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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - April 2014

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.

4-2-2014 - Opinions

5214 - State v. Gore

In this criminal appeal, the court of appeals finds the circuit court properly denied Alton Gore's motion to challenge the sufficiency of the search warrant affidavit for his residence and properly denied Gore's request to charge the jury on the lesser-included offense of simple possession. Although the circuit court erred in admitting certain photographs of Gore at trial, the court of appeals concluded these photographs were merely cumulative to other properly admitted evidence, and as such, their improper admission did not warrant reversal of Gore's conviction for trafficking cocaine.

5215 - Simcox-Adams v. Adams

The Court of Appeals affirms the family court's grant of primary custody to the husband, finding the family court did not improperly rely on the investigation and report of the guardian ad litem. In addition, the Court affirms the family court's finding that wife's inheritance was transmuted into marital property.

4-9-2014 - Opinions

5216 - State v. Portillo

Cesar Portillo appeals his conviction and twenty-five year sentence for first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor (CSC), arguing the trial court erred in: (1) qualifying a witness as an expert in child sexual assault cases and child sexual assault forensic interviewing; (2) allowing the expert to exceed his scope of expertise and testify about the significance of language and hand gestures used by the victim (Victim); and (3) allowing the expert to testify Victim exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) where no diagnosis of PTSD was made.

4-16-2014 - Opinions

5191 - Carter v. Verizon Wireless

After the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission (Appellate Panel) denied Jacqueline Carter (Claimant) benefits for an alleged change of condition to her injured knee, the circuit court reversed. Verizon Wireless Southeast and American Home Assurance Company (collectively Employer) appeal, arguing the circuit court erred in reversing the Appellate Panel's determinations concerning a change in Claimant's condition, intervening causes, and future medical treatment. Employer further argues the form of the circuit court's order adversely affected its ability to comply with appellate court rules. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

5217 - Hudson v. Hudson

In this divorce action, H. Eugene Hudson (Husband) appeals the family court's equitable distribution award to Mary Lee Hudson (Wife). Husband argues the family court erred in the following rulings: (1) finding a prenuptial agreement was unconscionable; (2) awarding an equitable interest in the increase in value of allegedly nonmarital property; (3) exercising jurisdiction over allegedly nonmarital property; (4) failing to make specific findings of fact; and (5) requiring Husband to pay a portion of Wife's attorney's fees. We reverse.

5218 - Wells Fargo v. Marion Amphitheatre

David P. Gannon and Michael Guarco appeal the special referee's order awarding 4 Prophets, LLC a $12.5 million default judgment. We reverse and remand to the circuit court for a damages hearing.

5220 - Goodwyn v. Shadowstone Media

Martha Goodwyn brought suit against her former employer Robert Pachaly and his company Shadowstone Media, Inc., alleging violations of the Payment of Wages Act, S.C. Code Ann. ยงยง 41-10-10 to -110 (Supp. 2013). After the jury returned a verdict for Goodwyn, the trial court granted her motion for treble damages and attorney's fees under subsection 41-10-80(C) of the Act. We reverse this decision because there was a bona fide dispute as to Goodwyn's entitlement to unpaid wages.

4-23-2014 - Opinions

5221 - Digital Ally v. Light-N-Up

Light-N-Up, LLC, and Steven Shepherd (collectively, Light-N-Up) appeal from an order finding a judgment of Digital Ally, Inc. obtained in Missouri was a valid judgment that could be enforced in South Carolina. Light-N-Up argues the Missouri Long Arm Statute does not trump the parties' agreement that Kansas law would apply and exclusive jurisdiction was in the state or federal courts located in Johnson County, Kansas. We affirm.

5222 - State v. Battle

Appellant Julian Deandre Battle appeals his conviction for murder, arguing the trial court erred in (1) refusing to charge the jury on involuntary manslaughter, and (2) charging the jury that it could consider evidence of Appellant's flight in determining his guilt. We reverse and remand for a new trial

5223 - Roberts v. State

Ronald I. Roberts was convicted of trafficking in cocaine and possession with intent to distribute cocaine within one-half mile proximity of a school. Based upon a confusing jury verdict we reverse Roberts' trafficking conviction and remand for a new trial.

5224 - State v. Robinson

Alex Robinson appeals his conviction for trafficking cocaine, arguing the trial court erred in refusing to suppress evidence seized pursuant to a search warrant. We find the search warrant invalid because the affidavit supporting it gave the issuing judge no information as to the confidential informant's reliability. Without such information, the affidavit did not provide the issuing judge a substantial basis for a finding of probable cause, the good faith exception does not apply, and the evidence must be suppressed. We reverse.

4-30-2014 - Opinions

5227 - State v. McGee

In this criminal case, Frankie Lee McGee appeals his convictions of murder and burglary, arguing the trial court erred in admitting identification testimony based on a single photo lineup, as it was unduly suggestive and inherently unreliable. He also contends the trial court erred in admitting evidence of the theft of a vehicle as part of the res gestae of the murder. We affirm.