Ed Cole’s practice has consisted of a wide variety of litigated matters in state and federal courts throughout South Carolina since his admission to practice in 1972. In addition to insurance litigation of all types, he has acted as outside general counsel for the North American subsidiary of a Swiss machinery manufacturer, as well as state counsel for a regional petroleum pipeline company. Ed has litigated numerous cases at all trial levels throughout South Carolina.
In the premises security area, his cases have included substantial security issues and electrocution matters. He has also tried a number of products cases to verdict or other court disposition, including cases involving allegedly defective vehicle tires and numerous other types of products. Additionally, Ed has been a part of the legal teams assembled by clients to litigate claims arising from South Carolina’s largest petroleum spill and claims in one of the largest patent suits in the state.
At the appellate level, Ed has appeared and argued cases before the South Carolina Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. These appeals resulted in a number of reported decisions.
For over 30 years, Ed resided in Spartanburg, S.C., and was a member of a number of civic and social organizations. He was a member of the board of directors of a number of those organizations, including the Spartanburg YMCA and the Spartanburg Downtown Sertoma Club.
- Represented the former chief executive officer of a large and diverse textile manufacturing company in a directors/officers liability action on behalf of the D&O carrier. This complex litigation involved the issue of whether the officers and board of directors properly rejected the filing of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding in favor of surrendering peaceful possession to a large, asset-based lender. The case resulted in a relatively nominal settlement on the part of the officer/director defendants. The initial demand in the case was over $30 million.
Class Action Litigation
- Served as state counsel for a large, regional petroleum pipeline company, following the largest oil spill in South Carolina’s history in 1996. Approximately one million gallons of fuel oil spilled from a pipeline into a river in upstate South Carolina, which resulted in numerous solo lawsuits and a class action suit. The class action suit was settled after protracted litigation. Summary judgment was obtained in one of the solo actions. Although the appeals court reversed the summary judgment grant, the development of facts adverse to the plaintiff’s claims in connection with the summary judgment motion resulted in a relatively nominal settlement, following a $10 million initial demand.
- Successfully defended numerous premises liability claims at trial on behalf of a large, national insurance company in cases involving substantial personal injury. These claims included the successful mediation of an electrocution injury, and resulted in the trial of the companion death case on behalf of a regional electric cooperative in upstate South Carolina.
- Obtained summary judgment twice in a case involving the duty of a homeowner for the alleged sexual abuse of minors by a resident of the household.
- Served as outside general counsel to the foreign subsidiary of a European textile equipment-manufacturing firm for content and format of contracts with American customers and entities. Ed provided advice on product liability aspects of the machinery and defended a number of product liability and other claims against the manufacturer’s American subsidiary.
- Successfully prosecuted a substantial wrongful death and personal injury claim against a large trucking firm. The case included a serious head injury to the surviving plaintiff. Ed successfully defeated the reimbursement claim of an ERISA plan in the wrongful death action, which included a reported decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial Circuit under North Carolina law.
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