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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - December 2019

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.

12-11-2019 - Opinions

5694 - State v. Henley

Rickey Santoine Henley appeals his first degree burglary conviction, arguing the circuit court erred by (1) finding his prior larceny acquittal did not bar his retrial for burglary; (2) excluding evidence of the prior larceny acquittal; (3) limiting the admission of a witness's prior trial testimony; and (4) admitting evidence of DNA testing conducted on a cigarette butt found at the crime scene. We affirm.

12-18-2019 - Opinions

5695 - Harbin v. Williams

In this declaratory judgment action, Jerald Lamar Harbin, Special Fiduciary of the Franklin N. Harbin and Edna F. Harbin Living Trust, appeals the circuit court's denial of his motion for a directed verdict on the issue of a co-settlor's authority to transfer property from a trust to Susan H. Williams. Jerald argues the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion for a directed verdict; (2) submitting the issue of a co-settlor's authority to the jury; and (3) denying his motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

5696 - Callawassie Island Members Club v. Dennis

This case comes before this court on remand after the supreme court's decision in Callawassie Island Members Club, Inc. v. Dennis, 425 S.C. 193, 821 S.E.2d 667 (2018), with instructions to address the Dennis's remaining issues on appeal. We affirm the circuit court's grant of summary judgment on the Dennis's claim that the Club improperly amended the governing documents. In addition, we find a genuine issue of fact exists as to whether the Club violated the Nonprofit Corporation Act by allowing some Club members to concede their memberships and not others. Accordingly, we reverse the grant of summary judgment as to this issue and remand to the circuit court for trial.

5697 - State Farm v. Goyeneche

This is a declaratory judgment action to determine whether State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (State Farm) has a duty to defend and provide liability and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage following the death of an unattended child (S.G.) in a vehicle insured by a State Farm automobile policy. Appellants Beverly Goyeneche (Grandmother) and Amanda Goyeneche (Mother) appeal the circuit court's order finding their claims arising from S.G.'s death are excluded from coverage and State Farm has no duty to defend or indemnify Grandmother, Mother, or David R. Gray, III (Father). Appellants argue the circuit court erred in (1) finding the State Farm policies issued to S.G.'s parents and grandmother provide no coverage for S.G.'s death; (2) rejecting persuasive authority from other jurisdictions; and (3) determining S.G. was a resident relative of only Mother's household. We affirm.

5698 - Singh v. Singh

Simran P. Singh appeals various family court orders approving agreements to arbitrate issues pertaining to child custody, child support, and visitation, arguing arbitration violates the children's constitutional rights and contradicts state law and court rules. We vacate and remand.

5699 - PCS Nitrogen v. Continental Casualty Company

In this insurance coverage dispute, PCS Nitrogen, Inc., argues the circuit erred in finding it was not entitled to coverage rights under Columbia Nitrogen Corporation's (Old CNC) insurance policies, issued by Respondents. Specifically, PCS Nitrogen asserts the circuit court erred in finding it was not entitled to coverage rights under either a post-loss assignment of the rights under Old CNC's policies or as the corporate successor of Old CNC via de facto merger. We affirm the circuit court's order granting Respondents' motions for summary judgment.

12-31-2019 - Opinions

5700 - Schwiers v. SCDHEC

In this contested permitting matter, Stewart Heath appeals the Administrative Law Court's (ALC's) order denying his application to amend a critical area permit to modify his private dock. Heath argues the ALC committed errors of law in finding the proposed modifications failed to comply with the requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Act, specifically section 48?39?150 of the South Carolina Code (2008 & Supp. 2019), and critical area regulations 30?12(A)(1)(e) and (p) of the South Carolina Code of Regulations (2011). Heath further asserts the ALC erred in failing to consider the relevant site specific characteristics and disregarded regulation 30-11(A)(2)'s requirement that DHEC ensure consistent permit evaluations. We reverse.

5701 - Bauckman v. McLeod

In this action to determine child support arrearages, Jennifer McLeod ("Mother") challenges the family court's final order, arguing the family court erred in 1) reducing the amount of child support arrearages owed by Robert Bauckman ("Father"); 2) failing to award judgment interest on the arrearage amount; 3) failing to modify Father's current support obligation; and 4) awarding attorney's fees and costs to Father. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

5702 - State v. Bonilla

Edward Primo Bonilla was convicted of murder for the killing of Ashley Pegram and sentenced to life imprisonment. Bonilla appeals his conviction, arguing the circuit court erred in 1) finding Bonilla gave his attorney informed consent to disclose the location of Ashley's body; 2) admitting evidence obtained from the search of Bonilla's mother's Hyundai Sonata; 3) admitting evidence obtained from the search of a van owned by Bonilla's employer; and 4) refusing to grant Bonilla an in camera hearing on the qualifications of Investigator Jeff Scott and the reliability of his testimony. We affirm.

5703 - Claimant v. Mt. Pleasant Waterworks

David Lemon (Claimant) appeals the order of the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the Appellate Panel), arguing it erred in offsetting his award of permanent and total disability benefits against prior benefits received for unrelated claims. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

5704 - Chappell v. State

Petitioner Frederick Robert Chappell appealed the denial of his post-conviction relief application. Chappell argues he was denied effective assistance of counsel when his trial counsel failed to object to improper bolstering testimony from the State's expert witness. We reverse.