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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - August 2021

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.

8-4-2021 - Opinions

5816 - State v. Perry

John Ernest Perry Jr. appeals his conviction of attempted murder. He maintains because he told the police his gun "went off" accidentally as he attempted to dispose of the gun during a police chase, the trial court erred in charging the jury "when the intent to do an act that violates the law exists, motive becomes immaterial," because attempted murder was a specific intent crime and this was essentially a general intent instruction. We reverse and remand.

5840 - Davis v. ISCO Industries, Inc.

ISCO Industries, Inc. appeals the circuit court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration in a suit its former employee, Daniel Lee Davis, brought against it following a data breach. ISCO contends the circuit court erred in determining an arbitration agreement did not apply due to the unforeseeable and outrageous tort exception and because Davis's negligence claim did not arise out of or relate to his employment relationship with ISCO. We affirm.

5841 - State v. Passio

Richard Passio Jr. appeals his conviction for the murder of his wife, Michelle Passio, and sentence of thirty years' imprisonment. On appeal, Passio argues the trial court erred by denying his motion for a directed verdict and by admitting a screenshot of his Facebook page. We affirm.

5842 - Cromey v. SCDOR

Appellant Mary Cromey (Taxpayer) challenges an order of the Administrative Law Court upholding a determination by Respondent South Carolina Department of Revenue that Taxpayer does not qualify as a surviving spouse of a disabled veteran for purposes of the property tax exemption set forth in section 12-37-220(B)(1) of the South Carolina Code (2014). We affirm.

5843 - Allen v. SCDC

Quincy Allen appeals the Administrative Law Court's (ALC) dismissal of his inmate grievance appeal. On appeal, he argues the ALC erred by holding it lacked jurisdiction to hear his case because the South Carolina Department of Corrections' (SCDC's) denial of his visitation with persons he did not know prior to his incarceration implicated a state-created liberty interest. We affirm.

8-11-2021 - Opinions

5844 - Deutsche Bank National Trust Company V. The Estate of Patricia Ann Owens Houck

In this cross-appeal from a foreclosure action, the Estate of Patricia Ann Owens Houck and Tammy M. Bailey (Mortgagors) appeal the master-in-equity's order granting summary judgment in their favor, arguing the master erred in failing to order Deutsche Bank National Trust Company to pay a penalty for failing to record satisfaction of their mortgage. Deutsche Bank cross-appealed, arguing the master erred in granting Mortgagors' motion for partial summary judgment. We reverse and remand.

5845 - O'Shields v. Columbia Automotive, LLC

Daniel O'Shields and Roger W. Whitley, together d/b/a O&W Cars (O&W), appeal several of the circuit court's rulings in this case arising out of the sale of a vehicle by Columbia Automotive, LLC d/b/a Midlands Honda (Midlands) to O&W at the Automobile Dealer Exchange Services of America (ADESA) auction in North Carolina. O&W appeals the circuit court's ruling requiring O&W to elect between its punitive damages award and any attorney's fees award under its NCUTPA claim. O&W further appeals the circuit court's reduction in the punitive damages amount, the amount of attorney's fees awarded, and the circuit court's denial of judgment interest. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

5846 - State v. Payne

Demontay Markeith Payne appeals his conviction for murder. We reverse Payne's conviction and remand for a new trial because, viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to Payne, he was entitled to a charge on the lesser-included offense of voluntary manslaughter.

8-18-2021 - Opinions

5847 - Weller v. Weller

In this domestic matter, Bradley Weller (Husband) appeals the family court's order denying his request to terminate or modify alimony. Husband argues the court erred in (1) finding he did not show a substantial change in circumstances justifying termination or modification of alimony, (2) relying on inadmissible and irrelevant facts in making its determination, and (3) awarding Gail Weller (Wife) attorney's fees.

5848 - Jordan v. Postell

In this divorce action, John Jordan (Husband) argues the family court erred by (1) finding a house purchased by Melissa Postell (Wife) eight years before the marriage was not transmuted into marital property; (2) incorrectly calculating Husband's special equity interest in said property; (3) finding a different house sold to Husband by Wife's father three weeks before the marriage was marital property; (4) not distributing the parties' retirement accounts equally; (5) failing to award Husband alimony; (6) failing to find that the parties were jointly responsible for their respective 2016 state and federal income tax liabilities?and jointly entitled to any refunds; (7) failing to award Husband attorney's fees. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

5849 - South Carolina Property v. SC Second Injury Fund

In this workers' compensation case, the South Carolina Second Injury Fund (the Fund) appeals from the circuit court's order affirming the decision of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the Commission) to order the Fund to make reimbursements to the South Carolina Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association (the Guaranty Association) for workers' compensation benefits paid by the Guaranty Association for an insolvent insurer. The Fund argues the circuit court and the Commission erred in (1) ruling the Guaranty Association meets the statutory definition of insurer or carrier and is entitled to seek reimbursement from the Fund; (2) concluding the Guaranty Association paid assessments to the Fund and is eligible to seek reimbursement from the Fund; and (3) ruling the claim was not released based on the unambiguous language contained in the settlement agreement and release entered between the Guaranty Association and the Fund. We affirm.

5850 - State v. Dent

In this criminal matter, Charles Dent appeals his convictions for first degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor and disseminating obscene material to a minor. We reverse and remand for a new trial.

5851 - State v. Geter

In this criminal case, Robert Xavier Geter appeals his convictions for the murder of James Lewis (Decedent) and the attempted murder of Clarence Stone. The events in the case stem from a bar fight between Geter and Decedent. Geter maintains the circuit court erred in charging the jury on transferred intent in relation to the attempted murder charge and in allowing certain testimony from Investigator Joseph Clarke. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

8-25-2021 - Opinions

5832 - State v. Rowell

Adam Rowell appeals his conviction for felony DUI resulting in death, felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, and sentence of thirteen years' imprisonment. On appeal, Rowell argues the trial court abused its discretion in admitting blood samples (1) without the proper chain of custody, (2) after 50% of Rowell's blood volume was replaced, and (3) after 150% of Rowell's blood volume was replaced. Rowell also asserts the trial court erred in failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing with a juror who failed to disclose he had pending charges during voir dire. We affirm.