad Sci USA; published ahead of print April 6, 2015, doi: 10.1073/PNAS 1409952112
- M.D., Julian Bailes, M.D., Arthur L. Day, M.D., Human Kinetics, 2015. Chapter: Medicolegal Considerations in Neurological Sports Medicine
- "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in an Iraqi War Veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who Committed Suicide," Neurosurgical Focus, Vol. 31, November 2011
- "Emerging Histomorphologic Phenotypes of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in American Athletes," Neurosurgery, Vol. 68-1, July 2011
- "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy in a Professional American Wrestler," Journal of Forensic Nursing, September 2010
- "Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Suicides and Para-Suicides in Professional American Athletes," American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology,Vol 31, No.1, March 2010
- "What These Legal Authorities Expect from the Independent Medical Examiner," International Journal of the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians, 1996
- Medical Legal Handbook by Jennifer L. Hammers, D.O., Robert P. Fitzsimmons, J.D., Editors, Juris Publishing Inc., 2018.
- University of Baltimore School of Law, J.D., with Highest Honors
- Allegheny College, B.S.
- West Virginia
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit
- United States District Court, Southern District of Ohio
- United States District Court, Northern District of West Virginia
- United States District Court, Southern District of West Virginia