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Supreme Court Published Opinions - September 2009

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.

9-8-2009 - Opinions

26450 - Auto Owners Insurance Company, Inc. v. Newman

The issuer of a homebuilder’s commercial general liability (CGL) policy sought a declaratory judgment to determine whether the policy covered a homeowner’s claim for damages caused by the negligence of a construction subcontractor. The trial court determined that the homeowner’s claim fell within the CGL policy’s coverage and this appeal followed. The Court affirms the trial court’s holding that the homeowner’s claims for damages stemming from the subcontractor’s negligence are covered under the CGL policy.

26715 - Brazell v. Windsor

The Court reverses the trial court’s dismissal of the remedy of rescission in a breach of contract action.

26716 - Smith v. Barnwell County

In this case, the Court held that an inmate injured while serving time on weekends may not combine his prison pay with full time wages in determining his average weekly wage, for purposes of workers' compensation.

9-8-2009 - Orders

ORDER - Lynch v. Toys “R” Us-Delaware, Inc.

This order grants the parties' joint motion to dismiss the appeal and vacates the Court of Appeals' opinion.
9-14-2009 - Opinions

26717 - Super Duper Inc. v. Pennsylvania National

The United States District Court for the District of South Carolina presents certified questions concerning commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies. We are asked, as an issue of first impression in South Carolina, whether the respective policies’ inclusion of an advertising injury may encompass trademark infringement. Generally, based on the policy terms before us, we answer in the affirmative. We are not asked nor do we attempt to offer an opinion on the ultimate issues of coverage in this case. The ultimate questions of coverage remain with the federal district court.

26718 - Mitchell v. Fortis Insurance

In this case, a policyholder brought causes of action for breach of contract and bad faith rescission against his insurance company, and sought actual and punitive damages for the company’s termination of his health care insurance from original issuance on the grounds of a purported misrepresentation. The jury awarded the policyholder $36,000 in actual damages on the breach of contract claim, $150,000 in actual damages on the bad faith rescission claim, and $15 million in punitive damages deriving from the bad faith cause of action. This appeal followed. We affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the trial court.

26719 - Bryant v. State

We granted a writ of certiorari to review the grant of post-conviction relief (PCR) to Pete S. Bryant. On December 11, 1997, Bryant was convicted of armed robbery. Because Bryant had “prior conviction[s]” for armed robbery, he was sentenced to life without parole under section 17-25-45. The PCR court ruled that Bryant was not subject to a life without parole sentence and vacated the sentence. We reverse.

9-18-2009 - Opinions

26724 - All Saints v. Campbell

This case presents two questions that arise out of a dispute over church property and corporate control: (1) whether the trial court correctly determined that a trust deed, executed in 1745 for the establishment of a Parish in the Waccamaw Neck region of South Carolina, remains valid; and (2) whether the trial court correctly determined that the vestry representing a minority group of the congregation were the officers of the congregation’s corporate entity, All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc. We reverse the ruling of the trial court and find that the 1745 trust deed at issue was executed by the Statute of Uses and that members of the vestry representing the majority group of the congregation are the officers of All Saints Parish, Waccamaw, Inc.

9-21-2009 - Opinions

26511 - SCANA Corporation and Subsidiaries v. South Carolina Department of Revenue

This appeal is from a decision allowing an economic impact zone investment tax credit carry-forward.

26720 - Jamison v. Morris

The Court held that a gas station franchisor and its jobber were entitled to directed verdicts, and that the retail establishment was entitled to a new trial.

26721 - Financial Federal v. Dennis Brown

Financial Federal Corporation appeals from an order dismissing its action to foreclose a judgment against Dennis Brown.

26723 - Binney v. State

In this case, we granted a writ of certiorari to review an order of the post-conviction relief (PCR) court denying Petitioner’s motion for (1) the return of his trial file from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and (2) the disqualification of the AGO attorneys who viewed the file. Petitioner argues that his attorney-client privilege was violated when, after he filed an application for PCR, trial counsel turned over his entire trial file to the AGO. We find that Petitioner’s attorney-client privilege was not violated by the disclosure of his entire trial file to the AGO and affirm the PCR court’s order.

26725 - Hollman vs TLC Laser Eye Center

On a writ of certiorari, the Court vacated the circuit court order allowing the respondents to contact nonparty patients of petitioners. The Court held the discovery sought was not relevant and necessary to the respondents' cases.

26726 - Eldridge vs SC Department of Transportation

The issue is whether an abandoned railroad right of way in Greenwood had any value for purposes of compensation.

9-21-2009 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of Irby E. Walker, Jr.,

This is an order placing a lawyer on interim suspension.
ORDER - Amendments to Rules Governing Limited Certificates to Practice Law
9-28-2009 - Opinions

26727 - Isaac v. Ford Motor Company

The Court dismissed the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted.

26728 - In the Matter of Ivan N. Walters

This is a disciplinary opinion in which the Court definitely suspended a lawyer for misconduct.

9-28-2009 - Orders

ORDER - In the Matter of William E. Walsh

ORDER - In the Matter of J. Fitzgerald O’Connor, Jr.
This is an order placing a lawyer on interim suspension and appointing a lawyer to protect the interests of the lawyer's clients.
ORDER - In the Matter of J. Fitzgerald O’Connor, Jr.,
This is an order relieving an attorney appointed to protect the interests of the clients of a lawyer who had been placed on interim suspension and appointing another attorney to protect the interests of the lawyer's clients.