Brian works every day with companies and organizations of all sizes to counsel them on employment law issues and employee benefits matters. Although he focuses primarily on South Carolina firms, Brian also works with companies throughout the United States, especially for benefits and ERISA advice. Brian enjoys working with clients on both smaller problems as well as complex disputes which require careful and sometime creative solutions. He appreciates that clients often need a thorough understanding of their business goals to achieve their legal goals.
Brian helps clients in areas like discrimination litigation, administrative charges of discrimination, and employment law compliance and prevention practices. On the benefits side, he advises on issues like health care reform, HIPAA Privacy Rule compliance, COBRA administration, and ERISA litigation. He frequently speaks on new developments in benefits law and has written several articles on employee benefit plan issues.
Honors & Recognitions
- Chambers USA Guide® (2011-2012, 2015-2016)
Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Professional & Civic Associations
- National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA), Graduate (1997)
- Richland County Bar Association
- Leadership Columbia, Graduate (2003)
- Finlay House Board of Directors (2017-present)
- Washington and Lee Alumni Association, Palmetto Chapter
Brian is married to the former Paula Sommerkamp, who is also an attorney and a Master Social Worker. They have one son and a spoiled rotten Alaskan malamute named Cosmo. Brian and Paula enjoy traveling, Duke Basketball, and USC football. They also enjoy cheering for their son on his swim team.
More About Brian
Meet my pet
Dakota is an Alaskan Malamute which my wife gave me as a gift in 2003. The dog was flown in from Alberta, Canada and quickly became used to the “good life” here in America, as you would guess from her 100+ pound size. Dakota has given us tremendous happiness over the years, and our young son adores her. As she ages, we’ve learned to appreciate every moment with her, and she remains as spoiled as ever.
My favorite vacation
In January 2013, my wife and I took our son and nephew to the Turks and Caicos Islands for several days of warm weather, swimming, shelling, and snorkeling. The islands were breathtaking, and we even watched the Super Bowl at a huge beach party. As the kids get older, I hope that they will always remember that trip as fondly as I do.
An interesting case I handled
In a nasty sexual harassment case a few years ago, a former marketing employee alleged that a traveling vice president seduced her in front of her fireplace on a cold, rainy night in Charleston. During the litigation, we were able to get her handwritten diary, which her lawyer clearly had not read before sending it to us. The diary told a very different story–this employee had been chasing the vice president for months and apparently lured him back to her apartment that night. Once we pointed out the “real story,” the case quickly settled for virtually nothing.
Something you might be surprised to learn about me
My wife and I have the same birthday, and that is how we met – at a birthday dinner given by some mutual friends of ours.
- National luxury hotel group. United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (2017). Represented group in complex ERISA claim for life insurance benefits with insurer as co-defendant and broker as possible third-party defendant. Negotiated successful settlement after lengthy mediation.
- Lucio Rodriguez v. All-Safe Industrial Services, Inc. South Carolina Court of Common Pleas (2012). Represented maintenance services company in single-plaintiff breach of contract, violation of public policy, and defamation case. Obtained summary judgment dismissal on all claims.
- J. Smith Lanier & Co. Large benefits brokerage company. Advise and counsel on variety of ERISA and health care reform compliance issues. (2012-2017)
- Lander University. State institution of higher education. Advise and counsel on variety of employment law compliance issues. (1993-2017)
News & Analysis
Client Presentations & Firm Publications
Speaking Engagements & Industry Publications
- “Employment Law: Is Your Company Compliant?” presented to South Carolina Ground Water Association, May 2017
- “Benefits Landscape / Post-Election Legal Update,” presented to Childrens’ Hospital Association – Benefits Managers Forum, April 2017
- “Required Upgrades: A Benefits Blueprint,” presented for CAI Triad Employment Law Update, November 2016
- “Summer Benefits Update: Hot New Developments for Group Health Plans,” presented to Georgia Employers’ Association, June 2016
- “The Affordable Care Act: Six Years and Counting. . . .” presented to The Sage Group, October 2015
- “The Affordable Care Act and How it Will Impact Your Business,” presented to the Independent Electrical Contractors Association, December 2013
- “Health Care Reform: Where do Employers Stand Now Following the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling,” presented for CAI Triad Employment Law Update, November 2012
- “Affordable Care Act Workshop,” presented for Georgia Employers’ Association webinar, June 2012
- “Cooking Up Recipes for a Health Workplace: Dessert Tray – A Benefits and HR Sampler,” presented for Employers’ Association in Charlotte NC, April 2012
- "GINA: It's More Than Just A Pretty Name," presented at South Carolina Chamber of Commerce 21st Annual Human Resources Conference, May 2011
- "Bridge to Justice: How the Federal Government is Increasing Employee Litigation," Made in South Carolina Magazine, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, May 2011
- "The Times, They Are A' Changin: How Health Care Reform Will Soon Impact Your Company," Made in South Carolina Magazine, South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance, November 2010
- "Cutting Edge Seminar Series: How Healthy is Your Company Wellness Program?,” May 2007
- “The Aging Workforce and Health Benefits: Challenges and Solutions,” Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce Focal Points, Vol. 13 Issue 10, October 2005
- COBRA Compliance Manual (Co-Author), Haynsworth, Baldwin, Johnson & Greaves, LLC, October 2003
- "Applicability of the Attorney-Client Privilege in ERISA Cases," Federal Discovery News, Vol. 9 Issue 1, December 2002
- “Court to rule on oral employment contracts,” South Carolina Business Journal, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, Vol. 21, Issue 4, May 2002
- “Quick responses to problems help stop them from becoming crises. That is one of the things my clients value most.”
- Brian Magargle, Employee Benefits Lawyer
- Employment Litigation, including all types of federal and state claims against corporate entities and individuals
- Employment Law Advice and Compliance, such as handbooks, progressive discipline issues, and separation planning
- Employee Benefits Litigation, including claims for benefits, breach of fiduciary duty, and failure to disclose plan information
- ERISA Advice and Compliance
- COBRA Administration
- HIPAA Privacy Rule Compliance
- Affordable Care Act Compliance
Washington and Lee University School of Law
- J.D., 1993
University of South Carolina
- B.A., cum laude, Political Science, 1990
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Omicron Delta Kappa
Bar & Court Admissions
- South Carolina, 1993
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina