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Supreme Court Published Opinions - August 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.

8-7-2013 - Opinions

27292 - In the Matter of Eugene Charles Fulton

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

27293 - Progressive Max Insurance v. Floating Caps

We affirm the appeal of an order denying a request for contribution on the basis the claim was not properly preserved under South Carolina's Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasor's Act (UCATA).

27294 - Widenhouse v. Colson

The Court held that a North Carolina money judgment on civil causes of action that have been abolished in South Carolina as contrary to South Carolina public policy is entitled to full faith and credit under the United States Constitution.

8-14-2013 - Opinions

27295 - Bardsley v. Government Employees Insurance

Following an automobile accident in which a car struck a home, the homeowners sought underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage from their automobile insurer. The insurer denied coverage on the grounds a clause in the policy made the coverage secondary to their homeowner's insurance which had already covered the damage to the home. The circuit court granted summary judgment for the homeowner, and the insurer appealed. Finding the provision in the UIM policy making it secondary to other coverage was neither amibiguous, in violation of public policy, nor prohibited by the collateral source rule, the Court holds the provision was valid and reverses.

27296 - State v. Logan

Appellant argues the trial court erred in providing the circumstantial evidence jury charge this Court explained in State v. Grippon, 327 S.C. 79, 489 S.E.2d 462 (1997). The Court affirms Appellant's conviction and clarifies the appropriate circumstantial evidence jury charge.

27297 - State v. Provet

The Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals in this traffic stop case, but clarified the scope of appellate review and noted that some language in State v. Rivera, 384 S.C. 356, 682 S.E.2d 307 (Ct. App. 2009) and other appellate opinions concerning off-topic questioning has been superceded by the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323 (2009).

27298 - Cape Romain v. Wando E., LLC

The Court reverses the trial court's refusal to compel arbitration and stay litigation, finding the parties' transaction involved interstate commerce.

27299 - Babb v. Lee County Landfill

Brought in federal district court on claims arising from offensive odors migrating from a landfill onto the plaintiffs' properties, this case presents five certified questions concerning common law, environmental torts. We hold the damages recoverable for a temporary trespass or nuisance are limited to the lost rental value of a plaintiff's property and the damages recoverable for trespass or nuisance generally are limited to the full market value of a plaintiff's property. We also hold that for a trespass to arise there must be a physical, tangible invasion upon the plaintiff's property. We acknowledge the possibility of a negligence claim based upon offensive odors but hold that such a claim is subject to the same elements as other negligence claims. Finally, we restate the standard governing when expert testimony is required.

27300 - Crouch Construction v. Bryan Causey

In this direct appeal, the Court reverses an order of the circuit court that set aside an arbitration award on the ground of the arbitrator's "evident partiality" under section 15-48-130(a)(2) of the South Carolina Code, and the Court remands the matter for confirmation of the arbitration award.

27301 - In the Matter of Allan Riley Holmes

In this opinion, the Court suspends Allan Riley Holmes for nine months, retroactive to January 25, 2012, with certain conditions.

8-21-2013 - Opinions

27302 - State v. Isaac

The Court dismisses Appellant's appeal, finding the denial of a request for immunity under the Protection of Persons and Property Act, S.C. Code ยงยง 16-11-410 to -450, is not immediately appealable.

8-28-2013 - Opinions

27303 - State v. Cope

The Court granted a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' opinion in State v. Cope, 385 S.C. 274, 684 S.E.2d 177 (Ct. App. 2009) and affirms Billy Wayne Cope's convictions for murder, two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct, criminal conspiracy, and unlawful conduct towards a child. Specifically, the Court affirms the court of appeals holdings that the trial court did not err in refusing to admit certain testimony, denying Cope's motion for severance, and denying Cope's motion for a directed verdict on the conspiracy charge.

27304 - Poch v. Bayshore Concrete

This Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals in Poch v. Bayshore Concrete Products/South Carolina, Inc., 386 S.C. 13, 686 S.E.2d 689 (Ct. App. 2009), which affirmed the circuit court's dismissal of Petitioners' causes of action on the ground that workers' compensation was Petitioners' exclusive remedy and, therefore, Respondents were immune from liability in a tort action. Petitioners contend the Court of Appeals erred in holding that: (1) Bayshore Corp. (VA) was entitled to workers' compensation immunity as a statutory employer of Poch and Key; and (2) Bayshore Corp. (VA) and Bayshore (SC) properly secured workers' compensation coverage for Poch and Key. We affirm as modified.

27305 - 16 Jade Street v. R. Design Construction

The Court finds Appellant Carl Aten committed no actionable tort for which he could be held personally liable and affirms in part and reverses in part the circuit court's order.

27306 - In the Interest of Justin B.

Appellant, a minor under seventeen years of age, claims that the active electronic monitoring requirements of section 23-3-540 of the South Carolina Code constitute cruel and unusual punishment when applied to a juvenile. Affirmed as modified.

27307 - State v. Gamble

The Court reverses Petitioner's conviction for trafficking in heroin because there was no evidence that the police had probable cause to institute a search incident to arrest, and therefore, the circuit court should have suppressed the drug evidence.

27308 - Hill v. Bell

In this certified question, the Court held that South Carolina does not recognize the "putative spouse" or "putative marriage" doctrine.