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R. Hawthorne Barrett

Shareholder | Columbia, SC |

tbarrett@turnerpadget.com   |   vcard   |   803-227-4219


Thorne Barrett handles civil litigation in a wide variety of areas. While Thorne still handles matters in the state and federal trial courts in South Carolina, he devotes a substantial amount of his practice to appellate work.  Thorne’s analytical nature allows him to evaluate potential appellate issues and determine which ones are most likely to bring his clients positive results. His communication skills then allow him to present those issues effectively to the courts.

In his appellate practice, Thorne has argued more than twenty-five cases in South Carolina’s appellate courts, including six appearances before the South Carolina Supreme Court. He has also appeared before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA. His appeals have involved professional liability, product liability, premises liability, insurance issues, business disputes and questions of constitutional law. Thorne’s experience has given him a detailed knowledge of the often complicated appellate court rules and procedures. This allows him to guide his clients through the appellate process in a manner that is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

Thorne’s trial-level practice also covers several areas of the law. He has represented manufacturers, retailers, restaurants, commercial property owners and other businesses in both tort and contract cases. He has also represented insurers in cases involving coverage disputes and bad faith claims. Thorne has developed a reputation for identifying the most important issues in litigated matters and advising his clients on the best ways to proceed in light of those issues. 

Outside of work, Thorne enjoys spending time with his wife and son, listening to music, and watching football (both the American version and the “Beautiful Game”). He is a former football and soccer coach, and he has served on several boards and committees at Washington Street United Methodist Church. 

Representative Matters

  • Served as appellate counsel for a large law firm in a legal malpractice case.Thorne argued the trial court correctly granted the law firm a directed verdict at trial, as well as $200,000 in sanctions against the plaintiff for discovery abuses and other misconduct during the case.The South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed both the directed verdict and the award of sanctions.
  • Represented an attorney who had been granted a summary judgment in a malpractice case. Thorne successfully argued that the attorney could not reasonably have anticipated how a court in another state would decide a close question of law, which was a necessary element of the plaintiff’s case. As a result, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the summary judgment for the attorney.
  • Represented a chiropractor who had obtained a defense verdict in a malpractice case, only to have that verdict reversed by the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Thorne sought and obtained discretionary review by the South Carolina Supreme Court and successfully argued for the reversal of the Court of Appeals’ decision and reinstatement of the defense verdict.
  • Represented a landowner whose cattle escaped from a holding area and wandered onto a road, causing an accident with a passing motorist. In a case of first impression, Thorne argued a strict liability statute for livestock owners did not apply to damages caused by animals on a public highway, but only to damages caused by animals “trespassing” on private property. The Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed summary judgment for the landowner, finding there was no evidence the animals got onto the road due to any negligence on his part.
  • Defended a retail store in a case brought by a customer who was attacked by two store employees. Thorne successfully argued that the employees acted for their own personal reasons, not for any legitimate business purpose of the store, and therefore, the store could not be liable for their actions. The South Carolina Supreme Court agreed, and affirmed a directed verdict in the store’s favor.
  • Represented a driver in a wreck case who contended the plaintiff’s motor skills at the time of the accident were impaired due to alcohol consumption.The trial court admitted evidence of that alcohol consumption, and the jury returned a defense verdict.The South Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the decision to admit the alcohol evidence and remanded for a new trial.However, Thorne successfully petitioned for discretionary review by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which reversed the Court of Appeals and reinstated the defense verdict in one of the leading decisions in South Carolina on the admission of alcohol evidence in wreck cases.

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