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ARCHIVES: April 2015

Graham Newman to serve Of Counsel to Newman Law Firm, LLC

Graham Newman to serve Of Counsel to Newman Law Firm, LLC

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Sumter-based Newman Law Firm is proud to join the CSA-LAW Network, and in doing so, Walter G. Newman’s eldest son, Graham Newman, will serve Of Counsel to the Newman Law Firm.

Walter G. Newman founded his firm in 1978 and has become one of Sumter’s most recognized personal injury and workers’ comp attorneys. This opportunity to partner with Columbia-based Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. means that Newman will be able to work with his son, Graham L. Newman, whose work has been focused on commercial class actions, contractual litigation, insurance bad faith, and products liability in both state and federal court. His trial court victories have included a $14.5 million insurance bad faith verdict, an $8 million class action judgment, and a $4.75 million products liability verdict. Graham has briefed numerous appeals and argued before the South Carolina Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, and United States Supreme Court. Sumter has a significant military presence and Graham has valuable experience in cases where financial institutions fail to respect important rights afforded by Congress to our men and women in uniform.

“Graham’s involvement strengthens our ability to serve our clients as we keep pace with a changing world, giving us increased capacity for today’s legal challenges. It also helps that Graham is a 1997 graduate of Sumter High School and already knows many of our clients,” said Walter G. Newman.

“We will also be involving Graham’s firm, Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Attorneys at Law, in many of our upcoming cases. Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. has developed into one of the best law firms in South Carolina in the areas of personal injury, including everything from workers’ compensation, disability, and individual claims for auto and large truck collisions, to class actions for faulty medical devices and mass tort cases. Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.’s involvement and the CSA-LAW Network brings us the increased experience we were searching for in these areas of law.”

Suspending Students for Hate Speech: Why the Univ of South Carolina Must Tread Lightly

An image of a University of South Carolina student’s use of the “n-word” on a dry erase board made national headlines this weekend as the image “went viral” through social media. The University responded quickly, suspended the student, and began an “investigation.”

USC’s quick action, however, may well be unconstitutional and the school would be well-advised to take careful steps not to violate the First Amendment while it conducts its “investigation.”

A very similar incident took place earlier this year at the University of Oklahoma were several students were expelled after being videotaped singing a chant which contained the “n-word.” Eugene Volokh, one of the nation’s leading First Amendment experts, plainly concluded that the University violated the Constitution when it expelled the students. Volokh’s comprehensive analysis may be read here.

Volokh’s conclusion–well supported by case law–was that a University may not expel a student for a so-called “conduct violation” when that conduct was, in fact, speech protected by the First Amendment. Protected speech, Volokh notes, includes hate speech.

If the University of South Carolina violates the First Amendment rights of the student under investigation, the individuals who make the affirmative decision to do so–rather than the school itself–may be sued by the student under a federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This possible personal liability of the USC President, Board of Trustees, or any other individuals with decision-making authority over the student’s future is very real. Thus the school and its officers must respond to this situation with reasoned wisdom lest a decision to punish bad behavior result in a very strong lawsuit from the student.

Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. attorney Graham L. Newman practices in the area of complex litigation and handles the firm’s appellate practice.

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