Gallivan White & Boyd is highly regarded as one of the leading law firms in the southeast, primarily operating out of three offices in South Carolina. Ronald Wray is based in Greenville and heads the firm’s litigation practice group. Wray, who has nearly 30 years of experience as a litigator, focuses his practice on commercial disputes with a particular emphasis on product liability, class action and railroad matters. Managing partner David Rheney works alongside Wray in the firm’s Greenville office and represents clients in personal injury defense, transportation disputes, insurance and reinsurance mattes, bad faith litigation, as well as product liability cases. Columbia-based Gray Culbreath has over 30 years of experience and is a trusted authority on commercial and class action litigation, including antitrust, product liability and mass tort matters. Also operating out of the firm’s Columbia location is John Lay, who dedicates his practice to complex business litigation, including professional malpractice, insurance, False Claims Act, financial services and product liability disputes
With origins in the Southeast, a region the firm still maintains its largest footprint in, Nelson Mullins has since expanded strategically and found success in terms of geographic reach, market share and distribution of talent. In the product liability space, the firm has even staked itself a national presence, with several trial luminaries taking the lead on high-stakes cases for a “who’s who” of pharmaceutical industry household names.
One of the most buzz-worthy and undeniably successful expansions the firm has made of late was its 2019 entry into the Baltimore market, a move which netted the firm 30 partners from a more local firm. One of these, Michael Brown, is viewed by all Baltimore peers familiar with him as a substantial coup. Brown, a trial lawyer who is particularly in demand in the product liability arena, receives resounding praise. “The biggest news in Baltimore right now is Nelson Mullins getting started here, and by recruiting Michael Brown, they made a grand entrance. They are getting into product liability in a big way,” insists one local peer. Another confides, “One of our partners actually just left us to go work for Michael Brown! But I can’t blame them, because it’s a great opportunity. Michael is dynamite and has a direct line to J&J, who he now does a lot of work for.” Brown’s successes for this particular client, especially regarding its talc litigation, have made headlines and won him acclaim. However, Brown’s acumen is not limited to product liability. He worked with fellow Baltimore partner Michael Blumenfeld, who acts as lead partner on a commercial matter for Westminster Properties stemming from a 2017 property contract dispute in which five current and former tenants of Westminster-managed properties filed a putative class action lawsuit seeking to certify a class of tenants who have allegedly been charged improper and/or excessive fees related to the late payment and/or non-payment of rent. The court dismissed the class action motion, after which the plaintiffs proceeded with individual claims. Deborah St. Lawrence Thompson, who is on the lead counsel in defense of thousands of asbestos-related personal injury and wrongful death cases, is also recognized for her work in complex disputes around the country, with notable strengths in the commercial, mass tort, product liability, toxic torts, and labor and employment areas.
Another of the firm’s trial aces with a flair for product liability, David Dukes in the Columbia, South Carolina office plays a prominent role in Bayer’s defense of its anticoagulant medication Xarelto (rivaroxaban) against claims that it caused excessive bleeding. After victories in the first 2 MDL bellwether trials in early 2017, Dukes and his team has been on the trial team for every Xarelto defense verdict, of which there have been a series. Dukes and his team was also instrumental in the workup of approximately 75 cases pending in the MDL and Philadelphia Court of Common Please litigations during the latter half of 2018 through global resolution of the Xarelto litigation in early 2019.
Mark Clouatre, the managing partner of the firm’s Denver office, has been particularly active in commercial litigation. Clouatre represented FCA in a matter involving the bankruptcy proceedings of three FCA dealerships located in Gallup, New Mexico, Holbrook, Arizona, and Winslow, Arizona. These dealerships filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2019. Additionally, the dealer principals are being prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission for potentially falsifying consumer loan documents. In the bankruptcy proceedings, FCA learned that the dealerships had been selling vehicles “out of trust,” or selling vehicles without paying back their floor plan lenders. The dealerships had also engaged in “double flooring” for a number of vehicles, receiving loan funds from two different floor plan lenders for the same vehicle. The bankruptcy court eventually entered an order prohibiting the dealerships from using their cash collateral, forcing the dealerships to discontinue business operations. In light of the bankruptcy, the abrupt end of the dealership’s business, the issues with the dealer’s floor plan lenders, and the FTC lawsuit, FCA was forced to seek termination of its dealership agreements with the dealerships through the bankruptcy proceedings. FCA was successfully able to obtain an order from the bankruptcy court granting the termination, enabling FCA to protect its business interests and to move forward with finding a business solution to its lack of representation in these important market