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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - June 2016

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.

6-1-2016 - Opinions

5406 - Gary v. Askew

In this civil action, American Medical Response, Inc. (AMR) appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Charles Gary as to his negligence and loss of consortium claims. AMR argues the court erred in (1) holding AMR could not escape liability for the negligent actions of a subcontractor because it owed Gary an absolute, nondelegable duty to provide safe transportation pursuant to its contract with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) and public policy; and (2) prematurely granting summary judgment in favor of Gary when AMR was not afforded a full and fair opportunity to conduct discovery. We reverse and remand.

5407 - One Belle Hall v. Trammell Crow

In this civil matter, Tamko Building Products, Inc. (Tamko) appeals the circuit court's denial of its motion to dismiss One Belle Hall Property Owners Association, Inc. (the Association) and Brandy Ramey's (collectively "Respondents") claims and compel them to arbitration. Tamko argues the court erred in finding the arbitration clause located in its limited warranty was unconscionable and unenforceable. We reverse.

6-8-2016 - Opinions

5408 - Putnam v. State

In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, Martina R. Putnam contends the PCR court erred in dismissing her application for PCR and finding trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to adequately prepare her case and call witnesses to testify in her defense. We are constrained by our standard of review to affirm the PCR court's order of dismissal.

5409 - Byrd v. McDonald

In this action for partition and the determination of heirs, Wilkins Byrd, Kay Larsen, John Klettner, Laura Bynum, Ann Crump, Robert Larsen, Joan Gary, John Stanton, Charles Stanton, Byrd Thompson, and unknown persons claiming an interest in the subject real property (collectively, Appellants) appeal the circuit court's affirmance of the probate court's decision to order the public sale of real property owned jointly by Appellants and E. Butler McDonald. On appeal, Appellants argue the probate court (1) erred in treating the percentages of ownership as personal property rather than as realty, (2) lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the partition action, (3) erred in applying section 15-61-25(A) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2012) rather than section 62-3-911 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2012), (4) erred in finding Appellants failed to comply with the probate court's order, (5) erred in holding partition by allotment was not practical and in ordering a public sale, and (6) erred in awarding reasonable attorney's fees and costs to McDonald pursuant to section 15-61-110 of the South Carolina Code (2005). We affirm in part and vacate in part.

5410 - Protection and Advocacy v. Buscemi

In this declaratory judgment action, we affirm the trial court's order finding Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. does not have authority to review the medical records of Community Training Home residents during its statutorily authorized inspections of living conditions under section 43-33-350 of the South Carolina Code.

5411 - Doe v. City of Duncan

John Doe appeals the circuit court's decision to dismiss his action pursuant to Rules 3, 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(2), SCRCP. Doe argues the circuit court failed to apply the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (the Act).

6-15-2016 - Opinions

5412 - State v. Medley

Matthew S. Medley appeals his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), second offense, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting incriminating statements he made while in custody regarding his alcohol consumption. We affirm.

5413 - West Anderson Water v. City of Anderson

In this declaratory judgment action, Appellant West Anderson Water District (the District) seeks review of the circuit court's order interpreting a contract between the District and Respondent City of Anderson, South Carolina (the City) allowing the City to provide water service to a certain site within the District's boundaries. The District argues the individuals serving on the District's governing board at the time the contract was executed did not have authority to bind successor boards. The District also argues the circuit court's interpretation of the disputed contractual provision substantially compromised the District's central, primary function, i.e., the provision of water and sewer service. We affirm.

5414 - In the Matter of the Estate of Marion M. Kay

In this matter arising from the probate court, the Court of Appeals affirms the circuit court's decision to reduce the personal representative's compensation for settling an estate. The Court of Appeals also reverses the circuit court's decision to affirm the probate court's award of attorney's fees to Respondents' counsel, finding the common fund doctrine inapplicable under the specific facts of the case.

5415 - McMahan v. S.C. Department of Education

In this cross-appeal arising from a workers' compensation action, the Court of Appeals reverses the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission and concludes the estate of Timothy McMahan is entitled to the unpaid balance of his compensation pursuant to section 42-9-280 of the South Carolina Code (2015).

5416 - Patterson v. Witter

In this civil matter, Allen Patterson and several others (collectively "Appellants") appeal the circuit court's grant of the South Carolina Home Builders Self Insurers Fund (the Fund) and its trustees' (collectively "Respondents") Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP, motion to dismiss. Appellants argue the court erred in (1) finding the Fund was not a trust; (2) ruling the action involved derivative claims subject to the pleading requirements of Rule 23(b)(1), SCRCP; and (3) holding Appellants' complaint did not comply with such requirements. We affirm.

6-22-2016 - Opinions

5417 - Huffman v. Sunshine Recycling

In this action for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, Appellant Meredith Huffman seeks review of the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to Respondents, Sunshine Recycling, LLC and Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc. Huffman argues there were genuine issues of material fact concerning whether Respondents caused, instigated, or procured her arrest and the extent of Respondents' participation in law enforcement's charging Huffman with receiving stolen goods. We reverse and remand for a trial on the merits of Huffman's false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims.