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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - November 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.

11-2-2016 - Opinions

5414 - In the Matter of the Estate of Marion M. Kay

In this matter arising from the probate court, the Court of Appeals affirms the circuit court's decision to reduce the personal representative's compensation for settling an estate. The Court of Appeals also reverses the circuit court's decision to affirm the probate court's award of attorney's fees to Respondents' counsel, finding the common fund doctrine inapplicable under the specific facts of the case.

5450 - Miteva v. Robinson

In this appeal from the family court, the court of appeals affirms the family court's decision to grant the parties a divorce based on one-year's separation and to divide the marital estate evenly between the parties. However, based on the parties' relatively equal financial positions, both parties' success on certain issues, and inadequate proof that Wife hindered litigation, the court of appeals modifies the award of attorney's fees, requiring Wife to contribute $15,000 towards Husband's attorney's fees as opposed to paying the entirety of his fees.

5451 - Pee Dee Health v. Estate of Hugh S. Thompson

In this civil matter, Pee Dee Health Care, P.A. (PDHC) appeals the circuit court's award of sanctions to the estate of Hugh S. Thompson, III (the Estate) pursuant to Rule 11, SCRCP. PDHC argues the court erred in failing to dismiss the Estate's motion for sanctions as untimely, granting Rule 11 sanctions when PDHC's filings and arguments to the court were not frivolous, awarding sanctions for the thirty hours the Estate's counsel spent responding to discovery requests served upon third parties, not reducing the award for the time the Estate's counsel spent preparing the sanctions motion, and ignoring the Estate's inequitable conduct when deciding to grant sanctions. The Estate cross-appeals, arguing the court erred in concluding its claim for sanctions under the South Carolina Frivolous Civil Proceedings Sanctions Act (the FCPSA) was untimely and not awarding additional sanctions. We vacate in part and affirm in part.

5452 - Gordon v. Lancaster

Donald W. Lancaster appealed an order awarding damages to Respondent Frank Gordon, Jr., Individually and as Trustee of the Dorothy S. Gordon Trust, in a lawsuit Gordon filed to collect on a prior judgment he obtained against Lancaster's uncle. On appeal, Lancaster argued the underlying judgment was no longer enforceable and challenged the findings that he and his uncle engaged in various fraudulent conveyances. We affirm.

11-9-2016 - Opinions

5453 - Forman v. SCDLLR

Karen Forman appeals the decision of the Administrative Law Court (ALC) affirming the order of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, State Board of Social Work Examiners (Board) prohibiting her from working as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and barring her from all independent social work practice. We affirm.

11-16-2016 - Opinions

5454 - Olds v. City of Goose Creek

In this action between Todd Olds and the City of Goose Creek (City), Olds appeals the circuit court's order affirming the City Council's decision denying his appeal of a City business license tax. Olds argues the circuit court erred in finding the City (1) acted within its authority under the state constitution by levying the tax on the gross receipts of his business and (2) properly applied a City ordinance imposing the tax on gross income. Additionally, Olds appeals the circuit court's decision finding he was not entitled to relief for a violation of procedural due process based on the City's administrative appellate procedure. Finally, Olds appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment as to various claims he brought against the City, arguing the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment because evidence demonstrated City employees violated his constitutional rights and singled him out for disparate and arbitrary treatment. We affirm.

5455 - Montgomery v. Spartanburg County Assessor

In this action from the Administrative Law Court (ALC), the Spartanburg County Assessor (Assessor) appeals the ALC's order granting Montgomery's motion for summary judgment. Assessor argues the ALC erred in its definition of "fair market value for agricultural property" in section 12-43-220(d) of the South Carolina Code (2014). We reverse.

5456 - State v. Johnson

Devin Johnson appeals his convictions for murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, arguing the trial court erred in (1) admitting text messages and historical cell service location information obtained from his cellular service provider by a search warrant, (2) admitting his statement to a police officer, (3) instructing the jury concerning "the hand of one is the hand of all" because the evidence did not support the instruction, and (4) rendering the trial fundamentally unfair because the timing of the hand of one instruction prevented Appellant from addressing the theory in his closing argument. We reverse.

11-23-2016 - Opinions

5457 - Hartzell v. Palmetto Collision, LLC

The Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission (Appellate Panel) awarded Richard A. Hartzell (Claimant) medical care and treatment benefits for a back injury. Palmetto Collision, LLC, (Employer) appeals the award, arguing the Appellate Panel erred in (1) determining Employer regularly employed four or more employees and, therefore, was subject to the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Act (Act) ; (2) finding Claimant accidentally injured his back "on or about February 25, 2009," and failing to make any conclusion of law thereon; (3) finding Claimant reported the injury timely and failing to make any conclusion of law thereon; and (4) awarding Claimant medical benefits for the injury. We find jurisdiction was proper and reverse on the issue of notice.