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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - March 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.

3-2-2016 - Opinions

5384 - Thompson v. Pruitt Corporation

In this wrongful death and survival action, Appellants, Pruitt Corporation d/b/a UHS-Pruitt Corporation, UHS-Pruitt Holdings, Inc., UHS of South Carolina-East, LLC, United Health Services of South Carolina, Inc., United Clinical Services, Inc., United Rehab, Inc., Rock Hill Healthcare Properties, Inc., and Uni-Health Post Acute Care-Rock Hill, LLC d/b/a UniHealth Post Acute Care-Rock Hill, challenge the circuit court's order denying Appellants' motion to compel arbitration. We affirm.

5385 - Bank of New York Mellon Trust v. Grier

Chartrease Grier appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Nationwide Property & Casualty Insurance Company (Nationwide), arguing the court erred in (1) finding section 38-75-740 of the South Carolina Code (2015) was inapplicable to homeowners insurance policies, (2) ruling her breach of contract claim failed as a matter of law, (3) concluding Nationwide's refusal to pay was not in bad faith, and (4) denying Grier's motion to amend her third-party complaint. We affirm.

5386 - Snow v. Smith

In this easement action, a group of homeowners contend the master-in-equity erred in finding (1) their easement was limited to ingress and egress and (2) the restrictive covenants do not apply to the Lake Access Lot. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

5387 - Wilson v. Willis

Peerless Insurance Company (Peerless), Montgomery Mutual Insurance Company (Montgomery), and Safeco Insurance Company (Safeco) (collectively "the Insurers") appeal the circuit court's denial of their motions to dismiss the claims and compel arbitration in fourteen related actions. The Insurers argue the court erred in (1) ruling no valid contract containing an arbitration provision existed between the parties, (2) determining the arbitration provision at issue was too narrow to encompass the causes of action, (3) refusing to compel arbitration of claims brought by nonsignatories, (4) finding the claims against the Insurers were not encompassed by the arbitration provision because their alleged actions constituted illegal and outrageous acts unforeseeable to a reasonable consumer in the context of normal business dealings, and (5) holding the Insurers waived their right to compel arbitration. We reverse.

3-9-2016 - Opinions

5389 - Gatewood v. SCDC

Appellant (Inmate), an inmate participating in a Prison Industries service project operated by Respondent South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC), challenges an order of the South Carolina Administrative Law Court (ALC) upholding SCDC's denial of Inmate's wage-related grievance. Inmate argues the ALC erred in denying his motion to supplement the record. Inmate also argues the ALC erred in applying section 24-1-295 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2015) to determine the deductions from his gross wages. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

3-16-2016 - Opinions

5390 - State v. King

Tyrone J. King appeals his convictions for murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and assault and battery in the third degree. King argues the circuit court erred in admitting highly prejudicial bad acts evidence, denying his motion for a mistrial, and denying his motion for a new trial. We reverse.

5391 - Conits v. Conits

In this family court action between Peggy D. Conits (Wife) and Spiro E. Conits (Husband), Husband appeals the final order, arguing the court erred in (1) including a nonexistent asset in the marital estate; (2) finding Husband's note payable to his brother was nonmarital property; (3) finding certain property was transmuted into marital property; (4) finding property encumbered by mortgages during the marriage was marital property; (5) apportioning the marital estate; (6) exercising jurisdiction over nonmarital property; and (7) awarding Wife attorney's fees. We affirm.

3-23-2016 - Opinions

5392 - State v. Devore

Johnie Allen Devore, Jr. appeals his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), raising various issues. Because we find no appellate jurisdiction, we dismiss the appeal.

5393 - SC Insurance Reserve Fund v. East Richland County

East Richland County Public Service District (the District) appeals the circuit court's order finding the South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund (the Fund) owed no duty to defend or indemnify the District, arguing the circuit court erred in concluding (1) the policy exclusion relied upon by the Fund did not conflict with the provisions of the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, and (2) the Fund had no duty to defend or indemnify the District. We affirm.

5394 - Hidria, USA v. Delo, d/b/a Slovenske Novice

Appellant Hidria USA, Inc. (Hidria) appeals the circuit court's order finding Respondent Delo, d.d., d/b/a Slovenske Novice (Delo) not subject to personal jurisdiction in South Carolina. Hidria argues it produced the evidence necessary to support the court's exercise of personal jurisdiction based on Delo's sufficient contacts within the State. Hidria asserts in the alternative that even if Delo lacked sufficient minimum contacts with South Carolina, the circuit court erred in dismissing the complaint because Delo subjected itself to personal jurisdiction by intentionally targeting Hidria in South Carolina. We affirm.

5395 - State v. Barrett, Jr.

Gerald Barrett appeals his conviction for a lewd act upon a minor, arguing the trial court erred in (1) qualifying Kendra Twitty as an expert "mental health professional, specifically in the area of child sexual abuse characteristics," and (2) failing to grant a continuance for him to obtain an expert to dispute her testimony. We affirm.

3-30-2016 - Opinions

5396 - State v. White

George White appeals his convictions for lewd act upon a minor and second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, arguing the trial court erred in admitting into evidence a video of the victim's forensic interview and allowing the jurors to use a transcript of the interview while watching the video. We hold that when a forensic interview video contains some sound, but the sound is not clear, it is within the trial court's discretion to allow the jurors to use a transcript while watching the video. White also raises several other issues, which we affirm.

5397 - Nichols Holding v. Divine Capital

In this breach of contract action, Appellants-Respondents, Divine Capital Group, LLC, John S. Divine, IV, Nathan Anderson, and Divine Dining Group, Inc. (collectively, Divine), seek review of the circuit court's order requiring Divine to pay impact fees to Georgetown County Water and Sewer District (the District) on behalf of Respondents-Appellants, Nichols Holding, LLC and J. Wade Nichols (collectively, Nichols). Nichols challenges the circuit court's order requiring Nichols to pay Divine's outstanding trade debt.

5398 - Graham v. Town of Latta

In this negligence action arising from a municipal sewer system overflow, the Town of Latta (the Town) appeals the circuit court's denial of its motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV). On cross-appeal, Claude Graham and Vickie Graham (collectively, the Grahams) argue the circuit court erred in (1) directing a verdict in favor of the Town on Vickie Graham's claims for inverse condemnation and trespass, and (2) ruling the Town has an easement by prescription for the sewer line located on their property. We affirm.