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Dec 2, 2019

Tort/Negligence – Damage to Personal Property – Loss of Use – Measure of Damages – Rental Value – First Impression

The district court predicts that the South Carolina Supreme Court would (1) conclude that the plaintiff-telecommunications service provider is eligible to recover loss-of-use damages for the downtime it experienced when defendant severed plaintiff’s fiber-optic cable and (2) allow plaintiff to argue to the jury that the amount of its loss-of-use damages should be the cost […]

Dec 2, 2019

Criminal Practice – Murder – Jury Instructions – Malice – Deadly Weapon – Evidence – Gun Photo

Although the trial court erred when it instructed the jury that malice could be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon, the error was not reversible, given the trial court’s other instruction on malice and the other evidence against appellant. We affirm appellant’s convictions for murder and possession of a weapon during the commission […]

Dec 2, 2019

Landlord/Tenant – Airport Hangar Lease – ‘Space Use Permit’ – Superseding Agreement – Appeals – Mootness

Even though a May 2012 agreement would have allowed the tenant to remain on the leased premises until July 2020, since the tenant entered into a September 2013 “Space Use Permit” with the landlord, which only allowed the tenant to occupy the premises through January 31, 2014, the tenant is bound by the Space Use […]

Dec 2, 2019

Tort/Negligence – Defamation – Qualified Privilege – Slander Per Se – Truth – Damages – Home Designer/Builder

We improvidently granted a writ of certiorari to review the Court of Appeals’ decision (Defendant’s employers, the Gabys, tasked him with investigating the plaintiff-designer/home builder’s progress (or lack thereof) on the Gaby project, so defendant had a qualified privilege when speaking to subcontractors and vendors on the Gaby project. However, there was evidence from which […]

Dec 2, 2019

Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Sentencing – Murder – Juvenile Defendant

The court declines defendant’s invitation to extend the reach of the Eighth Amendment so as to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for juveniles who are convicted of murder. Following a jury trial, appellant Smith was convicted and sentenced to thirty-five years’ imprisonment for murder and thirty years’ imprisonment for attempted murder, the sentences to be run […]

Nov 21, 2019

Tort Freemason splinter group escapes liability

Where the fraternal order of Freemasons sued a splinter group that started their own chapter for unlawfully holding itself out as an extension of the original organization, the fraud, tortious interference and intellectual property claims were properly dismissed. Background This case stems from an internal dispute within a fraternal order of Freemasons, which caused a […]

Nov 21, 2019

Intellectual Property Case not ‘exceptional’ under Lanham Act

Where the district court’s conclusions that one party was prevailing and that this case was “exceptional” under the Lanham Act were both rejected, an award of attorneys’ fees was reversed. Background Citi Trends Inc. filed a declaratory judgement action against Coach Inc. and Coach Services Inc. The district court exercised its discretion to decline to […]

Nov 21, 2019

Domestic Relations Parent & Child – Alternating Custody – Disfavored – Child Support Arrears

Because (1) both parents are fit, loving, and want custody of their child and (2) the parents have a divisive relationship and fail to communicate effectively, the family court erred when it ordered week-to-week alternating custody. We reverse the custody and support order and remand. Custody Divided custody is usually harmful to and not conductive […]

Nov 14, 2019

Criminal No sentence reduction for felon’s crime of violence

Where a defendant found guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm under the Armed Career Criminal Act, or ACCA, had his sentenced reduced because of a 2015 Supreme Court decision, the reduction was in error because his predicate conviction was sufficient to categorically qualify as a crime of violence under ACCA’s force […]

Nov 14, 2019

Criminal Defendant’s threat of ‘manhunt’ for officers supported warrant

Where the defendant made a series of online threats against police officers generally, as well as threats that he was on a “manhunt” for three particular officers, the search warrant was adequately supported. And where he failed to establish that omitted statements were material to the magistrate’s probable cause determination, he was not entitled to […]

Nov 14, 2019

Criminal Police officers guilty of racketeering

Two Baltimore police officers charged with robbing citizens during the course of their police work and committing fraud in obtaining overtime pay were unsuccessful in arguing that the evidence was insufficient to hold them liable for racketeering and conspiracy and that their sentences were excessive. Background In February 2017, a federal grand jury indicted several […]

Nov 14, 2019

Insurance Declaratory judgment ruling was premature

Where an insurance provider asked whether it must pay a judgment against one party if another party prevailed in the underlying state court case and the district court resolved issues as part of its declaratory judgment ruling, that ruling was in error because it was based on a limited record and could have a preclusive […]

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