THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court


APPEAL FROM BERKELEY COUNTY
Court of Common Pleas

R. Markley Dennis, Jr., Circuit Court Judge
Deadra L. Jefferson, Circuit Court Judge
Roger M. Young, Circuit Court Judge


Opinion No. 4148 (S.C.Ct.App. filed Aug. 14, 2006)


 

Robert William Metts............................................................................................ Petitioner,

v.

Judy Mims, Berkeley Independent Publishing Company, Inc.,
d/b/a The Berkeley Independent, and
Summerville Communications, Inc.,
d/b/a The Goose Creek Gazette.......................................................................... Defendants,

Of whom Berkeley Independent Publishing Company, Inc.,
d/b/a The Berkeley Independent, and
Summerville Communications, Inc.,
d/b/a The Goose Creek Gazette are the............................................................ Respondents.


BRIEF Of RESPONDENTS


 

 

John J. Kerr
Buist Moore Smythe McGee P.A.
Post Office Box  999
Charleston, South Carolina  20402
(843) 722-3400
Attorney for Respondents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Table of Authorities...................................................................................................................................... ii
Statement of Issues on Appeal................................................................................................................... 1
Statement of the Case................................................................................................................................. 1

Arguments

I.  The Circuit Court retained jurisdiction to rule on Newspapers’ summary judgment motion pursuant to Rule 205 SCACR, even after appeal of the discovery and contempt orders, and even if it had not, Metts did not properly preserve the issues. ...................................................................................................................... 4

II.        The Court of Appeals ruled correctly when it held the circuit court properly allowed the summary judgment motion to proceed despite another ruling that Newspapers were in contempt for their failure to comply with the discovery order. ................................................................................................................. 7

III.       The Court of Appeals was not required to address sanctions for Newspapers’ contempt because it declared the issues surrounding the contempt order were moot. ......................................................... 12

IV.       The Court of Appeals interpreted the facts and circumstantial evidence contained in the parties’ briefs and properly applied the principle of constitutional actual malice incorporated in numerous appellate court decisions, including Anderson v. Augusta Chronicle. ................................................................. 15

Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 31

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

CASES

Bon Air Hotel, Inc. v. Time, Inc.,
426 F.2d 858, 864-865 (5th Cir. 1970)..................................................................................................... 23

Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc.,
466 U.S. 485, n. 30, 104 S.Ct. 1949, 1965 n. 30,
80 L.Ed.2d 502 (1984).......................................................................................................................... 24, 25

Browning v. Browning, 366 S.C. 255, 621 S.E.2d 389 (Ct.App 2005).............................................. 14

Carr v. Forbes, Inc., 259 F.3d 273, 283 (4th Cir. 2001)......................................................................... 16

Elder v. Gaffney Ledger, 341 S.C. 108, 533 S.E.2d 899 (2000) ..................................... 15, 25, 26, 27

Ex parte Whetstone, 289 S.C. 580, 347 S.E.2d 881 (1986).......................................................... 10, 12

George v. Fabri,
548 S.E.2d 868, 345 S.C. 440 (2001)................................................................................................. 23, 27

Ledee v. Devoe, 225 Ga.App. 620, 484 S.E.2d 344 (Ga.App. 1997).................................................. 10

Masson v. The New Yorker Magazine,
     501 U.S. 496, 111 S.Ct. 2419, 2429, 115 L.Ed.2d 447 (1991)................................................... 24, 25

McClain v. Arnold,
     275 S.C. 282, 270 S.E.2d 124, 6 Media L. Rep. 1831 (1980)....................................................... 7, 23

McFarlane v. Esquire Magazine
     74 F.3d 1296, 1308 (D.C. Cir. 1996)..................................................................................................... 23

McFarlane v. Sheridan Square Press,
     91 F.3d 1501, 1508 (D.C. Cir. 1996)............................................................................................... 24, 27

New York Times v. Sullivan,
     376 U.S. 254, 279-80 (1964)................................................................................................................... 24

Newton v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc.,
      930 F.2d 662, 683 (9th Cir. 1990).......................................................................................................... 15

Peeler v. Spartan Radiocasting, Inc.,
     324 S.C. 261, 269 n. 4, 478 S.E.2d 282, 286 n. 4 (1996)...................................................... 14, 24, 25

QZO, Inc. v. Moyer, 358 S.C. 246,
     594 S.E.2d 541 (Ct.App. 2004) .............................................................................................................. 14

St. Amant v. Thompson,
     390 U.S. 727, 731, 88 S.Ct. 1323, 20 L.Ed.2d 262 (1968)................................. 16, 24, 25, 26, 27, 30

Time, Inc. v. Pape,
401 U.S. 279, 292, 91 S.Ct. 633, 640, 28 L.Ed.2d 45 (1971)............................................................ 23, 26

Wasserman v. Time, Inc.,
     424 F.2d 920, 922 (D.C. Cir. 1970)........................................................................................................ 23

OTHER AUTHORITIES

Rule 205, SCACR.................................................................................................................................... 1, 4, 5

STATEMENT OF ISSUES ON APPEAL

I. Did the Circuit Court retain jurisdiction to rule on