Elbert Dorn focuses his practice on defending corporate clients in high exposure cases. Drawing on vast experience gained from over twenty-five (25) years of defending automotive, pharmaceutical, tobacco and other Fortune 100 companies, Elbert understands how to personalize large corporations and their legal positions before local judges and juries. Combining his rural South Carolina heritage with sophisticated insight into complex legal and scientific principles, Elbert excels at telling the client’s story in a compelling and convincing manner in the courtroom.
With a thorough understanding of legal issues in product liability, life sciences, and related fields, Elbert knows how to navigate around procedural pitfalls and focus on the substance that helps prevail. His tireless pursuit of legal arguments at the trial level has culminated in appellate opinions which have transformed product liability law in South Carolina - including the required proof of an alternative feasible design, the exclusive application of the risk-utility test in design defect cases, the enhanced element of reliability for expert opinions, the exclusion of post-manufacture evidence, and the enforcement of the substantial similarity standard for other incident evidence. He has also worked extensively with the advancement and application of pre-emption defenses.
In connection with automotive product litigation, Elbert has personally handled and tried to verdict cases for several automotive manufacturers involving alleged defects of handling and stability (rollover), sudden or unintended acceleration (electrical and/or mechanical throttle and speed control systems), seatbelts, airbags, seat backs, roof structure, door latches, glass (glazing), tires, fuel system, and crashworthiness matters. He also currently serves as statewide counsel for one of the world’s largest manufacturers of safety restraint systems in seatbelt and airbag product litigation. He is intimately familiar with the substantive and procedural issues faced by automotive and component part manufacturers in product liability litigation.
In the class action field, Elbert has defended putative and certified class actions for major corporations in South Carolina state and federal courts. He is thoroughly familiar with the complex notice and approval processes required for settlement or other resolution of class actions, as well as application of the Class Action Fairness Act.
•Listed in Best Lawyers in America - Product Liability Litigation and Commercial Litigation, since 2007
•South Carolina Super Lawyers - Personal Injury: Products since 2009
•Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated AV Preeminent
Speaking & Writing
•Nexsen Pruet Attorneys Recognized By Peers; Twenty-Eight Named to 2013 Super Lawyers List for South Carolina
April 30, 2013
•The Exclusion of Other Incident Evidence in Product Liability Litigation
August 6, 2013
•The Exclusion of Other Incident Evidence in Product Liability Litigation - International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) Product Liability Newsletter; July 2013
•No Other Alternative: Challenging Plaintiff’s Proof of Reasonable Alternative Design - IADC Product Liability publication; February 2012
Outside Nexsen Pruet
Elbert is married and the proud father of four children. Residing in Pawleys Island, he enjoys spending time with his family at the beach, fishing and boating, and camping at nearby state parks. He is also an avid golfer.
Elbert serves on the Vestry of All Saints Anglican Church in Pawleys Island. He is a volunteer leader of Boy Scout Troop 360 and values the opportunity to share the learning experience of Scouts with his youngest son.
Civic & Professional MembershipsInternational Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
•Defense Research Institute (DRI)
•South Carolina Judicial Invitational Conference
•South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association, President (2007)
(Also at Charleston Office)