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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.
6-5-2019 - Opinions
Following a police chase that ended in a deadly single-car accident, Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company brought a declaratory judgment action against Sharmin Walls, Randi Harper, and the estate of Christopher Timms (collectively, Respondents) to determine the amount due under an automobile liability policy. The trial court found Nationwide must provide the policy's maximum coverage of $300,000, despite policy exclusions that reduced coverage to the statutory minimum limit of $50,000 per occurrence when an accident occurred while committing a felony or fleeing law enforcement. On appeal, Nationwide argues the trial court erred in finding the exclusions violated public policy and were therefore unenforceable.
6-12-2019 - Opinions
Shawn Allen Mitchell appeals the circuit court order subjecting him to lifetime electronic monitoring three years after he pled guilty to second offense failure to register as a sex offender. On appeal, Mitchell argues (1) the State should have filed a post trial motion for reconsideration after his guilty plea to second offense failure to register as a sex offender if it was dissatisfied with his sentence and wanted him to be electronically monitored, and (2) ordering electronic monitoring violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process because the circuit court did not perform an individualized assessment of his risk to reoffend. We reverse and remand.
Seven hours and twenty minutes into their deliberations following four days of trial, the jury in Billy L. Taylor's criminal trial informed the trial court they were at an impasse. The trial court sent the jury home for the night. The next morning, the trial court gave the jury a charge derived from Allen v. United States, 164 U.S. 492 (1896). Taylor objected to the charge and moved for a mistrial. Two and-a-half hours later the jury returned with a guilty verdict. Taylor now appeals, contending his motion for a mistrial should have been granted, and the Allen charge was unconstitutionally coercive. We agree the Allen charge was coercive and reverse.
6-19-2019 - Opinions
Prysmian Power Cables & Systems, USA and Sentry Insurance Company appeal an order issued by the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission Appellate Panel declining to address injuries asserted in a Form 50 filed by the claimant, James A. Ashford, because they were not properly before the Appellate Panel. We dismiss the appeal as interlocutory.
In this action seeking relief under the Freedom of Information Act, Appellant Adele J. Pope seeks review of the circuit court's order dismissing her complaint on the ground that the records she sought were potentially discoverable in a pending breach of fiduciary duty action. We reverse and remand.
The State appeals the dismissal of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge arguing the trial court misinterpreted sections 56-5-2953(A) and (B) of the South Carolina Code. We reverse the dismissal of the DUI charge against Tony Latrell Kinard and remand the case for trial.
6-26-2019 - Opinions
Convicted by a jury of murder and desecration of human remains, Fabian Lamichael R. Green appeals, challenging the trial court's admission of a series of direct messages from the victim's Facebook account into evidence and the denial of his motion for a mistrial due to a bailiff's comments to a juror. Because we conclude the Facebook messages were properly authenticated and the bailiff's misconduct did not affect the impartiality of the jury, we affirm.
Otis Nero lost consciousness and fell to the ground in the presence of his two immediate supervisors while working on a South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) road crew. Nero argues the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission erred in reversing the Single Commissioner's findings that (1) SCDOT received adequate notice of his workplace accident and (2) Nero demonstrated reasonable excuse for and SCDOT was not prejudiced by Nero's late formal notice. Upon our prior review of Nero's arguments, we considered the question of timely notice as a jurisdictional issue and applied a de novo standard of review in reversing the Appellate Panel decision. Nero v. S. C. Dep't of Transp., 420 S.C. 523, 804 S.E.2d 269 (Ct. App. 2017). Our supreme court granted SCDOT's petition for a writ of certiorari and reversed, reiterating that "timely notice under Section 42-15-20 is not a jurisdictional determination, and must be reviewed under the substantial evidence standard." Nero v. S. C. Dep't of Transp., 422 S.C. 424, 812 S.E.2d 735 (2018). We now reverse the Appellate Panel because the substantial evidence in the record does not support its findings that Nero failed to provide SCDOT with adequate notice of his workplace injury or that SCDOT was prejudiced by Nero's late formal notice.
Restoration Specialists, LLC and its owners, Ruben Mark Ward and Lynnette Pennington Ward, appeal a master-in-equity's order denying their motion for relief from an entry of default and motion to stay and compel arbitration. We dismiss the appeal as interlocutory.