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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - January 2016

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.

1-6-2016 - Opinions

5374 - Repko v. County of Georgetown

David M. Repko appeals the trial court's granting of a directed verdict in favor of Georgetown County (the County). Repko argues the trial court erred in (1) construing Article V, Section 3-1 of the County Development Regulations (the Regulations) to preclude a "tort-like" duty when the plain language of that provision disclaims only a "financial-like" obligation; (2) relying on the Regulations' "sovereign immunity" provision when that provision is unenforceable because it is preempted by the South Carolina Tort Claims Act; (3) finding the Regulations did not create a special duty owed to him under the "special duty test"; (4) finding subsections 15-78-60(4), (5), and (13) of the South Carolina Tort Claims Act provided the County with immunity to his negligence claim; and (5) not recusing itself based upon prior business relationships concerning the transactions involved. We reverse and remand.

1-13-2016 - Opinions

5375 - Kelley v. Wren

David Wren and Sun Publishing Company, Inc. appeal from a jury verdict awarding $400,000 in actual damages and $250,000 in punitive damages to Mark Kelley on Kelley's claims he was libeled by a series of articles Wren wrote for The Sun News of Myrtle Beach. Wren and Sun Publishing argue (1) the trial court erred in denying their motions for a directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) because Kelley presented no evidence Wren or Sun Publishing made a false and defamatory statement of fact, (2) the trial court erred in denying their motions for a directed verdict and JNOV because Kelley failed to present clear and convincing evidence Wren wrote the articles with actual malice, (3) the trial court erred in admitting expert testimony about the standards of professional journalism, (4) the trial court erred in ruling the damages awards were not so grossly excessive as to warrant a new trial absolute, and (5) the punitive damages award violates the free press guarantees of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. We affirm.

1-20-2016 - Opinions

5376 - Russell v. Wal-Mart Stores

In this workers' compensation action against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and American Home Assurance, Paula Russell appeals, arguing the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission erred in (1) requiring a change of condition to be established by objective evidence; (2) ruling substantial evidence existed to deny a change of condition; and (3) finding Russell's statements were self-serving and conclusory. We reverse and remand.

1-27-2016 - Opinions

5377 - State v. Edwards

Cleophus N. Edwards, Jr. appeals his convictions for murder, first-degree burglary, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting into evidence (1) a laptop computer, (2) clothing and shoes from a suitcase, and (3) the results of DNA analysis and shoe imprint comparisons. We affirm.