Richard S. Dukes, Jr.

Richard S. Dukes, Jr.

  • 843-576-2810

Rich Dukes is an experienced trial lawyer, mediator and e-discovery veteran.

He frequently represents religious organizations in employment and liability actions and has developed a broad base of knowledge regarding the particular protections arising from the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses. Additionally, Rich has served on the national panel counsel for a Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer and has advised businesses and individuals in a range of products liability, commercial litigation and employment matters. He is an experienced class action practitioner, and has defended a wide range of businesses, professionals, municipalities and utilities against class action claims. 

Rich works tirelessly to assist individuals and businesses to resolve disputes in an efficient and cost effective way. Rich looks for creative paths to resolution, whether through early negotiation or aggressively defending against the claims. Rich is a leader in innovative use of technology to streamline information management in complex business litigation to facilitate effective collaboration among lawyers, offices and law firms across the state and nation. Every case requires teamwork and collaboration among professionals to achieve the client’s desired results. Rich has a proven track record of leadership and a team approach to achieve those ends.

Rich is committed to his community and to making the Charleston area a better place for all. He is actively involved in community, church, social and service organizations. In addition to having worked as a college professor prior to becoming a lawyer, Rich has performed lateral access disk replacement surgery in a client’s lab environment.


Religious Organizations

  • Defended religious organizations in a variety of employment and employment-related claims in both federal and state courts.
  • Successfully defended a church against claims by a one-time minister who was fired for conduct that was contrary to church doctrine.
  • Represented religious school officials against defamation, conspiracy and wrongful discharge claims brought by a former teacher.
  • Defended several religious organizations against claims of sexual abuse by ministers, employees and volunteers. Obtained summary judgment in favor of the churches in more than one dozen claims.

Banking and Finance Litigation

  • As lead trial counsel, successfully obtained a jury verdict in favor of a national mortgage loan servicing company in a case involving alleged wrongful foreclosure, defamation, unfair trade practices and violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
  • Successfully obtained directed verdict after four-day bench trial in favor of a title insurance company against claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and bad faith arising from a property owner’s inability to use property valued at over $1 million as he desired.

Commercial and Business Litigation

  • Represented a federally chartered financial institution in breach of fiduciary duty and negligence claims against its former officers arising from alleged mismanagement of the institution’s business affairs and failure to comply with the standard of care for corporate executives.
  • Represented health care provider in dispute with insurance carriers over reimbursement for services. Successfully argued before the Joint Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on petitions to create MDLs.

Class Actions

  • Successfully represented a South Carolina municipality against class claims arising from the enforcement of local ordinances and obtained denial of class certification and a grant of summary judgment on all claims.
  • Represented timeshare resort developers in numerous class action suits over sales practices and liability for failed timeshare development.  Successfully defeated class certification based upon lack of commonality.
  • Defeated class certification of a putative class of frustrated purchasers of memberships in a resort club.
  • Successfully represented an electric cooperative in a proposed bilateral class action litigation involving allegations of minority shareholder oppression brought by former members seeking to recoup over $100 million in capital contributions.
  • Successfully defended a class action professional liability claim against a law firm arising from a rogue lawyer’s involvement in a $300 million Ponzi scheme.

Maritime Law

  • Successfully represented jet ski and powerboat rental businesses in actions in limitation arising from serious personal injuries suffered by customers on navigable waterways.
  • Represented holder of a purchase money ship mortgage in a contested vessel arrest and foreclosure matter.
  • Defended the owner of an historic vessel against maritime liens and prosecuted counterclaims for negligent salvage.
  • Defended a vessel manufacturer in a products liability claim arising from an unexplained sinking of a vessel.


  • Served as national coordinating e-discovery counsel for a leading medical device manufacturer in cases ranging from government investigations to products liability actions.
  • Led a team of professionals in preservation, review and production of data using predictive coding and artificial intelligence to successfully cull more than 3 million discreet documents to approximately 150,000 files for review.

Products Liability 

  • Represented manufacturer of pain pump devices in multiple lawsuits by individuals who sustained injuries following shoulder surgery alleged related to prescription and administration of pain medications in the shoulder joint.
  • Defended medical device manufacturers in a variety of products liability cases arising from the failure of devices and complications arising from surgical procedures.

Professional Liability

  • Defended law firms and lawyers to jury verdict in legal malpractice actions.
  • Defended hospitals, health care facilities, and clinics in medical malpractice and wrongful death claims.
  • Regularly defends insurance brokers and agents in cases involving alleged negligent failure to procure appropriate insurance.
  • Tulane Law School, J.D., 1998
  • University of South Carolina, History, 1993
  • University of Alabama, M.A. in History, 1989
  • Spring Hill College, B.A., 1987
  • Alabama State Bar, 1998
  • South Carolina Bar, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial Circuit, 2000
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama, 2003

Professional or Industry Involvement

  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC), State Representative, 2022-2023
  • Professional Liability Attorney Network, Board Member, 2022-2023
  • DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar – Vice - Chair Business Torts SLG 2009
  • American Bar Association – Lawyers Professional  Liability Section
  • South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys
  • Charleston County Bar Association
  • National Diocesan Attorneys Association

Community or Pro Bono Involvement

  • Board of Directors, Mediation and Meeting Center of Charleston providing no-cost and low cost mediation to needy individuals in Charleston.
  • Rotary Club of Charleston, 2006 – present
  • Boy Scouts of America, Committee Chair Troop 59 2009 - 2018
  • Benchmark Local Litigation Star, Product and Professional Liability, 2015-2021
  • South Carolina Super Lawyers, Personal Injury Defense, Products, 2013-2023
  • Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation, 2018- 2024
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating AV
  • Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, elected 2017


Turner Padget Insights




Best Lawyers
In America
Litigation 2018-2024

Product and Professional Liability

SC Super Lawyers
Personal Injury Defense
Products 2013-2023