A Beaufort County man will have to register as a sex offender for life because he didn’t understand that the sex abuse counseling he was required to perform as part of his sentence would require him to admit his guilt. He claimed during his guilty plea that he was actually innocent, but the South Carolina…
IN THE HEADLINES
- In small cases, lawsuit investments draw heated reaction The wheels of justice grind slowly, but medical bills and missed paychecks add up fast. In personal injury cases, plaintiffs waiting for a recovery can sometimes get an advance against their potential payout to help keep up with living expenses, but the practice remains controversial. Proponents say such funding ensures desperate plaintiffs don’t have to accept a low ball settlement offer to stave off financial ruin. Opponents say plaintiffs are charged usurious rates that can make them reluctant to settle cases.
- Supreme Court treads carefully in patent ruling The U.S. Supreme Court’s surgically narrow ruling prohibiting a farmer from using seeds harvested from patented herbicide-resistant soybeans has left lawyers with more questions than answers about the extent of patent owners’ rights in other emerging, self-replicating technologies.
- High court tweaks its ruling on James Brown estate Changes the state Supreme Court made in its revised opinion in the James Brown estate case, issued earlier this month, have thrown shadows on a couple of Freedom of Information Act suits against state Attorney General Alan Wilson.
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- Insurance -No UM/UIM ‘Stacking’ for Policy Omission
Dooley v. Hartford Accident & Indemnity Co. Although an auto liability policy failed to specify any specific amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provided, that omission did not mean the policy terms prohibiting “stacking,” or combining coverage for multiple insured vehicles, were ambiguous under Virginia law and would allow stacking. The 4th Circuit affirms the district court’s denial of additional coverage to appellant
- Civil Rights – No Fair Housing Claim from HOA’s ATV Denial
Scoggins v. Lee’s Crossing Homeowners Ass’n A homeowners association for Lee’s Crossing subdivision wins a housing discrimination suit under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 filed by a family who was denied the right for their disabled adult son to use an all-terrain vehicle on the subdivision’s unpaved roads; the 4th Circuit affirms summary judgment for the HOA and on the HOA’s cross-appeal, affirms denial of their request for attorney’s fees
- Prisons & Jails – Claim Mooted for Prison Visitation Denial
Williams v. Ozmint Restoration of a prison inmate’s visiting privileges has mooted his appeal of suspension of those privileges for a two-year period as a penalty for the inmate’s suspected receipt of contraband; the 4th Circuit further concludes that the prison warden who imposed the suspicion is shielded by qualified immunity because the inmate did not have a clearly established right to visitation.