Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - March 2018

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.

3-7-2018 - Opinions

5541 - Hodge v. UniHealth

In this medical malpractice case, UniHealth Post-Acute Care of Bamberg, LLC f/k/a Bamberg County Nursing Center; United Health Services of South Carolina, Inc.; United Health Services, Inc.; and UHS-Pruitt Holdings, Inc. a/k/a UHS-Pruitt Corp. (collectively, Appellants) appeal the circuit court's determination an arbitration agreement did not apply. Appellants argue the circuit court erred in denying their motion to compel arbitration on several bases. They also maintain the circuit court erred in denying their motion to compel the deposition of Camille Hodge, Sr., one of the Respondents, whose testimony they assert is relevant to whether the arbitration agreement is binding. We affirm.

3-14-2018 - Opinions

5543 - State v. Hank E. Hawes

Hank Eric Hawes appeals his murder conviction, arguing the circuit court erred in (1) admitting unnecessary and prejudicial photographic evidence, (2) allowing the State to recall Hawes to ask a single question intended to elicit testimony that would permit the State to call impeachment witnesses, (3) admitting testimony regarding a prior argument between Hawes and Jennifer Wilson (Victim), and (4) refusing to disqualify the Fifth Circuit Solicitor's Office from prosecuting the case. We affirm.

3-19-2018 - Opinions

5542 - South Carolina Lawyers Weekly v. Wilson

In this action pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), South Carolina Lawyers Weekly (Appellant) asserts the circuit court erred in refusing to compel Scarlett Wilson, as Solicitor of the Ninth Judicial Circuit, to produce any disciplinary complaints against her. Appellant argues the circuit court erred by: (1) failing to find Wilson is a public officer and her office is a public body subject to FOIA; (2) relying on Rule 12 of the Rules of Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement to determine the requested documents are not required to be disclosed; (3) finding the documents were exempt from FOIA pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. ยง 30-4-40(a); and (4) failing to find Wilson waived her right to confidentiality. We affirm.

3-21-2018 - Opinions

5544 - SCDMV v. Dover

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles appeals the administrative law court's determination that Michelle Dover's reckless driving conviction in Virginia did not constitute a major violation requiring her driver's license to be suspended under the habitual offender statute. We affirm as modified.

3-28-2018 - Opinions

5500 - Huck v. Avtex Commercial

In this appeal arising from a premises liability lawsuit, Avtex Commercial Properties, Inc. (Avtex) argues the trial court erred in denying its motion to disclose settlement and motion for set-off. We reverse and remand.

5533 - State v. Justin Jermaine Johnson

Justin Jermaine Johnson appeals his convictions for two counts of murder, kidnapping, burglary in the first degree, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime. He maintains the circuit court erred (1) in admitting predeath photographs of the victims, (2) in permitting a witness to testify via Skype, (3) in admitting his confession to police when it was not voluntarily given, (4) in denying his motion for mistrial when he was brought shackled and guarded into a holding room adjacent to the jury pool's location, (5) in denying his motion for mistrial when two witnesses involved in the case discussed the merits of the case in the hallway outside the courtroom and within earshot of prospective jurors, and (6) in sentencing him to five years for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime when statute prohibits such punishment. We affirm.

5545 - A&P Enterprises v. SP Grocery

In this action seeking ejectment and monetary damages, A&P Enterprises, LLC (A&P) argues the special referee erred in finding SP Grocery of Lynchburg, LLC and Suresh "Sam" Patel (collectively, Respondents) hold an equitable interest in the real property on which Sam operates a liquor store and convenience store (Tommy's Grill). We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for any eviction proceedings that may be necessary.

5546 - Boehm v. Town of Sullivan's Island

The Town of Sullivan's Island (the Town) and the Town of Sullivan's Island Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) (collectively, Appellants) appeal the circuit court's order reversing the BZA's decision to affirm the zoning administrator's denial and limitation of permits requested by Paul Boehm to make certain alterations to his building and nearby structures. Appellants contend the circuit court erred in determining (1) Boehm's building was a second principal building, rather than an accessory structure and (2) Boehm could expand the building. We affirm.

5547 - Hock RH, LLC v. SCDOR

York Preparatory Academy (YPA) and Hock RH, LLC appeal an order of the administrative law court affirming the South Carolina Department of Revenue's (DOR's) denial of Appellants' tax protest and request for a refund of 2013 property taxes paid on property leased by YPA, a public charter school. Appellants argue they are entitled to the refund because, in 2014, the General Assembly amended section 59-40-140(K) of the South Carolina Code to clarify that real property leased by public charter schools is exempt from ad valorem taxation. We reverse.

5548 - Dent v. East Richland County

James Dent appeals the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission Appellate Panel's (Appellate Panel) order, arguing the Appellate Panel erred in (1) failing to find he is totally and permanently disabled, and (2) finding his disability is primarily the result of his lung cancer and not his work-related back injury. We reverse.