Robert W. Phelan


Robert Phelan litigates property subrogation matters and inland marine, maritime and other transportation cases involving shipping law, international trade law and private international law throughout the domestic United States. Based in New York City, Robert has been admitted pro hac vice to litigate such cases on behalf of clients in federal District Courts in California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Robert handles claims and recoveries for domestic and international clients arising from air, land or sea losses occurring in the United States, Central and South America, Europe, the CIS, and Asia. He regularly handles complex losses involving failures in yacht design, construction and maintenance. Robert also frequently represents seawall, pier or bridge claimants in allision cases, either as a subrogating plaintiff or as a defendant in maritime limitation actions. 

Robert also frequently handles Carmack inland marine transportation cases throughout the United States for clients regularly insuring domestic freight in interstate commerce. In recognition of his handling of maritime matters, Robert has attained the status of a Proctor in Admiralty in the Maritime Law Association of the United States. In 2023, Robert was named a Subrogation Community Leader for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM).

Robert earned a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1995 and a law degree, cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2000. 



Robert Phelan Named Subrogation Community Leader for CLM

February 22, 2023

Cozen O’Connor is pleased to announce Robert W. Phelan, a member of the firm’s Subrogation & Recovery Department, has been named a Subrogation Community Leader for the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM).

Robert Phelan Receives Proctor in Admiralty Nomination by the Maritime Law Association of the United States

May 11, 2016

Robert W. Phelan, a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Subrogation & Recovery Department, received the nomination of Proctor in Admiralty by the Maritime Law Association of the United States (MLA).

Cozen O’Connor Names 17 Attorneys to Membership in the Firm

April 28, 2008

Cozen O’Connor has announced that 17 of its associates have been named members of the firm. ''We are extremely proud to welcome these highly qualified attorneys into membership in the firm,'' said Thomas A. Decker, president and chief executive officer of Cozen O'Connor, ''Their individual and combined contributions reflect the talent and strength of our firm.''


Does a Shipper Have a Duty to Procure Insurance when Shipping Artwork? [Alert]

February 22, 2023

Do shippers have a duty to procure insurance for damaged or lost property? This issue was recently raised in a case before the Southern District of New York.

Holiday Gift – Federal Maritime Recovery Law Updated After 170+ years [Alert]

December 27, 2022

Robert Phelan discusses the Small Passenger Vessel Liability Fairness Act and its potential impact on the insurance industry.

State Negligence Broker Liability Claims allowed by Supreme Court for Trucking Subrogation [Subrogation & Recovery Law Blog]

October 19, 2022

Frequently, freight brokers attempt to deny subrogation claims for cargo damaged in transit on a truck by arguing that they are accorded broker status and do not have the same strict liability as a “Motor Carrier” under The Carmack Amendment. However, a recent action by the United States...

Ocean and Inland Marine Claims – An Introduction for the Subro Professional [Subrogation & Recovery Law Blog]

January 18, 2022

COGSA, Carmack, Allisons, and Himalaya Clause.  These terms may not mean much for a traditional property subrogation professional, but if you are going to diversify into the world of ocean marine and inland marine subro, then these are a few of the many terms you will need to become familiar with....

Bailment Law in a New York Wonka Warehouse

September 09, 2019

A recent New York trial court level case, MBNY LLC v. Larkin Cold Storage Co., Inc., examined another loss within a different candy storage facility that has two implications for cargo/marine subrogation clients.

Events & Seminars

Past Events

NASP 2022 Annual Conference

November 06, 2022 - Marco Island, FL

Collisions and Allisions 101

December 03, 2020 - Webinar

Cranes and Artwork 101

November 15, 2019 - Webinar

Industry Sectors


  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., cum laude, 2000
  • Georgetown University, B.S.F.S., 1995
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court -- New Jersey
  • U.S. District Court -- Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Northern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court -- Southern District of New York
  • Maritime Law Association of the United States - Proctor in Admiralty
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)

  • CLM, Subrogation Community Leader