John F. Kuppens is a partner in Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s Columbia office. He has extensive experience in product liability, pharmaceutical and medical device, toxic tort, premises liability, and business litigation.
In addition to South Carolina state and federal courts, Mr. Kuppens has litigated cases in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, and West Virginia state and/or federal courts. He has also argued appellate matters in the South Carolina Supreme Court.
Honors & Awards
- South Carolina Super Lawyers (2008-2009)
- The Best Lawyers in America® - Commercial Litigation (2008-2010)
- Guide to the World’s Leading Product Liability Lawyers (2008)
Product Liability Practice
Mr. Kuppens has experience in all aspects of product liability litigation, including accident reconstruction, metallurgy, design analysis, biomechanics, manufacturing processes, and warnings. He has defended product liability cases involving a wide range of products, including boilers, building products, food products, medical devices, electrical and gas-fired appliances, aerial lifts, textile machinery, and industrial equipment.
Memberships and Publications
Mr. Kuppens is an active member of DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar. He is currently the chair of DRI’s Product Liability Committee, and was its 2008 seminar program chair. He was formerly the chair of its Agricultural, Construction, Mining and Industrial Equipment (ACMIE) subcommittee. He is also a former chair of DRI’s Young Lawyers Committee.
Additionally, Mr. Kuppens is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and served on the faculty of the 2007 IADC Trial Academy. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association, and is a member of the South Carolina and American Bar Associations.
A member of the South Carolina Bar, Mr. Kuppens is admitted to practice before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. He has also been admitted pro hac vice to courts in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Missouri.
Mr. Kuppens has written extensively on legal issues, including:
- "The 'Wooden Approach' to Consumer Product Safety: How to Maximize Risk Prevention," DRI In-House Defense Quarterly, to be published in Spring 2010 edition (with Paula M. Burlison and Thomas H. Graham).
- "The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act: Recent Developments, Guidance, and Rulemaking," For the Defense, December 2009 (with Stephen Morrison and Paula Burlison);
- South Carolina Chapter, Products Liability Defenses: A State-by-State Compendium (2007)
- "The Sophisticated and Knowledgeable User Defenses to the Duty to Warn," For the Defense, April 2001;
- "A Response to Jury Nullification: Legal Justice v. People's Justice," DRI Jury Trial Preservation Project, September 1996;
- "The Game is Afoot: Tips on Non-Discovery Investigation," For the Defense, January 1995; and
- "There is No Substitute: Spoliation of Evidence in Product Liability Suits," South Carolina Lawyer, March/April 1994.
Mr. Kuppens has spoken on a number of topics, including:
- "The Difference Between May and Shall and Other Important Issues in the Proposed Changes to Rules 26 and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure," Moderator, 2009 DRI Annual Meeting;
- "Formaldehyde: Distinguishing Facts From Hype," 2009 DRI Product Liability Conference;
- "Expansion of Federal Jurisdiction--the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005," 2007 DRI Product Liability Seminar - Building Products SLG;
- “Avoiding the Avalanche: Practical Strategies for Dealing With Electronic Discovery Obligations," DRI Pre-Trial Tactics Seminar, February 2007;
- "Removal Update," SCDTAA 39th Annual Joint Meeting, July 2006;
- "It Ain't Over Till It's Over - Defending Discontinued Product Lines," 2006 DRI Product Liability Seminar;
- "Ethical Obligations Regarding Medical Records and the Laws That Protect Them" 2003 DRI Complex Medicine for Trial Lawyers Seminar; and
- "Damages in the Commercial Case," 1996 DRI Young Lawyers Seminar.
Mr. Kuppens earned a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989, and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Clemson University in 1986.