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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - May 2018

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.


5-9-2018 - Opinions

27795 - Protection and Advocacy v. Buscemi

We granted Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.'s petition for a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals in Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. v. Buscemi, 417 S.C. 267, 789 S.E.2d 756 (Ct. App. 2016). We now dismiss the writ as improvidently granted.

27796 - Brown v. State

The Court holds that to bring a post-conviction relief (PCR) action under subsection 17-27-20(A)(1), the plain language of the Post-Conviction Procedure Act requires only what the subsection clearly states: the person must be convicted or sentenced for a crime, and claim the conviction or sentence is invalid due to a violation of the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution or laws of this State.

27797 - SCDSS v. Smith

The Court reverses the court of appeals' decision and reinstates the family court's order granting Child's adoption to Foster Parents. We hold: (1) clear and convincing evidence establishes that Father abandoned and willfully failed to visit Child; (2) TPR is in Child's best interest; and (3) based on the facts of this case, Foster Parents have standing to bring their private adoption action. We also hold the family court properly granted Child's adoption to Foster Parents.

27798 - State v. Miller

Jonathan Xavier Miller appeals his conviction for possession of crack cocaine. He argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress drug evidence seized during an inventory search of his vehicle after he was arrested for driving with a suspended license. We find the trial court correctly denied the motion, and affirm.

5-16-2018 - Opinions

27799 - Coastal Federal v. Brown

The Court dismisses certiorari as improvidently granted.

5-23-2018 - Opinions

27800 - Overland v. Nance

We affirm the trial court's order granting summary judgment on the merits: the defendants owed no duty to the plaintiff. We clarify, however, that the ten-day deadline for serving a Rule 59(e) motion is an absolute deadline which a trial court may not extend, and beyond which the trial court has no power to alter or amend its order unless a timely Rule 59(e) motion has been served.

27801 - Frierson v. State

Petitioner Darryl Frierson pled guilty to several charges stemming from his role in masterminding a $9.8 million heist from an armored truck. He sought PCR, arguing he would not have pled guilty but instead would have proceeded to trial had his plea counsel provided competent advice. The PCR court denied relief, and the court of appeals affirmed. We affirm as modified.

27802 - State v. Greene

In this appeal, Appellant raised four issues: (1) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion for a directed verdict on all charges due to the State's failure to prove causation; (2) whether the trial court erred in denying her motion for a directed verdict on the homicide by child abuse charge due to the State's failure to prove she acted with extreme indifference; (3) whether the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that it could only return a guilty verdict on one charge; and (4) whether the trial court erred in failing to require the State to open fully on the law and the facts of the case. We affirm the trial court on all issues with the exception of vacating the involuntary manslaughter conviction and sentence.

27803 - DomainsNewMedia.com v. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

We reverse the trial court and hold, as a matter of discerning legislative intent, that the General Assembly did not intend the Chamber to be considered a public body for purposes of FOIA as a result of its receipt and expenditure of accommodation tax funds.

27804 - Kay v. Sullivan

The Court affirms the court of appeals' decision concerning the personal representative's commissions and its determination that Respondents/Petitioners are responsible for their own attorney's fees. The Court reverses the court of appeals' conclusion that the personal representative is not entitled to recover necessary expenses incurred at the settlement hearing and remands to the probate court for that determination.

27805 - Buckson v. State

The post-conviction relief (PCR) court granted Jerome Curtis Buckson relief and ordered a new trial. The State appealed, arguing no probative evidence supports the findings of the PCR court. The court of appeals reversed the PCR court. We reverse the court of appeals.

5-30-2018 - Opinions

27725 - Jowers v. SCDHEC

Plaintiffs sued the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), challenging the constitutionality of the Surface Water Withdrawal Act. S.C. Code Ann. ยงยง 49-4-10 to -180 (2008 & Supp.2015). Plaintiffs challenged the Act on three grounds: (1) the Act was an improper taking of riparian property rights, (2) the Act violated the public trust doctrine, and (3) the Act deprived Plaintiffs of due process. The trial court granted DHEC's motion for summary judgment and plaintiffs appealed.

27806 - Sentry Select Insurance v. Maybank Law Firm

Sentry Select Insurance Company brought a legal malpractice lawsuit in federal district court against the lawyer it hired to defend its insured in an automobile accident case. The district court requested that we answer the following questions: (1) Whether an insurer may maintain a direct malpractice action against counsel hired to represent its insured where the insurance company has a duty to defend? (2) Whether a legal malpractice claim may be assigned to a third-party who is responsible for payment of legal fees and any judgment incurred as a result of the litigation in which the alleged malpractice arose? The answer to question one is "yes," under the limitations described in the opinion. We decline to answer question two.

27807 - Gantt v. Selph

In this direct appeal, the Court affirms the circuit court's ruling that Appellant Kim Murphy was not qualified to be a candidate for election to a Richland County seat on the District 5 Richland-Lexington School Board of Trustees.

27808 - Horton v. Jasper County School District

After Randy Horton won this action seeking the production of documents under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the circuit court awarded him attorneys' fees at a rate of $100 per hour. On appeal, we address solely the question of whether the court abused its discretion in selecting that hourly rate. We reverse.

27809 - State v. Porch

The Court granted Joshua William Porch's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision to affirm his murder conviction. See State v. Porch, 417 S.C. 619, 790 S.E.2d 440 (Ct. App. 2016). The Court now dismisses the writ as improvidently granted.