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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - August 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.

8-9-2023 - Opinions

28169 - Deutsche Bank v. Houck

This Court granted a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. v. Estate of Houck, 434 S.C. 500, 863 S.E.2d 829 (Ct. App. 2021), holding that Respondent's foreclosure claim was a permissive counterclaim and, therefore, was not barred by the doctrine of res judicata. We prospectively abolish the logical relationship test, affirm the court of appeals in result, and remand to the master-in-equity for further proceedings.

28170 - John Doe v. Mark Keel

Pursuant to Rule 244, SCACR, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina certified the following question to this Court: Does the South Carolina Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) permit the publication of nonresident offenders--i.e., individuals with qualifying sexual offenses who do not live in South Carolina--on the state's public sex offender registry? We hold SORA and SLED regulations require us to answer this question "yes."

28171 - State v. Carmie Josette Nelson

Carmie Nelson was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction, holding the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting autopsy photos of the victim. This Court reverses and holds that the limited probative value of the photos was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice under Rule 403, SCRE.

8-16-2023 - Opinions

28172 - State v. Charles Dent

We conclude the trial court's failure to charge circumstantial evidence pursuant to State v. Logan, 405 S.C. 83, 747 S.E.2d 444 (2013), was harmless error. We reverse and remand to the court of appeals for consideration of Charles Dent's remaining issues on appeal.

8-23-2023 - Opinions

28173 - The Kitchen Planners v. Samuel E. Friedman

The Kitchen Planners, LLC, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking this Court to review the court of appeals' decision in Kitchen Planners, LLC v. Friedman, 432 S.C. 267, 851 S.E.2d 724 (Ct. App. 2020). In that decision, the court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to the Friedmans and dissolving Kitchen Planners' mechanic's lien. We granted Kitchen Planners' petition in part and now affirm as modified. As we will explain, the court of appeals incorrectly applied the wrong standard of decision for a motion for summary judgment when the motion is based on insufficiency of the evidence. Reviewing the circuit court's order using the correct standard of decision, however, we nevertheless find the court of appeals reached the correct result in affirming the summary judgment.

28174 - Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, et al. v. State of South Carolina, et al.

The Court finds the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act of 2023 a constitutional exercise of the legislature's policy-making prerogative.

8-30-2023 - Opinions

28133 - Glenn Odom v. McBee Municipal Election Commission

The Town of McBee Municipal Election Commission overturned the results of the town's September 2020 mayoral and town council elections after finding violations of the South Carolina Code section regulating applications to vote by absentee ballot. The circuit court found there was no evidence to support the election commission's decision and reversed. We affirm the circuit court.

28175 - State v. Tyrone Wallace

Tyrone Anthony Wallace Jr. appealed his convictions for murder and kidnapping, challenging the trial court's ruling that an expert witness, Dylan Hightower, who placed Wallace's phone near the two crime scenes based on cell site location information was "qualified" under Rule 702 of the South Carolina Rules of Evidence. The court of appeals affirmed. We find the trial court acted within its discretion. We affirm.

28176 - Daufuskie v. SC Office of Regulatory Staff

The Court affirms the Public Service Commission's refusal to grant a utility a "reparations surcharge" and holds a utility may only collect higher rates during an appeal if it follows the procedures set forth in section 58-5-240(D) of the South Carolina Code (2015).