The year 2021 may just go down as the point in time when we started building our new normal—recognizing the realities we could not change and pivoting our plans to suit.
It’s hard to believe the holiday season is already upon us. As we savor the final days of 2021, we wanted to take a moment and revisit some of the year’s defining movements for our team here at Yarborough Applegate, and extend our deepest gratitude to all those who we’ve had the honor of working with along the way.
We’ve grown quite a bit over the last year, continuing to seek out ways to support those making a difference in our community, deepening our practices professionally, and—quite literally—expanding our team as we welcomed two new attorneys this fall. Attorneys Alex Heaton and John Dodds have already proven to be invaluable assets to our firm, and we’re excited to watch them make their mark in the coming years.
At Yarborough Applegate, we’re deeply proud of the communities we are a part of and aim to make them safer every day through our legal work. We also recognize that serving the public is a privilege and that we owe a debt of gratitude to all of those who have supported us along the way. We work to repay it through philanthropic efforts that can make a real difference in bettering the places we call home.
In 2021, we recognized the need for increased support for those suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. In furtherance of that cause, we continued our support of WakeUp Carolina, a Charleston, South Carolina-area nonprofit that extends resources and support to individuals and families facing addiction and substance abuse disorder at no cost to them. After kicking off the year by helping the group expand its young adult program, Yarborough Applegate sponsored WakeUp Carolina’s Give Hope Breakfast in November.
In the spring, we sponsored the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center’s annual Hope Grows Here fundraiser. The Charleston-area nonprofit’s mission is to prevent abuse, protect children, and heal families. When the pandemic mandated the event go virtual for the first time, community support was critical. Fortunately, by the end of the fundraiser, Dee Norton had raised nearly $330,000—enough to sponsor services for 182 children.
Yarborough Applegate has long supported Share Our Suzy (SOS), a local group that raises money and resources to assist and support breast cancer patients from diagnosis to remission, to honor the spirit of the late Suzy McGrane. This October, we partnered with The Works Cycle to host benefit rides that together raised over $10,000 for SOS.
Camp Happy Days, a nonprofit that offers local children who have been diagnosed with cancer cost-free access to programs and special events, is another cause our firm has supported over time, and in 2021. Knowing how powerful hope and opportunity can be in the face of adversity, we are proud to play a small part in advancing Camp Happy Days’ mission of improving the physical, emotional, and psychological health of entire families facing pediatric cancer. There are many opportunities to get involved—head to their website to learn more.
Our team is proud to actively support numerous other charitable and community organizations, including: College of Charleston’s Hispanic Advisory Board, which provides scholarships for students to study abroad and become fluent in Spanish and assist them in securing professional opportunities within our local community; Crisis Ministry Help Center in extending aid to the unhoused; One80 Place, which works to end and prevent homelessness; Historic Charleston Foundation’s advocacy and preservation efforts; and environmental protection nonprofits Coastal Conservation League and the Southern Environmental Law Center. Additionally, Yarborough Applegate’s 10-year corporate partnership with Communities in Schools, which works to unlock the potential of South Carolina’s students, continues this year.
Our team is unified by a shared passion for helping victims whose lives have been upended. We’re able to do that because our clients put their trust in us to be their advocates and allies. We’re humbled by the responsibility, and will always work tenaciously on their behalf, no matter the challenge.
We’re honored to have been chosen to represent many clients in court this year whose families were stricken with tragedy. This included several major jury verdicts. Over the summer, we obtained a $13.1 million verdict for one of the victims of a deadly 2016 wreck on I-77 in Richland County, South Carolina. The hard-fought result was the culmination of years of work and followed a two-week trial. In July, a Florence County jury in a trial against Outback Steakhouse ruled in our client’s favor, prompting a nationwide safety change that will protect countless consumers. A November dram shop verdict awarded our client $3.1 million after he was critically injured by an underage drunk driver. Despite the Sunoco convenience store refusing to accept any responsibility for selling alcohol to the minors who caused the wreck, our attorneys ultimately proved Sunoco was jointly at fault in this tragedy. Additionally, another of our clients was awarded a $33.8 million judgment against a bar for overserving one of its patrons who proceeded to drive the wrong way down I-26, permanently injuring 3 innocent people.
It’s through our dram shop practice area that Yarborough Applegate’s attorneys take a stand against drunk driving and the unsafe service of alcohol. Of our total recoveries in 2021, $50 million were in dram shop settlements, judgments and verdicts alone.
Yarborough Applegate is fortunate to have built longstanding relationships with talented colleagues across the legal community here in Charleston and beyond. Our team relishes the opportunity to share our insights with peers, and our work in this realm has helped establish our attorneys as leaders within the South Carolina and national legal communities. What’s more, engaging in these opportunities to learn, share, and communicate with colleagues enables us to better serve those we’re here to protect.
Our attorneys drew on their own experience as trial lawyers in presentations at Kentucky Justice Association CLE seminars in April and June and national articles in Trial Magazine and the AAJ’s Journal for Trucking Litigation. We enjoyed attending the SCAJ Annual Convention as featured speakers in August, and come November, stayed busy leading several continuing education sessions on dram shop and drunk driving litigation.
This past year has made us as thankful as ever for the team we work alongside and the clients we serve. We know 2022 will undoubtedly be every bit as exciting, demanding, and rewarding as 2021 has been. Our team is ready for it.
We hope you are able to enjoy this time with your loved ones. From all of us here at Yarborough Applegate, happy holidays, and cheers to the new year!