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Feb 20, 2020

Tort/Negligence – Equitable Indemnity – Attorney’s Fees – First Impression – Sidewalk Construction – Curb Ramp

In this case involving equitable indemnity from a third-party defendant, we follow the majority rule as to attorney’s fees: the third-party plaintiffs may recover the attorneys’ fees they incurred in defending the underlying lawsuit but not the attorneys’ fees they incurred in pursuing their indemnity claim. Since the third-party plaintiff-tenant’s request for attorneys’ fees did [&helli[...]

Feb 20, 2020

Contract – Statute of Frauds – Loan – Primary Use – Statute of Limitations

As part of her realty business, defendant self-financed mortgages for some of her customers, including the Wagners. When the Wagners could not make the balloon payment required by defendant’s loan to them, plaintiff lent the Wagners the $210,000 balance, which they were to repay when they sold the property. However, after the closing, defendant gave […]

Feb 20, 2020

Criminal Practice – Search & Seizure – Consensual Encounter – Terry Frisk

In denying defendant’s motion to suppress, the trial court found: (1) law enforcement initiated a conversation with defendant; (2) defendant willingly stopped and spoke with law enforcement; (3) law enforcement notified defendant they were law enforcement; (4) law enforcement never told defendant he was not free to leave; and (5) defendant was originally forthcoming with […]

Feb 20, 2020

Civil Practice – Class Action – Department of Revenue – Wage Garnishment – Agency Debt Collection

S.C. Code Ann. § 12-60-80(C) of the Revenue Procedures Act plainly states that the Department of Revenue “may not be named or made a defendant in any … class action brought in this State.” We reject the circuit court’s ruling that this defense does not apply to a case involving the department’s garnishment of plaintiffs’ […]

Feb 13, 2020

Insurance – Auto – UM Claims Denial – Statutory Prerequisite – Summary Judgment Stage

In its pleadings, the defendant-insurer asserted that plaintiff could not recover on its uninsured motorist claims because defendant provided only excess coverage. Defendant waited until the summary judgment stage to argue that plaintiff’s claims failed because plaintiff had not sued and obtained judgments against the uninsured motorists. Since suing the uninsured motorists is an element [&helli[...]

Feb 13, 2020

Criminal Practice – DUI – Search & Seizure – Warrantless Blood Draw – Serious Accident – Unknown Substances

Even though defendant’s breath did not smell of alcohol, (1) he veered into oncoming traffic, causing serious injuries; (2) he claimed his brakes failed, but his explanation would mean he did not have functioning brakes; (3) his eyes were glassy and his pupils were dilated; (4) the accident occurred at rush hour, and several of […]

Feb 13, 2020

Criminal Practice – Murder – Mutual Combat – Gun Battle – Innocent Bystander – First Impression

Even though the bullet that killed an eight-year-old child was intended for defendant, since defendant was engaged in a gun battle with the shooter, defendant is guilty of the child’s murder under the theory of mutual combat. We affirm defendant’s conviction of murder. Under the theory of mutual combat, each combatant is criminally responsible for […]

Feb 13, 2020

Civil Practice – Appeals – Interlocutory – Class Action Certification – Adoption Confidentiality

The circuit court certified a plaintiff class of parents who adopted special-needs children and then had their subsidies reduced by the state. The certification order is not immediately appealable because (1) it is not certain that the children’s confidential adoptive status will be disclosed (the named plaintiffs have been ordered to prepare for the circuit […]

Feb 13, 2020

Prisons & Jails – Parole – Two-Thirds Vote

In 2001, respondent was wrongly requiring the votes of five members of the parole board before it would grant parole; the relevant statute required only a two-thirds vote of the board members present (not two-thirds of the entire seven-member board). The only evidence of the vote count at petitioner’s 2001 parole hearing was that four […]

Feb 13, 2020

Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Right to Counsel – Magistrate’s Court – Dangers of Self-Representation – Appeals – Issue Preservation

The record on appeal shows that the magistrate advised defendant of his right to be represented by an attorney, but the record is silent as to whether the magistrate advised defendant of the dangers of representing himself. We remand to the circuit court for a hearing on whether defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right […]

Feb 13, 2020

Criminal Practice – Appeals – Non-prejudicial Error – State Not Aggrieved

Even though the Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred by admitting three victims’ identification testimony, since the Court of Appeals held the error was harmless and affirmed defendant’s convictions, the state is not aggrieved by the decision of the Court of Appeals. We dismiss the writ of certiorari as improvidently granted. State […]

Feb 6, 2020

Immigration – Petitioner not afforded due process rights

Where the Board of Immigration Appeals instructed the Immigration Judge to allow a petitioner from Cameroon to explain inconsistencies in her prior testimony, her due process rights were violated when the judge denied her application for asylum before she was afforded an opportunity to explain inconsistencies. Background Ngawung Atemnkeng, a citizen of Cameroon, fled her […]

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