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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.
4-5-2023 - Opinions
Calvin D. Ford appeals his convictions for murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and possession of a weapon by a felon. During Ford's immunity hearing pursuant to the Protection of Persons and Property Act (the Act), Ford asserts the circuit court erred in failing to sit as fact finder at the immunity hearing. Ford also contends the circuit court erred in determining the Act does not provide immunity from prosecution for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and unlawful possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime. During Ford's trial, Ford asserts the trial court erred in allowing the State to introduce a witness's prior consistent statement. Ford also contends the trial court erred in sentencing Ford to five years' imprisonment for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime after sentencing him to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for murder (LWOP). We affirm the trial court's admission of a prior consistent statement, vacate Ford's sentence for possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and remand for the circuit court to make specific findings of fact that support whether Ford is, or is not, entitled to immunity for murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and unlawful possession of a weapon by a person convicted of a violent crime.
In this complex asbestos case, Appellant Fisher Controls International LLC (Fisher) seeks review of the circuit court's (1) denial of Fisher's motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, (2) denial of Fisher's new trial motion, (3) partial denial of Fisher's motion for setoff, and (4) imposition of discovery sanctions. Among a legion of arguments made in its brief, Fisher maintains that the circuit court should have granted a setoff in the full amount of the settlement proceeds obtained by Respondent Rita Joyce Glenn (Rita) prior to trial against the jury's compensatory damages award. We affirm in part and remand for reconsideration of the respective amounts to be set off against the jury's compensatory damages awards for Rita's claims for wrongful death, survival, and loss of consortium.
4-12-2023 - Opinions
Sohail Abdulla appeals an order from the circuit court dismissing his case against Southern Bank for lack of personal jurisdiction. On appeal, Abdulla argues (1) the circuit court's order contained numerous errors of fact that were unsupported by the record, (2) the circuit court erred by finding Southern Bank's delay in filing its motion to dismiss was reasonable under Maybank v. BB&T Corporation, and (3) two substantive errors of law controlled the circuit court's decision. We affirm.
In this medical malpractice action, Jackie Eadon Chalfant appeals the trial court's grant of a directed verdict in favor of respondents, arguing (1) expert witness testimony was unnecessary because the common knowledge exception applied to the respondents' failure to provide after-hours contact information and post-operative instructions, (2) the record contained conflicting testimony as to whether respondents breached the standard of care in providing post-operative instructions, and (3) expert witness testimony created a question of fact as to whether the decedent's tachycardia was a contraindication to performing the surgery on May 12, 2015, without proper cardiac follow-up. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.
Diannia Taylor (Mother) petitioned the family court for various relief, including for an order of protection under the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act (the Act) based on allegations her husband, Reginald B. Taylor (Husband), had abused her and A.R., her minor daughter from a previous relationship. The family court granted the order of protection as to Mother but ruled it could not include A.R. in the order of protection because A.R. did not meet the definition of "household member" under the Act. We reverse the family court's denial of an order of protection to A.R., and we interpret the term "minor household member" as used in the Act to include all minors who need protection and who live in the same household as a petitioner and an abusive household member, not just minors who meet the strict definition of "household member" set forth in the Act.
4-19-2023 - Opinions
Isaiah Gadson, Jr. appeals his 2018 convictions for murder, first degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC), kidnapping, and armed robbery arising from a 1980 incident, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting evidence of his 1983 rape of a different victim. We affirm the convictions.
In this family court action filed by Malinda J. Sullivan-Carter against Sammy Joe Russell Carter, Malinda appeals, arguing the family court erred in (1) finding a common-law marriage existed; (2) equitably dividing the parties' property; and (3) awarding Sammy attorney's fees. We reverse in part and vacate in part.
McCabe, Trotter & Beverly, P.C. (MTB) appeals the circuit court's order (the Sanctions Order) imposing sanctions on MTB for deposition misconduct. MTB argues (1) the Sanctions Order is immediately appealable, and (2) the circuit court erred by imposing sanctions when MTB's counsel did not violate Rule 30(j)(8), SCRCP, and had legitimate reasons for ending one of the depositions. MTB requests that this court reverse the Sanctions Order and order Tammy C. Richardson to return the money MTB paid as a sanction. We dismiss MTB's appeal because the Sanctions Order is not immediately appealable.
4-26-2023 - Opinions
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) appeals a decision by the Administrative Law Court (ALC) that held retail sales of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and side-by-side vehicles or utility task vehicles (UTVs) are entitled to the South Carolina partial sales tax exemption found in section 12-36-2110(A) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2022). SCDOR argues the ALC erred in (1) broadly construing the partial tax exemption statute by concluding ATVs and UTVs are motor vehicles for the purposes of section 12-36-2110(A); (2) failing to give deference to SCDOR's long-standing interpretation of the statute that it is authorized to administer; and (3) considering Chandler's Law to ascertain the intent of the South Carolina Legislature regarding the partial tax exemption statute. We affirm.
In this construction defect litigation, Lend Lease (US) Construction, Inc. (Lend Lease) appeals the circuit court's grant of partial summary judgment to Antunovich Associates (Antunovich). Lend Lease argues the circuit court erred in (1) failing to recognize its independent cause of action for professional negligence against architect Antunovich; (2) failing to recognize the special relationship between an architect and contractor for purposes of Lend Lease's breach of warranty claim; and (3) limiting Lend Lease to a claim of equitable indemnity. We affirm.
Jennifer Lauren Greene (Mother) appeals the family court's order awarding joint custody of the parties' young daughter (Child). She further challenges the family court's grant of primary decision making authority for Child's education and health care needs to Zachary Daniel Greene (Father), as well as the court's award of the annual dependent tax deduction, child support, and attorney's fees. We affirm as modified and remand the fee award to the family court for consideration in accordance with this opinion.