Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - March 2012

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.

3-7-2012 - Opinions

4949 - Crossland v. Crossland

Husband appeals the family court's final divorce order, arguing the family court erred in awarding Wife (1) periodic alimony in the amount of $958.50 per month, (2) forty percent of the marital estate, and (3) $16,024.50 in attorney's fees. He also contends the family court erred by substituting an amended order after it signed the original final order and decree. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

4950 - Flexon v. PHC-Jasper

Coastal Carolina Medical Center, Inc. appeals the trial court's order denying its motion to compel arbitration in this breach of employment contract action filed by Phillip Flexon, M.D.

4951 - Estate of Gill v. Clemson University

This dispute arises from the Last Will and Testament (the Will) of Caroline Gill and a bequest from Gill's Estate to Clemson University Foundation (Clemson) to establish and fund the Danny Lee Ford Endowed Scholarship Fund (the Scholarship). Gill's personal representatives, J. Louis Grant and Thomas Baldwin, on behalf of Gill's Estate (the Estate), appeal from the special referee's order finding the Danny Ford bequest was unambiguous; prohibiting the Estate from introducing extrinsic evidence; ordering the Estate to execute the bequest with estate funds; and determining the IRA in Gill's name was a non-testamentary asset that must be executed as set forth in the documents associated with the IRA and did not satisfy the Danny Ford bequest. The Estate argues the special referee erred in: (1) failing to consider extrinsic evidence of Gill's intent because the terms of the Will and IRA beneficiary designation, as they pertain to the establishment and funding of the Scholarship, were ambiguous; (2) prohibiting Grant's proffered testimony because it was relevant and should have been admitted as an exception to the hearsay rule pursuant to Rule 803(3), SCRE; (3) refusing to make a factual finding that Gill intended to make a single bequest of $100,000 to Clemson; (4) including factual findings in its order that were not supported by the record; (5) failing to find the written beneficiary designation in Gill's IRA Adoption Agreement Form (the Agreement) satisfied the contemporaneous writing requirement of S.C. Code Ann. ยง 62-2-610; and (6) not requiring all the funds paid to Clemson be held and administered in strict accordance with the terms of item II(e) of the Will.

3-14-2012 - Opinions

4952 - Highlands Property Owners v. Shumaker Land

On appeal from the Master-in-Equity (Master), Highlands Property Owners Association, Inc. (the Association) challenges the Master's determination that Respondent Shumaker Land, LLC's (Shumaker LLC) seven lots within the Highlands development were not subject to assessments levied by the Association pursuant to the restrictive covenant governing the development. The Association argues the Master erred in failing to establish a lien against Shumaker LLC's lots and in failing to foreclose upon the lien because Shumaker LLC was subject to this restrictive covenant at all relevant times. We reverse and remand.

4953 - CarMax Auto Superstores v. SCDOR

This appeal arises out of CarMax Auto Superstores West Coast, Inc.'s protest of an assessment of corporate income taxes by the South Carolina Department of Revenue.

4954 - North Point Development v. SCDOT

North Point Development Group, LLC appeals the circuit court's finding that it lacked jurisdiction to review the South Carolina Department of Transportation's decision to deny North Point's application for an encroachment permit.

3-16-2012 - Opinions

4955 - Matthew G. v. Anthony H.

Matthew G. (Father) appeals the order of the South Carolina family court terminating his parental rights (TPR) to his minor child (Child) and granting Anthony H.'s (Stepfather) petition to adopt Child. Father argues the family court lacked jurisdiction to hear the child custody dispute because Georgia still had exclusive, continuing jurisdiction under the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA) and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). We agree and vacate the family court's order.

3-28-2012 - Opinions

4957 - State v. McKerley

Jimmy Paul McKerley appeals his convictions for criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree and lewd act upon a child under sixteen. McKerley's primary argument is that the trial court erred in permitting an expert in forensic interviewing to give testimony that bolstered the credibility of the victim. We agree. We reverse McKerley's convictions and remand for a new trial.

4959 - Smith v. Widener

In this appeal we hold that when a plaintiff seeks actual and punitive damages arising out of the same injury, the two types of damages are part of the same claim for purposes of determining whether a nonsettling defendant is entitled to a setoff to account for funds paid to the plaintiff by a settling defendant. We reverse the circuit court's order to the contrary. Judge Lockemy dissents.