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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - April 2009

Note: Beginning in June 2012, opinions will be posted as Adobe PDFs. You can download a free copy of Adobe Reader here.

The summary following each opinion is prepared to offer lawyers and the public a general overview of what a particular opinion decides. The summary is not necessarily a full description of the issues discussed in an opinion.

4-2-2009 - Opinions

4525 - Mead v. Jessex, Inc.

In this workers' compensation case, the Uninsured Employers' Fund (the Fund) appealed the circuit court's order reversing the Appellate Panel's denial of Chad W. Mead's (Mead) application for a change of condition for the worse to his left hip and leg allegedly caused by his original compensable injury. The Fund asserted the circuit court erred in failing to affirm the Appellate Panel's finding that the claim for a change of condition was barred by res judicata. The Court of Appeals reverses, finding that the circuit court erred in failing to affirm the Appellate Panel's finding that Mead's claim for change of condition was barred by res judicata.

4526 - State v. Cope

The defendant appeals his convictions for murder, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal conspiracy, and unlawful conduct towards a child. At issue in this appeal are numerous evidentiary concerns, the denial of the defendant's motion for severance, and the sufficiency of the evidence to support the defendant's conviction for criminal conspiracy.

4-7-2009 - Opinions

4527 - State v. Sanders

The defendant appeals his covictions for murder, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and conspiracy to commit criminal sexual conduct. At issue in this appeal are the admissibility of a DNA sample and the sufficiency of the evidence to support the conspiracy charge.

4-8-2009 - Opinions

4528 - Judy v. Judy

Ronnie F. Judy appeals from the jury's verdict against him, arguing the circuit court erred in declining to dismiss the suit against him on the basis of laches, collateral estoppel, or res judicata, and in declining to permit him to amend his answer to include a defense of waiver. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

4-9-2009 - Opinions

4529 - State v. Tapp

In this appeal from Charleston County, the Appellant appeals his conviction on charges of murder, criminal sexual conduct in the first degree and first degree burglary. Appellant alleges error in: (1) the trial court’s failure to suppress DNA evidence recovered from the victim because the State could not establish whether the DNA was deposited/left in the victim during the time period in which the alleged crimes occurred; (2) in the trial court’s qualification of the State’s witness, Prodan, as an expert and admitting his testimony; (3) in the trial court’s failure to grant a mistrial based on the State’s failure to disclose allegedly exculpatory evidence; and (4) in failing to grant Appellant’s motion for directed verdict on all charges.

4-14-2009 - Opinions

4530 - Jackson v. Bermuda Sands

Eric Jackson appeals the entry of summary judgment in favor of Grosfillex, Inc., regarding claims of products liability stemming from the collapse of a chair in which Jackson sat while he was staying at the Bermuda Sands Resort hotel (Bermuda Sands). We affirm.

4-15-2009 - Opinions

4531 - McCuen v. BMW Manufacturing

BMW Manufacturing Corporation appeals the circuit court's order upholding the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission's finding that Robert McCuen sustained a compensable neck injury arising out of and in the course of his employment with BMW and awarding him benefits for his injury.

4-16-2009 - Opinions

4532 - Straight v. Goss

This is a shareholder derivative action involving Timberline Building systems, Inc., originally instituted by shareholder Straight against shareholders and directors, Michael and Pamela Goss, and several of the Gosses other business entities. The issues raised on appeal are (1) whether respondents violated their duties as Timberline officers and directors by engaging in undisclosed conflict of interest transactions with the corporation and failed to prove the fairness of the transactions; (2) whether the Special Referee could properly offset attorney's fees and special discounts attributed to Straight because there was no claim stated upon which to offset the conflict of interest transactions; (3) whether the defense of unclean hands was appropriately applied to conflict of interest transactions or matters unrelated to the litigation; (4) whether the Special Referee properly applied the common paymaster doctrine where employees are paid by one corporation but work exclusively for another and the ownership of the two corporations is not common; (5) whether corporate directors are liable for misappropriated corporate opportunities where no disclosure is made to disinterested shareholders.

4533 - Posner v. Posner

In this civil case, Daniel A. Posner (Husband) appeals the family court's decision that (1) the Marital Settlement Agreement (the Agreement) between Husband and Susan Lynn Posner (Wife) requires that Wife receive her share of Husband's Tax Deferred Savings Plan (the TDSP) plus any growth or loss on the entire account; (2) Husband has not purged himself of contempt from a prior family court order; and (3) Wife is entitled to attorneys' fees and costs.

4-21-2009 - Opinions

4534 - State v. Spratt

The trial court erred in not permitting a prior uncounseled guilty plea to possession of cocaine to be used for sentence enhancement without first determining whether the defendant waived his right to counsel at that time.

4-27-2009 - Opinions

4535 - Russell v. Cox

This is an appeal of the family court's dismissall of an action under the South Carolina Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act for registration and modification of a Georgia custody order.

4-29-2009 - Opinions

4536 - Gibson v. Bank of America

Respondent Roberta Gibson filed this negligence and conversion action against Appellant Bank of America (BOA) after she discovered several unexplained withdrawals from the money market and checking accounts of the deceased. The jury returned a verdict for Gibson on the negligence claim, and BOA appealed the trial court’s denial of BOA’s motions for a directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. BOA argued that Gibson’s negligence claim was barred by the three-year statute of limitations, as set forth in S.C. Code Ann. § 15-3-530(5) (2005). The Court of Appeals agreed and held that there was only one reasonable inference as to when the deceased and Gibson knew or should have known that they had a claim against BOA and that the trial court erred in submitting the issue to the jury.

4537 - Gartside v, Gartside

In this family law action, we determine whether the family court erred in (1) reducing Michael Gartside's (Husband) alimony obligation and (2) failing to award attorneys' fees and costs to Husband.

4-30-2009 - Opinions

4538 - SCDSS v. Janice C. and Stanley E.

This is an expedited termination of parental rights (TPR) action pursuant to section 20-7-1572 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2007) (current version at 63-7-2570 (Supp. 2008)). Janice C. (Mother) appeals the family court’s order terminating her parental rights as to her five children (Children). Stanley E. (Father) appeals the family court’s termination of his parental rights as to his child, N.C. We reverse the family court's TPR of Mother and affirm the family court's TPR of Father.