Kristen K. Thompson
Partner / Charleston
Kristen is a partner in the Charleston office where she practices general civil litigation. Her current practice focuses on cases involving medical malpractice, medical device defects, product liability, premises liability, correctional health care, hospitality and retail liability, and insurance coverage disputes. Kristen is frequently able to reduce the cost of litigation for her clients by drafting and arguing successful motions for summary judgment. These efforts have resulted in the dismissal of multiple cases, saving her clients the extensive cost of complex and lengthy litigation. When cases proceed past the initial stages, Kristen is experienced in efficiently developing a litigation strategy through discovery and successfully resolving claims in mediation or at trial.
Prior to law school, Kristen earned her Masters in Public Administration where she focused primarily on environmental policy. At the Charleston School of Law, Kristen served as the Managing Editor of the Charleston Law Review and an Associate Justice of the Moot Court Board. Kristen also received Cali Awards in Business Associations, Legal Research and Writing, Constitutional Law, Criminal Procedure, and Higher Education Law.
Doug MacKelcan and Kristen Thompson Obtain Dismissal for Law Firm Clients in FDCPA Class Action
Doug MacKelcan and Kristen Thompson obtained an Order granting their Motion to Dismiss on behalf of two Law Firm clients in a class action lawsuit in District Court of South Carolina, Charleston Division. Plaintiffs asserted claims for Violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), Intentional Interference with a Contractual Relationship, Abuse of Process, and Declaratory Judgment, allegedly arising out of the filing and foreclosure of liens for unpaid community association assessments. Doug and Kristen argued procedural and substantive defenses in support of the Motion to Dismiss, and the Court agreed in dismissing the case against their clients.
For informational purposes only. Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in future cases.
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson Secure Early Dismissal of Clients through Targeted and Efficient Written Discovery.
January 11, 2018
Lee and Kristen represented a beach-side Hilton Head Island HOA who was sued when a condo renter slipped in an outdoor shower area at the entrance to the beach. It was determined early that the shower area was not owned, operated, maintained or managed by their clients. Lee and Kristen sent targeted Requests for Admissions to plaintiffs and all co-defendants within the first few days of receiving the file. The responses led to a voluntary dismissal of their clients before depositions ever occurred, saving their client needless defense costs.
For informational purposes only. Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in future cases.
Lee Weatherly and Kristen K. Thompson Force Dismissal in Hard Fought Medical Malpractice Case
November 4, 2016
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson fought for their surgeon client for over seven years and, on October 21, 2016, were finally able to force the Plaintiff to dismiss her final remaining claim that the surgeon failed to provide her sufficient informed consent before a breast biopsy that resulted in a punctured lung. The long history of this case first centered around the 2005 Tort Reform Legislation. The York County trial court originally dismissed this case in September of 2009 due to the Plaintiff’s failure to file an expert affidavit contemporaneously with her Notice of Intent to File Suit. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court judge in January of 2012 holding that the Notice of Intent Statute and South Carolina Law mandated the filing of a contemporaneous expert affidavit that alleges at least one act of negligence when Plaintiff files a Notice of Intent to sue a medical professional. However, the Supreme Court reversed those holdings in October of 2014 finding that that the general provisions of the 2005 Tort Reform Legislation in South Carolina automatically grant a Plaintiff an additional 45 days to file an expert affidavit in the Notice of Intent phase of the litigation when plaintiff is within 10 days of the expiration of the statute of limitations. These decisions were likely the most talked about case law in the South Carolina medical malpractice world at the time. The case was remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings. In June of 2016, Lee was successful in obtaining summary dismissal of the allegation that his surgeon client negligently performed the needle breast biopsy as a matter of law. And finally, on October 21, 2016, he forced Plaintiff to dismiss the remaining allegations in the case, with absolutely no payments made to anyone on behalf of the Defendant. This was an incredibly hard fought victory on behalf of a surgeon client. Please contact Lee Weatherly at email@example.com for more information.
For informational purposes only. Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in future cases.
Jury Awards Plaintiff 4% of Previous Offer of Judgment
October 11, 2016
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson defended a driver involved in a motor vehicle accident. At trial, Plaintiff argued the defendant failed to yield to oncoming traffic by turning left in front of his vehicle, causing an aggravation of his pre-existing back and shoulder injuries. Plaintiff’s counsel practiced the “no actual damages” technique at trial where in closing he did not present any medical bills or costs to the jury. Instead, he asked the jury to award any amount they wanted to compensate plaintiff for his pain and suffering. Lee and Kristen argued Plaintiff was likely speeding at the time of the accident and that any pain and suffering was related to his pre-existing conditions. Ultimately, the jury returned a 50-50 comparative negligence verdict resulting in Plaintiff receiving 4% of a previously filed Offer of Judgment.
Defense Verdict for Emergency Room Physician in Stroke Case
August 26, 2016
Gary Lovell and Kristen Thompson defended a physician who was accused of medical malpractice in his treatment of Plaintiff in the emergency room. During the trial, Plaintiffs argued the defendant doctor failed to recognize the signs and symptoms of an ischemic stroke and administer tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) accordingly. Gary and Kristen presented evidence through medical fact witnesses and expert testimony that this patient’s symptoms were inconsistent with a stroke, and the emergency room physician’s work up of altered mental status was appropriate. They further presented evidence that this patient was ineligible for tPA administration as she did not meet strict inclusion and exclusion criteria under the American Heart Association’s Stroke Guidelines for tPA Administration. Gary and Kristen also offered expert testimony on the questionable effectiveness of tPA in stroke patients as evidenced in the medical literature. The jury agreed with the defense and returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the physician in less than 40 minutes.
Successful defense of a medical device manufacturer that provided bio-med maintenance for equipment within hospitals.
Gary Lovell and Kristen Thompson successfully defended a medical device manufacturer that provided bio-med maintenance for equipment within hospitals. The company received indemnity notice from a hospital named in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Through targeted investigation the matter was successfully negotiated and resolved for a nominal amount without the company being added to the lawsuit.
Successful defense of respironics manufacturer in pre-suit products liability matter
September 29th, 2015
Gary Lovell and Kristen Thompson successfully defended respironics manufacturer in pre-suit products liability matter involving the death of a six month old infant girl. It was proven through pre-suit investigation that the death was not caused by any defect with the product and the matter was dropped and not pursued to suit.
Jury Rejects Amputee’s Claim for Four Million Dollars
May 29, 2015
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson defended an automobile driver who crashed into a motorcyclist. The crash lead to the amputation of plaintiff’s left leg and almost $750,000 in medical bills. While preparing for trial, Lee discovered a video from the investigating officer’s dashboard camera that contained a witness’s statement supporting the Defendant’s claim that the Plaintiff suddenly made a U-turn in front of her. Although during discovery Plaintiff had admitted to drinking a single beer shortly before the accident, the defense team discovered that the Plaintiff had been drinking much more alcohol and had been seen coming out of a second previously undisclosed bar shortly before the accident. The defense retained a pharmacologist and presented overwhelming evidence that the Plaintiff had consumed almost five times the amount of alcohol than was admitted in discovery and the plaintiff was likely impaired by alcohol at the time of the crash. The Plaintiff presented evidence by a prominent expert accident reconstructionist from Charleston and a well-known toxicologist to counter Lee’s defense. Prior to Lee and Kristen’s involvement other insurance companies had paid the Plaintiff almost $200,000 based on the strength of Plaintiff’s case as originally presented. At trial, the Plaintiff asked the jury to return a verdict of four million dollars. The jury returned a unanimous verdict that the Defendant was not negligent in any way and awarded the plaintiff nothing.
Summary Judgment For Insurance Company In Gun Fight/Car Chase Case
June 25, 2014
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson obtained summary judgment in Charleston, South Carolina in favor of an insurance company that provided uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits. The underlying case involved a car chase that resulted in a gun fight and the death of one of the drivers. The estate for the deceased-driver filed suit against the alleged shooters (who did not have auto insurance) or in the alternative, John Doe. The Plaintiff's estate then made a claim to the insurance for the benefits of an underinsured/uninsured motorist policy held by the owner of the car that he was driving when he was shot and killed.
Lee and Kristen filed a separate declaratory judgment action to determine if the deceased could claim uninsured/underinsured coverage under this insurance policy. Lee and Kristen filed for summary judgment arguing that there was no coverage under the policy on two grounds: (1) The driver of the vehicle did not have express or implied permission from the vehicle's owner to operate the vehicle, and (2) The accident did not arise out of the normal use of an automobile. Plaintiff argued the driver had implied permissive use through the vehicle owner and named insured’s daughter. Plaintiff alternatively argued that the use of the automobile was an active accessory in the shoot-out and thus did arise out of the normal use of an automobile. The court agreed with Lee and Kristen that the deceased driver did not have express or implied permission to operate the vehicle and granted summary judgment that no coverage was afforded under the policy.
Defense Verdict for Physician in Post-op Infection Case
January 17, 2014
January 17, 2014
On January 17, 2014, D. Gary Lovell, Jr., Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson obtained a defense verdict for a surgeon and his practice group, in a medical malpractice case filed in Richland County, South Carolina. In the trial, the Plaintiff claimed that the doctor failed to properly monitor him after he had his appendix removed by another surgeon during an exploratory abdominal surgery. Plaintiff's small bowel was perforated during the procedure leading to an infection and eventually necessitating a number of corrective surgeries to repair the injury. Plaintiff claimed that if our client had properly monitored his post-operative condition, the injury could have been repaired before the severe infection occurred. Nevertheless, the jury determined that the doctor met the standard of care and returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the physician and his practice group.
Defense Verdict in Disputed Liability Automobile Negligence Case
December 12, 2013
Lee Weatherly and Kristen Thompson represented Mrs. Shimaa M. Hashim in a disputed liability motor vehicle accident case filed in Charleston County State Court. The Plaintiff was alleging that the Defendant disregarded a red light and failed to yield the right of way to her, causing the collision. In addition to liability, Lee and Kristen also contested the cause of Plaintiff’s alleged injuries at trial as she had extensive pre-existing conditions. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Lee, Kristen and their client Mrs. Hashim, within 5 minutes of deliberations.
Targeted Discovery and Motion for Summary Judgment Leads to Settlement for 10% of Plaintiff’s Final Pre-Suit Offer
December 12. 2013
Defense Verdict for Proctor in Florence County Robotic Surgery
March 08, 2013
On March 8, 2013 a Florence County, South Carolina jury returned a defense verdict for a CCS client and nationally renowned specialist in the field of robotic surgery. Our client was named in a multi-party lawsuit over complications following a robotic prostatectomy in 2007. The physician was serving as the surgical proctor for the two primary surgeons, who were completing their eighth robotically assisted prostatectomy. Undetected by the primary surgeons, a portion of the patient’s prostate gland remained inside the patient’s body after the surgery. The primary surgeon subsequently chose to irradiate the patient, which resulted in radiation-induced urinary strictures and resultant bladder diversion. Our physician client contended that, as a proctor, he did not have a physician/patient relationship in his role. We presented evidence that the client never met the patient prior to surgery, was not given hospital privileges to participate in the surgery or a temporary medical license in South Carolina. He also contended that the error in leaving prostate tissue behind was one that could not be detected visually by anyone observing the surgery outside the controls of the robot. Plaintiff sought $4,500,000 in damages at trial. All other defendants settled or were dismissed prior to trial. After a one week trial, the jury exonerated the physician by a special verdict form finding that no physician/patient relationship existed between the proctor and the patient. Carlock Copeland Attorneys Gary Lovell, Lee Weatherly and Kristen Kelley represented the physician at this trial. This victory will help ensure that proctors and other teachers in the medical field can continue to come to South Carolina and share specialty knowledge and new medical technology and techniques without fear of implication in the alleged malpractice of other providers.
Kent Stair Presented at SCDTAA 29th Annual Trial Academy with Kristen Thompson and Lee Weatherly Participating- Caroline Niland Attended– May 8-10, 2019
May 8, 2019
The SCDTAA 29th Annual Trial Academy took place May 8-10, in Charleston, SC. Kent Stair shared his expertise and presented Tips On Being An Effective Defense Trial Attorney on Wednesday, May 8 at 1:45 pm. He was joined by Kristen Thompson and Lee Weatherly, who participated as break out leaders to facilitate discussions with students and answer any questions they had. In addition, Caroline Niland attended all three days of the academy. For more information on the SCDTAA and this event, click here.
Angela Kopet and Kristen Thompson Attended The CLM and Business Insurance’s 2018 Retail, Restaurant & Hospitality Conference in Dallas, TX – February 7-9, 2018
February 7, 2018
Kristen K. Thompson joined Angela Kopet at The CLM and Business Insurance's 2018 Retail, Restaurant and Hospitality Conference in Dallas, Texas. This year's conference was held from February 7-9. The conference has been fully reinvented, offering unprecedented access to knowledge leaders in the retail, restaurant and hospitality claims resolution profession.
Carlock, Copeland & Stair Hosted Their Annual Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Seminar
February 7, 2018
Carlock, Copeland & Stair hosted their annual Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Seminar on August 24 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Presentations and Presenters: Have Traditional Rules Gone Up in Smoke? Impact of Growing Legalization of Medical Marijuana - Dave Root and Abby Grozine. Best Practices for Maintaining Your Claims File - Ryan Wilhelm, Jennifer Guerra, and Claire Sumner. Defending the Institutional Bad Faith Claim - Charlie McDaniel and Kathy Carlsten. New Technology, Old Policies: Are Aging Policies Equipped to Handle the Consumer Technology Boom? - Fred Valz and Melissa Bailey. Apportionment: Has It Gotten Insurers Where They Want To Go? - Charlie McDaniel, Graham Thompson, and Kristen Thompson. Additional Insured Jeopardy - Alex Davis, Laura Paton, Sarah Wetmore, Sally Bright and Nick Stewart. Why the Involvement of a Tractor Trailer Escalates a Case - Gary Lovell. Risk-Averse Insurers and the New Juror: Exploring Possible Links Between Fewer Trials, Millennial Jurors, and Seemingly Bigger Verdicts - Doug Smith and Lee Weatherly. Please contact Michelle Mattox at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like our attorneys to present in-house lunch & learn sessions or webinars.
National Business Institute – The Rules of Evidence Seminar – Charleston- February 25, 2016
February 7, 2018
Carlock Copeland Announces Attorneys Elevated to Partner
January 1, 2019
Carlock, Copeland & Stair is pleased to announce eight attorneys, across three offices have been elevated to partner effective January 1, 2019. We congratulate each of them for this achievement and couldn’t be prouder of the manner in which they have distinguished themselves, both in the courtroom and within the community.
“The class size, location, and diversity of this year’s new partner group demonstrates the emerging talent CCS has worked hard to cultivate throughout the Firm. We are proud to support and elevate the attorneys helping us grow and transition the Firm in the future.”
~Managing Partner, Shannon Sprinkle ~Stephen J. Cohen, of our Atlanta office, received his J.D. from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, his M.P.A. from the University of Georgia and his B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to practicing law, Steve was a police officer, and then a claims adjuster at a commercial automobile insurer. Both professions afforded him invaluable experience and a unique perspective in his thriving trucking and transportation litigation practice with Carlock Copeland. Alexander E. (Alex) Davis, of Carlock Copeland’s Charleston office, earned his J.D. at the University of South Carolina School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University. Alex has vast experience in complex insurance coverage disputes, construction defects claims and regularly represents clients in a variety of business and commercial tort claims. Alex is accomplished author, having been published in several national and regional magazines and is a participant of SCDTAA’s Emerging Leaders Program. Michael P. (Mike) DiOrio earned his law degree at The Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School, where he was a Moot Court member, and his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining Carlock Copeland, Mike practiced as a criminal prosecutor in a metro Atlanta area District Attorney’s Office. Mike’s practice is focused primarily on medical malpractice defense and general liability litigation out of our Atlanta office. He has been first chair in over 50 jury trials. Mike volunteers his time with several worthy organizations, including serving as a past co-chair of Slyland Trail’s Annual Southern Shindig event. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Morgan, and daughter, Virginia Dare. Abby C. Grozine earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia and her J.D. from Mississippi College of Law with honors. Abby focuses her practice in the area of commercial litigation, general liability defense and trucking and transportation litigation, from our Atlanta office. Prior to joining Carlock Copeland, Abby served as a Staff Attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District where she gained valuable research, writing and analytical skills used today in her expanding litigation practice. Jennifer Guerra, in the Atlanta office of Carlock Copeland, focuses her practice on commercial litigation, representing clients in professional liability claims, product liability claims and bad faith/coverage disputes. Jennifer attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her B.A. with honors, and then the University of Pennsylvania Law School for her J.D. Prior to practicing in the civil arena, Jennifer clerked with the State Court of DeKalb County where she learned the ropes of complex tort and multi-party litigation. Angela Cirina Kopet opened Carlock Copeland’s Chattanooga, TN office in 2014 and has managed the office since its inception. Angela practices primarily general liability, transportation and insurance coverage litigation, and is licensed in Georgia, Tennessee and Washington D.C. She is heavily involved with the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), serving on several committees, the Educational Task Force, and was named The CLM Professional of the Year in the Outside Counsel Category in 2017. She was appointed to the Executive Council for the School of Leadership and remains a faculty member in the School of Casualty within CLM’s Claims College. Angela is Martindale –Hubbell AV Preeminent rated, awarded Top 100 Litigation lawyer in the State of Tennessee, and honored with a Senior Fellowship in the Litigation Counsel of America, a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society where she was inducted into the Order of Juris and Order of Certus for her trial and appellate work. Angela earned her B.A. from Fairfield University, her M.B.A. from Widener University and her J.D. from Delaware Law School. Claire A. Sumner, in our Atlanta office, focuses her practice in health care and general liability defense litigation. Claire has a number of trials under her belt, in both state and federal court, and has appellate experience as well. Claire attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned her undergraduate degree in English and religious studies. She received her J.D. with honors from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she interned at the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kristen K. Thompson, in Carlock Copeland’s Charleston office, started her career with the firm in 2012 upon graduating law school. Kristen focuses her practice primarily in medical malpractice and general liability litigation and has impressive experience developing litigation strategies and writing persuasive briefs and motions in defense of her clients. Kristen is the current Vice President of the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Affiliate's Board of Directors and a former Roper St. Francis Foundation Fellow.
Kristen Thompson has been selected as a 2016 Fellow for the Roper St. Francis Foundation
February 23, 2016
Kristen Thompson has been selected as a 2016 Fellow for the Roper St. Francis Foundation. As a Fellow, Kristen will serve alongside leading St. Francis physicians and staff as ambassadors and advocates of the Roper St. Francis Foundation’s work. During her one year appointment Kristen will have a behind the scenes look at all of Roper St. Francis operations, including its Heart & Vascular Center, NeuroSciences & Spine Services, Women’s Services, Rehabilitation Hospital, and Cancer Care.
Publications and Presentations
Sex Trafficking and the Expanding Liability for the Hospitality Industry – Presentation at Carlock Copeland’s Annual Insurance Coverage Seminar
August 23, 2018
Sex Trafficking and the Expanding Liability for the Hospitality Industry, a presentation at Carlock Copeland's Annual Insurance Coverage Seminar. As social issues merge into the civil arena and into the pockets of insurers, such is the case with the hospitality industry and efforts to combat sex trafficking. Participants will have a better understanding of the implications to the hospitality industry for failing to recognize, intervene and report possible sex trafficking on their premises. This presentation also explores the origins of civil liability arising from sex trafficking and the availability of coverage defenses. Presenters/Co-Authors: Charles M. McDaniel, Jr. and Kristen Thompson. For more information on this presentation, please contact Michelle Mattox at email@example.com.
Charlie McDaniel, Graham Thompson, and Kristen Thompson Presented Apportionment: Has It Gotten Insurers Where They Want to Go? at Carlock, Copeland & Stair’s Annual Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Seminar
August 24, 2017
Charlie McDaniel, Graham Thompson, and Kristen Thompson presented Apportionment: Has It Gotten Insurers Where They Want to Go? at Carlock, Copeland & Stair’s Annual Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith Seminar on August 24 at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Please contact Michelle Mattox at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like our attorneys to present in-house lunch & learn sessions or webinars.
Updates in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee Law
June 10, 2015
“Managing Risk and Medical Malpractice Basics” Presented at the Medical University of South Carolina
June 11, 2013
Charleston attorneys Andy Countryman and Kristen K. Thompson presented “Managing Risk and Medical Malpractice Basics” to Senior Surgical Residents at the Medical University of South Carolina on June 11, 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina. Their presentation was part of a lecture series based on the Surgical Council on Resident Education (“SCORE”) national surgical curriculum. SCORE is a national teaching curriculum designed to focus on core competencies that the American Council on Graduate Medical Education has specified that must be taught during a physician’s residency. It is designed to define the specialty of general surgery and provide greater assurance that residents are receiving sufficient training in all areas. The curriculum focuses on the five years of progressive education and training that constitute general surgery residency in the U.S., after medical school but prior to independent practice. Andy and Kristen’s presentation focused on strategies and skills a physician can utilize in order to manage risk and prevent medical malpractice suits. They also provided a general explanatory view of a medical malpractice suit and what physicians may expect if they become involved in a suit.
Evidence-Based Medicine in Medical Malpractice Litigation
April 01, 2013
"Evidence-Based Medicine in Medical Malpractice Litigation" and "Evidence-Based Medicine in the Courtroom" Two-part article co-written by Gary Lovell and Kristen Kelley. Medical Malpractice Law & Strategy, An ALM Publication. Volume 30, Number 7 & 8. April/May 2013.
Tips on Handling South Carolina Claims
November 29, 2012
Notice of Intent to Sue: Procedure and Recent Decisions on Requirement for Medical Malpractice Expert Affidavit
October 09, 2012