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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - January 2023

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.

1-4-2023 - Opinions

28125 - State v. Jaron Gibbs

Jaron Lamont Gibbs was convicted of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. We granted Gibbs a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in State v. Gibbs, 431 S.C. 313, 847 S.E.2d 495 (Ct. App. 2020). We affirm the court of appeals as modified and hold the trial court did not err in (1) allowing a lay witness to testify about single and double action revolvers or (2) allowing the State to reference the witness's testimony in its closing argument.

28126 - Barry Clarke v. Fine Housing, Inc.

Barry Clarke brought this action for specific performance of a right of first refusal. The trial court ruled for Clarke and ordered Fine Housing, Inc. to convey certain real property to Clarke. The court of appeals reversed, holding the right of first refusal is unenforceable. Clarke v. Fine Housing, Inc., Op. No. 2020-UP-238 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Aug. 12, 2020). We affirm.

1-5-2023 - Opinions

28127 - Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, et al. v. State of South Carolina, et al.

Today we consider whether The Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act ("the Act") violates a woman's constitutional right to privacy, as guaranteed in article I, section 10 of the South Carolina Constitution. We hold that the decision to terminate a pregnancy rests upon the utmost personal and private considerations imaginable, and implicates a woman's right to privacy. While this right is not absolute, and must be balanced against the State's interest in protecting unborn life, this Act, which severely limits—and in many instances completely forecloses—abortion, is an unreasonable restriction upon a woman's right to privacy and is therefore unconstitutional.

1-11-2023 - Opinions

28128 - Maunwell Ervin v. State

The Court reverses the post-conviction relief court, finding that double jeopardy did not apply and reinstating Respondent's negotiated guilty plea.

28129 - ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union v. Jimmy Eugene Bailey

This Court granted a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in ArrowPointe Federal Credit Union v. Bailey, 423 S.C. 373, 852 S.E.2d 473 (Ct. App. 2020). We hold South Carolina law does not recognize the doctrine of replacement mortgage.

1-25-2023 - Opinions

28131 - Morris v. BB&T Corporation

The workers' compensation commission dismissed and later refused to reinstate an appeal to its appellate panel because the attorney filing the appeal missed a deadline for his brief. We find the commission abused its discretion. We explain that the exercise of discretion requires first that the trial court recognize it has the responsibility of discretion, and then follow a thought process that begins with the trial court's clear understanding of the applicable law, continues with the court's sound analysis of the situation before it in light of the law, and ends with the court's ruling that follows the law and is supported by the facts and circumstances. The record must reflect the trial court followed such a thought process. We reverse the commission's decision refusing to reinstate the appeal.

1-26-2023 - Opinions

28132 - Freddie Eugene Owens, et al. v. Bryan P. Stirling, et al.

We reverse the circuit court's discovery ruling, which is the subject of the cross-appeal, and we remand the discovery issue to the circuit court for further proceedings to be completed in accordance with the time limits set forth in this opinion. We will hold the remainder of the appeal in abeyance pending the circuit court's resolution of the discovery issue.