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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - April 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.

4-5-2023 - Opinions

28130 - Stephany A. Connelly v. The Main Street America Group

The Court reverses the decision of the court of appeals, finding the phrase "legally entitled to recover" in the uninsured motorist (UM) statute is unambiguous and requires an injured plaintiff to first secure a judgment against the at-fault driver before filing for UM benefits. Due to the tort immunity afforded employers and co-employees by the Workers' Compensation Act, the plaintiff here will never be legally entitled to recover against the at-fault driver (her co-employee), and, therefore, she is not entitled to UM benefits.

28147 - Allen v. SCDC

The Supreme Court clarified that the Administrative Law Court has subject matter jurisdiction over properly filed inmate grievance appeals. However, relief may only be granted from an erroneous administrative decision by the Department of Corrections if the inmate demonstrates the error implicates a state-created liberty or property interest sufficient to trigger due process guarantees.

28148 - Braden's Folly, LLC v. City of Folly Beach

The Court reverses the decision of the trial court, finding the City of Folly Beach's merger ordinance did not unconstitutionally take property owned by Braden's Folly, LLC.

4-19-2023 - Opinions

28150 - State v. Russell Levon Johnson

Respondent Russell Levon Johnson was indicted in Marion County on charges of kidnapping and criminal domestic violence in the first degree. The events leading to the indictment began in Marion County and progressed over the course of approximately thirteen hours into Dillon and Marlboro Counties, then back to Marion County. The trial court admitted evidence of Johnson's alleged acts of domestic violence in Dillon and Marlboro Counties and denied Johnson's request for a limiting instruction. Johnson was acquitted of kidnapping but was convicted of criminal domestic violence in the first degree. The court of appeals reversed Johnson's conviction, holding the trial court erred in failing to issue a limiting instruction. State v. Johnson, 432 S.C. 652, 855 S.E.2d 305 (Ct. App. 2021). We reverse the court of appeals and reinstate Johnson's conviction.

4-21-2023 - Opinions

28149 - State v. German

Appellant appeals her conviction for felony DUI resulting in death, arguing the circuit court erred in denying her motion to suppress BAC evidence obtained from a warrantless blood draw taken after her arrest. The Court of Appeals requested certification to the Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 204(B), SCACR. The Court will consider whether section 56-5-2946 of the South Carolina Code is constitutional and whether a warrantless blood draw is permissible as a search incident to arrest.

4-26-2023 - Opinions

28152 - State v. Ontavious Derenta Plumer

Ontavious Derenta Plumer shot and wounded Oshamar Wells during an aborted drug deal. Plumer was convicted of attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He was sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for attempted murder and to a concurrent five-year term on the weapon charge. The court of appeals affirmed Plumer's convictions but vacated the five-year sentence. State v. Plumer, 433 S.C. 300, 857 S.E.2d 796 (Ct. App. 2021). We affirm the court of appeals as modified.

28153 - Town of Sullivan's Island v. Michael Murray

The Supreme Court affirms in result the court of appeals decision reversing Respondent’s conviction, after the court of appeals held there was no evidence Respondent violated any provision of Petitioner’s building ordinance.