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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - January 2005

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.

1-4-2005 - Opinions

25917 - Sellers v. State

This is a post conviction relief case that involves whether counsel was ineffective for (1) failing to move for a directed verdict on the charge of accessory before the fact of murder, (2) failing to request a jury charge for a lesser-included offense on the trafficking in crystal methamphetamines and accessory before the fact of murder charges, and (3) failing to move for a ruling upon the competency of a witness.

25918 - Hagood v. Summerville

The Court of Appeals dismissed this appeal after concluding the circuit court's order was not immediately appealable. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that an order granting a motion to disqualify a party's attorney in a civil case affects a substantial right and may be immediately appealed. Furthermore, such an order must be immediately appealed or any later objection in a subsequent appeal will be waived.

1-10-2005 - Opinions

25919 - Progressive Casualty Insurance v. Leachman

The federal district court has certified two questions to this Court concerning whether an insurance company made a meaningful offer of underinsured motorist coverage to an insured.

25920 - State v. Binney

The Court affirmed Appellant's death sentence holding that Appellant's murder confession was admissible because it was not procurred in violation of Appellant's Fifth Amendment right to have counsel present during a custodial interogation.

25921 - Jordan v. Holt

The Court concluded the Court of Appeals applied the wrong standard of review in reversing the trial court’s punitive damages award on Petitioner’s breach of fiduciary duty claim.

25922 - Henry McMaster v. SC Retirement System

These consolidated cases involve the retroactive application of a lien against retirement funds after a state employee has been convicted of an embezzlement offense.

25923 - State v. Sullivan

The Court upheld Appellant's CDVHAN conviction. The Court held that the aggravating circumstance "purposeful infliction of shame and disgrace" is not unconstitutionally vague.

25924 - In the Matter of Efia Nwangaza

This is an attorney disciplinary matter in which the Court imposed a public reprimand.

1-10-2005 - Orders

ORDER - Amendments to Rule 412, SCACR, Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA)
This order amends Rule 412, SCACR, to convert the IOLTA program to a mandatory program, to insure that the rule complies with the Brown v. Legal Foundation of Washington, 538 U.S. 216, 123 S.Ct. 1406, 155 L.Ed.2d 376 (2003), including providing guidance to attorneys on how to determine
ORDER - Amendment to Rule 404, SCACR
Supreme Court amends Rule 404, SCACR, relating to admission pro hac vice, to apply to administrative hearings.
1-18-2005 - Opinions

25925 - Dixon v. Dixon

In this action to set aside a deed, the Court held that the respondent is the titleholder of the real property in question in fee simple absolute. The Court found that the petitioner's undue influence and failure of consideration causes of action were unmeritorious.

25926 - Clark v. SCDPS

In this case, the Court concluded that the Court of Appeals properly instructed the jury on the legal duty owed by law enforcement officers with respect to police pursuits. The court also concluded, among other things, there was evidence to support a verdict that the pursuing officer was grossly negligent and that a law enforcement officer is not protected by discretionary immunity during a police pursuit.

1-18-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Cabaniss
This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
1-24-2005 - Opinions

25927 - In the Matter of Gailliard

This is an attorney disciplinary opinion indefinitely suspending respondent from the pracitce of law. In addition, the opinion rules on a Petition for a Rule to Show Cause.

25928 - State v. Crisp

Appellant was sentenced to death by the circuit court, sitting without a jury, after pleading guilty to the murder of Clarence Watson. Appellant asserted the circuit court erred during the plea colloquy by informing Appellant that his best hope for a life sentence at a jury trial might ultimately depend on lying jurors

25929 - Shell v. Richland County School District One

The Court reinstated a teacher to his position, reversing the decision of the Court of Appeals.

25930 - Gordon v. Phillip Utilities

This is a negligence action. The Court held the circuit court did not err in granting the plaintiff partial summary judgment precluding the defendant from asserting a set-off based upon an award of workers' compensation benefits.

25931 - Nelson v. QHG of South Carolina

This case involves the issues of whether the Court of Appeals erred by (1) finding respondent/petitioner's medical malpractice claim is barred and by finding the negligent record-keeping claim is not barred by the doctrines of collateral estoppel and res judicata; and (2) failing to hold the collateral estoppel doctrine inapplicable because the first court order was a consent order, prior counsel was inadequate, the Doctors could have joined in the prior case, and due to policy considerations.

1-24-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Dennis C. Gilchrist
This is an order reinstating the petitioner to the practice of law.
1-28-2005 - Opinions

25933 - Sloan v. Wilkins

The issue in this original jurisdiction case is whether Act No. 187, 2004 Acts, violates Article III, section 17 of the S.C. Constitution.

1-31-2005 - Opinions

25932 - Cole v. SCEG

This tort case involves application of the Recreational Use Statute and assumption of the risk.

25934 - Angus v. City of Myrtle Beach

This tax case involves a challenge to a municipality's calculation of the rollback millage rate.

1-31-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of H. Brent Fortson
Reinstatement to the practice of law from a definite suspension.