CIVIL SECTION AFTERNOON SESSION
1:15 - 1:45
Update from the commission
(30 Minute CLE)
+ t. Scott Beck
Commissioner Beck was appointed to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission on June 30, 2008 by Governor Mark Sanford. In 2010, he was elected by the Commission as Interim Chairman and subsequently nominated by Governor Haley for reappointment in 2012, 2014, and 2016 as Chairman. He graduated with a BS Degree from Penn State University in 1981 and from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1999. Prior to joining the Commission, he served in various positions in law enforcement from 1979-1996 and most recently as an Assistant Attorney General from 2000-2008 prosecuting healthcare fraud cases. Commissioner Beck served as a City Councilman in North Augusta, South Carolina from 1993-1996, and was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives, serving from 1996-2000. Commissioner Beck currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Workers’ Compensation Judiciary and the Southern Association of Workers’ Compensation Administrators.
1:45 - 2:15
(30 minute CLE)
+ Jack D. Griffeth
Jack centers his law practice on defense trial work, representing employers in employment-related litigation and mediation. Jack serves as General Counsel to Wofford College and Spartanburg Methodist College. As a certified circuit court mediator by the South Carolina Bar, Jack has built an extensive mediation practice over the years where he conducts civil court mediations on a wide variety of cases including torts, contracts, and employment. His mediation experience has garnered him membership to the South Carolina Chapter of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals, an invitation-only organization of professional mediators and arbitrators who are well established as trusted neutrals amongst the legal community within their state of practice. In addition to mediation, Jack regularly represents private institutions of higher learning in employment, student disciplinary action, faculty cases, and contracts with vendors, entertainers, and other partners in accordance with regulatory acts including FERPA, HIPPA, and the Clery Act. Jack is also skilled in defending employers, insurance carriers, and self-insured groups in cases involving challenging employment issues, such as workplace safety, workers’ compensation, discrimination, sexual harassment, and unemployment compensation. Jack is considered one of South Carolina’s pre-eminent attorneys by Martindale-Hubbell with an AV Distinguished Rating, and he has been named by his peers a South Carolina Super Lawyer and a Best Lawyer in America.
Among his many civic leadership roles, Jack is Past President of the Greenville Bar Association, a Past President of the S.C. Bar Foundation Board of Directors, and is a member of the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Jack is a summa cum laude graduate of Wofford College and received his Juris Doctor from Duke University. In 1976, Duke University created the Charles Murphy Award for Jack, in recognition of his unique collegial contributions to the Duke Law School community. He is also the 2008 recipient of the Greenville Bar’s most prestigious honor, the Tommy Thomason Award.
+ Vernon F. Dunbar
Vernon Dunbar began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Jr., Associate Justice and later, Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court. By virtue of a gubernatorial appointment, Vernon served as a commissioner and later as chairman of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission from 1989 to 1995. His duties required him to adjudicate workers’ compensation claims and regulate workers’ compensation insurance carriers and self-insured businesses.
Vernon entered into private practice in 1995, initially concentrating his practice in the areas of workers’ compensation and insurance defense. This aspect of Vernon’s practice allowed him to develop an appellate practice before South Carolina’s appellate courts, and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Vernon’s practice is currently concentrated in business litigation matters and complex workers’ compensation matters involving occupational disease claims.
Vernon represents clients, both as plaintiffs and defendants, in the areas of business litigation disputes and breach of contract claims. He represents clients in regulatory proceedings and investigations before the South Carolina Administrative Law Court, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, Physical Therapy Board, Architectural Board, Funeral Board and other administrative agencies.
Vernon earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1983 from Furman University and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1986. Vernon is a certified mediator.
2:15 - 2:45
social security: practice tips and 4th circuit update
(30 Minute CLE)
+ THe Honorable Jacquelyn D. Austin
Jacquelyn D. Austin attended the University of South Carolina, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. Judge Austin went on to attend law school at the University of South Carolina School of Law and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 1996. While in law school, Judge Austin was a member of the John Belton O’Neal Inn of Court and the National Moot Court Team. She was also a recipient of the Student Compleat Lawyer Award and served as Student Notes Editor on the Environmental Law Journal. Following law school, Judge Austin clerked for the Honorable Matthew J. Perry. Upon completing her clerkship, she entered private practice for fourteen years, most recently with the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, LLP, before being sworn in as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of South Carolina. Judge Austin spent three years of private practice drafting and prosecuting United States and European patent applications and eleven years in commercial litigation matters, including patent litigation and cases involving racial discrimination, the Fair Housing Act, engineering design, product liability, real estate matters, and other contract disputes.
Judge Austin has been active in the bar and in the community. She served as President of the Carolina Patent, Trademark, and Copyright Law Association from 2004 through 2005, a member of the Judicial Qualifications Committee from 2009 through 2011, the Greenville Bar Editor, and on a church committee establishing a charter school for troubled teens and dropouts. Additionally, Judge Austin has been a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, International Trademark Association, Defense Research Institute, ABA Litigation and Intellectual Property Sections, BESLA, Trial and Appellate Advocacy Board, Jack & Jill Incorporated, and Delta Sigma Theta, Incorporated.
+ Timothy Clardy
Timothy Clardy attained a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of South Carolina in 2000, graduating summa cum laude from the South Carolina Honors College and receiving the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. He attained a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2005, graduating magna cum laude and receiving the Compleat Lawyer Award. While in law school, Mr. Clardy was a member of the South Carolina Law Review. Before entering private practice, Mr. Clardy was a law clerk for the Honorable G. Ross Anderson, Jr., U.S. District Court Judge for the District of South Carolina. Mr. Clardy manages the Social Security Disability practice of the McCravy, Newlon & Sturkie Law Firm, representing Social Security claimants across the Upstate of South Carolina with offices in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson and Greenwood. He represents Social Security claimants at all levels of appeal including the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Clardy has obtained two published decisions from the Fourth Circuit, creating case law favorable to Social Security claimants: Brown v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration, No. 16-1578 (4th Cir. 2017); Bird v. Commissioner of Social Sec. Admin., 699 F.3d 337 (4th Cir. 2012). Mr. Clardy is a sustaining member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives and has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the area of Social Security Disability from 2015 to present.
+ Ashley Thompson
Ashley Thompson has served as a law clerk to United States Magistrate Judge Shiva V. Hodges since July 2014. She graduated summa cum laude from Presbyterian College and cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law. She was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 2007. Prior to working for the court, she was an associate with Bluestein, Nichols, Thompson & Delgado, LLC, where she primarily represented claimants in Social Security disability cases at the administrative level.
Mrs. Thompson is currently a member of the School Improvement Council at Nursery Road Elementary School in Columbia. She previously served as a volunteer guardian ad litem for vulnerable adults and as a member of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (“PAIMI”) Advisory Council and the South Carolina Bar Association’s Elder Law Committee.
What do you do if you spot a criminal issue in a civil case?
(30 Minute CLE)
+ Lane Davis
+ Bill Watkins
Mr. Watkins graduated cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1999. He then clerked for the Honorable William B. Traxler, Jr., on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Upon completion of his clerkship, Mr. Watkins practiced in the areas of civil and criminal appeals. In December 2009, he joined the United States
Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina where he prosecutes white collar criminal matters.
Mr. Watkins also serves as a Research Fellow at The Independent Institute in Oakland, California. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Revolution: The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and Their Legacy. Published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2004, this book is a unique blend of history, constitutional law and political theory centered around the importance of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions as constitutional documents. Mr. Watkins’s scholarship has appeared in a variety of journals, including the South Carolina Law Review, the Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, and the Independent Review.
Discovery issues in civil practice
(30 Minute CLE)
+ THe Honorable Timothy M. Cain
Federal Judicial Service
• United States District Court, District of South Carolina. Nominated by President Barack Obama on February 16, 2011 upon Recommendation of U. S. Senator Lindsey O. Graham; confirmed by the Senate on September 20, 2011.
State Judicial Service
• Elected by the South Carolina General Assembly in February 2000 as Family Court Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit
• University of South Carolina, B.S. (1983).
• University of South Carolina School of Law, J.D., (1986).
• Assistant Public Defender, Oconee County, 1987.
• Assistant Solicitor, Tenth Judicial Circuit, 1988-1990.
• County Attorney, Oconee County, 1993-2000.
• Private Practice (Civil and Criminal), 1986-88, 1990-2011
+ THe Honorable Donald Coggins
The Honorable Donald C. Coggins, Jr. is a United States District Judge for the
District of South Carolina sitting in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Nominated by President Trump on August 3, 2017, Judge Coggins was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on November 16, 2017 and assumed his duties effective November 30, 2017. Prior to taking the bench, Judge Coggins was a founding shareholder in the firm of Harrison, White, Smith & Coggins, P.C. For more than thirty years, he practiced law in the Spartanburg community and surrounding area focusing on civil litigation in both state and federal courts. Judge Coggins earned his B.A. degree in Economics from Clemson University in 1981 and his J.D. degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1984.
+ THe Honorable Kevin McDonald
Judge McDonald serves in Greenville as a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of South Carolina. Prior to his appointment to the bench in June 2010, he worked at the United States Attorney’s Office for ten years, with the last six years as a supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney, including two terms in 2008 and 2010 when he was appointed by the Department of Justice to serve as the Acting United States Attorney for South Carolina. Before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he was in private practice in Columbia for seven years, handling a variety of cases that included banking and insurance litigation, workers compensation, real estate, and federal criminal defense. He holds a journalism degree from the University of South Carolina, and a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law.
+THe Honorable Letitia H. Verdin
Judge Verdin graduated from Furman University in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and received her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina in 1997. While in law school, she was a member of the National Moot Court team and was named the outstanding student volunteer at the University of South Carolina.
After graduation from law school, she became an Assistant Solicitor with the Office of the 13th Circuit Solicitor, and later, the Office of the 8th Circuit Solicitor. It was during this time that she headed the Family Court unit for juvenile prosecution in both circuits. In 2000, she accepted a position as an Associate Attorney with the firm of Clarkson, Walsh, Rheney, & Turner, P.A. in Greenville, SC, practicing in the areas of governmental and general civil liability defense. In 2005, she returned to the Office of the 13th Circuit Solicitor where she prosecuted cases in the areas of child abuse and domestic violence.
Judge Verdin was elected to the Family Court as a resident judge in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in 2008. In 2011, the South Carolina Legislature elected her to the Circuit Court, Seat 2, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.
She is married to Chuck Verdin, an attorney with Nelson, Mullins, Riley, and Scarborough, LLP in Greenville, South Carolina. They are the proud parents of twin sons, and they also have three dogs, a cat, and a frog.
Tom Vanderbloemen’s practice focuses on matters involving trademarks, patents, copyrights, franchising, business disputes, and appeals. Tom also provides outsourced general counsel services to growing and entrepreneurial businesses.
Tom currently serves as President of the South Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and as a committee member of the International Trademark Association. He has previously chaired the South Carolina Bar’s Trial & Appellate Advocacy Section Council and served as an officer of the Carolina Patent Trademark & Copyright Law Association. Tom was selected by Best Lawyers® as “Lawyer of the Year” in Greenville for Appellate Practice in 2018 and for Intellectual Property Litigation in 2014. He has an AV-Preeminent rating with Martindale-Hubbell® and has been ranked in Super Lawyers® and Greenville Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite.”
Prior to forming his firm, Tom Vanderbloemen was a shareholder with Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A., where he was leader of the firm’s Business & Commercial practice group. Tom also previously practiced with King & Spalding LLP in Atlanta and served as a law clerk to the Hon. William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He graduated from Duke University School of Law and Davidson College.