This year’s edition of South Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine features an in-depth profile on Terry E. Richardson Jr. of Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman. Nine years ago, in the same publication, we told the story of Richardson’s former partner, the late, legendary Ronald L. Motley, who famously took on Big Tobacco and al-Qaeda’s financial backers. An excerpt:
When he started working on asbestos cases, he settled a few, but then hit a snag when he went to trial: inexperience. “The rookie got his ears pinned back,” Motley remembers. “They got me the first three times.” Undeterred, he used money from the previous settlements to forge ahead.
When that ran out, [his firm] cut him off, tired of spending money on cases that seemed hopeless. Motley and colleague Terry Richardson took out a personal line of credit to keep going. “We had 2,000 to 3,000 [asbestos] cases in the office, and I wasn’t going to give up,” Motley recalls. “People were relying on us-they needed help.” Motley describes his work as “not a case, but a cause.”
“What turned the tide was finding whistleblowers,” he says. “They said the industry had knowledge that the substance was harmful.” The whistleblowers emerged after the U.S. government said in 1978 that an estimated 12 million Americans had been exposed to asbestos, says Motley.