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South Carolina
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Supreme Court Published Opinions - April 2006

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.

4-3-2006 - Opinions

26131 - In the Matter of Dean D. Porter

This is an attorney disciplinary matter in which the Court imposed a ninety day suspension.

26132 - SC State Ports Authority v. Jasper County

The Court accepted this declaratory judgment action in its original jurisdiction. The Court found the South Carolina State Ports Authority does not have the exclusive authority to develop a port or terminal on the Savannah River. The Court further found Jasper County has the power and authority to develop a county-owned public marine terminal. The Court held, however, that the South Carolina State Ports Authority’s eminent domain power is superior to Jasper County’s eminent domain power.

4-3-2006 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Jack L. Schoer

This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
ORDER - In the Matter of Alex J. Newton
This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
ORDER - In the Matter of Harriett E. Wilmeth
This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
ORDER - In the Matter of Barry T. Wimberly
This is an order reinstating an attorney to the practice of law.
ORDER - In the Matter of Kevin M. Cunningham
This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.
4-10-2006 - Opinions

26104 - Spence v. Spence

The circuit court dismissed the Appellant's complaint for failure to state a claim against certain defendants, ruling the defendants were bona fide purchasers for value of real property without notice of an alleged title defect or adverse claim against the property. The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of Appellant’s complaint, holding (1) the facts as alleged in the complaint raised no issue of actual or constructive/inquiry notice with regard to Respondents’ purchase of a lot, and Respondents were bonafide purchasers for value; (2) Respondents properly asserted the affirmative defense of bonafide purchaser for value in a Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP, motion; (3) the circuit court properly rejected Appellant’s argument that she could not convey title because she never obtained title to the disputed property; and (4) the circuit court properly dismissed Appellant’s complaint against Respondents with prejudice. Chief Justice Toal and Justice Pleicones separately filed dissenting opinions.

26133 - Erickson v. Jones Street Publishers

Appellant served as a private guardian ad litem in a family court divorce and child custody case in Dorchester County. Appellant sued Respondent for defamation based on statements published by Respondent in a weekly newspaper. The trial judge dismissed Appellant’s cause of action for defamation against Respondent, ruling she was a public figure for limited purposes who must prove constitutional actual malice in order to recover damages. The trial judge also dismissed Appellant’s causes of action for invasion of privacy and negligence. The Supreme Court reversed the grant of a directed verdict to Newspaper on the issues of Appellant’s status and liability for defamation. The Supreme Court held that Appellant, as a matter of law under the facts and circumstances of this case, is a private-figure plaintiff who demonstrated Newspaper was liable for defaming her pursuant to a jury charge agreed upon by both parties. The Supreme Court upheld the jury’s findings that the published statements were false and defamatory, that Newspaper acted negligently in defaming Appellant as a private figure, and that Appellant had proven by clear and convincing evidence Newspaper acted with constitutional actual malice in publishing the statements. Finally, the Supreme Court held Newspaper waived any objection to the jury separately considering liability and damages; therefore, the Court reinstated the jury’s verdict holding Newspaper liable for the defamatory statements and remanded the case for a jury to consider the issues of actual and punitive damages. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial judge’s rulings on remaining issues raised by Appellant. Justice Pleicones filed a dissenting opinion.

26134 - Anthony Law v. SCDOC

The Court affirmed as modified the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for Respondent on Appellants’ malicious prosecution claims, directed verdict for Respondent on Appellants’ wrongful termination claims, and judgment notwithstanding the verdict for Respondent on Appellants’ false imprisonment claims.

26135 - Brandt v. Gooding

This Court held that a deposition is the type of judicial setting that constitutes the presence of the court. As a result, the Court upheld the trial court’s decision granting summary judgment, and issuing criminal and civil contempt sanctions.

26136 - Collins Entertainment v. Coats and Coats Rental Amusement

The issue on appeal is whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in utilizing the “lost volume seller” doctrine?

4-12-2006 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Pamela Buchanan-Lyon

This is an order transferrring an attorney to incapacity inactive status and appointing an attorney to protect the attorney's clients' interests.
4-17-2006 - Opinions

26137 - State v. McCombs

This case involves the issue of whether the trial court erred by failing to grant a directed verdict in appellant's favor on the charge of intimidation of a court official.

26138 - Thomas v. McGriff

The family court held that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over Appellant's action to declare that Appellant was the common-law spouse of a deceased woman on the date of the woman's death. The Court reversed.

26139 - State v. Price

The Court affirmed Appellant’s conviction for murder. Appellant argued the trial court committed reversible error by admitting hearsay testimony. The Court found the testimony was inadmissible hearsay but the improper admission of such testimony was harmless error. Appellant also argued the testimony violated his right to confront witnesses against him as provided by the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, § 14, of the South Carolina Constitution. The Court found this issue was not preserved for review.

4-24-2006 - Opinions

26140 - In the Matter of Richard A. Blackmon

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court suspended an attorney from the practice of law for sixty (60) days and ordered the attorney to pay the costs of the disciplinary proceeding.

26141 - Pinckney v. State

In this PCR case, the Court discusses the jury instruction on a first degree burglary charge.

4-24-2006 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of William J. LaLima

This is an order placing an attorney on interim suspension.