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Aug 7, 2019

Criminal Defendant’s confession alone insufficient to support conviction

A defendant who admitted he lied about his intent in purchasing firearms nevertheless had his conviction overturned because there was no independent corroborating evidence or testimony. Background Christopher Rodriguez-Soriano was found guilty of knowingly making a false statement to a licensed firearms dealer in the acquisition of a firearm, stating that he was the actual […]

Aug 7, 2019

Insurance Employer as joint insurance plan administrator had fiduciary duty

An employer who allegedly told a beneficiary it would pay death benefits, after the life insurance carrier denied the claim, has been sued by the beneficiary who alleges she relied on the promises to her detriment. Background According to the complaint, while working for National Counseling Group Inc., or NCG, Wayne Murdock elected $150,000 in […]

Aug 7, 2019

Civil Practice Company president not personally liable for judgment

A company president is not personally responsible for a multi-million dollar judgment because he was never personally named in the complaint. However, the president might be liable for sanctions because of his conduct during the discovery. Background In December 2010, plaintiff Life Technologies Corp. filed a two-count complaint against the defendant, Life Technologies Corp. alleging […]

Aug 7, 2019

Civil Rights Police not liable for failing to intervene during ‘Unite the Right’ rally

Officials who allegedly instructed police to not intervene during the “Unite the Right” rally are nevertheless entitled to immunity against claims brought by a person who was allegedly attacked by protestors. Background Robert Sanchez Turner was attacked by protesters at the “Unite the Right” rally on Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville. Turner claims that, pursuant […]

Aug 7, 2019

Immigration Removal not justified by conviction for participation in criminal street gang

A lawful permanent resident could not be removed under the Immigration and Nationality Act based on his conviction for participation in a criminal street gang under Virginia law because an individual can be convicted of that offense without committing a crime involving moral turpitude. Background Melvin Josue Rodriguez Cabrera, a native and citizen of El […]

Aug 7, 2019

Civil Rights Prisoner could appeal dismissal of his civil rights complaints

Where a prisoner’s three separate civil rights actions against corrections employees were dismissed on the same day, the prisoner could appeal the dismissals in forma pauperis because a dismissal does not count as a “prior occasion” under the Prison Litigation Reform Act unless it occurred in a different lawsuit. Background Therl Taylor, an indigent state prisoner, filed […]

Aug 7, 2019

Civil Rights FOIA Request – Lottery Winners – Declaratory Judgment – Standing

Where (1) appellant’s request for the personal information of lottery winners led to petitioner South Carolina Lottery Commission being sued by one such winner; (2) after respondent provided him with general information about the lottery winners, appellant filed more requests under the Freedom of Information Act; and (3) appellant’s renewed filings led to an even […]

Aug 7, 2019

Labor & Employment Age Discrimination Claim – SCHAL – No Private Right of Action – Statute of Limitations

Even though S.C. Code Ann. § 2-13-90(c)(1) of the South Carolina Human Affairs Law (SCHAL) refers to “an action brought under this subsection,” since the statute expressly outlines an administrative remedy, no private cause of action is available for plaintiff under § 1-13-90(c). We affirm summary judgment for the defendant-employer, a state agency. Background Despite […]

Aug 7, 2019

Tort/Negligence Defamation – Labor & Employment – Malice – Punitive Damages

After a cursory investigation convinced defendants (plaintiff’s superiors) that plaintiff, a school security guard, had stolen $1,000 from a school for which he was supposed to provide security, defendants told others in the security department that plaintiff would be working a desk job and was not to be assigned work that involved having keys. A […]

Aug 7, 2019

Criminal Practice PCR – Insufficient Findings – Appeals – Preservation

In his claim for post-conviction relief, one of petitioner’s contentions was that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by referring to petitioner’s presence at a courthouse roll call to answer to another criminal charge and counsel’s characterization of petitioner as a “usual suspect.” Although petitioner did not file a Rule 59(e), SCRCP, motion as to […]

Aug 7, 2019

Criminal Practice Jury Instructions – Inferred Malice – Voluntary Manslaughter

Regardless of the evidence presented at trial, a trial court shall no longer instruct a jury that malice may be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon. We reverse our Court of Appeals’ decision and remand for a new trial on the charges of voluntary manslaughter and possession of a weapon during the commission […]

Jul 31, 2019

Tort/Negligence Proximate Cause – Suicide – Enhanced Injuries – Air Bag – Certified Questions

In answer to two questions certified by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court says (1) South Carolina does not recognize a general rule that suicide is an intervening act that always breaks the chain of causation in a wrongful death action and (2) when there is evidence in a crashworthiness case that the […]

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