R. Taylor  Speer

R. Taylor Speer

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  • 864-552-4618

Taylor’s practice focuses on prosecuting business torts, representing employers and advocating for a just energy transition.

Taylor is a frequent contributor to the public dialogue on clean energy and has been cited as authority on environmental issues pending before the United States Supreme Court. Taylor has tried several, multi-day administrative proceedings before the South Carolina Public Service Commission and represented a diverse portfolio of energy clients, including solar developers, special interest, and a major public ratepayer. Taylor had the privilege of appearing in Duke Energy’s first ever litigated IRP proceeding in the Carolinas and represented a public entity in its development of distributed and utility-scale solar. 

Off the field, Taylor serves the solar trade as a member of E4 Carolinas’ Task Force for Clean Energy Industries and advises Greenville City Council on energy policy as a member of the Green Ribbon Advisory Committee. 

In addition to investor-owned utilities, Taylor has taken on private equity groups, pharmaceutical companies, and derivative suits for shareholders in a multi-state business litigation practice. Taylor enjoys unwinding deals for his clients entered under false pretense. 

Taylor understands the deep importance of intellectual capital and diversity to employers. Taylor argued in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for an employer and has defended others accused of sexual harassment, retaliation, and discrimination, and violations of wage and hour, consumer protection, handicap accessibility, and immigration laws. Taylor supports diversity and inclusion in the workplace with a vibrant immigration practice. Businesses frequently turn to Taylor for green card applications (IR and EB categories) and nonimmigrant visas for their employees, including: investors (E), skilled workers (H1-B), intra-company transfers (L), clergymen (R), witness protection (U), and asylum.

Outside of work, Taylor is passionate about his two sons and music.

 

Energy transition

  • Settlement with Duke Energy on tariffs controlling terms of non-residential distributed solar until 2026 or 2031 and providing for customer-owned renewable energy credits (pending regulatory approval).
  • Represented commercial distributed solar developer in six-day administrative trial against Dominion Energy (order pending). 
  • Represented special interest in opposing Duke Energy’s integrated resource plan in South Carolina’s first-ever litigated IRP proceeding.
  • Negotiated changes to Duke Energy utility-scale solar tariffs on behalf of public ratepayer during stakeholder process.
  • Achieved county economic development commitments solar developer used in bids for utility-scale projects. 
Appeals
  • Briefed and argued employment defense case in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 224 So.3d 888 – Reversed trial court’s interlocutory order denying discovery in business fraud case.

Trials

  • Partial directed verdict for employer in retaliation claim after $5 million jury demand in federal rocket docket jurisdiction.
  • Defense verdict in jury trial for national debt collector alleged to have violated consumer protection laws.
  • Partial directed verdict in arbitration for tenant in 7-figure damages cases arising from commercial properties in SC, NC, and GA.
  • Defense and nominal verdicts for insured in auto negligence jury trials.

Litigation

  • Seven-figure settlement for international pharmaceutical supplier in lien foreclosure suit.
  • Six-figure settlement from insurer of IT vendor that caused catastrophic loss of data after Court permitted forensic inspection of hard drives.
  • Five-figure settlement for nonprofit corporation against former director that stole client’s USDA contracts.
  • Settled shareholder derivative action and minority oppression lawsuit for less than client’s own valuation.
  • Dismissal of sexual harassment and negligent supervision claims.

Immigration

  • Forced USCIS to approve immigrant visa by filing mandamus action against then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.
  • Achieved special interest waiver from Department of State for South Carolina physician employed by Federally Qualified Health Center.
  • Defended employer accused of violating e-Verify laws; agency took no action.
  • Settlement for employee leasing company sued by DOL for allegedly violating immigrant labor laws.



  • Florida Coastal School of Law, J.D., 2007
  • University of Colorado, Business Administration, 2003
  • South Carolina Bar, 2012
  • Florida State Bar, 2008
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 2018
  • District Court for the District of South Carolina, 2016
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2010
  • Haynsworth-Perry American Inn of Court, Member 2021
  • Green Ribbon Advisory Committee for City of Greenville, 2020-current
  • E4 Carolinas, Member; serve on Task Force for South Carolina Clean Energy Industries, Member 2019–current (formerly South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance Advisory Committee)
  • Conservation Voters of South Carolina, Greenville Advisory Committee, Member 2019-2020
  • Green Ribbon Advisory Committee, ‘Energy and Buildings’ Ad Hoc Committee, 2018-2020
  • Harvest Hope Food Bank, Greenville Advisory Committee, Member 2017-2019
  • Legal Elite Greenville Business Magazine, Business Litigation (2020)
  • Leadership Greenville (2019)
  • Cited as authority on environmental law (CERCLA) in filings with the United States Supreme Court (2011)

Articles

Presentations & Speaking Engagements

  • Moderator for panel on 2020 Carolinas Energy Law Seminar, focusing on impact of FERC decisions on PURPA projects in the Carolinas (December 18, 2020); approved for SC and NC CLE credit
  • Moderator for panel on clean energy technology in the Carolinas, focusing on advanced nuclear, smart cities and wireless EV fleet charging (September 17, 2020)
  • Panelist for South Carolina clean energy regulatory update, along with counsel for Duke and Dominion Energy and director of national solar developer (September 3, 2020)
  • FMLA and Other Leave Issues,’ NBI Presentation (November 12, 2019); approved for SC CLE credit
  • ‘Legal Issues in Recruiting and Hiring,’ NBI Presentation (November 12, 2019); approved for SC CLE credit
  • ‘100% Renewable: A ‘Road Map’ for Getting from Here to There,’ South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance, Annual Conference Presentation with Alder Energy Systems, LLC (November 7, 2019)
  • ‘Lower Overhead and Boost Brand Recognition With Renewable Energy Policy,’ Association of Corporate Counsel Presentation (September 24, 2019); approved for SC CLE credit
  • ‘Renewable Energy Policy in South Carolina,’ Guest Lecture – Clemson University (April 8, 2019)
  • ‘Business Immigration Law and Policy: What You Think You Know and Why It Matters to Get it Right,’ Greenville Bar Presentation (February 8, 2019); approved for SC CLE credit
  •  Greenville Bar Luncheon Presentation Honoring South Carolina Supreme Court Justices, Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Judges and Bar Members (April 2018)
  • ‘Litigator Discusses the Top 10 Lease Clauses to Avoid A Lawsuit,’ Lease Smart Commercial Real Estate Podcast (November 2016) https://leasesmart.com/litigator-discusses-top-10-lease-clauses-avoid-lawsuit/
     

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