D. Dusty Rhoades, Attorney at Law
I have been in the private practice of law for over 30 years now. I began in May of 1983 at the age of 31. I graduated from Furman University in 1975 and then became involved in South Carolina politics and campaigns. After 5 years of politics and odd jobs, I went on to law school attending the University of Dayton then returning to South Carolina to begin private practice. I entered law school with the goal of eventually representing people or businesses in cases against lawyers for mistakes made by the lawyers that caused damage.In 1990 (before emails were in use) I sent out a notice to just about every lawyer and judge in South Carolina. That notice was solely about lawyer malpractice cases and my desire to take these on. At that time, very few lawyers were accepting those cases, based on what I had learned. I simply asked they keep me in mind for referrals or associations. In 1990, there was little or no information about handling such cases in SC. The best law treatise on the subject, by Mallen and Smith, was national and totaled just two volumes. That treatise now totals 5 volumes and includes references to some of my cases as well as a law review article regarding non-economic damages in lawyer malpractice matters. The article has since been cited in many other states’ appellate decisions involving that aspect of damages caused by lawyer error (i.e. – jail, loss of custody, emotional distress, etc.)
I did not intend to enter this area of law practice because I disliked lawyers. I found the subject matter more interesting than other types of cases and I have a long history (before and after receiving a law license) taking on very unpopular disputes though ones I believed deserved attention and not ignored. This began with my first year at Furman University with my involvement investigating and disclosing fraud and corruption in businesses and government. I learned well that the practical aspects of handling problems was often, if not always, as important law and other formal requirements to utilize in dealing with these matters successfully. During those years at Furman, I learned well about being attacked when taking on unpopular disputes or adversaries of financial strength more than mine. What I learned was that if I was exhaustive in my preparation planning in advance for any possibility of being attacked, that I could overcome the adversary every time. That preparation included what I refer to as “street smarts” which includes doing not only the planning and preparation dealing with rules or laws, but also carefully considering practical “intel” about an adversary regarding background and motivation. I use that knowledge to this day in the practice of law.
Some of my appellate case decisions received are listed below along with the law review article reference.*
Ellis v. Davidson, 358 S. C. 509, 595 S.E.2d 817 (App. 2004)
Lifshultz Fast Freight, Inc. v. Haynesworth, Marion, McKay and Guerard, 324 S.C. 645, 486 S.E.2d 14 (1997) and334 S.C. 244, 513 S.E.2d 96 (App. 1999)
Recovery For Emotional Distress Damages in Attorney Malpractice Actions, by D. Dusty Rhoades and Laura Morgan, Univ. of SC Law Review (1994)
(*Note – These are reported published cases, several others were unpublished decisions by an appeals court. I have many other appeal decisions in other areas of law, not listed here.)
- 1975- Graduated from Furman University with a degree in Political Science. After working a few years I enrolled into the University of South Carolina Law School.
- 1982- Graduated from The University of South Carolina Law School.
- 1983- Entered into the South Carolina Bar Association.