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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - August 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.

8-5-2009 - Opinions

4603 - Harris v. Ideal Solutions, Inc.

William Harris appeals from the master-in-equity's final order of dissolution of a partnership, arguing the master erred in: (1) finding the separation agreements were ambiguous; and (2) if the agreements were ambiguous, interpreting them to include the health insurance claims and attorneys' fees as liabilities of all three parties because they were not specifically included in the parties' agreement.

4604 - State v. Hatcher

Ricky L. Hatcher appeals his conviction for distribution of crack cocaine arguing the State failed to establish a complete chain of custody for the drugs seized from him during a police sting operation. We reverse.

8-6-2009 - Opinions

4605 - Auto-Owners Insurance Company v. Rhodes

Auto-Owners Insurance Company appeals from the denial of its motion to vacate and/or stay this declaratory judgment action to determine coverage under an insurance policy, following this court's reversal and remand of the companion tort action for damages. In the alternative, Auto-Owners contends the circuit court erred in finding Marion Eadon d/b/a C&B Fabrication an insured under the policy, there was an occurrence resulting in property damage, and that none of the argued exclusions contained in the policy apply. We affirm as modified.

4606 - Foster v. Foster

Gary Foster, Jean A. Burbage, and Mike Foster (Appellants) appeal the trial court's order granting summary judgment to Harvey L. Foster (Foster) in his action to recover property Foster alleges was taken by the Appellants. Specifically, the Appellants argue the trial court erred in: (1) voiding a deed; (2) ordering the transfer of funds to Foster when there was evidence the funds were a gift from Foster; (3) ordering the transfer of funds to Foster when there was evidence that a portion of the funds were used to pay Foster's assisted care expenses; and (4) finding there was no evidence as to Foster's incompetence. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

8-12-2009 - Opinions

4607 - Duncan v. Ford Motor Company

Jerry and Anna Duncan initiated this lawsuit against Ford Motor Company after a fire, originating under the hood of their 2000 Ford Expedition, destroyed their home. The Duncans alleged Ford knowingly installed a defective speed control deactivation switch into the vehicle, which caused it to ignite. At the conclusion of trial, the jury awarded the Duncans $620,759.79 in actual damages, reduced to $589,721.80 in proportion to their comparative fault, and $3 million in punitive damages. Ford appeals. We affirm.

4608 - Hackworth v. Greywood

In this civil case, we must determine whether the trial court erred in dismissing Greywood at Hammett, LLC's (Greywood) cause of action for civil conspiracy against Deborah and Edwan Hackworth (collectively the Hackworths) on the ground the claim was not properly pled.

8-18-2009 - Opinions

4609 - State v. Holland

Appellant Lemond Holland challenges his convictions for murder, assault and battery with intent to kill, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Holland contends the circuit court committed reversible error in failing to instruct the jury on voluntary manslaughter and in admitting evidence that was unfairly prejudicial in violation of Rule 403, SCRE. We affirm.

8-19-2009 - Opinions

4577 - Butler v. Butler

In this domestic action, William M. Butler (Husband) appeals from an order of the family court reducing Lynn M. Butler’s (Wife) monthly alimony. We affirm in part and remand in part.

8-20-2009 - Opinions

4610 - Milliken & Company v. Morin

Milliken & Company (Milliken) appeals from the circuit court's order, arguing the court erred in denying the equitable relief it requested because the jury found Brian Morin breached the covenants in his employment agreement and the verdict was only an award of nominal damages. In his cross-appeal, Morin argues the circuit court erred in finding the confidentiality and invention assignment provisions of the employee agreement are enforceable.

8-27-2009 - Opinions

4611 - Fairchild v. Palmer

On appeal from this tort action, Marilee and Larry Fairchild argue the trial court erred in (1) refusing to instruct the jury on certain charges; (2) directing a verdict on Fairchild's claim for punitive damages; and (3) denying their motion for a new trial. William Palmer and Palmer Construction cross-appeal and maintain the trial court erred in (1) failing to grant Palmer's motion for an independent medical examination of Fairchild and (2) granting Fairchild's motion for directed verdict as to the affirmative defense of comparative negligence. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

8-31-2009 - Opinions

4612 - Oaks v. Point Development, LLC

Point Development challenges an order in which the master-in-equity found its property was subject to an easement in favor of Ten Woodruff Oaks, arguing (1) the easement was never granted; and (2) Point did not have notice of the easement.

4613 - Stewart v. Charleston County School District

Constituent District Number 20, a component of the larger Charleston County School District, appeals the circuit court's order finding the Charleston County School District had the authority to determine the method for priority of enrollment at Buist Academy, a magnet school for Charleston County students that is physically located within the confines of Constituent District Number 20. Constituent District Number 20 also appeals the circuit court's finding its due process rights were not violated in the conduct of the hearing before the Charleston County School District Board on this issue. We affirm.

4614 - US Bank Trust National Association v. Clifford Bell

U.S. Bank Trust National Association (Bank) appeals the decision of the master-in-equity denying Bank's request for foreclosure. Bank further appeals the order restructuring the loan given to Delores and Clifford E. Bell (the Bells). We reverse and remand.