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Supreme Court Published Opinions - February 2011

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.

2-7-2011 - Opinions

26921 - In the Matter of Scott Matthew Wild

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

26922 - In the Matter of Donna Seegars Givens

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

26923 - In the Matter of David C. Danielson

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

26925 - City of Cayce v. Norfolk Southern Railway

The City of Cayce ("City") cited Norfolk Southern Railway Company ("Norfolk") for violating a public nuisance ordinance, Cayce, SC, Code § 28-251. A municipal judge found Norfolk in violation of the ordinance, but the circuit court reversed. The City appeals.

26926 - State v. Smith

The Court holds the defendant was not entitled to a voluntary manslaughter charge, an involuntary manslaughter charge, or an accident charge.

26927 - State v. Sheppard

Ronald J. Sheppard was charged with securities fraud, obtaining property under false pretenses, and conspiracy. He was found guilty on all three charges and sentenced to a total of twenty years imprisonment. Sheppard appealed, arguing: (1) he was denied a fair trial because of a third party's contact with a juror; (2) the state grand jury lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the counts of obtaining property under false pretenses and conspiracy; (3) section 14-7-1820 of the South Carolina Code violates the constitutional prohibitions against ex post facto laws; and (4) the circuit court abused its discretion by imposing a sentence disproportionate to those of his co-conspirators. This Court affirms.

2-14-2011 - Opinions

26928 - Stinney v. Sumter School District

Two students were expelled from their high school for fighting. Those expulsions were upheld, and the family filed a separate suit in circuit court alleging, among other actions, a violation of their rights to due process. The circuit court granted summary judgment to the school district on the due process claim, and the court of appeals reversed, holding the family had exhausted its administrative remedies. This Court reverses the court of appeals, and affirms the circuit court's grant of summary judgment because the family received due process.

26929 - EllisDon Construction v. Clemson University

EllisDon, a general contractor, had contracted with Clemson University (Clemson) to construct a new science complex on Clemson's campus. The contract stated that Clemson would pay interest to Appellant in accordance with the Prompt Payment Act found at section 29-6-50 of the South Carolina Code (2007). When Clemson withheld payment and EllisDon attempted to collect, the Chief Procurement Officer found EllisDon failed to meet the requirements to receive interest under the Prompt Payment Act. The Procurement Review Panel found EllisDon could recover under the general interest statute at section 34-31-20(A) of the South Carolina Code. The circuit court reversed, finding the general interest statute only applies in the absence of a contractually agreed upon rate, and EllisDon contractually agreed to be governed by the Prompt Payment Act. This Court affirmed.

2-22-2011 - Opinions

26930 - Carolina Chloride v. SCDOT

The Court reversed and remanded the decision of the master in equity, finding a genuine issue of material fact remained whether SCDOT's actions constituted a taking.

26931 - State v. Wright

In June 2007, a Clarendon County Grand Jury indicted Respondents on several counts related to dogfighting. The circuit court granted Respondents' motion to suppress certain evidence, and the State timely appealed the circuit court's ruling. This Court certified this case for review pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR.

26932 - Oblachinski v. Reynolds

Oblachinski sued Dr. Dwight Reynolds and his medical practice for negligent misdiagnosis of sexual abuse, following his arrest for abuse of a minor child, arguing that a duty existed to reasonably foreseeable third parties. The Court found that no duty existed between a physician and a third party in this situation.

26933 - In the Matter of Elizabeth Mason Smith

This is an opinion disbarring a lawyer.

26934 - In the Matter of David Harrison Smith, II

This is an opinion disbarring a lawyer.

26935 - In the Matter of David F. Stoddard

This is an opinion in which the Court publicly reprimands a lawyer.

26936 - In the Matter of Marva Ann Hardee-Thomas

The Supreme Court held that definite suspension for a period of two years was an appropriate sanction for an attorney who mishandled clients’ trust account funds and failed to maintain adequate trust account records, such that a forensic accounting was required to understand the extent of the misappropriation of client funds.