R. Hawthorne  Barrett

R. Hawthorne Barrett

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  • 803-227-4219

Thorne Barrett represents businesses, individuals and insurance carriers in state and federal appeals.

He also handles lower court litigation ranging from personal injury cases to bad faith claims and contractual disputes. Thorne has briefed and argued more than forty-five cases in South Carolina’s appellate courts, as well as numerous cases in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. His familiarity with those courts’ rules and procedures allows him to guide his clients as quickly and efficiently as possible through the appellate process. His experience in South Carolina’s state and federal trial courts also gives him the ability to evaluate cases at the outset and counsel his clients on the best strategies for a favorable and cost-effective resolution.  

Thorne does not see advocacy for his clients and objectiveness as mutually exclusive concepts. He carefully considers the strengths and weaknesses of all sides’ arguments and evaluates matters on that basis. This allows him to advise his clients on strategies for obtaining the result that best protects their interests. His ability to perform this analysis for appellate matters has allowed him to consult and work with members of all the firm’s litigation groups. Thorne also counsels clients and other attorneys on the ways in which the prospect of an appeal can impact lower court proceedings, particularly in relation to South Carolina’s strict issue preservation requirements.

Thorne currently serves on the firm’s Executive Committee, a position he has held since 2015. 

  • 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. 
  • University of South Carolina, J.D., 1999
  • University of Tennessee, M.A., 1996
  • Wofford College, B.A., 1994
  • South Carolina, 1999
  • United States District Court for South Carolina, 2000
  • United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, 2000
  • South Carolina Bar Association
  • Richland County Bar Association

Community or Pro Bono Involvement

  • Washington St. United Methodist Church, Board of Trustees 2010-2017 (Vice Chair 2016, Chair 2017)