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J. René Josey

Shareholder | Florence, SC |

rjosey@turnerpadget.com   |   vcard   |   843-656-4451


After beginning his career as law clerk to U.S. District Judge C. Weston Houck of the District of South Carolina, René Josey quickly developed extensive trial and appellate litigation experience primarily in the federal courts. After his first decade in practice, René was chosen by then-President Bill Clinton to serve as the U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina, a position René held from 1996 through 2001. He was confirmed in record time and participated in a murder for hire prosecution within a few short weeks of that confirmation. In total, he personally participated in over a dozen felony prosecutions during his federal service.

René began his private practice with Turner Padget in 2001. On the civil side, René has represented clients in various matters, including product liability and warranty cases, landowners and manufacturers in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) cases – both private and governmental, and families and charitable trusts in estate disputes. In addition, he has represented tort victims, alleged tort feasors, and insurers in a variety of personal injury and related insurance coverage matters including injured victims against governmental entities under both the State and Federal Tort Claims Act. He has served as counsel for debtors and creditors in collection matters, importers in disputes with the U.S. Custom’s Service, and he has defended professionals (physicians, dentists, nurses, therapists, accountants, and attorneys) in claims of professional negligence, including related governmental investigations or licensing actions. He has represented trademark and patent owners as well as alleged infringers. René has also both prosecuted and defended fraud against the government claims including representing whistleblowers in qui tam actions. 

On the criminal side, René has prosecuted and defended both violent and non-violent crimes. In private practice, he has defended accusations of fraud in many contexts, tax evasion, embezzlement, environmental crime, theft, road rage, drug possession and distribution, assault, driving under the influence and felony DUI, and immigration crime, among other cases.

As a frequent appellate advocate, René has made multiple appearances before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, including en banc, the South Carolina Supreme Court and the South Carolina Court of Appeals. He has also appeared before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. René has often handled the appellate stage of litigation after referral from other trial counsel.

In addition to the private practice of law, René serves as an adjunct faculty member for the University of South Carolina School of Law and has served as a lecturer in American Government in the Political Science Department of Francis Marion University. An active member of the community, René has served in his church as well as numerous charitable and volunteer organizations including the Masterworks Choir, and he is a former soccer coach and team manager.

Representative Matters

  • Achieved a summary judgment for a medical provider in a malpractice action and successfully defended that judgment before the South Carolina Supreme Court.
  • Protected the professional licensure of individuals subject to discipline by state licensing authorities (dentists, pharmacists, nurses, accountants, builders, building inspectors).
  • Convinced state and federal law enforcement not to prosecute, or to defer prosecution of, various matters including alleged cases of assault, civil right’s violations, insurance fraud, securities fraud, immigration crimes, larceny, lottery fraud, and pension fraud.
  • Assisted crime victims with prosecutorial interactions, investigative tasks and recovery of restitution. Also assisted corporate and institutional clients with internal investigations and dismissal of rogue employees.
  • Successfully expunged the juvenile record of a client after convincing the South Carolina Supreme Court that the trial court had misapplied the eligibility statute.
  • Aided the purchaser of federally contaminated land in making a recovery from the U.S.
  • Successfully pursued recovery in a family probate fiduciary-duty dispute.
  • Defended financial institutions against federal investigations and customer complaints.
  • Represented investment advisors in change of employment litigation in District Court and regulatory arbitration.
  • Advised accountants throughout state and federal criminal investigations and related SEC investigations related to the financial failure of a publicly traded company.
  • Counseled a charitable trust during an oversight investigation by the state Attorney General’s office.
  • Assisted an accident victim in recovery against the U.S. under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
  • Guided grand jury witnesses, both targets and non-targets, through anticipated testimony.

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