Court of Appeals Published Opinions - July 2015
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.
7-1-2015 - Opinions
5323 - Hall v. Green Tree Servicing
Green Tree Servicing, LLC appeals the circuit court's order finding Cynthia Hall and Robert Ballentine's statutory claims against Green Tree for violations of claim and delivery proceedings and notification provisions were not subject to mandatory arbitration. We reverse.
7-15-2015 - Opinions
5325 - Ricigliano v. Ricigliano
Daniel Ricigliano, Jr., appeals a family court order (1) awarding him conditional rehabilitative alimony; (2) equally dividing the marital estate; (3) failing to hold Linda Ricigliano in contempt of court for violating the court's restraining order; and (4) failing to order Linda Ricigliano to contribute to his attorney's fees and costs. We affirm the family court's equitable division award and decision to not hold Linda in contempt, but reverse the denial of permanent periodic alimony to Daniel and remand to the family court for a determination of an appropriate alimony award and remand the issue of attorney's fees for reconsideration.
5326 - Wright v. PRG Real Estate Management
Two men abducted Denise Wright at gunpoint from the parking lot of the apartment she leased at Wellspring Apartment Complex. Wright filed this lawsuit, alleging Wellspring's owners and managers (the respondents) were negligent in providing security and were liable under the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act. See S.C. Code § 39-5-10 to -180 (1985 & Supp. 2014). The circuit court granted summary judgment on both claims, finding the respondents had no duty to provide security for Wright and there was no evidence the respondents engaged in unfair or deceptive acts. We affirm.
Brenda Bratschi appeals her convictions of murder and burying a body without notice, arguing the trial court erred in failing to grant her a directed verdict. She also contends the trial court erred in admitting a 911 call into evidence. We affirm.
Richard K. McElveen, Sr. appeals the trial court's denial of his motion for a new trial, arguing the trial court erred in ruling the jury's award of punitive damages against him was not so grossly excessive as to shock the conscience of the court. We affirm.
Stephen Douglas Berry appeals his conviction for second-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor. Berry argues the trial court erred in (1) allowing subsequent bad act testimony and (2) failing to suppress expert testimony regarding the victim's behavior and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
In this medical malpractice action, Rock Hill Gynological and Obstetrical Associates, PA, (the Practice) argues the trial court erred in denying its motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict as to Samantha Jamison's allegations of negligence in the death of her son, Jayden.
Thomas Stewart appeals his convictions for murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He argues the trial court erred in (1) finding the State's use of preemptory challenges did not violate Batson v. Kentucky; (2) overruling his objection and failing to correct the State's remarks to the jury that use of a deadly weapon implied malice because the jury was charged with the lesser included offenses of murder and self-defense; and (3) allowing the State to enter unfairly prejudicial character evidence. We reverse and remand.
7-22-2015 - Opinions
Kareem Harry appeals his murder conviction under the hand of one is the hand of all theory of accomplice liability. He argues the circuit court erred in denying his motion for directed verdict, as the State failed to present any direct or substantial circumstantial evidence he acted in concert with Saire Castro, his associate and friend, who admitted shooting the victim and pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter. We affirm.
Yancey Roof (Wife) appeals the family court's alimony award, contending it erred in reducing her previously modified award and in requiring her to pay back, via offset of her attorney's fees award, the overpayment of alimony she received during the pendency of this case on remand. We affirm as modified.
In this boundary dispute action, Betty L.S. Judy appeals the trial court's setting of the boundary line contending it was arbitrary and the only reasonable inference was the boundary should be set where prior plats and surveys showed it. We affirm.
7-29-2015 - Opinions
Norman J. Hayes appeals from the denial and dismissal of his application for post-conviction relief, arguing his sentence exceeded the maximum authorized by law because sentencing credit for time served was not properly applied by the South Carolina Department of Corrections. We reverse.
In this breach of contract action, Appellant Lifepoint Hospitals, Inc. (Lifepoint) seeks review of the circuit court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration. Lifepoint argues the circuit court incorrectly applied the law-of-the-case doctrine to the motion to compel. Lifepoint also argues the circuit court incorrectly applied the "commerce in fact" test to determine whether the physician services performed by Respondent Phillip Flexon, M.D. affected interstate commerce and, thus, triggered the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). We affirm.
In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, Ruben Ramirez contends the PCR court erred in dismissing his application for PCR and finding plea counsel was not ineffective for failing to obtain an independent competency evaluation before allowing Ramirez to plead guilty but mentally ill (GBMI) to assault and battery with intent to kill (ABWIK), kidnapping, first-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor, first-degree burglary, and committing a lewd act upon a child. We are constrained by our standard of review to affirm the PCR court's order of dismissal.