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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - August 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.

8-4-2014 - Opinions

5260 - Brown v. Baby Girl Harper

In this adoption case, we hold the execution of a consent to adopt document must strictly comply with section 63-9-340 of the South Carolina Code (2010). We affirm the family court's determination that the consent document signed by the birth mother was rendered invalid by (1) the failure of the attorney-witness to be present when the birth mother signed the document and (2) the failure of both witnesses to observe the statutorily-required discussion of the provisions of the consent to adopt document.

8-6-2014 - Opinions

5256 - Fowler v. Nationwide Mutual

After his home was destroyed by fire, James D. Fowler brought this suit against Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company ("Nationwide"), claiming Nationwide improperly denied his insurance claim. Following a jury verdict in Fowler's favor, Nationwide appealed, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting opinion testimony from a non-expert. We reverse and remand.

5257 - State v. Perry

Appellant Jefferson Perry was convicted of committing a lewd act on a minor. Appellant challenges his conviction arguing the trial court erred in: (1) instructing the jury that time is not a material element of committing a lewd act on a minor; and (2) admitting into evidence a DVD recording of the minor victim's two interviews with a forensic examiner.

5258 - State v. Curry

The court of appeals reverses Wayne Curry's conviction for throwing bodily fluids on a correctional officer, finding the circuit court erred in refusing to charge the jury on guilty but mentally ill.

5259 - State v. White

Victor White appeals his convictions of murder and armed robbery, arguing the trial court erred in admitting his recorded statement because the statement was the direct product of the impermissible tactic of "question first, give Miranda rights later," which has been expressly forbidden by the Supreme Court in Missouri v. Seibert, 542 U.S. 600 (2004), and our supreme court in State v. Navy, 386 S.C. 294, 688 S.E.2d 838 (2010). We affirm.

8-20-2014 - Opinions

5261 - State v. Pope

Roderick Pope appeals his conviction for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Pope argues the trial court erred in: (1) refusing to suppress the evidence seized during the search of the vehicle when law enforcement did not have reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic stop; (2) refusing to suppress the evidence seized during the search of the vehicle because law enforcement did not have probable cause to believe the vehicle contained evidence of criminal activity and no exigent circumstances existed to justify the warrantless search; and (3) finding a sufficient chain of custody existed to admit the evidence seized during the search of the vehicle and the drug evidence found in the police car. We affirm.

5262 - Bloody Point Property v. Ashton

William A. Ashton, Jr. and Michele C. Ashton appeal the master-in-equity's denial of their motion to vacate/set aside a foreclosure sale, arguing the master erred in finding: (1) they were properly served; (2) their due process rights were not violated; (3) the foreclosure sales price did not shock the conscience of the court; and (4) David L. Fingerhut and Patricia M. Santry were bona fide purchasers for value pursuant to section 15-39-870 of the South Carolina Code.

5263 - The Milton P. Demetre Family Ltd v. Beckmann

In this action to quiet title, the Milton P. Demetre Family Limited Partnership (Demetre) appeals an order of the Master-in-Equity (the master), arguing the master erred in finding Demetre did not quiet title to certain property on Folly Island. We affirm in part and vacate in part.

5264 - Solanki v. Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart Store #2806 appeals the trial court's award of punitive damages to Prakash and Urmila Solanki in an action for gross negligence. It also appeals the trial court's denial of their post-trial motions for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (JNOV) and for the Reversal or Reduction of Punitive Damages.

5265 - State v. McCombs

In this criminal appeal, the State argues the circuit court erred in finding evidence of Wayne McCombs's prior bad act was not admissible in his trial for committing a lewd act on a minor. We reverse and remand.

5266 - State v. Blakney

These consolidated appeals involve two sentencing determinations related to violations of a two-year community supervision program (CSP) administered by Respondent/Appellant, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. We affirm the first CSP judge's ruling, reverse the second CSP judge's order, and remand for a new hearing on the violations allegedly committed by Blakney in April 2012.

8-27-2014 - Opinions

5267 - Bagwell v. State

In this appeal from the denial of his post-conviction relief (PCR) application, Steve Bagwell argues the PCR court erred in finding his trial counsel was not ineffective for (1) failing to request DNA testing for blood found on glass recovered at the crime scene and (2) failing to argue a witness's testimony was admissible to show evidence of a victim's bias and motive to fabricate testimony.

5268 - Tuten v. Joel

David Charles Joel appeals from a $275,000 jury verdict against him for legal malpractice in connection with his representation of Julie Tuten. Joel argues the trial court erred in: (1) granting a partial directed verdict for Tuten; (2) denying his directed verdict motion; and (3) denying his motion for a new trial nisi remittitur. We affirm.