Supreme Court Seal
Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - October 2020

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.

10-7-2020 - Opinions

5731 - Jericho State v. Chicago Title Insurance

We are presented with the question of whether a reservation of a right of way on an official county map as authorized by section 6-7-1220 of the South Carolina Code (2004), and a county ordinance constitutes a defect in or encumbrance on the title to the affected land or renders its title unmarketable so as to come within the coverage of two title insurance policies. Based on the specific circumstances of this case, we hold it does. We further conclude none of the policies' coverage exclusions apply. We therefore reverse the order of the special referee granting Chicago Title Insurance Company (Chicago Title) summary judgment as to Jericho State Capital Corporation of Florida's (Jericho's) and Lynx Jericho Partners, LLC's (Lynx Jericho's) (collectively Appellants) claims for breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. We affirm, however, the order granting summary judgment to Chicago Title on Appellants' bad faith claim.

5773 - State v. Washington

Mack Seal Washington appeals his convictions for first-degree burglary, malicious injury to property, and obtaining goods by false pretenses, arguing the trial court erred in admitting an audio recording of certain hearsay statements a police detective made while interrogating him. We agree this was error and reverse and remand for a new trial.

5774 - Simuel v. State

In this action for post-conviction relief (PCR), Lucius Simuel argues the PCR court erred in finding trial counsel provided effective assistance of counsel despite counsel's erroneous belief that Simuel's prior Georgia conviction for false imprisonment should not qualify as a predicate offense for sentencing purposes in South Carolina. Thus, Petitioner alleges, trial counsel failed to advise him to accept the State's plea offer or inform him that, if convicted, he would be exposed to a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP) under section 17-25-45 of the South Carolina Code. We affirm.

10-14-2020 - Opinions

5775 - In the Matter of Bilton

This opinion reverses Micah Allen Bilton's adjudication as a sexually violent predator and remands the proceeding for a new trial because due process does not allow a testifying expert to offer hearsay as a basis for the expert's opinion without a baseline demonstration that the hearsay is reliable.

5776 - State v. Heyward

In this criminal appeal, James Heyward appeals his convictions for murder, burglary in the first degree, armed robbery, two counts of kidnapping, assault and battery in the first degree, pointing and presenting a firearm, and possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. On appeal, Heyward argues the trial court erred in admitting (1) an eyewitness's out of court and in court identifications of him, (2) a fingerprint card obtained from a New Jersey database and expert opinion testimony based on those fingerprints, (3) expert opinion testimony about the operational capabilities of the gun found at Heyward's residence, and (4) autopsy dissection photographs of the victim's internal head injuries. Heyward also argues the trial court erred in allowing his alias "Abdul Muslim" to be included in the indictments and in denying his request to remove his shackles during jury selection. Finally, Heyward argues he is entitled to a new trial due to the cumulative errors committed by the trial court. We affirm.

10-21-2020 - Opinions

5777 - Miller v. Dillon

This appeal arises from a declaratory judgment action that resulted in a mediated settlement agreement between family members to resolve a dispute about the amount of debt on a loan. C-Miller Properties, LLC contends the master erred in denying its motion to enforce the settlement agreement. We affirm.

5778 - Rogers v. Rogers

Laurie Rogers (Wife) filed for divorce from George Rogers (Husband). The family court granted the divorce on the grounds of one year's continuous separation, divided the marital estate 50/50, and awarded custody of the parties' four children to Wife. Wife appeals various aspects of the equitable apportionment and the imposition of discovery sanctions against her. She contends the family court lacked jurisdiction because she was incompetent and the family court failed to appoint her a guardian ad litem (GAL). We affirm in part as modified, reverse in part, and remand.

5779 - Sanders v. Savannah Highway Automotive

Cleo Sanders filed this action against Savannah Highway Automotive Company, a General Partnership d/b/a Rick Hendrick Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram (Rick Hendrick Dodge), Santander Consumer USA Holdings, Inc. (Santander), Isiah S. White, Patrick Bachrodt, Jr., and Danny Anderson. Rick Hendrick Dodge and White (Appellants) appeal, arguing the circuit court erred in (1) denying their motion to compel arbitration, (2) granting Sanders' motion to compel discovery despite a lack of jurisdiction, and (3) finding they waived their right to seek arbitration by participating in discovery. We affirm.

10-28-2020 - Opinions

5780 - Abdelgheny v. Moody

In this negligence case, Appellant was crossing a highway on foot at night and not within a crosswalk when she was struck by Respondent's truck. The circuit court granted summary judgment to Respondent, finding Appellant's own negligence contributed over fifty percent to the cause of the accident as a matter of law. Appellant contends this was error, arguing the issue of her comparative negligence was susceptible to more than one inference and was therefore a question for the jury. We agree and reverse the grant of summary judgment.

5781 - Shelley v. SC Highway Patrol

In this civil action, Renee Hale Shelley, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Michael Mann Lindler (the Estate), appeals the trial court's order granting the South Carolina Highway Patrol's (the Highway Patrol) motion for a directed verdict. On appeal, the Estate argues the trial court erred in (1) granting the Highway Patrol immunity from liability under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act (the Act) pursuant to subsection 15-78-60(4) of the South Carolina Code; (2) granting the Highway Patrol immunity from liability under subsection 15-78-60(6) of the Act; and (3) finding the custodial immunity in subsection 15-78-60(25) of the Act--which includes a gross negligence exception--did not apply under the facts of this case. The Highway Patrol cross appeals, arguing the trial court erred in denying the Highway Patrol discretionary immunity from the Estate's claims under subsection 15-78-60(5) of the Act. We affirm.