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Franklin G. Shuler, Jr.

Shareholder | Columbia, SC |

fshuler@turnerpadget.com   |   vcard   |   803-227-4242

Biography

Frank Shuler went to law school with the express purpose of becoming a labor and employment lawyer. He became interested in the law of the workplace as a student at Georgia Tech. However, before following his goal, Frank did a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps, where, as a student naval aviator, he landed a jet on a carrier and later spent time in Camp Lejeune, N.C. as a rifle platoon commander.

Frank attended law school in Alabama and remained there after graduation, first working for a year for an insurance defense firm in Mobile. It was there that he successfully tried his first jury case and was fortunate enough to “second chair” three federal court jury trials. However, his wife decided to attend law school, which took them to Birmingham, where Frank began his career in labor and employment. It was at a boutique firm devoted to labor and employment law that Frank learned the intricacies of many of the laws he works with on a daily basis now.

In late 1991, Frank and his wife decided to return to South Carolina where they had met almost 19 years earlier. Both of Frank’s parents were from the Palmetto State, and he had grown up in Charleston, so for Frank, he was coming home. In 1993, he was hired by Turner Padget to develop its employment practice. Today, the practice now includes two certified specialists and seven other attorneys who routinely handle employment law matters.

Frank has been practicing employment law for over 30 years. He has practiced in virtually all aspects of labor and employment law, including matters arising under federal employment laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), Title VII, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). He has also addressed actions based on state law claims such as retaliatory discharge, breach of a handbook and breach of a covenant not to compete. Over the years, Frank has developed a substantial employment law counseling practice. These days, he spends as much time trying to protect his clients before a situation ever arises as he does defending them in court. He believes his clients are better served if he can help them avoid the stresses and uncertainties of litigation. Occasionally, however, litigation is unavoidable, and when this occurs, Frank is ready to jump in to protect his clients’ interests with an eye towards their long-term goals.

Frank has been a certified mediator in South Carolina state and federal courts since 1999.  Frank has been able to develop an extensive mediation practice involving employment and ERISA matters, mediating almost 400 cases. Frank also has experience as an arbitrator in employment and contract disputes.

In 2014 Frank was given the 2014 Distinguished Lawyer Award by the Employment and Labor Law Section of the South Carolina Bar.

Frank is still married to the young lady he met during a summer clerkship 32 years ago. They have one son, who is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) and is now serving our nation as an infantry officer. They also are blessed to have as part of their family a “German son” and his parents, grandparents, extended family and now wife. He came to them as an exchange student as a junior in high school and went on to obtain his doctorate in aerospace engineering at Cal Tech. He really is a “rocket scientist.”

Frank remains active in the community having served as elder in his church, chair of the Personnel Committee of his Presbytery, board member of the  CV 10 Yorktown Association, lacrosse official and treasurer of the South Carolina Lacrosse Officials Association, Inc.

Representative Matters

Employment

  • Obtained a dismissal of the eight employment-based counts of a nine-count complaint. In a reported opinion, the court dismissed all of the claims arising from the former employee’s termination. The opinion was the first to address the attorney-client privilege as a basis for the tort of wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of college in two cases in which tenured faculty members lost their jobs as a result of the college’s effort to deal with a projected budget shortfall of $2,000,000 due to the collapse of the economy.  Two claims (violation of due process and injunctive relief) were dismissed by motion at the inception of the litigation. The college prevailed on the age discrimination and breach of contract claims by way of motion for summary judgment.
  • Obtained summary judgment in age discrimination on behalf of national restaurant chain after it discharged a long-time manager for failing to follow cash handling procedures.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a financial institution with respect to claims of national origin discrimination by a manager after it was provided information that led it to believe he had violated the financial institution’s lending policies.
  • Defeated class certification in an action brought against a financial institution regarding its decision to change from  credit insurance for loans to a debt cancellation product.
  • Obtained a dismissal of corporate and individual defendants in a suit in which the plaintiff alleged he, and the organization he was a part of, was discriminated against on the basis of race under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case was significant because there are very few reported opinions involving cases under Title VI (in contrast to Title VII), which makes it illegal to discriminate in any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

ERISA Claims

  • Obtained a dismissal of all claims against ERISA plan in lawsuits brought by the Department of Labor and a class of former employees for alleged breach of fiduciary duty.
  • Defends over 40 benefits cases a year.

Other

  • Was able to defeat class certification in an action brought against a financial institution regarding its decision to change from  credit insurance for loans to a debt cancellation product.
  • Defended on a pro bono basis all the way to the United States Supreme Court a mother who the State of South Carolina sought to terminate her parental rights.

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