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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - August 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.

8-1-2018 - Opinions

5579 - State v. Wright

In this criminal action, Nathaniel Wright appeals his convictions for voluntary manslaughter, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and failure to stop for a blue light. Wright asserts the trial court erred in finding the public defender's office did not have an actual conflict of interest and denying Wright's request for a continuance. We affirm.

5580 - Christ Central Ministries v. City of Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals

We review a decision by the circuit court reversing on appeal a decision of the City of Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals (the City) denying Christ Central Ministries (CCM) a permit to replace a billboard on its property. We dismiss this case because it is moot.

5581 - Bluestein v. Town of Sullivan's Island

In this appeal from the Charleston County Master-in-Equity, Appellants assert the master erred in granting the Town of Sullivan's Island's (Town's) motion for summary judgment on numerous claims regarding the Town's decision not to cut a maritime forest on the island. We affirm.

5582 - Norwest Properties v. Strebler

In this appeal from a damages award to the Seller arising from the failed sale of a residential lot, we reverse and hold the damages were special damages Buyer objected to and were never pled or tried by consent. Accordingly, Seller's pleadings were never amended pursuant to Rule 15(b), SCRCP, and the trial court erred in awarding the special damages to Seller.

5583 - Paradis v. Charleston County School District

In this civil case, Leisel Paradis appeals the circuit court's order granting Charleston County School District, James Island Charter High School, Robert Bohnstengel, and Stephanie Spann's (collectively, Respondents) motions to dismiss her lawsuit asserting claims for defamation and civil conspiracy. We affirm.

5584 - State v. Hurell

Tashon Earl Hurell appeals his convictions of attempted murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping, arguing the trial court erred by 1) refusing to direct verdicts, 2) admitting irrelevant testimony regarding his brother, 3) admitting irrelevant evidence regarding shoes, 4) admitting evidence of his laughter when shown a photograph, and 5) refusing to declare a mistrial. We affirm.

8-8-2018 - Opinions

5585 - Superior Construction v. Muhler Company

This case involves the alleged negligent construction of a condominium project in Charleston, which resulted in numerous construction defects. Appellant Superior Construction Corporation (Superior) appeals the circuit court's partial grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondent The Muhler Company, Inc. (Muhler), arguing the circuit court erred by misconstruing its argument and finding the relevant contracts between the parties did not require Muhler to indemnify Superior for Superior's own concurrent negligence. We affirm.

5586 - State v. Washington

Appellant raised the following six issues in this criminal appeal concerning the admission/exclusion of evidence and jury charges: (1) whether the trial court erred in refusing to admit the testimony of a defense witness that Appellant's uncle told him he committed the shooting; (2) whether the trial court erred in refusing to admit toxicology evidence concerning Victim's blood alcohol level; (3) whether the trial court erred in excluding the testimony of a defense witness based upon a violation if the trial court's sequestration order; (4) whether the trial court erred in refusing to charge the jury on self-defense; (5) whether the trial court erred in charging the jury on accomplice liability; and (6) whether the trial court erred in giving an Allen charge at the close of the day's deliberation and then excusing the jury for the night. We affirm the trial court on all of the issues.

5587 - In the Matter of Tynslee Elizabeth Fields

In a case arising from the distribution of proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit involving her infant daughter, Lauren Murphy appeals the circuit court's order reversing a probate court order that denied Respondent father any share of the proceeds pursuant to S.C. Code section 15-51-40. Because we find evidence supporting the finding of the probate court that the father failed to reasonably support or otherwise provide for the needs of the child, we reverse the order of the circuit court and reinstate the ruling of the probate court.

8-15-2018 - Opinions

5589 - State v. Hardin

Archie More Hardin appeals his convictions arising from the armed robbery of an Orangeburg T-Mobile store, arguing the circuit court erred in (1) denying his motion for a continuance; (2) concluding the out-of-court identifications made by the victims were sufficiently reliable despite law enforcement's unduly suggestive procedure; and (3) admitting evidence collected in a second search of Hardin's apartment. We affirm.

5591 - State v. Smith

Appellant Michael Juan Smith seeks reversal of his conviction for attempted murder. Appellant argues (1) he was entitled to a directed verdict because the State failed to prove he had the specific intent to kill the victim; (2) he was entitled to a mistrial based on improper statements made by the solicitor during her closing argument because the statements violated his due process right to a verdict based only on the evidence of his guilt; and (3) the circuit court erred by instructing the jurors they could infer malice based on the "felony murder rule" because the underlying felonies were not inherently dangerous and involved merely possession of a firearm. We affirm.

8-22-2018 - Opinions

5568 - Amisub of South Carolina v. SCDHEC

Appellant Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority, d/b/a Carolinas Medical Center-Fort Mill (Carolinas), challenges a decision of the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) ordering Respondent South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to issue a Certificate of Need (CON) to Respondent Amisub of South Carolina, Inc., d/b/a Piedmont Medical Center, d/b/a Fort Mill Medical Center (Piedmont). Carolinas argues the purpose and effect of the ALC's application of the CON Act, the Project Review Criteria, and the 2004-2005 State Health Plan is to protect Piedmont from out-of-state competition, and, therefore, such an application violates the Dormant Commerce Clause. We affirm.

5592 - State v. Young

Aaron Young, Jr. appeals his conviction for murder and attempted murder. Young, Jr. argues the trial court erred in denying: (1) his motion for a directed verdict on the murder charge because the State's mutual combat theory was not supported by South Carolina law or the evidence at trial; (2) his request for a jury charge on the end of mutual combat; and (3) his motion for a directed verdict on the attempted murder charge. We affirm.

8-29-2018 - Opinions

5593 - Stoney v. Stoney

In this marital litigation, Lori Dandridge Stoney (Wife) separately appealed two family court orders. Upon our initial consideration of Wife's consolidated appeals, we reversed several findings of the family court and remanded for a new trial. Stoney v. Stoney, 417 S.C. 345, 790 S.E.2d 31 (Ct. App. 2016). Richard S.W. Stoney Sr. (Husband) and Theodore D. Stoney Jr. (Brother) each petitioned for a writ of certiorari. Our supreme court granted the writs, dispensed with further briefing, reversed, and remanded the case to this court "to decide the appeal applying the appropriate standard of de novo review articulated in Lewis v. Lewis, 392 S.C. 381, 709 S.E.2d 650 (2011)." Stoney v. Stoney, 422 S.C. 593, 813 S.E.2d 486 (2018). We reverse and remand to the family court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.