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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.
8-2-2017 - Opinions
Michael Ashburn appeals the family court's order denying relief from a previous order of paternity that found him to be the father of minor child E.A. (Child). Ashburn argues it is no longer equitable that the paternity order, wherein Ashburn acknowledged paternity of Child, have prospective application because genetic tests show Ashburn is not Child's biological father. He also argues the family court failed to (1) conduct an analysis on the potential adverse impact of the determination on the public interest and (2) consider the best interests of Child. We reverse.
In this criminal case, the State appeals the decision of the circuit court finding the statement of the victim inadmissible as a dying declaration exception to hearsay. The State argues the circuit court erred in (1) finding the statement inadmissible as hearsay, (2) making conclusions regarding the medical records, and (3) finding the victim was seeking revenge. We affirm.
In this case regarding defective construction, Daniel Island Riverside Developers, LLC and Carriage Hill Associates of Charleston, LLC (collectively, Appellants) contest on appeal the trial court's award of damages to Respondents, arguing the court should have offset the damages with the amount Respondents previously received through settlement. Further, Appellants contend the trial court should have allocated the damages among the various defendants and erred by entering an order prior to Respondents' election of remedies. Finally, Appellants assert the damages were excessive, speculative, and not supported by the evidence and constituted a double recovery. We affirm.
8-9-2017 - Opinions
In this appeal from the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the Appellate Panel), Tech Services, Incorporated argues the Appellate Panel erred in (1) finding Stacey Sellers was a Tech Services employee, rather than an independent contractor, at the time of his injury and (2) basing its determination on immaterial information.
8-16-2017 - Opinions
On November 18, 2008, the Anderson County Council (the 2008 Council) voted to approve a severance agreement (the Severance Agreement) for outgoing county administrator Joey Preston. Anderson County (the County) filed the instant action against Preston seeking rescission of that agreement. Following a nonjury trial, the circuit court entered judgment in favor of Preston on all causes of action as well as his counterclaim against the County. The County appeals the circuit court's decision, raising numerous issues on appeal. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Stanley Lamar Wrapp appeals his convictions for possession with intent to distribute (PWID) cocaine base and driving under suspension (DUS), arguing the circuit court failed to make the required findings that he had proper notice of his trial date and that his absence was voluntary before trying him in absentia. We reverse and remand for a new trial.
8-23-2017 - Opinions
In this appeal from the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the Appellate Panel), Otis Nero argues the Appellate Panel erred in failing to find (1) his employer, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), received adequate notice of his workplace accident and (2) he demonstrated reasonable excuse for and SCDOT was not prejudiced by any late formal notice. We reverse the Appellate Panel and reinstate the order of the single commissioner.
A master-in-equity entered judgment in the amount of $2,913,866.00 against Ameris Bank (Ameris) for breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, and aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty claims asserted by Linda Gibson, individually and as trustee of the Paul William Gibson Family Trust (the Trust), and Heritage Seven, LLC (collectively, Respondents). On appeal, Ameris argues the master erred (1) in concluding Ameris owed Respondents a fiduciary duty in a $2.8 million commercial loan transaction for a real estate venture that ultimately failed; (2) in concluding Ameris was liable for negligent misrepresentation because one of Ameris's future employees told Gibson that the transaction was a "good deal" and that the "rents would cover the debt" and because Ameris structured the loan "to include borrowing the down payment of $700,000" such that the apartments were purchased with "100% borrowed money"; (3) in concluding Ameris aided and abetted Gibson's real estate agent in breaching his fiduciary duty; and (4) in awarding actual damages and excessive punitive damages. We reverse.
Lance L. Miles appeals his conviction for trafficking in illegal drugs, in violation of section 44-53-370(e)(3) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2016). He argues the trial court erred by: (1) instructing the jury, in reply to a question they posed during deliberation, that the State did not have to prove Miles knew the drugs were Oxycodone; (2) denying his directed verdict motion; and (3) admitting three statements he contends were obtained in violation of Miranda. We affirm.
8-30-2017 - Opinions
Robert Lee Moore appeals his conviction for attempted murder, arguing the trial court erred when it (1) denied his motion to suppress evidence from a limited warrantless search identifying him as the owner of a cell phone found at the crime scene and (2) denied his motion to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a subsequent search warrant Moore contends was based on a conclusory affidavit. Although the panel majority affirms the circuit court's denial of Moore's motion to suppress the identification information obtained from the warrantless search of the cell phone, Chief Judge Lockemy, Judge Konduros, and I differ in our analyses of this Fourth Amendment challenge. The majority also affirms the circuit court's denial of Moore's motion to suppress the evidence obtained pursuant to the search warrant, as we find the supporting affidavit was sufficient to establish probable cause.
In this appeal from the administrative law court (ALC), DIRECTV, Inc. argues the ALC erred in (1) applying an improper burden of proof, (2) holding DIRECTV's income-producing activities (IPA) consisted solely of signal delivery into its customers' homes, (3) finding DIRECTV failed to establish the portion of its IPA that was conducted in South Carolina, and (4) finding the South Carolina Department of Revenue (the DOR) properly imposed substantial understatement penalties. We affirm.