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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - July 2020

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.

7-1-2020 - Opinions

5733 - Jane Doe v. TCSC, LLC

TCSC, LLC, d/b/a Hendrick Toyota of North Charleston (Hendrick) appeals the circuit court's denial of its motion to stay Jane Doe's lawsuit against Hendrick and compel arbitration of her tort claims. We hold the parties' Arbitration Agreement did not clearly and unmistakably delegate the issue of whether the Agreement was valid and enforceable to the arbitrator. We further find a portion of the Agreement invalid as unconscionable. We conclude, though, that because the Agreement did delegate the interpretation and scope of the Agreement to the arbitrator, the motion to compel is remanded to the trial court with instructions to grant the motion so the arbitrator may determine whether the revised Agreement covers Doe's claims.

5734 - Hassell v. City of Columbia

The City of Columbia appeals a jury verdict awarding Darris Hassell $200,075 in his action against the City for false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and negligent supervision. The City argues the circuit court erred in (1) refusing to order a new trial based on a juror's failure to disclose a prior arrest during voir dire and (2) denying its motion for a new trial nisi remittitur. We affirm.

5735 - Swicegood v. Thompson

In this appeal from the family court's dismissal of Cathy Swicegood's complaint alleging the existence of a common-law marriage between her and her same-sex partner, Polly Thompson, Swicegood argues the family court erred by dismissing the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. We affirm.

5736 - Thompson v. Swicegood

Cathy Swicegood appeals the master-in-equity's order of partition, arguing the master erred by (1) refusing to consider the issue of the parties' alleged common-law marriage and stay the action pending a resolution of that issue in family court, (2) excluding evidence proving her contributions to jointly owned real property, (3) determining her contribution to such property, and (4) failing to apply the correct analysis when determining the parties' interests in the property. We affirm as modified.

5737 - Braxton, #119081 v. SCDC

Michael Todd Braxton appeals the order of the administrative law court (ALC) affirming the South Carolina Department of Corrections's (SCDC) final decision regarding his sentence. On appeal, Braxton argues the ALC erred in affirming SCDC's calculation of his sentence because SCDC did not award him credit for time served while he was (1) on parole, (2) incarcerated in Tennessee, and (3) awaiting extradition to South Carolina. We affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

5738 - The Kitchen Planners v. Friedman

The Kitchen Planners, LLC (Kitchen Planners) appeals the circuit court's order granting summary judgment in favor of Samuel and Jane Friedman as to Kitchen Planners's action for a mechanic's lien and foreclosure. We affirm.

7-8-2020 - Opinions

5739 - First Citizens v. Taylor

Smith Family, LLC, WHS Properties, LLC, and Wanda H. Smith (Appellants) appeal a master-in-equity's order based on First Citizens Bank and Trust Company, Inc.'s initiation of supplemental proceedings to collect on an order of judgment, arguing the master erred in (1) adjudicating a Statute of Elizabeth (SOE) claim as part of supplementary proceedings; (2) adjudicating facts without the opportunity for Appellants to present evidence; (3) not ruling on whether the subject property was exempt; (4) granting a motion to join Appellants; and (5) finding subject matter jurisdiction to add parties. We affirm.

5740 - Public Interest Foundation v. The City of Columbia

The South Carolina Public Interest Foundation and William DePass Jr. appeal the grant of summary judgment in the favor of the City of Columbia, Richland County, and Fairfield County arguing the circuit court erred in finding the inclusion of residential student dormitories in a multi-county industrial and business park and the granting of special source revenue credits to the dormitories does not violate the South Carolina Constitution or various statutory provisions. We affirm.

5741 - Lusk v. Verderosa

Martha "Linda" Lusk, Ph.D., argues the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on her tortious interference with contract cause of action by ruling a school administrator's contract could effectively never be tortiously interfered with pursuant to section 59-24-15 of the South Carolina Code (2020) and the supreme court's response to a certified question in Henry-Davenport v. School District of Fairfield County, 391 S.C. 85, 705 S.E.2d 26 (2011). We affirm as modified.

5742 - State v. Bell

Jermaine Bell appeals his conviction of murder, for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Bell argues the circuit court erred in allowing the decedent's husband and daughter to testify regarding statements purportedly made by the decedent indicating that she believed Bell was stealing from her. We reverse.

5743 - DD Dannar, LLC v. SC LAUNCH!, Inc.

In this declaratory judgment action, Appellant DD Dannar, LLC (Dannar), seeks review of the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to Respondent SC LAUNCH!, Inc. (SCL). Dannar argues the circuit court erred by concluding that the parties' financing agreement was not extinguished upon Dannar's full repayment of SCL's business loan to Dannar. Dannar also argues the circuit court erred by concluding that the relocation fee referenced in the financing agreement was not an unenforceable penalty. We affirm.