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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - March 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.

3-5-2014 - Opinions

5202 - Stubbs v. SCDEW

Charles Stubbs appeals an order from the Administrative Law Court (ALC) affirming the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce's dismissal of Stubbs' appeal as untimely. We find the ALC improperly made its own factual findings in violation of its standard of review. Therefore, we vacate the ALC's order and remand.

5203 - Teeter v. Teeter

James Arthur Teeter, III appeals the family court's rulings regarding the valuation and classification of property in this divorce action. He also argues the family court erred in excluding information obtained from his wife's email account regarding her relationship with another man. We affirm as modified.

5204 - State v. Brannon

Nicholas Jerel Brannon appeals an order revoking his probation and requiring him to serve five months of his original sentence. This court remands the matter to the circuit court for specific findings of fact regarding the validity of Brannon's waivers of a hearing and of his right to counsel.

3-19-2014 - Opinions

5205 - Beckman v. Sysco Columbia

In this appeal from the Workers' Compensation Commission, Neal Beckman argues the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission erred in finding he was limited to a disability award for his back as a scheduled member because the evidence showed he should have been awarded disability under the loss of earning capacity statute. We reverse and remand.

5206 - Watson v. Underwood

Willie D. Watson appeals the circuit court's grant of partial summary judgment finding her daughter, Nancy Carole Underwood, as Watson's attorney-in-fact, had the authority to create and fund an irrevocable trust with Watson's assets. We affirm.

5207 - Abney v. State

In this PCR action, the petitioner claims his counsel's assistance was rendered ineffective when counsel did not request a jury instruction on the lesser included offense of strong arm robbery. He further contends he was prejudiced by his attorney's decision when he was convicted of armed robbery.

5208 - Johnson v. Alexander

This is an appeal from an order of partial summary judgment in a legal malpractice action in which the circuit court ruled attorney Stanley E. Alexander breached his duty to his client Amber Johnson and proximately caused her damages in connection with a real estate closing. We reverse and remand for trial.

5209 - State v. Whatley

Following convictions for first-degree burglary, two counts of armed robbery, and conspiracy, Tyrone Whatley was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP). He appeals, arguing the trial court erred in improperly limiting the scope of his cross-examination of a witness concerning the mandatory minimum sentences she avoided by testifying against him. We affirm.

3-26-2014 - Opinions

5210 - Meehan v. Meehan

In this appeal from a divorce action, Fredda A. Cathey Meehan (Wife) contends the family court erred in (1) finding the parties' prenuptial agreement removed its jurisdiction to enforce and interpret the terms pursuant to Gilley v. Gilley, 327 S.C. 8, 488 S.E.2d 310 (1997), (2) ruling the parties agreed that the only issues to be decided were the divorce and child support, and (3) relying upon Rule 2, SCRFC, to deny her motion to amend her complaint to include a request for attorney's fees. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

5211 - CoastalStates Bank v. Hanover Homes

This is an appeal from an order granting partial summary judgment to CoastalStates Bank (the Bank) in its breach of contract action against Hanover Homes of South Carolina, LLC, Hanover Homes, Inc., and George Cosman. Cosman appeals, arguing the trial court erred in: (1) finding the statute of limitations had not expired; (2) finding personal guaranties were controlling; and (3) granting the Bank summary judgment while also finding a genuine issue of material fact existed as to Cosman's defenses to the Bank's breach of contract claim. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

5212 - Richardson v. State

In this appeal from an order granting post-conviction relief (PCR) to Sandra Richardson, we hold a trial court has no power to suspend a sentence imposed on a person convicted of homicide by child abuse under section 16-3-85(A)(1) of the South Carolina Code (2003). We reverse.

5213 - Lynch v. Carolina Self Storage Centers

This premises liability case arose when an exterior door at a storage facility owned by Carolina Self Storage Centers, Inc. closed on Susan Lynch's foot. Lynch filed a post-trial motion requesting a new trial based on juror misconduct during deliberations and intentional concealment of material information by a juror during voir dire. We affirm the denial of Lynch's motion because (1) the juror's affidavit alleging juror misconduct during deliberations was inadmissible based on Rule 606(b), (2) no intentional concealment ocurred during voir dire, and (3) the trial court properly refused to take juror testimony regarding the improper juror conduct.