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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - September 2021

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.

9-1-2021 - Opinions

28031 - South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. SCDHEC

This appeal concerns the ALC's decision to uphold DHEC's issuance of four permits and a certification necessary to construct a 2,380-foot steel sheet pile wall designed to combat the erosive forces of the Kiawah River along Captain Sam's Spit. While the Coastal Conservation League (League) raises numerous issues on appeal, we hold the ALC erred in three respects: in accepting DHEC's narrow, formulaic interpretation of whether a permit that indisputably impacts a critical area warrants the more stringent review normally accorded to such structures; in relying on the protection of Beachwalker Park to justify the entire wall; and, in determining the public will benefit from the wall based on purely economic reasons. Accordingly, we reverse.

28055 - In re Application of Blue Granite

The Court affirms in part and reverses in part the decision of the Public Service Commission regarding the most recent ratemaking application of Blue Granite Water Company, formerly known as Carolina Water Service.

9-2-2021 - Opinions

28056 - Wilson v. City of Columbia

In this declaratory judgment action, the Court finds the City of Columbia's ordinances mandating facemasks in public schools that serve grades K-12 are in direct conflict with Proviso 1.108 of the 2021-2022 Appropriations Act. Specifically, the ordinances' enforcement provisions unequivocally place responsibility to enforce the mask mandate on school personnel, forcing school employees to choose between violating either state or local law. Due to the direct conflict between Proviso 1.108 and the City ordinances that is created by the ordinances' enforcement provisions, the Court finds the City's ordinances are necessarily preempted by Proviso 1.108.

9-8-2021 - Opinions

28057 - Singh v. Singh

The question presented in this case is whether South Carolina law permits issues relating to child custody and visitation to be submitted to binding arbitration with no oversight by the family court and no right of review by an appellate tribunal. We believe the answer is clearly and unequivocally no and affirm the court of appeals' excellent opinion.

9-22-2021 - Opinions

28058 - Stasi v. Sweigart

This is an appeal from an order of the family court terminating a mother's parental rights to her daughter. The court of appeals reversed, finding the mother had not "wilfully failed to visit the child," the statutory ground for termination alleged in this case. We granted certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision. We reverse and reinstate the family court's order terminating parental rights and granting adoption of the Child.

28059 - In the Matter of Kenneth Philip Shabel

In this attorney disciplinary matter, the Court imposes a public reprimand.

28060 - In the Matter of Christopher Lance Sheek

In this attorney disciplinary matter, the Court imposes a one-year definite suspension.

28061 - In the Matter of Shawn M. Campbell

In this attorney disciplinary matter, the Court imposes a four-month definite suspension.

28062 - Pinckney v. Peeler

Petitioners filed a complaint in this Court seeking a declaration that section 10-1-165 of the South Carolina Heritage Act of 2000 violates the South Carolina Constitution. We granted the petition to hear the case in our original jurisdiction. We find unconstitutional the procedural provision in subsection 10-1-165(B) purporting to restrict the General Assembly's legislative power by imposing a supermajority voting requirement to amend or repeal section 10-1-165. We find no constitutional violation in the substantive provisions in subsection 10-1-165(A) preventing the relocation, removal, renaming, or rededication of monuments, memorials, streets, bridges, parks, or other structures.

9-30-2021 - Opinions

28063 - Richland County School District 2 v. Lucas

The Court hed Provisos 1.108 and 1.103 of the 2021-2022 Appropriations Act are constitutional; Proviso 1.108 prohibits only the use of funds appropriated or authorized by the act to implement a mask mandate in its K-12 schools; and declined to give the School District advisory guidance as to its options and obligations regarding virtual education.