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Court of Appeals Published Opinions - June 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.

6-1-2016 - Opinions

5406 - Gary v. Askew

In this civil action, American Medical Response, Inc. (AMR) appeals the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Charles Gary as to his negligence and loss of consortium claims. AMR argues the court erred in (1) holding AMR could not escape liability for the negligent actions of a subcontractor because it owed Gary an absolute, nondelegable duty to provide safe transportation pursuant to its contract with the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) and public policy; and (2) prematurely granting summary judgment in favor of Gary when AMR was not afforded a full and fair opportunity to conduct discovery. We reverse and remand.

6-8-2016 - Opinions

5408 - Putnam v. State

In this post-conviction relief (PCR) action, Martina R. Putnam contends the PCR court erred in dismissing her application for PCR and finding trial counsel was not ineffective for failing to adequately prepare her case and call witnesses to testify in her defense. We are constrained by our standard of review to affirm the PCR court's order of dismissal.

5409 - Byrd v. McDonald

In this action for partition and the determination of heirs, Wilkins Byrd, Kay Larsen, John Klettner, Laura Bynum, Ann Crump, Robert Larsen, Joan Gary, John Stanton, Charles Stanton, Byrd Thompson, and unknown persons claiming an interest in the subject real property (collectively, Appellants) appeal the circuit court's affirmance of the probate court's decision to order the public sale of real property owned jointly by Appellants and E. Butler McDonald. On appeal, Appellants argue the probate court (1) erred in treating the percentages of ownership as personal property rather than as realty, (2) lacked subject matter jurisdiction to hear the partition action, (3) erred in applying section 15-61-25(A) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2012) rather than section 62-3-911 of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2012), (4) erred in finding Appellants failed to comply with the probate court's order, (5) erred in holding partition by allotment was not practical and in ordering a public sale, and (6) erred in awarding reasonable attorney's fees and costs to McDonald pursuant to section 15-61-110 of the South Carolina Code (2005). We affirm in part and vacate in part.

5410 - Protection and Advocacy v. Buscemi

In this declaratory judgment action, we affirm the trial court's order finding Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc. does not have authority to review the medical records of Community Training Home residents during its statutorily authorized inspections of living conditions under section 43-33-350 of the South Carolina Code.

5411 - Doe v. City of Duncan

John Doe appeals the circuit court's decision to dismiss his action pursuant to Rules 3, 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(2), SCRCP. Doe argues the circuit court failed to apply the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (the Act).

6-15-2016 - Opinions

5412 - State v. Medley

Matthew S. Medley appeals his conviction for driving under the influence (DUI), second offense, arguing the circuit court erred in admitting incriminating statements he made while in custody regarding his alcohol consumption. We affirm.

5413 - West Anderson Water v. City of Anderson

In this declaratory judgment action, Appellant West Anderson Water District (the District) seeks review of the circuit court's order interpreting a contract between the District and Respondent City of Anderson, South Carolina (the City) allowing the City to provide water service to a certain site within the District's boundaries. The District argues the individuals serving on the District's governing board at the time the contract was executed did not have authority to bind successor boards. The District also argues the circuit court's interpretation of the disputed contractual provision substantially compromised the District's central, primary function, i.e., the provision of water and sewer service. We affirm.

5415 - McMahan v. S.C. Department of Education

In this cross-appeal arising from a workers' compensation action, the Court of Appeals reverses the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission and concludes the estate of Timothy McMahan is entitled to the unpaid balance of his compensation pursuant to section 42-9-280 of the South Carolina Code (2015).

5416 - Patterson v. Witter

In this civil matter, Allen Patterson and several others (collectively "Appellants") appeal the circuit court's grant of the South Carolina Home Builders Self Insurers Fund (the Fund) and its trustees' (collectively "Respondents") Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP, motion to dismiss. Appellants argue the court erred in (1) finding the Fund was not a trust; (2) ruling the action involved derivative claims subject to the pleading requirements of Rule 23(b)(1), SCRCP; and (3) holding Appellants' complaint did not comply with such requirements. We affirm.

6-22-2016 - Opinions

5417 - Huffman v. Sunshine Recycling

In this action for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, Appellant Meredith Huffman seeks review of the circuit court's order granting summary judgment to Respondents, Sunshine Recycling, LLC and Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc. Huffman argues there were genuine issues of material fact concerning whether Respondents caused, instigated, or procured her arrest and the extent of Respondents' participation in law enforcement's charging Huffman with receiving stolen goods. We reverse and remand for a trial on the merits of Huffman's false imprisonment and malicious prosecution claims.

6-29-2016 - Opinions

5388 - Atkins v. Wilson

In this declaratory judgment action, Appellants, Vivian Atkins, Robert Frick, and Kay Hollis, a majority of members of Chapin Town Council, seek review of the circuit court's order granting the motion of Respondents, James Wilson, Jr., Chapin's Mayor, and Gregg White, another Council member, to invalidate actions taken by Appellants at two special Council meetings. Appellants also initially challenged the circuit court's order denying their motion for a preliminary injunction and dismissing their complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. However, at oral arguments, Appellants advised the court they wished to waive their assignments of error as to this particular order. Therefore, we summarily affirm this order without further discussion. As to the circuit court's order invalidating the actions taken by Appellants at the two special meetings, we reverse.

5418 - Harris v. Tietex International Ltd.

In this defamation case, Gary Harris appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Tietex International, Ltd., arguing the trial court erred in finding summary judgment was appropriate based on (1) a lack of genuine issue of material fact, (2) the statute of limitations, (3) res judicata, and (4) collateral estoppel. We affirm.

5419 - Arkay, LLC v. City of Charleston

In this zoning case, the City of Charleston (the City), the City of Charleston Board of Zoning Appeals (the Board), the Andrew Pinckney Inn, and Michael A. Molony (collectively "Appellants") appeal the circuit court's reversal of the Board's denial of Arkay, LLC's (Arkay) application for a special use exception to operate a carriage horse stable. Appellants contend the court erred in (1) finding the special use exception ordinance described a stable as a "use" rather than a physical structure, (2) relying upon the law of horizontal property regime (HPR) as a means of satisfying the separation requirement, and (3) failing to reconcile and construe the zoning and tourism ordinances in a consistent manner. We reverse.

5420 - Frierson v. State

Darryl Frierson (Petitioner) pled guilty to kidnapping, armed robbery, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature (ABHAN), and criminal conspiracy. He appeals from the denial of his application for post-conviction relief (PCR), arguing the PCR court erred in not finding his guilty plea was involuntary due to counsel's failure to advise him he could move to suppress evidence stemming from the placement of a mobile tracking device on his car. We affirm.

6-30-2016 - Opinions

5421 - Coastal Federal Credit v. Brown

In this appeal, we hold the applicable statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim related to a contract for the sale of goods that also creates a security interest in the goods is the limitations period in Chapter 2 of the South Carolina Uniform Commercial Code.