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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - January 2024

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.

1-3-2024 - Opinions

6041 - George Moses v. State

Petitioner George Moses appeals the December 16, 2019 denial of his application under the Access to Justice Post-Conviction DNA Testing Act, in which he sought post-conviction DNA testing of evidence used to convict him of voluntary manslaughter and armed robbery in February 2009. Moses argues that the circuit court erred by relying on the incorrect part of the statute and misapplying the statutory factors used to review his application. We affirm.

1-17-2024 - Opinions

6043 - Ex Parte: DeBordieu v. The Belle W. Baruch Foundation

This opinion reverses the denial of DeBordieu Colony's motion to intervene and remands the case for additional proceedings.

6044 - Susan Brooks Knott Floyd v. Elizabeth Pope Knott Dross

In this declaratory judgment action, Appellant Elizabeth Pope Knott Dross (Betsy) seeks review of the circuit court's order granting partial summary judgment to Respondent Susan Brooks Knott Floyd (Susan). Betsy argues the circuit court erred by concluding that Susan had an express easement over the roads on Betsy's property in order to access Susan's property. We reverse the circuit court's order.

6045 - The State v. Benjamin Jerome Blake

Benjamin Jerome Blake appeals his convictions for attempted murder, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN), and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, arguing the circuit court erred in allowing the State to question him about an unrelated prior bad act and in failing to conduct a proper Batson analysis. We affirm.

1-24-2024 - Opinions

6046 - Jennings-Dill, Inc. v. Eric Israel

Appellant Eric Israel appeals the circuit court's issuance of a preliminary injunction that enjoins Israel from using documents to which he had access during his prior employment with Respondent Jennings Dill, Inc. (JDI). The injunction explicitly prohibits Israel from using the information in the documents to bid on any project on behalf of his current employer, Place Services, Inc. (PSI), or to solicit JDI employees. JDI alleged the documents contained confidential information and trade secrets. Israel argues the circuit court erred in finding JDI demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits because (1) no evidence was presented to show that Israel possessed or misappropriated a trade secret or confidential information, and (2) the circuit court relied exclusively on hearsay and speculative statements to find Israel had solicited JDI employees. Israel also argues the circuit court erred by improperly "balancing the equities" between the parties to support granting the preliminary injunction. We affirm.

6047 - Amazon Services, LLC v. SCDOR

In this contested case, Amazon Services, LLC (Amazon Services) appeals the decision of the Administrative Law Court (ALC) affirming the South Carolina Department of Revenue's (the Department's) determination assessing it approximately $12.5 million in taxes, penalties, and interest for the period of January 1, 2016, to March 31, 2016. Amazon Services argues that (1) as an online marketplace operator, it owed no duty to collect and remit sales tax on products sold on its marketplace by third parties under the Sales and Use Tax Act (the Act) in effect during 2016; (2) the statute in effect in 2016 could reasonably be read not to impose the obligation to collect and remit sales tax for third party sales upon online marketplace facilitators such that the statute is ambiguous and must be construed against the Department; and (3) imposing a sales tax obligation on it for third party sales during the relevant period violates the United States and South Carolina constitutional guarantees of fair notice and equal protection. We affirm.

1-31-2024 - Opinions

6049 - John Upson v. State

The State of South Carolina (the State) appeals an order from the post conviction relief (PCR) court granting John Upson's PCR application for ineffective assistance of counsel. The State argues the PCR court erred in finding that trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective by (1) failing to challenge or otherwise determine the admissibility of eyewitness identification evidence, (2) failing to cross-examine a witness who testified that Upson had a "lazy eye," and (3) failing to challenge the State's testimony discrediting Upson's alibi with an expert witness of his own. We reverse.