For-profit

Motley Rice

Website:

www.motleyrice.com

Location:

Mount Pleasant, SC

Status:

For-Profit

Type:

Law Firm

Motley Rice, LLC is a plaintiffs’ attorneys law firm headquartered in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina that primarily focuses on class-action lawsuits against various companies. The firm has several offices throughout the United States and employs over 100 attorneys. Lawsuits the firm has initiated or participated in include the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, lawsuits alleging product defects, suits against car manufacturers, and suits on behalf of a small group of families of victims of the September 11th attacks. The firm has garnered scrutiny for its suits on behalf of 9/11 victims, particularly for arguing that funds seized by the U.S. from the Afghan government should be awarded to the firm and its clients. [1] [2]

Motley Rice, along with similar firms, has been criticized by the right-leaning Alliance for Consumers for the political donation activity of people reporting it as their employer being strongly aligned with Democratic campaigns and candidates and for the firm’s receiving government contracts. [3]

Background Motley Rice was founded by attorneys Joe Rice and Ron Motley in the 1970s. Ron Motley died in 2013, and Joe Rice was still practicing with the firm as of 2022. Many of the early class-action lawsuits initiated by the firm centered around asbestos and mesothelioma with the firm leading or participating in suits within 57 different U.S. jurisdiction. The firm has continued to launch asbestos and mesothelioma suits since its founding. [4]

As of 2022, the firm employed over 100 attorneys and hundreds of additional support staff, and maintains relationships with firms in other countries to coordinate international litigation. The firm’s main office is in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina and it maintains offices in several other states, with two in West Virginia and others in Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, and Connecticut. [5] [6]

Litigation History

Motley Rice handles lawsuits against companies regarding issues such as health care, product malfunctions, personal injury, toxic exposure, false advertising, whistleblower suits, and other categories. [7]

Notable cases the firm has participated include the 1998 tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between tobacco companies and state Attorneys General that pays out hundreds of millions in legal fees to various law firms annually. The firm was also a co-lead negotiator for suits against BP regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which resulted in the largest class action settlement in U.S. history. The firm also participated in suits against Volkswagen for emissions fraud, and led securities fraud litigation against several companies including Twitter, Barrick Gold, Sprint, State Street, Visa and Mastercard. [8]

Opioid Lawsuits

Motley Rice has been a main driver of the proliferation of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers on behalf of individuals and state and local governments. The firm has filed opioid lawsuits in dozens of jurisdictions and has partnered with several state attorneys general on such cases. Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice serves as co-lead counsel and a member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee for the National Prescription Opiate Multidistrict Litigation, coordinated in the Northern District of Ohio. The firm has opened two offices in West Virginia, which is among the states most impacted by opioids. [9]

9/11 Victims

Motley Rice has also led litigation on behalf of families of victims of the September 11th attacks against various foreign governments and companies, such as Saudi Arabia and Iran. The firm drew scrutiny for arguing that $3.5 billion in funds seized by the U.S. from the Afghan government should be awarded to the firm and its clients, which would result in approximately $500 million in legal fees for Motley Rice and the other firm involved in the case. [10] [11]

Criticism

Motley Rice has been criticized by the right-leaining Alliance for Consumers for the political donation activity of persons reporting the firm as their employer being strongly aligned with Democratic campaigns and candidates and for its practices launching class-action lawsuits and securing government-backed litigation contracts. Motley Rice employees contributed over $1.7 million to candidates from 2017 to 2020 with 98 percent of contributions benefiting Democrats and left-of-center organizations. [12]

References

  1. Fang, Lee. “Lawyers and Lobbyists Fight for Their Slice Of $3.5 Billion In Afghan Money Seized By The Biden Administration.” The Intercept. February 16, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022.  https://theintercept.com/2022/02/16/afghanistan-funds-biden-september-11-lawyers-lobbyists/ ^
  2. “Learn More About Motley Rice.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/about ^
  3. “Shady Trial Lawyer Pipeline Update.” Alliance for Consumers. January 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.196/h7r.c37.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/AFC_Shady-Trial-Lawyer-Pipeline-Report.pdf ^
  4. “Learn More About Motley Rice.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/about ^
  5. “Learn More About Motley Rice.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/about ^
  6. “Offices.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/offices ^
  7.  “Learn More About Motley Rice.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/about ^
  8. “Learn More About Motley Rice.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/about ^
  9. “Opioid Litigation.” Motley Rice. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://www.motleyrice.com/public-client/opioid-litigation ^
  10. [1] Cooper, Ryan. “Attorneys Try to Gobble Up Billions from Starving Afghans.” The American Prospect. February 21, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://prospect.org/world/attorneys-try-to-gobble-up-billions-from-starving-afghans/ ^
  11. Fang, Lee. “Lawyers and Lobbyists Fight for Their Slice Of $3.5 Billion In Afghan Money Seized By The Biden Administration.” The Intercept. February 16, 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022.  https://theintercept.com/2022/02/16/afghanistan-funds-biden-september-11-lawyers-lobbyists/ ^
  12. “Shady Trial Lawyer Pipeline Update.” Alliance for Consumers. January 2022. Accessed October 27, 2022. https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.190.196/h7r.c37.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/AFC_Shady-Trial-Lawyer-Pipeline-Report.pdf ^
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Motley Rice


Mount Pleasant, SC