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

7-11-2012 - Opinions

4997 - Allegro v. Scully

In this civil action, Emmett Scully, Synergetic, Inc. (Synergetic), George Corbin, and Yvonne Yarborough (collectively, Appellants) contend the trial court erred in (1) reforming the jury's damages verdicts without providing the option of a new trial; (2) failing to require an election of remedies; (3) admitting into evidence the order granting a temporary injunction; (4) admitting into evidence Allegro, Inc.'s (Allegro) expert report; (5) certifying Daniel McHenry as an expert; (6) excluding evidence relating to the issue of Allegro's damages; and (7) failing to grant motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) as to the claims for civil conspiracy, breach of contract, breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation. We reverse and remand.

4998 - D. R. Horton v. Wescott Land Company

This appeal arises out of a contract for the conveyance of real property. D.R. Horton, Inc. (Horton) brought this action against Wescott Land Company, LLC (Wescott) for breach of contract. Wescott counterclaimed against Horton asserting claims of breach of contract, unfair trade practices, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, and slander of title. Wescott's owner, Thomas R. Hawkins, was added as a counterclaimant, asserting the same claims against Horton. The trial court granted Horton summary judgment on all of Wescott's counterclaims, except its claim for breach of contract, and granted summary judgment on all of Hawkins' counterclaims. On appeal, Wescott and Hawkins assert error in the grant of summary judgment in favor of Horton on the claims for slander of title, unfair trade practices, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act, and tortious interference with prospective contractual relations.

4999 - Proctor v. Steedley

In this declaratory judgment action, Ola Mae Steedley appeals the special referee's order, which concluded that her predecessor in title, Claude Smith, granted an appurtenant easement across her property to the prior owner of an adjoining parcel. We affirm.

5000 - Walden v. Harrelson Nissan

On appeal, Mary K. Walden (Mary) argues the circuit court erred in compelling arbitration of a dispute involving an alleged breach of contract resulting from Harrelson Nissan, Inc.'s (Harrelson) failure to obtain credit life insurance in connection with the lease of an automobile from Harrelson. We affirm.

7-18-2012 - Opinions

4981 - State v. McEachern

In this criminal matter, McEachern appeals her convictions of trafficking in cocaine, trafficking in crack cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana, arguing the trial court committed reversible error in the trial court erred in admitting various testimony, failing to sustain her objection to certain argument by the State which exceeded limitations placed by the trial court, denying her mistrial motion based on improper comment by the State and denying her motion for a new trial based on cumulative error. We affirm.

5001 - State v. Hawes

Alonzo Craig Hawes pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter for the death of his wife. The State appeals the circuit court's decision to grant Hawes early parole eligibility under section 16-25-90 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2011). We affirm.

5002 - State v. Bland

Otis Lamar Bland argues he was entitled to dismissal of the State's charges against him because of a missing photo lineup.

5003 - Phillips v. Quick

This appeal involves the issue of whether the circuit court erred in affirming the probate court's ruling Respondent's claim was not barred when she failed to file her notice of claim within the eight-month period prescribed by sections 62-3-801 and 62-3-803 of the South Carolina Probate Code (2009).

5004 - State Mutual Insurance v. Ard

In this action to interplead the proceeds of a life insurance policy, the former wife of the decedent appeals an order awarding her only the face value of the policy with interest and awarding the balance of the death benefit to the decedent's father.

5005 - McCain v. Brightharp

In this ecclesiastical dispute wherein church trustees and deacons of Mount Canaan Baptist Church (Respondents) sought to enjoin G.L. Brightharp from continuing to act as pastor and reinstate Respondents to their former positions, Brightharp appeals the trial court's order finding him in contempt, arguing the trial court erred in: (1) assuming subject matter jurisdiction; (2) declaring any actions taken by the church null and void, and ordering him to reinstate Respondents to their former positions as trustees and deacons; and (3) holding him in contempt of court.

7-25-2012 - Opinions

5007 - Hamilton v. Charleston County Sheriff's Department

Janette Hamilton appeals the trial court's grant of the Charleston County Sheriff's Department's motion for directed verdict on Hamilton's negligent supervision claim. We affirm.

5008 - Stephens v. CSX Transportation

This is an appeal from a defense verdict in a personal injury action involving a collision between a train and an automobile at a railroad crossing. Willie Stephens argues the trial court erred in excluding evidence of measures taken by CSX Transportation after the collision, in denying his motions for partial directed verdict and JNOV, and in charging the jury. We affirm. Judge Short concurs in part and dissents in part.

5009 - State v. Mitchell

In this criminal action, Bennie Mitchell argues the trial court erred in: (1) allowing a police officer to identify Mitchell from photographs taken by the victim's deer camera because it was in violation of Rule 403, SCRE, and Rule 701, SCRE; (2) admitting a disk containing photographs from a deer camera because it was in violation of Rules 1001, 1002, and 1003, SCRE; and (3) failing to grant Mitchell's post-trial motion for a new trial on the first-degree burglary charge when all of the elements of the charge were not met. We affirm the trial court.

5010 - SCDOT v. Revels

In this appeal from a condemnation action, Janell P. Revels and R.J. Poston, Jr. (the Appellants) argue the circuit court erred in finding they were entitled to attorney's fees based on an hourly rate rather than a contingency fee agreement.

5011 - Dreher v. SCDHEC

In this appeal from the administrative law court, the court of appeals reversed the denial of Ann Dreher’s application to construct a bridge onto her private property on Folly Beach, South Carolina. In reversing its decision, the court of appeals concluded that although Dreher’s property was a coastal island as defined by Regulation 30-1(D)(11), her property was excluded from the regulation’s application based on Folly Island’s exclusion from the regulation’s application. In addition, because Dreher’s proposal to construct the bridge had a de minimus impact, it complied with Regulation 30-12(F); thus, Dreher’s bridge permit should have been granted.