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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - August 2015

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.

8-3-2015 - Opinions

5339 - SCDSS v. Briggs

In this appeal from a permanency planning order and a removal order, I'Tesha C. Briggs argues the family court erred in (1) changing the permanent plan from reunification to relative custody concurrent with termination of parental rights, (2) allowing the Department of Social Services to forego reasonable efforts at reunification, and (3) removing her infant child based on the alleged abuse and neglect of her three older children. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for a new permanency planning hearing.

8-5-2015 - Opinions

5338 - Tucker v. Doe

John Doe, individually, and d/b/a Doe Trucking Company, argues the circuit court erred in denying Doe's motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) because (1) the sworn witness affidavit of Anthony Bernardo failed to satisfy the requirements of section 38-77-170(2) of the South Carolina Code (2015), (2) Respondent Bobby Lee Tucker, Sr., failed to present sufficient evidence to create a question of fact about whether an unknown vehicle proximately caused his accident by leaving an object in the road, and (3) the evidence of recklessness was insufficient to sustain an award of punitive damages. We affirm.

8-12-2015 - Opinions

5253 - Sierra Club v. SCDHEC

This is an appeal from the administrative law court, which upheld the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control's decision to renew the license under which Chem-Nuclear Systems, LLC operates a disposal facility for low-level radioactive waste. We affirm the ALC as to all issues, except four subsections of the regulation governing DHEC's issuance and renewal of such licenses.

5340 - Wigington v. State

In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, George Wigington (Petitioner) argues the PCR court erred in finding trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to properly argue to the trial court and preserve for appellate review whether he was entitled to an involuntary manslaughter jury charge. We reverse and remand for a new trial.

5341 - State v. Thompson

Alphonso Chaves Thompson was convicted of trafficking in cocaine, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Thompson raises issues concerning the denial of his motion to suppress all evidence found based upon an insufficient search warrant affidavit, denial of his motion to suppress his confession, and denial of his motion for a directed verdict on the charge of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. We affirm.

8-19-2015 - Opinions

5343 - Stoneledge at Lake Keowee v. Clear View Construction

Marick Home Builders, LLC served as one of several general contractors for the construction of townhomes known as Stoneledge at Lake Keowee. The Stoneledge at Lake Keowee Owners' Association, Inc. brought suit against Marick and others alleging construction defects in the townhomes. The circuit court granted summary judgment against Marick on its cross-claim for negligence, finding "Marick's negligence claim is a claim for equitable indemnity." The circuit court also found Marick's fault required summary judgment on its equitable indemnity claim. We affirm the court's ruling that Marick did not have a separate claim for negligence. However, we find Marick presented a question of fact on its equitable indemnity claim. We reverse the summary judgment on that issue and remand for trial on the equitable indemnity claim.

5344 - Stoneledge at Lake Keowee v. Builders FirstSource

Marick Home Builders, LLC served as one of several general contractors for the construction of townhomes known as Stoneledge at Lake Keowee. The Stoneledge at Lake Keowee Owners' Association, Inc. brought suit against Marick and others alleging construction defects in the townhomes. The circuit court granted summary judgment against Marick on its cross-claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty, finding these claims were "merely disguised . . . claims for equitable indemnity and are not viable as alternative causes of action." We affirm.

8-26-2015 - Opinions

5345 - Donevant v. Town of Surfside Beach

In this wrongful termination action, the Town of Surfside Beach appeals the trial court's denial of its motion for a directed verdict. The Town argues that by denying its motion for a directed verdict, the trial court erred in expanding the public policy exception to at-will employment beyond situations where the employer requires the employee to violate criminal law or the reason for the employee's termination itself is a violation of criminal law. The Town further asserts the trial court's denial of its motion was error because the public policy exception does not apply to terminations of government employees who insist on performing an act that is discretionary. We affirm.

5346 - State v. Samuel

Appellant appeals his conviction for murder arguing the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to represent himself. We affirm.