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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - June 2009

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.

6-2-2009 - Opinions

4554 - State v. Jackson

Charles Q. Jackson appeals his conviction and thirty-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter and possession of a weapon during the commission of a crime, arguing the trial court erred in excluding evidence of his knowledge of the decedent's violent history and in refusing to charge the jury on self-defense. We affirm the trial court's exclusion of evidence but reverse its refusal to charge the jury on self-defense.

6-4-2009 - Opinions

4555 - Young v. SCDHEC

Appellant J. Rutledge Young, Jr., challenges the issuance of a dock permit, arguing the Appellate Panel erred in (1) declining to find the Administrative Law Court decided the case under the incorrect regulations, (2) declining to find the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management of the Department of Health and Environmental Control abused its discretion in issuing the permit, and (3) failing to find the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management abused its discretion in not considering the cumulative effect of the proposed boat lift included in the permit.

4556 - Murphy v. Tyndall

Murphy and Tyndall were involved in an automobile collision. Murphy appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of E-Z Credit Auto Sales, Inc. contending there are genuine issues of material fact regarding Tyndall's employment relationship with E-Z Credit at the time of the accident. We reverse.

4557 - State v. Dye

In this appeal from a criminal sexual conduct conviction, the Court of Appeals found that the appellant's confession was freely and voluntarily given based on the totality of circumstances surrounding his confession.

4558 - Frazier v. Smallseed

In this civil case, we must determine whether the trial court erred in concluding Donald and Jane Hanna (collectively the Hannas) did not own certain property located in Beaufort County by adverse possession and whether Eliza Frazier and Dorothy Anderson Brailford have a right to an easement in certain property located in the same county. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

6-11-2009 - Opinions

4559 - Fishburne v. ATI Systems International

Wanda Fishburne appeals the circuit court's order affirming the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission, arguing the court erred in finding (1) she sustained only ten percent loss of use of her back; (2) she was not entitled to an award of permanent partial disability to her right lower extremity; (3) she was only entitled to additional medical treatment needed to wean her from unnecessary narcotics; and (4) she did not provide credible testimony at the hearing.

4560 - State v. Commander

Christopher Sam Commander appeals his murder conviction, arguing that the trial court improperly allowed a forensic pathologist to testify that the victim's death was a homicide based on "suspicious" circumstances unrelated to his field of expertise. Commander also argues that the trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury on the defense of "accident." We affirm.

6-12-2009 - Opinions

4561 - Trotter v. Trane Coil Facility

The Court of Appeals reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded the circuit court's order, which affirmed the award of workers' compensation benefits to Claimant for an injury to her lower back. The Court of Appeals found the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission abused its discretion by excluding testimony of two key witnesses, and therefore, the Court of Appeals reversed the circuit court's order affirming the award of benefits and remanded the case to the Appellate Panel to allow for the taking of additional testimony. In light of that decision, the Court of Appeals vacated the remainder of the circuit court's order and remanded all issues to the Appellate Panel for reconsideration following the taking of additional testimony.

4562 - Walrath v. Pope

The Court of Appeals affirmed the family court's order allowing Mother to retain custody of Mother and Father's two minor children even if Mother moves out of state.

4563 - Tracy v. Tracy

Preston Tracy appeals the family court's denial of his Rule to Show Cause. Mr. Tracy argues the family court erred in failing to find Diane Tracy in contempt, allowing Ms. Tracy to enter into an Offer In Compromise with the Internal Revenue Service, and failing to award attorneys' fees and costs.

4564 - Robinson v. Code

Odell Haggins, Jr., as personal representative of the Estate of Odell Haggins, Sr., and Phyllis Robinson, individually and as personal representative of the Estate of Rodell Haggins, appeal from the circuit court's order, arguing the court erred in finding the failure to install smoke detectors in a rental home was not actionable under the South Carolina Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, and notice was an element of a landlord's liability for failing to maintain rental premises.

6-16-2009 - Opinions

4565 - King v. King

In this domestic action, Husband argues the family court erred in awarding Wife alimony and attorney's fees because it failed to consider the applicable factors. Husband further contends the family court erred in its division of marital property by assigning no value to two vehicles, despite Wife's testimony those vehicles were worth a total of $24,000. We affirm.

4566 - Gause v. Hunt

Gause appeals the dismissal of his tort claims arising from an automobile accident involving a vehicle owned by Edward W. Hunt and driven by Hunt's son, Edward Raymond Hunt. Gause contends his amended complaint naming Edward Raymond Hunt as another defendant merely identified the correct party and should relate back to the original complaint naming Edward W. Hunt as a defendant pursuant to Rule 15(c), SCRCP. We affirm.

4567 - Fiddie v. Fiddie

In this domestic action, Walter Fiddie (Husband) appeals the family court's refusal to terminate alimony and its order increasing alimony to Diane Fiddie (Wife). Husband argues the family court misapplied certain equitable maxims. Additionally, Husband argues the family court erred in awarding attorney's fees and costs to Wife and failing to award attorney's fees and costs to him. Finally, Husband argues the family court erred in finding Wife a credible witness and in finding the errors he made in his financial declarations were more than "simple errors." We affirm.

6-17-2009 - Opinions

4568 - Edwards v. Edwards

In this domestic action, Samuel Edwards (Husband) appeals the family court's order awarding Aletha Edwards (Wife) minimum wage income and permanent alimony. Additionally, Husband argues the family court erred in (1) finding his life estate in a produce stand was transmuted into marital property and (2) qualifying and accepting the business valuation of Wife's expert witness. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

4569 - State v. Simmons

The Court of Appeals upheld Simmons's conviction for kidnapping, armed robbery, and grand larceny of a motor vehicle, despite Simmons's claim that the circuit court committed reversible error (1) in admitting testimony from certain witnesses at trial; (2) in requiring Simmons to give a second palm print at trial; (3) in admitting Simmons's statements while in police custody; and (4) in including "real possibility" language in its jury charge.

6-23-2009 - Opinions

4570 - Cannon v. Georgia Attorney General's Office

The Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court's finding that David Cannon was in contempt of court for failing pay $373,000 to the Estate of James Brown and for failing to relinquish all authority relating to the Estate following his resignation as personal representative and trustee. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the circuit court's order sanctioning Cannon to six months imprisonment with the opportunity to purge the confinement by payment of the previously ordered sum. The Court of Appeals, however, reversed and remanded the issue of attorneys' fees and reversed the circuit court's imposition of an additional $10,000 fine.

4571 - State v. Goodwin

Kevin Dwayne Goodwin appeals his convictions and sentences for first-degree burglary and murder, arguing the trial court erred in admitting his statements into evidence and denying his mistrial motion.

6-25-2009 - Opinions

4572 - Watt v. Piedmont Automotive

Piedmont Automotive and Piedmont Chrysler Plymouth, Employers, and AmcComp and S.C. Automobile Dealers Assoc., Carriers, appeal the order to the circuit court reversing the Workers Compensation Commission's decision denying Roger Dale Watt's claim for benefits. The appellants assert the circuit court erred in ruling Watt had suffered an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment; in overruling the Commission's factual determination that Watt failed to provide adequate notice; and in overruling the Commission's factual determination that no employer/employee relationship existed at the time of Watt's injury.

4573 - State v. Vick

Vick appeals his convictions of murder, first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and kidnapping, as well as his sentence of life imprisonment for kidnapping, arguing (1) the trial court erred in allowing hearsay testimony from a witness regarding a telephone conversation between the victim and appellant's mother and (2) his kidnapping sentence should be vacated pursuant to South Carolina Code Ann. Sec. 16-3-910. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

4574 - State v. Reid

Jamey Allen Reid appeals his convictions for attempted criminal sexual conduct (CSC) with a minor second degree and criminal solicitation of a minor. Reid contends the trial court erred in failing to grant a directed verdict of acquittal, arguing the State failed to prove Reid committed an overt act in furtherance of attempted CSC. Reid also claims the trial court erred in refusing to charge criminal solicitation of a minor as a lesser included offense of attempted CSC with a minor second degree. We affirm.