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Supreme Court Published Opinions - April 2005

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.

4-4-2005 - Opinions

25961 - Conner v. City of Forest Acres

A jury rendered a verdict in favor of the City of Forest Acres in a wrongful discharge action brought by Evelyn H. Conner (Employee). The Supreme Court concluded the trial court erred in excluding evidence of events occurring after Employee’s initial termination date and in instructing the jury to disregard such events. Employee should have been allowed to submit testimony and evidence about the grievance proceeding in her case in a limited manner. However, the Supreme Court affirmed the jury's verdict because Employee failed to demonstrate a reasonable probability the verdict was influenced by the lack of the wrongly excluded evidence.

25962 - Evening Post Publishing v. North Charleston

This is a Freedom of Information Act case. The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, because the Court of Appeals erred in holding that information to be used in a forthcoming criminal trial is automatically exempt from disclosure pursuant to South Carolina Code section 30-4-40(a)(3)(B). The Court held that application of the exemption must be determined on a case-by-case basis and that the exemption did not apply here. The Court remanded the case to the circuit court for a determination whether any further relief should be granted.

25963 - Evans v. State

In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, Petitioner sought the "files of the state grand jury," including the State's petition and court order impaneling the state grand jury which indicted him for trafficking in cocaine. Petitioner's motion to obtain the state grand jury files was denied. After conducting an in camera review of the documents, the PCR found the petition and order were proper and the state grand jury that indicted Petitioner was properly impaneled. The judge denied Petitioner's PCR application. The Supreme Court, which also reviewed the documents in camera, affirmed the denial of Petitioner's application. However, the Supreme Court reversed the judge's order prohibiting release of the impanelment documents to Petitioner. The Supreme Court held that release of the documents was allowed by statute. Secrecy concerns diminish following the issuance of a true bill of indictment, and the State may redact the documents as necessary to preserve secrecy in other matters. The Supreme Court further explained that a defendant is entitled to review the documents in order to decide whether to challenge the legality of the grand jury which indicted him. The Supreme Court analyzed this right and precedent in light of a recent decision in which the Court abandoned the view that, in criminal matters, the circuit court acquires subject matter jurisdiction to hear a particular case by way of a valid indictment by either a county or state grand jury. Instead, an indictment is viewed as a notice document, albeit one required by the state constitution and statutes.

25964 - Cockrell v. Hillerich & Bradsby Company

In this products liability and negligence action. the Court affirmed the circuit court's dismisal of respondents for lack of personal jurisdiction.

25965 - State v. Parris

The issue in this case is whether there was evidence of a trust relationship to support submission of the offense of breach of trust with fraudulent intent to the jury.

4-11-2005 - Opinions

25966 - City of North Charleston v. County of Charleston

This original jurisdiction case is a constitutional challenge to Charleston County's property tax cap enacted pursuant to § 12-37-233A.

25967 - In the Matter of Herbert Altonia Addison

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court disbarred an attorney.

25968 - In the Matter of Jordan Delaine White

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court definitely suspended an attorney.

25969 - Pittman v. Grand Strand Entertainment

Finding no evidence that a fiduciary relationship existed between the parties, the Court affirmed the master-in-equity’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondent.

4-11-2005 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Jordan Delaine White

Appointment of an Attorney to Protect Clients' Interests pursuant to Rule 413, SCACR.
4-18-2005 - Opinions

25971 - Robertson v. Bumper Man Franchising

The Court answers two certified questions concerning the applicability of the South Carolina Business Opportunity Sales Act.

25972 - State v. Gregory

The sole issue is whether the trial court erred in refusing to grant a continuance and relieve Gregory’s attorney due to the attorney’s conflict of interest.

4-18-2005 - Orders

ORDER - Lawyers Suspended for Failure to Pay License Fees and Comply with CLE Requirements

Under Rule 419, SCACR, the Court has issued an order suspending lawyers for failing to comply with continuing legal education requirements and failing to pay Bar license fees and assessments.
ORDER - Amendment to Rule 404(c)(5), SCACR, Admission Pro Hac Vice
This order amends Rule 404(c)(5), SCACR.
4-25-2005 - Opinions

25973 - Gilchrist v. State

In this PCR case, the Court addresses allegations of ineffective assistance of appellate counsel regarding the self-defense charge.

25974 - Guffey v. Columbia/Colleton Regional Hospital

This case involves issues of proximate cause and the exclusion of evidence in the context of medical malpractice.

25975 - State v. Vazquez

This is a death penalty case. The issues before the Court are whether (1) the trial court erred in refusing to grant a mistrial for the solicitor's argument to the jury, (2) whether the trial court erred in not charging the mitigating circumstances related to intoxication, and (3) did the trial judge err in sentencing Appellant for kidnapping?