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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - June 2008

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.

6-5-2008 - Opinions

4398 - Williams v. State

In this appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the post-conviction relief (PCR) judge's finding that registration on the sexual offender registry is a collateral consequence of sentencing. The petitioner pled guilty to kidnapping and other charges. The petitioner's trial counsel did not ask the trial judge to make a finding on the record that the kidnapping did not include a criminal sexual offense. Consequently, the petitioner was classified as a sexual offender, which will require him to register on the sexual offender registry upon his release from prison. The petitioner filed a PCR application, claiming his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to ask the trial judge to make a finding on the record as to the nature of the kidnapping. Finding registration is a collateral consequence of sentencing, the PCR judge dismissed the application.

4399 - Pelzer v. State

In this PCR case, appellant requests the case be remanded to the circuit court for a full hearing arguing the statute of limitations should be tolled because his application was filed in the wrong venue.

4400 - Bryson v. Bryson

In this appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the special referee's exclusion of one of the appellant's witnesses and denial of the appellant's motion for a nonsuit. The Court of Appeals also declined to address the appellant's argument concerning the order for repayment of monies from a sale of property due to the lack of authority cited in the appellant's brief. The personal representative of the decedent's estate brought an action against the appellant, who held the deceden's power of attorney, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and fraud. At trial, the special referee excluded one of the appellant's witnesses and also denied the appellant's motion for a nonsuit. The special referee subsequently found the appellant breached his fiduciary duty and ordered monetary damages to be paid to the estate. The special referee also set aside a deed of real property between the decedent and the appellant.

4401 - Doe v. Roe

John Doe (Father) appeals the family court’s order terminating his parental rights to his biological child (Child) and ordering payment of his attorney's fees and $1,635.50 in guardian ad litem fees. We reverse and remand.

4402 - State v. Tindall

In this criminal appeal arising from a traffic stop, the court addresses the admissibility of drugs and a statement, and whether the trial court erred in failing to give a jury charge on third-party guilt.

4403 - Wiesart v. Stewart

Wiesart appeals the trial court’s ruling that S.C. Code Ann. §23-3-430(14) (Supp. 2007) is not retroactive. We reverse.

6-6-2008 - Opinions

4404 - Nicholson v. Nicholson

Father argues the family court erred by: (1) finding an enforceable agreement requiring Father to pay Kyle’s college expenses including transportation; (2) denying Father a credit towards the $36,000; (3) finding Kyle had characteristics qualifying him to receive college funds; and (4) awarding attorney fees to Mother and Kyle.

4405 - Swicegood v. Lott

Sheriff Leon Lott, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Richland County, appeals the circuit court’s failure to grant his motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), as well as his post-trial motions for a new trial absolute and new trial nisi. We affirm.

4406 - State v. Lyles

In this murder case, the Appellant avers the exclusion of proffered testimony constituted an abuse of discretion that deprived Appellant of his due process right to present witnesses in his own defense. The State replies: When the defendants testified that they went to the apartment to “get some weed” on December 8, 2004 when the admitted shooting occurred, there was no abuse of discretion in excluding proposed defense evidence unknown to each defendant at the time of the shooting: (1) that a person attempted to solicit selling drugs to a neighbor of the apartment in October 2004 as unduly prejudicial under Rule 403; and (2) evidence that the victim, Tavaris Howze, who was seated on the couch watching a movie and shot in the left side of his head, had a single partially smoked hand rolled cigarette which was reported to contain marijuana, was not relevant. Alternately, any error in the admission of this evidence with de minimis probative value was harmless error in light of their testimony and the evidence of guilt where the exclusion did not require a new trial under Rule 103.

4407 - Quail Hill v. County of Richland

Quail Hill, LLC (Buyer) brought this action against Richland County as the result of its purchase of a 72.5 acre tract in reliance upon representations by County officers and staff regarding its zoning. The circuit court granted summary judgment to County on Buyer’s claims for equitable estoppel, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and inverse condemnation. We believe genuine issues of material fact exist as to some of Buyer’s claims and therefore affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

6-10-2008 - Opinions

4408 - Houston v. Deloach & Deloach

In this workers’ compensation case, the Appellant alleges the circuit court erred: (1) in affirming the Full Commission’s denial of benefits to the Claimant when the Claimant was injured in a motor vehicle accident while on the route assigned by the Employer and acting in furtherance of his employer’s business at the time of the accident; (2) in finding that the Claimant deviated from his employment by allowing a trainee to drive the dump truck; and (3) in holding the Commission’s finding that the Appellant allowed an unauthorized driver drive the truck was supported by substantial evidence.

4409 - Sweat v. State

In this criminal prosecution, the State appeals contending the circuit court erred: (1) in interpreting Section 56-5-4140(2)(a) to not limit the maximum gross vehicle weight of the enumerated vehicles of that subsection beyond the allowable cumulative axle weights not withstanding the plain language of the limiting phrase for maximum gross vehicle weight; and (2) in interpreting the words “this section” in the phrase “and the gross weight may not exceed the maximum weight allowed by this section” to refer to and confine itself to subsection 56-5-4140(2)(a) to the exclusion of 56-5-4140(1)(a) which sets forth maximum weights of commercial vehicles thus ignoring the legislative intent to restrict gross vehicle weight on South Carolina highways.

4410 - Estate of Beatrice Carr v. Circle S Enterprises

The Estate of Beatrice K. Carr (Estate) appeals the trial court’s order granting the motion for directed verdict by Circle S Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Newberry Auto Mart, (the Dealership). The Estate argues the trial court erred in granting a directed verdict in favor of the Dealership on the following grounds: (1) the motion for a directed verdict was improperly postured; (2) the Estate suffered damages as a result of the Dealership's conduct; and (3) there was sufficient evidence for submission of the various causes of action to the jury. We reverse.

4411 - Tobias v. Rice

Ruby Rice (Rice) appeals the circuit court’s order denying her motion to alter, amend, or vacate the judgment against her. Rice also appeals the entry of judgment in favor of William and Elena Tobias (William and Elena). We affirm.

6-12-2008 - Opinions

4412 - State v. Williams

Christopher Williams appeals his convictions, arguing the trial court committed reversible error in sustaining the State's Batson motion and thereafter allowing a challenged juror to sit on the new jury.

4413 - Snavely v. AMISUB of South Carolina, Inc.

In this action for breach of patient-physician confidentiality, Lisa Snavely appeals the trial court’s grant of Piedmont Medical Center’s motion for summary judgment and Dr. Zellner’s motion to dismiss. We affirm.

6-17-2008 - Opinions

4414 - Johnson v. Beauty Unlimited Landscape Co.

In this action seeking workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related eye injury, Macksey Johnson appeals the circuit court’s order affirming an award of benefits for an 8.5% loss of vision. We affirm.

6-20-2008 - Opinions

4415 - Powell v. Bank of America

This is a cross appeal arising from an order apportioning interpleaded funds in an equitable action.

4416 - Olson v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control

This is an appeal from an Administrative Law Court (ALC) order. Bruce and Barbara Olson challenge the ALC's finding that (1) a dock permit issued by the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) and subsequently transferred to the Olson's adjoining landowner, Jack Sims, was not a joint-use permit for Sims' lot 55 and the Olsons' lot 56 and (2) the denial by OCRM of an independent dock permit to the Olsons was proper. We affirm.

4417 - Power Products and Services Company, Inc. v. Kozma

This case involves the issue of personal jurisdiction. Appellant, Power Products and Services Co., Inc., filed a complaint against the respondents, four individuals and three entities, asserting six causees of action arising from respondents' alleged misappropriation of trade secrets. Appellant maintained jurisdiction was appropriate in South Carolina, allegeing the acts of the respondents occurrred within this State and the actions complained of are the result of employment based relationships the individual respondents had while associated with appellant. The trial court granted the respondents' motion for dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction. We affirm the trial court's finding that Power Products failed to meet its burden of proving personal jurisdiction under the strictures of due process.

4418 - Melton v. Olenik

Chong Son Kim (Kim) appeals the circuit court’s order denying her motion to set aside entry of default and denying relief from default judgment. We reverse in part and remand for further proceedings.

4419 - Sanders v. S.C. Department of Corrections

This appeal arises from inmate Cleveland Sanders’s challenge of the manner by which payment of a two hundred and fifty dollar DNA processing fee (“fee”), required by statute, was deducted from his E.H. Cooper Trust Fund account (“Account”). We affirm.

6-27-2008 - Opinions

4420 - Leon v. State

Mauricio Leon filed a post-conviction relief (PCR) application on May 15, 2002, alleging his guilty plea was involuntary, ineffective assistance of counsel, and denial of due process of law. The PCR judge vacated Leon’s conviction and ordered a new trial. We reverse.

6-30-2008 - Opinions

4421 - McLaughlin v. Williams

McLaughlin appealed from the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of McLaughlin's realtor, the seller, and the seller's realtor for McLaughlin's claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation pertaining to the purchase of McLaughlin's home. On appeal, McLaughlin claimed a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether he had a right to rely on an incomplete disclosure statement furnished by the seller, which failed to show structural defects due to prior water damage. The Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court finding McLaughlin did not have a reasonable right to rely on the disclosure statement as he received a home inspection report and a termite damage report, both indicating moisture damage to the home.