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South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
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Supreme Court Published Opinions - June 2013

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.

6-5-2013 - Opinions

27261 - Gause v. Smithers

The Court affirms in part and reverses in part the jury verdict finding Edward W. Hunt liable under the family purpose doctrine for injuries caused by his son's negligence. Specifically, the Court holds the circuit court did not err in allowing the case to proceed against the father after the son was dismissed and in submitting the questions of proximate cause and of the applicability of the family purpose doctrine to the jury. It also holds punitive damages cannot be recovered where liability is based on the family purpose doctrine.

27262 - In the Matter of Christopher John Van Son

The Court imposed discipline on a California attorney who violated solicitation rules in South Carolina.

6-12-2013 - Opinions

27263 - Health Promotion Specialists v. SC Board of Dentistry

We affirm the circuit court's order granting summary judgment in favor of the South Carolina Board of Dentistry and denying Health Promotion Specialists, LLC's motion to amend its Complaint. In so ruling, we find the facts of this case are undisputed and the Board established its entitlement to immunity as a matter of law. Specifically, the Board's action in promulgating an Emergency Regulation was exempt under the provisions of the South Carolina Tort Claims Act involving legislative or quasi-legislative decisions. Alternatively, even if the Board was not immune, Health Promotion Specialists could not sustain a cause of action for a violation of the South Carolina Unfair Trade Practices Act as the Board's promulgation of the Emergency Regulation was not an action "in the conduct of any trade or commerce.

27264 - Hutchinson v. Liberty Life Insurance

The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals, and held that methamphetamine was not a narcotic within the meaning of an exclusionary clause in an insurance policy.

27265 - Medlock v. University Health Services

In this opinion, the Court held a non-attorney may present claims against an estate and petition for allowance of claims in the probate court on behalf of a business entity without engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

27266 - SC Public Interest Foundation v. SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank

The petitioners instituted this suit alleging the composition of the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank's Board of Directors violates both the dual office holding and the separation of powers prohibitions of the South Carolina Constitution. The Court finds both challenges fail and that section 11-43-140 is constitutional.

27267 - Ware v. Ware

Competing domestic actions were instituted by the husband and wife in Alabama and South Carolina, respectively. The husband appeals the denial of his Rule 60 motion to vacate the orders of the South Carolina court on the basis full faith and credit should be afforded to the orders of the Alabama court.

27268 - Action Concrete v. Chappelear

The Court affirmed the circuit court order granting the subcontractor summary judgment against the property owners in this mechanic's lien foreclosure suit.

27269 - Rainey v. Nimrata Nikki R. Haley

Appellant brought this action in circuit court, seeking declarations that the Honorable Nikki R. Haley, Governor of South Carolina, committed various violations of the State Ethics Act while serving as a member of the House of Representatives. The circuit court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction, finding the House Legislative Ethics Committee has exclusive jurisdiction to hear complaints of ethics violations against its own members. The Court agrees and affirms.

27270 - Narruhn v. Alea London Limited

This appeal concerns the application of Rule 60(b), SCRCP and the authority of a special referee.

6-19-2013 - Opinions

27271 - State v. Miller

In this case, we consider the novel issue whether a defendant's probation may be tolled while he is under civil commitment in the SVP program.

27272 - Taylor v. State

The Court affirmed the PCR court's decison finding that Petitioner's plea counsel was not ineffective because Petitioner suffered no prejudice by his plea counsel's failure to advise him of the recidivist consequences of his guilty plea and his plea counsel conducted an adequate investigation of the charges agaist Petitioner prior to his guilty plea.

27273 - Crawford v. Central Mortgage

The Court, C.J. Toal, held that modifying a loan did not constitute the unauthorized practice of law because although the process touches on legal matters, public policy did not necessitate attorney supervision.

6-26-2013 - Opinions

27274 - In the Matter of William Jefferson McMillian, III

This is an opinion definitely suspending a lawyer from the practice of law.

27275 - In the Matter of Alice D. Potter

This is an opinion definitely suspending a lawyer from the practice of law.

27276 - Ross v. Waccamaw Community Hospital

The Court reverses and remands, finding that the parties' failure to timely complete pre-suit mediation pursuant to section 15-79-125 did not divest the circuit court of subject matter jurisdiction and dismissal of Appellant's Notice of Intent was error.

27277 - Ripley v. Emerald Investments

Judgment creditors appealed the denial of their motion to foreclose on a charging order on an LLC member's interest in an LLC. We hold the circuit court erred in denying foreclosure because it considered matters irrelevant to foreclosure and failed to consider the likelihood of satisfaction of the judgment through distributions. Accordingly, we reverse and remand for foreclosure on and the sale of the member's interest in the LLC.

27278 - Bone v. U.S. Food Service

In this workers' compensation case, we affirm the determination of the Court of Appeals that the order remanding the matter to the Commission was not immediately appealable.

27279 - Limehouse v. Hulsey

In these consolidated appeals from jury verdicts in default proceedings, we hold the lack of a certified remand order from federal court precluded jurisdiction from resuming in the state court. Accordingly, we reverse the decision of the Court of Appeals and vacate the state court proceedings. We remand the cases to recommence from the procedural point at which the state court received the federal court's certified remand order. Additionally, we hold the time for filing responsive pleadings is tolled during removal proceedings as no subsequent pleadings can be filed in state court until jurisdiction resumes. Finally, we reaffirm our decision in Howard v. Holiday, Inns, Inc., 271 S.C. 238, 246 S.E.2d 880 (1978), wherein we limited a defendant's participation in a post-default hearing to cross-examination and objection to the plaintiff's evidence as we find this effectuates the purpose of default proceedings and is consistent with Rule 55(b)(2).