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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - August 2022

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.

8-3-2022 - Opinions

28102 - Callawasie v. Gregory Martin

The Callawassie Island Members Club, Inc. ("the Club"), brought separate actions against three couples—the Martins, the Freys, and the Quinns—following a dispute over membership dues. The circuit court granted the Club's motion for summary judgment. The court of appeals consolidated the parties' appeals and affirmed. Callawassie Island Members Club, Inc. v. Martin, Op. No. 2019-UP-393, 2019 WL 6897780 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Dec. 18, 2019). We granted a petition for a writ of certiorari filed by Michael J. Frey ("Frey") challenging the award of summary judgment.1 Frey contends material questions of fact exist as to whether the Club improperly billed him for continuing membership dues, particularly where his membership was suspended over a decade ago and membership was undisputedly optional when he joined. We reverse and remand.

28103 - Randall Seels v. Joe Smalls

This Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the court of appeals in Seels v. Smalls, Op. No. 2020-UP-275, 2020 WL 5814601 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Sept. 30, 2020), which held the family court properly retained jurisdiction to rule on an action seeking the equitable apportionment of marital property after one of the parties, Olivia Seels Smalls ("Wife"), died during the pendency of the action. We affirm.

8-10-2022 - Opinions

28104 - State v. David Carter

We granted a petition for a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in State v. Carter, 433 S.C. 352, 857 S.E.2d 910 (Ct. App. 2021). We now dismiss the writ as improvidently granted.

28105 - Sullivan Mgmt v. Fireman's Fund

Sullivan Management, LLC operates restaurants in South Carolina and filed suit to recover for business interruption losses during COVID-19 under a commercial property insurance policy issued by Fireman's Fund and Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company (Fireman's). This Court accepted five questions from the federal district court stemming from the litigation but we elect to answer only the following question: Does the presence of COVID-19 in or near Sullivan's properties, and/or related governmental orders, which allegedly hinder or destroy the fitness, habitability or functionality of property, constitute "direct physical loss or damage" or does "direct physical loss or damage" require some permanent dispossession of the property or physical alteration to the property? The answer to this question is no because the presence of COVID-19 and corresponding government orders prohibiting indoor dining do not fall within the policy's trigger language of "direct physical loss or damage."

8-17-2022 - Opinions

28095 - The Protestant Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Church

The dispute before the Court in this case is which church entity became the legal or beneficial owner of certain real and personal property after The Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of South Carolina (Disassociated Diocese) and thirty-six individual Episcopal Parishes (Parishes) disassociated from The Episcopal Church in the United States of America (National Church). The dispute requires us to address two broad questions. First, who now owns the real estate long-owned and occupied by the individual Parishes. Second, who is now the beneficiary of a statutorily-created trust controlled by the Trustees of The Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina (Trustees). As to the first question, we hold the 2017 Court did not make a final decision as to the real property owned by twenty-nine Parishes, and thus, we review the circuit court's 2020 Parish by Parish determination. As to the second question, we hold the 2017 Court decided the real and personal property held in trust by the Trustees is now held for the benefit of the Associated Diocese.

8-24-2022 - Opinions

28106 - Opternative, Inc. v. SC Board of Medical Examiners

8-31-2022 - Opinions

28107 - In the Matter of Walter Rutledge Martin of the Greenwood County Magistrate's Court, Respondent.

In this judicial disciplinary matter, the Court issues a public reprimand.

28108 - Alicia M. Rudick, Petitioner, v. Brian R. Rudick, Respondent

The family court awarded Brian R. Rudick periodic alimony of $3,000 a month, ordered him to pay child support, and made other rulings incident to his divorce. The court of appeals affirmed the decision to award alimony, but found a mathematical miscalculation in the family court's order and reduced the amount to $2,700 a month. We affirm the court of appeals.

28109 - Amy Kovach, Plaintiff, v. Joshua S. Whitley and Karen Whitley, in her Individual Capacity, Respondents

The Court reverses the decision of the court of appeals, finding Rule 11 sanctions ordinarily should not be imposed against a client who is represented by an attorney.