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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - February 2014

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.

2-5-2014 - Opinions

5193 - Wilds v. State

In this cross-appeal involving an action for post-conviction relief (PCR), the State argues the PCR court erred in finding Israel Wilds' appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the issues of accomplice liability and mere presence on appeal. In his cross-appeal, Wilds argues the PCR court erred in finding his trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to assert at trial that the trial court's ruling prohibiting him from cross-examining his co-defendants about their potential sentences violated his Confrontation Clause rights. We affirm.

5194 - Smith v. State

In this PRC action, the court of appeals finds the PCR court erred in failing to find plea counsel was ineffective for not objecting when the solicitor recommended the petitioner be sentenced to the maximum term of imprisonment in violation of the negotiated plea agreement with the State.

5195 - Riley v. Ford Motor Company

Jasper County Sheriff Benjamin Riley's estate ("the Estate") brought this products liability lawsuit against Ford Motor Company after Riley was ejected from his 1998 Ford F-150 pickup truck in an accident and killed. The Estate settled with the at-fault driver before trial, and the jury awarded $300,000 against Ford. We affirm the trial court's denial of Ford's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). However, we reverse the denial of Ford's motion for setoff and the granting of the Estate's motion for new trial nisi additur.

2-12-2014 - Opinions

5196 - State v. Anderson

In this criminal appeal, the court of appeals affirms the trial court's qualification of an expert witness and subsequent admission of certain expert testimony.

5197 - Sims v. Amisub

In this medical malpractice action, Gladys Sims, as the guardian and conservator of Kristy L. Orlowski, (Orlowski) appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment, arguing the court erred in estopping Orlowski from pursuing a medical negligence claim against Dr. C. Edward Creagh and Amisub of South Carolina, d/b/a Piedmont Medical Center (the Hospital). Dr. Creagh and the Hospital cross-appeal, arguing the circuit court erred in denying their motions for summary judgment because (1) Orlowski's claim was barred by the statute of limitations, and (2) the tolling provisions of section 15-3-40 of the South Carolina Code (2005) are not applicable.

5198 - State v. Palmer and Gorman

Robert Palmer and Julia Gorman were convicted in a joint trial of homicide by child abuse, aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse, and unlawful conduct toward a child, in connection with the death of Gorman's seventeen-month old grandson. The State proved conclusively that the child died from blunt force head trauma while in the exclusive custody of Palmer and Gorman. Palmer and Gorman contend, however, the trial court erred in denying their directed verdict motions because the State's evidence was insufficient to prove (1) which defendant inflicted the child's injuries, and (2) that either of them aided or abetted the other. We affirm their convictions for homicide by child abuse and unlawful conduct toward a child. However, we find insufficient evidence of aiding and abetting, and therefore, we reverse those convictions. We affirm all other issues pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR.

2-19-2014 - Opinions

5199 - State v. Scott

A jury convicted Antonio Scott for the murder of Cynthia Nelson. Scott asserts the trial court erred by not charging involuntary manslaughter because under his version of the facts, he unintentionally caused Nelson's death when he lawfully but recklessly performed a martial arts move in self-defense. We find no basis to conclude Scott acted recklessly in defending himself because the circumstances Scott alleges to be reckless are the same circumstances that justified his use of force. We affirm.

2-26-2014 - Opinions

5200 - Horton v. City of Columbia

Tynaysha Horton appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City of Columbia regarding her claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, negligence, and assault and battery. We affirm.

5201 - Grimsley v. SLED

This is an appeal from the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). We reverse and remand for trial.