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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - January 2011

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.

1-19-2011 - Opinions

4774 - SCDSS v. Polite

On appeal, the Court of Appeals finds the family court improperly ordered Donellivin Polite's child support be retroactively reduced to a date prior to the filing of the modification action.

4775 - Reiss v. Reiss

In this domestic case, Pamela Buck, paramour of Paul W. Reiss (Husband), argues the family court erred in finding she was jointly and severally liable to Margaret M. Reiss (Wife) for $262,000 of the proceeds from the sale of marital property. We affirm.

4776 - Myers v. Myers

In this appeal from the family court, the Court of Appeals reversed the family court's award of alimony to the wife, finding the circumstances warranted a lower alimony award. The Court also reversed the family court's inclusion of a truck purchased soley with husband's inheritance money but affirmed the family court's division of the marital estate. Based on the husband's partial success on appeal, the Court of Appeals decreased wife's entitlement to attorney's fees.

4777 - Matute v. Palmetto Health Baptist

In this worker's compensation appeal, the Court of Appeals finds the appellate panel had jurisdiction to hear the employer's appeal because the employe demonstrated good cause as to why it failed to timely appeal to the appellate panel. On the merits, the Court of Appeals upheld the appellate panel's decision to find the employee's injury on a sidewalk outside the employer's building was not compensable.

4778 - ESA Services v. SCDOR

In this appeal from the administrative law court, the court of appeals concludes ESA Services met the minimum employment and capital investment requirements, thus entitling ESA Services to claim job development credits under the Enterprise Zone Act.

4779 - AJG Holdings v. Dunn

This appeal involves restrictive covenants prohibiting commercial use of property absent the developer's approval and whether the developer's rights can be sold after the developer no longer owns any of the property. The Respondents, landowners who purchased property originally owned by developer Helen Sasser, filed this action against Levon and Pamela Dunn seeking to enforce the restrictive covenants against the Dunns, who planned to operate a bed and breakfast on their property. The Dunns filed several counterclaims, and both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The circuit court granted partial summary judgment to Respondents, finding Sasser's attempt to sell the developer's rights to the Dunns was invalid and Respondents were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on the Dunns' counterclaims for civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. We affirm.

4780 - Thornton v. SCE&G

Brian and Catherine Thornton brought this lawsuit as a class action for negligence, strict liability, and nuisance arising out of blasting activities conducted by South Carolina Electric and Gas Corporation (SCE&G) at the Lake Murray dam. SCE&G made a motion titled

1-26-2011 - Opinions

4781 - Banks v. St. Matthew Baptist Church

Ira Banks, James Bell, and Vernon Holmes (collectively the Trustees) brought suit against St. Matthew Baptist Church (the Church) and its pastor, Clinton Brantley, for defamation, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, contending the pastor had informed the congregation the Trustees had mismanaged money and money was missing from the Church. The trial court dismissed the action because the court did not have jurisdiction to intervene in a church matter, and the Trustees appealed. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

4782 - Church v. McGee

Carolyn R. Church brought this quantum meruit action against Carroll E. McGee (Carroll), individually and as personal representative of the Estate of William LuRue McGee (Decedent), as well as Ted O. McGee, Jr. (Ted), as trustee of the McGee family trust (collectively Respondents), seeking compensation for caregiving services provided to Decedent in his final years. In these cross-appeals, Church challenges the circuit court's finding that she expected no compensation when she provided the caregiving services. She also challenges the circuit court's refusal to remove Carroll as personal representative of Decedent's estate. Carroll challenges the circuit court's failure to allow a setoff of $35,000 against Decedent's $100,000 bequest to Church. Carroll also challenges the circuit court's award of prejudgment interest on the amount the court determined the estate owed Church. We reverse the award of prejudgment interest and affirm the remainder of the circuit court's order.

4783 - Long v. Sealed Air Corporation

This appeal from the workers' compensation commission was remanded by the circuit court "for further investigation." On appeal to the court of appeals, the court held that orders from the circuit court remanding to the commission for additional proceedings are not immediately appealable, but may be appealed after final judgment.

4784 - Duncan v. State

After a probation revocation hearing, the trial court continued Duncan on probation, terminated Duncan's electronic monitoring, and added the sex offender conditions to the conditions of his probation. Duncan's counsel filed a brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738 (1967), and State v. Williams, 305 S.C. 116, 406 S.E.2d 357 (1991), arguing the trial court erred in adding the sex offender conditions to the conditions of his probation, and the State filed a cross-appeal, arguing the trial court erred in terminating Duncan's electronic monitoring. We dismiss Duncan's Anders appeal and reverse the trial court’s termination of Duncan’s electronic monitoring.

4785 - State v. Smith

Wesley Smith was convicted of aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse against his four-month-old daughter, Ebony. The trial judge sentenced him to twenty years. Smith raises two primary issues on appeal. First, he claims the judge committed error in admitting evidence of a prior incident of child abuse against Ebony. He also contends the judge erred in allowing the State to proceed under the aiding and abetting section of the homicide by child abuse statute. We affirm.

4786 - Rodriguez v. Gutierrez

In this civil case, the court of appeals held the circuit court properly refused to set aside a default judgment against a restaurant owner, despite plaintiff’s counsel serving notice of the damages hearing on the restaurant owner instead of the owner’s counsel, because the restaurant owner failed to demonstrate he was entitled to relief under Rule 60(b), SCRCP.

1-31-2011 - Opinions

4787 - State v. Provet

On appeal, Karriem Provet (Provet) argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress the evidence resulting from a traffic stop because the police subjected him to an unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. We affirm.