Anne McGinness Kearse

With more than two decades of experience in complex litigation, Anne brings a passion for justice to each case, working for her clients and seeking to bring those responsible to account.


Through litigation, including mass torts, class actions and individual cases, Anne pursues the implementation of better safety practices and corporate governance measures for those corporations, as well as just compensation for victims of toxic exposure, extreme and life-altering injuries, workplace injuries and diseases, severe burns, brain damage, loss of limb and paralysis, and wrongful death resulting from negligence and defective products. 

She works closely with victims and their families, often meeting with them in their homes for consultations. She strives to provide each client with personalized attention and individual justice, whether the case is part of a class action or stands alone. 

Anne often collaborates with other attorneys, including estate and probate counsel, in order to approach each case from a team perspective. She also consults with experts to provide input on cases. 

She is a member of the firm’s litigation team currently representing dozens of states, cities, towns, counties and townships targeting the alleged misrepresentation of highly addictive opioids by manufacturers and distributors, a suspected cause of the opioid epidemic plaguing communities nationwide.  

Anne represents workers diagnosed with the devastating disease mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure in the chemical, electric power generation, steel or construction industries. She also represents victims of household exposure—children and spouses who developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases after being exposed to asbestos fibers that a family member unwittingly brought home from work on clothes or belongings. Anne has tried several noteworthy asbestos cases, including Cox vs. A&I Company, West Virginia’s first household asbestos exposure case, and the 2002 West Virginia Consolidated Asbestos Trial against Union Carbide in which unsafe working conditions were found at its plants throughout the state. In addition to maintaining an active trial schedule, Anne represents Canadian Workers’ Compensation Boards in U.S. courts to recoup benefits they paid Canadian asbestos victims.

Devoted to worker safety and health in all forms, Anne also represents and has secured settlements for flavoring workers who suffered respiratory ailments and other diseases caused by toxic chemical exposure. She also recently secured a jury verdict against SAR Automation, L.P. for $8.8 million* for the wrongful death of a worker who fell at a Boeing facility and left behind a widow and two small children.

As a law clerk, Anne supported the team representing the State Attorneys General in the historic lawsuit against Big Tobacco, which resulted in the largest civil settlement in U.S. history. Shortly after, she was a member of the trial team that litigated Falise v. American Tobacco Company

Well-versed in navigating complex litigation, Anne holds several leadership positions within the firm, managing legal teams associated with occupational disease, toxic exposure and severe personal injury. Anne has written several articles of interest to the plaintiffs’ bar and frequently speaks on asbestos litigation, general product liability, legal ethics and tort reform at seminars across the country. She has been published on major legal issues, including forum non conveniens and defective products abroad, corporate misconduct, medicolegal aspects of asbestos litigation and mass tort litigation. Anne co-authored the 12th chapter of the book, “Pathology of Asbestos-Associated Diseases” (Medicolegal Aspects of Asbestos-Related Diseases: A Plaintiff’s Attorney’s Perspective, 3rd ed., 2014). Edited by Victor L. Roggli, MD; Tim D. Oury, MD, PhD; and Thomas A. Sporn, MD, this publication is a comprehensive asbestos reference book used by both physicians and attorneys. 

Anne served as the 2016-2017 President of the Public Justice Foundation, a charitable organization focused on protecting people and the environment and increasing access to justice. She has been on the Board of Directors since 2010. In 2011, Anne served on the Executive Board for a local chapter of Safe Kids USA, advocating for childhood injury prevention. She also serves as a Section Councilor in the Law Section of the American Public Health Association.

* Please remember that every case is different. Any result we achieve for one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

Open Bio


  • J.D. summa cum laude, University of South Carolina School of Law, 1998
  • B.S., Syracuse University, 1983


  • Public Justice Foundation, Board of Directors
  • American Association for Justice, Chair – Committee on Asbestos Education
  • American Bar Association
  • South Carolina Association for Justice, Board of Governors
  • Litigation Counsel of America Trial Lawyer Honorary Society
  • Order of the Coif
  • Order of the Wig and Robe
  • John Belton O’Neal Inn of Court
  • American Inns of Court, James L. Petigru Chapter
  • Pound Civil Justice Institute, Supporting Fellow

Licensed In

  • District Of Columbia
  • South Carolina
  • West Virginia

Admitted to Practice Before

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Eastern and Western Districts of Pennsylvania, District of South Carolina and the Southern District of West Virginia

Awards and Accolades

  • South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

    2020 Lawyer of the Year

  • Best Lawyers®

    2016 Charleston, S.C. “Lawyer of the Year”: Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs
    2011–2020 Mass tort litigation/class actions – plaintiffs

  • University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Association

    2018 Compleat Lawyer Award
    1998 Bronze Compleat Award

  • Super Lawyers®

    2013–2020 South Carolina Super Lawyers list
    Class action/mass torts: Plaintiff; Personal injury – general: plaintiff; Personal injury – products: plaintiff

  • The Legal 500 United States

    2007, 2009–2012, 2016, 2018 Dispute resolution – product liability, mass tort and class action – toxic tort – plaintiff
    *Although it endorses this lawyer, The Legal 500 United States is not a Motley Rice client.

  • The National Trial Lawyers

    2010 Top 100 Trial Lawyers™: South Carolina

  • Benchmark Plaintiff

    2014 Top 150 Women in Litigation list: South Carolina: mass tort/product liability – plaintiffs
    2012–2014 South Carolina “Litigation Star”: mass tort/product liability – plaintiffs
    2013 National “Litigation Star”: mass tort/product liability – plaintiffs

  • Lawdragon

    2020 Lawdragon 500 Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers


Active Case

Opioid Litigation

The growing opioid epidemic crosses virtually all demographics, and with more than half a million related deaths recorded in the U.S. since 2015, the crisis has officially been declared a public health emergency.

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