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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - September 2004

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.

9-7-2004 - Opinions

25864 - State v. Mills

This opinion construes § 24-21-560(D) which determines the sentence for successive revocations of a prisoner's community supervision.

25865 - Blakely v. State

In this PCR action, the Court reverses the grant of relief where counsel did not object to evidence of previous threats.

25866 - Medical University of South Carolina v. Arnaud

This case involves the issue of whether the trial court erred by granting summary judgment to respondent on petitioner's breach of contract action.

25867 - Huggler v. State

Finding no evidence of probative value sufficient to support a finding that counsel was ineffective, the Court reversed the PCR court’s decision to grant a new trial. The Court found that counsel’s error--allowing inadmissible hearsay testimony into evidence--did not prejudice the outcome of Respondent’s case. Moreover, counsel’s decision to attack witness credibility in closing rather than on cross-examination did not, on its face, constitute error.

9-13-2004 - Opinions

25868 - State v. Hill

The Court affirmed the appellant’s murder convictions and three death sentences, vacated the conviction for attempted murder, and reversed the burglary conviction.

25869 - Elam v. S.C. Department of Transportation

The Court of Appeals dismissed Petitioner's appeal as untimely. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Petitioner's written post-trial motion filed pursuant to Rule 59(e), SCRCP, was timely and appropriate. Therefore, Petitioner's appeal was timely filed within the thirty-day deadline after Petitioner received written notice of entry of the order denying its Rule 59(e) motion. Petitioner's written Rule 59(e) motion, which followed a motion for a new trial Petitioner had made orally at the end of the trial, was not barred even though Petitioner raised the same arguments it had raised in the new trial motion. Clarifying the application of three previous opinions of the appellate courts, the Supreme Court concluded that "a party usually is free to file an initial Rule 59(e) motion, regardless of whether the previous JNOV/new trial motions were made orally or in writing, without unnecessary concern the repetition of an issue or argument made in a previous motion will result in a subsequent appeal being dismissed as untimely." The Supreme Court cautioned parties who file post-trial motions to note carefully the exceptions to this general rule as expressed in the previous cases. The Supreme Court also overruled a recent conflicting Court of Appeals' opinion addressing the same issue. Lastly, the Supreme Court addressed the merits of Petitioner's appeal and affirmed the jury's verdict in favor of Respondent.

25870 - Roberts v. State

Issue is whether counsel was ineffective for failing to present evidence regarding the distance between respondent’s and another imate's jail cells

25871 - In the Matter of George O’Kelley, Jr.

This is a judicial disciplinary opinion.

25872 - Durham v. Vinson

The Court reviewed several issues raised on appeal in a medical malpractice case, including the following issues: (1) whether the court erred in allowing testimony during the liability phase of trial regarding a hospital privileging file; (2) whether the court erred in its jury charge concerning the standard of care in a medical malpractice action; and (3) whether the court erred in allowing certain testimony to be admitted during the punitive damages phase of the trial. The Court affirmed in part and reversed in part.

25873 - McCormick County Council v. Butler

In this opinion, the Court held, in its original jurisdiction, that the McCormick County Clerk of Court, not the County Council, has the authority to assign offices in the county courthouse and possess the keys to those offices.

9-13-2004 - Orders

ORDER - Amendment to Rule 28 of Rule 413, SCACR
The Supreme Court has amended Rule 28 of the Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement contained in Rule 413, SCACR. These amendments make the rule consistent with amendments made to Rule 402, SCACR, in September 2003.
9-27-2004 - Opinions

25874 - State v. Missouri

The Court reversed the court of appeals’ decision and held that the Petitioner had a reasonable expectation of privacy in another’s apartment and therefore could challenge the search under the Fourth Amendment.

25875 - Dorrell v. South Carolina Department of Transportation

This Court reversed the circuit court’s decision and held that the completion and acceptance doctrine was not a valid basis for granting summary judgment. The Court further held that the paving company’s liability should be governed by the same principles that govern ordinary negligence actions. The case was remanded for a jury trial in accordance with the Court’s opinion.

25876 - Frazier v. Badger

In this case, the Court affirmed a judgment holding Petitioner liable to Respondent for the tort of outrage.

9-27-2004 - Orders

ORDER - Amendments to the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules
These amendments were made necessary by the Court's adoption of an amended Lawyer's Oath and a new Judge's oath.
ORDER - In the Matter of Francis A. Humphries, Jr.
This order reinstates Francis A. Humphries, Jr. to the practice of law.
ORDER - In the Matter of Laurie A. Baker