Stephen C. Swain

Stephen C. Swain

Stephen C. Swain

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LOCATION Virginia Beach, VA
PHONE (757) 671-6037
FAX (757) 671-6004

About Stephen


An experienced trial lawyer who understands the effect of catastrophic injuries on working people.


Stephen Swain is an injury trial lawyer with many years of experience and hundreds of trials representing people injured in workplace, shipyard and industrial accidents, medical malpractice injuries including birth injuries, cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries, anesthesia and surgical injuries, nursing home and neglect and abuse injuries and truck and 18 wheeler, car accidents, motorcycle and bicycle accidents. He has tried cases in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Colorado.


Shipyard and maritime injuries have involved deck hands, tug boats, naval vessels, merchant ships and ships under repair in shipyards in Norfolk, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, and Newport News. Injuries have included severe burns, loss of life, crush injuries and neck and back injuries.


Workplace and industrial injuries have involved conveyor belt injuries with defective or no guards resulting in loss of limbs, crush injuries and falls.


He has represented many mothers who were injured in child birth and whose babies were injured. Injuries included cerebral palsy, Erbs Palsy or brachial plexus injuries. He has also litigated many cases against trucking companies that employ drivers who are not well trained; work without proper sleep or rest; didn’t pay attention to road conditions; or were speeding. He has also represented many people against car and truck manufactures that did not build safe cars that resulted in injuries. Many times these vehicle crashes result in truck and car fires and explosions.


Stephen Swain grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, attended University of North Carolina undergraduate and law school and has been in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach area since law school practicing law.


His professional staff includes a registered nurse, an investigator who is a former police officer and a former government prosecutor.


He devotes a significant amount of time to free legal services to certain people without funds and to community services. He has served on the Virginia Beach Human Rights Commission, dedicated to improving the quality of human life; he has served on the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission and has been a former governor of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. He also was the President of the Virginia Beach Bar Association.


He is married to Julia Swain, a math teacher and field hockey coach at Cox High School. Her team has won four state championships. He has two children and spends his recreation time with his family.

More About Stephen


  • Super Lawyers of Virginia 2006 - present
  • Listed in “Best Lawyers in America” 1994 - present
  • &auot;AV" Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory 1989 - present
  • Classes/Seminars
  • 1998 “Nursing Liability Pitfalls”, Tidewater Nursing Association
  • 1999 “Voir Dire for Personal Injury Actions”, American Law Institute
  • 2002 “Birth Injuries – Erb’s Palsy Shoulder Dystocia, Legal Implications”, Tidewater Erb’s Palsy Support Group
  • May 25, 2004 “Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Law in Virginia”, National Business Institute, Norfolk, Virginia
  • July 21, 2005 “Medical Evidence in Virginia Courts: Your Guide to Effective Use@, National Business Institute, Norfolk, Virginia
  • February 10, 2005 ADefinitive Guide to Settling Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims in Virginia@ National Business Institute, Norfolk, Virginia
  • June 17, 2011 “Litigation Experts: How to pick them, prep them, reserve them, present them and challenge them”, Virginia State Bar Summer Convention, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • 1964-1965 East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
  • 1965-1969 University of North Carolina B.A., Liberal Arts, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • 1969-1972 University of North Carolina J.D., Law Degree, School of Law, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • 1972 North Carolina Supreme Court
  • 1972 State of North Carolina
  • 1972 State of Virginia
  • 1972 United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • 1972 Virginia Supreme Court
  • 1974 United States District Court Eastern District of North Carolina
  • 1974 United States District Court Middle District of North Carolina
  • 1974 United States District Court Western District of North Carolina
  • 1974 United States Supreme Court
  • 1996 United States Court of Federal Claims
  • 2005 South Carolina Supreme Court
  • 2005 State of South Carolina
  • 1972 - present Norfolk/Portsmouth Bar Association
  • 1972 - present North Carolina State Bar Association
  • 1972 - present Virginia Beach Bar Association
  • 1972 - present Virginia State Bar Association
  • 1972 - present Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
  • 1976 Virginia Stage Company Board Member and President
  • 1986 Virginia Beach Bar Association, Treasurer
  • 1986 - 1989 Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Directors
  • 1987 Virginia Beach Bar Association, Secretary
  • 1988 Virginia Beach Bar Association, Vice President
  • 1989 Virginia Beach Bar Association, President
  • 1993 - 1995 Virginia Beach Human Right Commission
  • 1997 - 1998 Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission
  • 1998 - present Auto Information Exchange Group
  • 1998 - 2002 Trial Lawyers for Public Justice
  • 1999 - present The American Inns of Court, Barrister
  • 2000 - 2002 Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, Editorial Board
  • 2003 - 2007 North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers Association
  • 2004 - present American Board of Trial Advocates
  • 2005 - present South Carolina Bar Association
  • 2007 North Carolina Advocates for Justice
  • 2007 - present Virginia Bar Association
  • $5,200,000 for a child with brain injury and a seizure disorder resulting from DPT vaccination.
  • $12,000,000 for the brain injury to a mother of 3 who was struck by a drunk driver in an intersection collision.
  • $5,000,000 for brain injury to a teenage girl riding her bicycle when struck by a newspaper truck.
  • $2,000,000 to a man for the loss of an eye when assaulted in a bar.
  • $9,000,000 for 3 men burned in an SUV that had a defectively designed fuel tank that ignited when struck by a truck. The claims were paid by the car and truck manufacturer and the truck company.
  • $1,500,000 against a truck driver for the brain injury to a limo driver when unsecured stone flew from the truck through the limo driver’s windshield striking him in the head.
  • $2,750,000 in a medical malpractice case for a nurse patient who suffered brain injury during surgery because the doctors and nurse anesthetist did not recognize that she had lost blood and did not do CPR nor follow the code properly.
  • $1,350,000 in a medical malpractice case for the family of a patient against the obstetrician, anesthesiologist and labor and delivery nurses for death because they did not diagnose her blood loss following a cesarean section delivery which led to cardiac arrest.
  • $1,500,000 for a brain injury to a man who was struck by a policeman improperly using his mag flashlight.
  • $1,700,000 in an industrial accident in the workplace against the manufacturer of a defective hydraulic lift that collapsed to the ground and fractured the welder’s ankle.
  • $1,100,000 for a trustee inmate who sustained a brain injury when a sheriff’s van transporting him to his work release location was struck by an 18-wheel truck.
  • $900,000 for a pedestrian whose shoulder was broken by an out-of-control vehicle that was involved in an intersection crash in North Carolina.
  • $650,000 for a man whose leg was burned in a small private plane crash caused by the pilot’s failure to maintain an adequate glide path following loss of power after switching to an alternative fuel tank.
  • $650,000 in a medical malpractice claim for a woman who suffered an infection caused by a neurosurgeon who performed spinal surgery at the wrong level and had to repeat her surgery in North Carolina.
  • $350,000 in a medical malpractice case in South Carolina for the death of an intoxicated man who was misdiagnosed by the emergency room doctor resulting in aspiration from failure to protect the man’s airway after being restrained.
  • $450,000 in a medical malpractice case for failure to diagnose bladder cancer in a timely fashion.
  • $600,000 in a medical malpractice case for failure to diagnose colon cancer by the internist.
  • $450,000 in a medical malpractice case for failure to diagnose breast cancer by the gynecologist.
  • $600,000 in a medical malpractice case for failure to treat a heart attack appropriately in the emergency room.
  • $1,000,000 for a shipyard worker who suffocated as a result of the discharge of carbon dioxide into the hold of a ship during fire alarm repairs.
  • $1,200,000 for a family in a trust and estate dispute against the fiduciary.
  • $600,000 for a legal malpractice claim against a lawyer in a fiduciary position.
  • $2,200,000 in a product liability claim against a door manufacturer and the architect for negligent design of the electronic door that descended on a man at a manufacturing facility when the man rode a cargo tower through the door and the electronic device failed to detect him.
  • $900,000 in an industrial accident against a manufacturer of a car-crusher conveyor belt component for failure to design an interlocking machine guard resulting in the loss of the man’s arm.
  • $750,000 in a workplace accident against the manufacturer of a highway construction conveyor belt machine for a woman whose leg was damaged when it was caught in the unguarded conveyor belt.
  • $600,000 in a medical malpractice case for a woman’s family against a plastic surgeon and CRNA for failure to have an antidote on hand in the office surgical suite to counter the untoward effects of anesthesia resulting in malignant hyperthermia and for their failure to recognize the condition.
  • $450,000 for an elderly woman neglected in a nursing home who developed a bed sore.
  • $1,850,000 in a medical malpractice case for a child with brain injury cerebral palsy in North Carolina caused by the doctor’s and hospital’s negligence at birth. The obstetrician and labor and delivery nurses failed to recognize fetal monitoring signs of distress and did not resuscitate the baby nor proceed to Cesarean delivery, resulting in oxygen deprivation and brain injury.
  • $520,000 in a medical malpractice settlement for a South Carolina man with diabetes for a below-the-knee amputation resulting from the failure of a podiatrist to obtain a vascular evaluation of the man's circulation prior to attempting toe surgery. Circulation was compromised, resulting in gangrene and leg loss.
  • $1,000,000 for the family of an 18 year old passenger struck by a drunk driver on a North Carolina beach.
  • $465,000 in a medical malpractice case for the family of a 19-year-old kidney transplant recipient who sustained oxygen deprivation and hypoxia that went unrecognized by a nurse anesthetist and the transport team as the patient was being transported from the operating room to the ICU for recovery.
  • $600,000 in a medical malpractice claim for a 78-year-old women in North Carolina who sustained a ruptured disk in her lower spine. The neurosurgeon performed surgery at the wrong level and had to do a second surgery resulting in infection.
  • $260,000 in a medical malpractice case for a seamstress against a hospital for failure to remove a sponge left in her abdomen following a hysterectomy. Follow-up surgery to remove the sponge resulted in scarring to her abdomen.
  • $360,000 in a medical malpractice case for an infant with a birth injury -Erb’s Palsy- a shoulder impairment caused by an obstetrician from birth injury as a result of stretching and traction to the shoulder nerves during delivery.
  • $1,200,000 in a medical malpractice case against the surgeon and hospital nurses for failure to remove a surgical towel left in the abdomen following abdominal surgery in Portsmouth, Virginia.
  • $350,000 medical malpractice case for an infant with Erbs Palsy, shoulder impairment caused from a birth injury from stretching and traction to the shoulder nerves during delivery by the obstetrician.
  • $450,000 medical malpractice case for an infant with Erbs Palsy, shoulder impairment caused from a birth injury from stretching and traction to the shoulder nerves during delivery by the obstetrician.
  • $1,750,000 for a truck accident against a trucking company transporting an extra wide load at night without proper markings or proper authorization and for failure to determine the width of the roadway. The truck cargo struck a man traveling in the opposite direction at night causing him severe injuries.
  • $2,500,000 jury verdict (reduced to $1,750,000, the legislative cap on damages in Virginia) in a medical malpractice case against a family physician who did not properly care for and treat a woman with diverticulitis. The woman developed an infection that led to a stroke and serious brain injury in Chesapeake, Virginia.
  • $375,000 in settlement for a bicycle rider struck from the rear by an inattentive driver along Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. A second car then struck the bicyclist causing significant injuries.
  • $390,000 for a man sustaining a back injury in a red light/green light automobile collision in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • $235,000 settlement for a bicycle rider struck by a car turning left at an intersection in Virginia Beach.
  • $900,000 for a bicycle rider for a brain injury when he was struck by a passing automobile mirror.
  • $1,000,000 for a shipyard worker who received a brain injury resulting from an explosion onboard a naval ship in dry dock. Another contractor used volatile liquid to clean the deck surface within the ship in violation of shipyard rules and OSHA regulations and ship alt requirements. The fumes from the chemicals were not properly exhausted and ignited causing the shipyard worker’s injuries.
  • $1,800,000 award in a workers’ compensation claim in Rocky Mount., North Carolina for an explosion of volatile fumes when a worker was using a torch to open a barrel. The injured worker’s employer’s insurance carrier had refused to pay medical expenses and compensation.
  • $1,000,000 for the family of a woman driving along a roadway where road construction had recently replaced manhole covers. The manhole cover flipped up under the lady’s car when she passed over it causing her car to roll over in Richmond, Virginia.
  • $350,000 for a woman who developed pressure ulcers and bed sores against a nursing home that failed to routinely examine and report this deteriorating skin condition to physicians.
  • $1,000,000 against an automobile manufacturer for defective windshield design. During a collision with another car, the occupant was ejected through the window after the windshield blew out during the rollover causing extensive injuries.
  • $1,500,000 against a car manufacturer for the family of a man who died in a car fire. The car manufacturer designed the van with the fuel tank built in the rear of the axle. The car was struck from behind by a drunk driver erupting in flames from a fuel tank rupture.
  • $500,000 for seatbelt injuries to a passenger riding in the rear seat of a vehicle. The vehicle only had a lap belt and the occupant sustained internal injuries when the vehicle was involved in a collision with a cement bridge trestle.
  • 2007-Present Partner - Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Swain, Haddad & Morecock, P.C.
  • 2000-2006 Partner - Shuttleworth, Ruloff, Giordano & Swain, P.C.
  • 1999-2000 Partner - Williams Mullen, P.C.
  • 1979-1999 Parner - Clark & Stant
  • 1972-1979 Partner - Stant & Stant, P.C.

Practice Areas

  • Manufacturing and Shipyard Injuries

  • Conveyor Belt Injuries

  • Civil and Criminal Trials

  • Birth Injuries

  • Medical Malpractice

  • Cerebral Palsy

  • Erb's Palsy, Anesthesia and Surgical Injuries

  • Nursing Home Litigation

  • Trucking and Auto Collisions

  • Vehicle Fires

  • Vehicle Design and Defect Litigation

  • Product Liability

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