Poyner Spruill Welcomes Education Law Practice Group

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Stephanie Gumm

Associate
t: 919.783.2819

Stephanie focuses her practice on civil and commercial litigation in state and federal courts. An Army veteran, Stephanie is the co-founder of Project Ethos—a program designed to support and grow veteran-led businesses.

Biography

Stephanie is a civil and commercial litigator with broad ranging experience in both state and federal courts. She is a skilled advocate for her clients, as well as a veteran and the co-founder of Project Ethos, which helps veterans transitioning out of the military.

Prior to joining the firm’s litigation section, Stephanie served eight years in the Army. After deploying to Iraq as a Signal Officer and managing communication platforms, Stephanie transitioned to Psychological Operations (PSYOP) and deployed to Pakistan, conducting strategic-level PSYOP under the U.S. Ambassador and U.S. Army Special Operations Command. After returning from Pakistan, Stephanie was selected to attend the U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s first-ever Cultural Support Team course, where she trained to support Special Forces teams conducting village stability operations. Immediately after graduation, Stephanie deployed to Afghanistan as a Special Forces enabler, engaging Afghan women as part of the U.S.-led effort to recruit, train, and develop local security forces in rural areas.

As a civil and commercial litigator, Stephanie continues to operate in dynamic and complex environments. For example, on behalf of a county, and with less than 24 hours’ notice, Stephanie recently obtained a temporary restraining order and then a preliminary injunction to prevent a summer camp from opening and housing dozens of children in unsafe, unpermitted structures. Additionally, Stephanie’s experience operating in new and challenging situations helps her transition seamlessly between types of litigation. In recent years, Stephanie worked with the Poyner Spruill team that won the largest jury verdict in the history of the state’s whistleblower law. At the appellate level, Stephanie filed an amicus brief in support of the City of Nashville, which the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit cited in its opinion in Bennett v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County.

Areas of Focus

+Litigation

Stephanie frequently appears in court on behalf of her clients.  Recently, Stephanie has

  • Successfully argued to the court for an order compelling a trustee, trust protector, and investment advisor to produce more than 20 years of records so that the client’s divorce attorneys could trace the money in a marital estate worth more than $300 million; and
  • Successfully defended a non-party medical practice from defendants’ far-reaching subpoena seeking voluminous confidential business records; and
  • Successfully represented a commercial landlord against a long-term commercial tenant’s substantial claims of breaches of the lease agreement.
Visit our Litigation page   ▶

+Government & Constitutional Litigation

Stephanie has extensive experience defending clients against claims of constitutional violations brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, including detainee claims brought against county sheriffs and their employees.  In recent years, Stephanie has

  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on a pre-trial detainee’s novel claims that a jail’s mail policy violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to communications with his wife (also a pre-trial detainee);
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment on a pre-trial detainee’s claims of retaliation in violation of his First Amendment rights; and
  • Successfully obtained summary judgment in several excessive force claims.

Stephanie also frequently handles other governmental matters.  In recent years, Stephanie has

  • Represented a board of education as amotion counsel in a proceeding seeking to remove an elected school board member; and
  • Successfully represented a local taxing authority’s interests in a suit brought by the federal government to enforce restitution liens against real property.
Visit our Government & Constitutional Litigation page   ▶

+Tort & Insurance Defense

Stephanie has a robust liability defense practice in which she defends businesses and their employees against claims of professional negligence.  Stephanie also frequently defends homeowners against personal injury claims brought by third parties.  In recent years, Stephanie has

  • Successfully obtained the dismissal of professional negligence claims against the draftsman of a home renovation project; and
  • Successfully defended residential landlords from a personal injury claim arising out of tenant conduct, forcing the plaintiff to take a dismissal of the claims.

Stephanie also frequently defends commercial and individual clients against a variety of tort claims.  In recent years, Stephanie has successfully negotiated settlements for myriad claims and clients, including

  • Premises liability claims on behalf of a medical practice;
  • Food poisoning claims on behalf of a chain restaurant; and
  • Alienation of affection claims on behalf of an individual defendant.
Visit our Tort & Insurance Defense page   ▶

Credentials

+Education

Campbell University School of Law, JD, magna cum laude

Campbell University, BA, cum laude

+Professional & Community Activities

North Carolina Guardian ad Litem Pro Bono Attorney Program, Guardian ad Litem Appellate Counsel

+Notable Accomplishments

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” (Commercial Litigation) 2023

International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) Amicus Service Award, 2020

North Carolina Pro Bono Honor Society, 2019, 2021

Managing Editor, Campbell Law Review

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