Ryal W. Tayloe

Litigation Attorney
Ward and Smith, P.A.
Email rwt@wardandsmith.com
910.794.4828 Fax 910.794.4877
Post Office Box 7068, Wilmington, NC 28406-7068

Ryal is an experienced litigator.  He has handled a wide range of litigation cases in state and federal courts, many of them jury trials.  Ryal has extensive construction law experience, including lien law, federal and state bond claims, and defective workmanship cases.  He also has significant experience with agribusiness litigation, property owner association disputes, and all types of real estate disputes, including title insurance claims, trespass, adverse possession, boundaries, railroad corridors,  condemnation, easement rights, and wrongful timber cutting.


  • J.D., Wake Forest School of Law, 1982
  • A.B., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1979

Representative Experience

  • Represented a 500+ member property owners' association over a defectively constructed marina against the developer and others involved in the construction, resulting in a settlement of just under $1 million
  • Represented a property owners' association whose roads and sewer system were not completed by a bankrupt developer.  The POA recovered a settlement in excess of $1.5 million from a development bond posted by the developer in favor of the County.
  • Represented a property owner in the path of the Military Cutoff Extension in condemnation actions against the DOT resulting in settlements exceeding $10,000,000.00.
  • Won Summary Judgment for the owner of a defunct golf course in a residential community against residents' claims that they had easement rights in the golf course preventing the golf course owner from the residential development of the golf course property.
  • Represented a landlord in a dispute with its commercial tenant resulting in the collection in full of back rent in an amount in excess of $200,000
  • Represented the owner of property adjoining a man-made harbor to establish the navigability of the harbor and the riparian rights of the property owner

Honors and Distinctions*

  • "Super Lawyer," Construction Litigation, North Carolina Super Lawyers, 2013-2024
  • "Legal Elite," Construction, Business North Carolina, 2022-2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Best Lawyers®, 2009-2024
  • "Lawyer of the Year," Best Lawyers®, 2021

 Best Lawyers Logo  Super Lawyers Logo

Professional and Community Affiliations

  • NCDRC, Certified Superior Court Mediator
  • The Clark James Foundation for Good Shepherd Center, Board Member, Past President
  • St. James Episcopal Church Foundation, Board Member
  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • North Carolina Bar Association — Sections: Construction Law; Litigation

Admitted to Practice

  • North Carolina, 1982
  • All state courts in North Carolina
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
  • United States Supreme Court

About Me

My motto is "All for one and one for all."  I believe in a team approach to problem solving and the development of successful strategies.  The best thing about Ward and Smith is that we allow our attorneys to play to their strengths and make sure our clients get to the best person for the job.  The Firm demands high quality legal representation and responsiveness to client inquiries and goals.

I became a lawyer because I have always enjoyed analyzing and solving problems.  I am innately curious and enjoy investigating the details of any case and getting to the bottom of an issue.  One surprising thing that people do not know about me is that my great grandfather, Daniel Herndon Tuttle, sat for the bar and obtained his law license in 1880.  However, he decided he could not practice law and practice his religion.  He became a Methodist minister and "rode the circuit," serving all over eastern North Carolina.

I love living in Wilmington and plan to stay here; however, I love the food, language, and history of France and could see myself living there and traveling extensively around Europe.  My wife would say that my favorite characters in fiction are those on Seinfeld because I will watch episodes that I have seen many times before.  "The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances . . ."  That one is must see TV.

* Please see the following websites for an explanation of the membership standards for the following recognitions: www.bestlawyers.com; businessnc.com/special-sections/legal-elite/; and www.superlawyers.com/north-carolina.

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  • American Board of Trial Advocates
  • Legal Elite Business North Carolina 2024
  • Super Lawyers 2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers 2023
  • U.S. News Best Lawyers 20234
  • 2024 Chambers USA

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