Meet South Carolina Litigator Russell T. Burke

Russell has practiced law in Columbia, South Carolina, for 32 years. A native of Virginia, Russell moved to Columbia with his family after graduating from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1985, and began a practice focusing on complex business litigation, antitrust, product liability, and personal injury claims. He has worked on several class action suits ranging from price fixing and monopolization to breach of fiduciary duty. Often these cases involve the discovery and management of millions of documents and emails, and challenging the opinions of Ph.D. economists, financial advisors, or other expert witnesses. The keys to successfully litigating such large cases is attention to detail, perseverance, and the development of a deep understanding of the factual and technical bases for expert opinions.

Prior to joining McGowan Hood, Russell was a partner in the Columbia office of Nexsen Pruet. He was co-lead counsel in In re International Textile Group Merger Litigation, a class action and derivative lawsuit against private equity financier Wilbur Ross (now U.S. Secretary of Commerce) and his investment company, W.L. Ross & Co. The suit involved a merger between two companies that Ross controlled. Ross, a purported billionaire, allegedly violated his corporate fiduciary duties to the minority shareholders of a South Carolina company, as judged under Delaware’s entire fairness standard. After four years and nearly sixty depositions, the case settled one week before trial for $81 million and nearly $300 million in debt forgiveness. It was one of the largest fiduciary duty recoveries in South Carolina.

Over the years, Russell’s clients have been both large and small: from homeowners or tree farmers to some of the largest companies in the world. Whether representing an individual or a large company, understanding the perspective of both sides enables Russell to provide sound advice, whatever the issue or amount in dispute.

Russell and his wife are proud parents to their seven children and nine grandchildren (and counting). Russell has coached youth soccer and baseball, as well as his boys varsity high school basketball teams. Russell has also served as a deacon at First Presbyterian Church, and on the Vestry at Church of the Apostles in Columbia.

Practice Areas

  • Class Actions
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Personal Injury
  • Product Liability

Bar Admissions

  • South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina
  • U.S. District Court, District of Delaware
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Honors

  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation and Business Litigation, since 2003
  • Martindale Hubbell, Peer Review Rated AV Preeminent

Representative Cases

  • Plaintiffs’ Liaison Counsel, Pro Slab, Inc. and Bremer Construction Management v. Argos USA Corporation, et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-03185 (alleging price fixing against several concrete manufacturers in South Carolina and Georgia).
  • Co-lead counsel, In re International Textile Group Merger Litigation, A. No. 2009-CP-23-3346 (Circuit Court, Greenville County) (class action breach of fiduciary duty case against Wall Street financier; $81 million and release of $300 million in debt by private equity funds). See Law360 article at www.law360.com.
  • In re Endosurgical Products Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 05-cv-8809 (U.S. District Court for the Central District of California) (indirect purchaser class action price fixing case representing hospitals against major manufacturer of sutures and surgical products; case settled for $13 million and agreement to restrict contracting practices worth $26 million).
  • Co-lead counsel, Crane v. International Paper Company and Canal Wood, 3:02-cv-3352) (District of South Carolina) (represented class of pulpwood timber growers alleging monopsony price fixing on tract-by-tract basis in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia; $12.4 million settlement). See Law 360 article at www.law360.com; and Wall Street Journal article at www.wsj.com
  • I. DuPont De Nemours v. Monsanto Co., Case No. 4:00-952-23 (District of South Carolina) (helped defend nationwide monopolization claims based on marketing and advertising of Roundup herbicide and Roundup Ready cotton and soybean seeds).
  • Holliday v. Waccamaw Community Hospital, 2015 WL 7760805 (South Carolina Supreme Court) (represented South Carolina Hospital Association as Amicus Curiae on negligent credentialing claim).
  • Guanciale v. McLeod Regional Medical Center, Case No. 02-cv-03001 (District of South Carolina) (defended hospital in federal and state court trials against physician claiming EMTALA whistleblower liability and defamation based on hospital’s report of his temporary suspension to the South Carolina Medical Board. EMTALA claim dismissed at trial, and nominal verdict awarded).
  • Hamilton v. OPW, et al. (Circuit Court, Lancaster County) (co-lead plaintiff’s counsel in wrongful death claim involving a gas station fire; settlement over $2 million).

Education

  • D., University of Virginia School of Law, 1985
  • A., Phi Beta Kappa graduate with high distinction, University of Virginia (double major in Economics and Religious Studies), 1981