Ronald Motley

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Ron Motley
Born (1944-10-21)October 21, 1944
North Charleston, South Carolina
Died August 22, 2013(2013-08-22) (aged 68)
Charleston, South Carolina
Alma mater University of South Carolina School of Law
Occupation lawyer

Ronald L. Motley (October 21, 1944 – August 22, 2013) was an American trial attorney, and a principal of Motley Rice LLC–a law firm based in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. He is best known for leading lawsuits against tobacco and asbestos companies.[1]

Early life, education, and death[edit]

Ronald L. Motley grew up in North Charleston, South Carolina, where his father owned an Amoco gas station.[2] He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1971.[3]

Motley died on August 22, 2013, after a prolonged illness. The cause of death was described by one colleague as "respiratory complications[1] and by another as "complications from organ failure".[4]

Late-career activities[edit]

Motley was lead counsel for more than 6,500 family members and survivors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks seeking justice against al-Qaeda’s financiers.[5]

Industry recognition[edit]

In 1998, he was named Harry M. Philo Trial Lawyer of the Year by the 50,000-member Association of Trial Lawyers of America and received the President’s Award of the National Association of Attorneys General. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids gave him their Youth Advocates of the Year Award in 1999.[3]

Motley has over his three-decade career won major judgments for his clients against the asbestos and tobacco industries.[2] Ronald Motley was portrayed by Bruce McGill in the 1999 film The Insider, starring Russell Crowe.[6]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b Schwarz, John (2013-08-22). "Ron Motley, Who Tackled Big Tobacco, Dies at 68". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  2. ^ a b Inside the tobacco deal - Interview with Ronald Motley,
  3. ^ a b Biography from Motley Rice,
  4. ^ Feeley, Jef (August 23, 2013). "Ronald L. Motley dies at 68; pioneered tobacco litigation". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-08-27. 
  5. ^ Isikoff, Michael; Hosenball, Mark (April 16, 2003). "A Legal Counterattack". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-08-02. 
  6. ^ "Ronald Motley dies at 68; lawyer took on tobacco, asbestos industries". Los Angeles Times. 2013-08-26. Retrieved 2013-08-27.