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Opinion Digests

Sep 11, 2023

Prisons & Jails – Parole Denial – Facts of Offense – Juvenile Offender – Exemplary Inmate

The appellant-inmate has been imprisoned for 50 years for a crime he committed at age 17. The jury recommended mercy, and there appears to be no dispute that appellant has been an exemplary inmate and demonstrated remorse, rehabilitation and a low risk for recidivism. While it seems that the review conducted by the Parole Board […]

Sep 11, 2023

Contract – Subcontractor’s Invoice – ‘Pay When Paid’ Provision – Unenforceable Condition Precedent

A provision in the contract between the defendant-general contractor and the plaintiff-subcontractor allowed the general contractor to withhold payment for the subcontractor’s work until the project owner paid the general contractor. This provision violated S.C. Code Ann. § 29-6-230’s clear prohibition on conditioning payment to a subcontractor upon the owner’s payment to the general contra[...]

Sep 11, 2023

Prisons & Jails – Parole Denial – Inmate’s Files – Right to Access

The Parole Board of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services’ (the Board’s) Form 1212 says in part, “[I]nmates themselves have no right to inspect the contents of their files. If the inmate thinks his/her file is somehow incomplete or contains some errors or other inaccuracy, he/she must notify the Board of […]

Sep 11, 2023

Criminal Practice – Expert Witness – Cell Site Location Information – Rule 702 – ‘Textbook’ Qualification

In determining whether solicitor’s office investigator Dylan Hightower should be qualified as an expert in cell site location information, the trial judge delved deeply into the extent of Hightower’s education and into the complexity of his proposed testimony. From the trial judge’s “robust” examination of Hightower, this court can clearly see the trial judge understood [&hel[...]

Sep 11, 2023

Public Utilities – Ratemaking – Multiple Appeals – Reparations Surcharge – Appeals Bond or Other Arrangements

It took several appeals and several years for the appellant-utility to finally get the rate increase amount it had requested (though in a different configuration). Although the utility asserts that it was unable to afford an appeals bond for the whole of the appellate period, the Public Service Commission correctly determined that it lacked the […]

Sep 11, 2023

Contract – Real Estate Agent – Real Property Inspection – Release & Indemnity Provision

Our courts have upheld liability waivers executed prior to the activities which were subject to the waivers, e.g., paintball games, McCune v. Myrtle Beach Indoor Shooting Range, Inc., 364 S.C. 242, 612 S.E.2d 462 (Ct. App. 2005). Here, the plaintiff-buyer signed a contract containing a release of the defendant-real estate agent from claims including those […]

Sep 11, 2023

Contract – Credit Card – Consumer Protection Code – Account Stated

Plaintiff bought a charged-off debt from a credit card issuer and brought this action against defendant, the purported credit card debtor. We hold that consumer credit cards are “lender credit cards” and “consumer loans” pursuant to the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code, and plaintiff should have sent defendant a right to cure notice before filing […]

Sep 11, 2023

Arbitration – Nursing Home – Admission Contract – Separate Arbitration Agreement – Agency

While the Adult Health Care Consent Act gave patient Betty’s son, Kaileb, authority to sign a nursing home Admission Agreement on behalf of Betty, the AHCCA did not give Kaileb authority to sign a separate Arbitration Agreement on Betty’s behalf. Although Kaileb signed both agreements at the same time, the terms of the Arbitration Agreement […]

Sep 11, 2023

Constitutional – Fetal Heartbeat Anti-Abortion Act – Privacy Right – Reasonable Invasion

In a new version of the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act (the 2023 Act), our General Assembly has made a policy determination that, at a certain point of pregnancy, a woman’s interest in autonomy and privacy does not outweigh the interest of the unborn child to live. We cannot say as a matter […]

Sep 11, 2023

Tort/Negligence – Negligent Hiring & Retention – Sovereign Immunity – Discretionary Function – Admiralty

The complaint alleges that plaintiff Harold Hoblick, a maritime facility security guard, was assaulted and seriously injured by a crewmember on board the USNS Maury, a vessel owned and operated by the United States. We have held that the waivers of sovereign immunity in both the Suits in Admiralty Act and the Public Vessels Act […]

Sep 11, 2023

Insurance – Auto – UIM – Stacking Prohibited – Insurers’ Liability

Defendant’s decedent, a deputy sheriff, was killed in an auto accident while he was driving a patrol vehicle. Decedent’s personal vehicle was insured by plaintiff Progressive with underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) totaling $200,000, and he was listed as an insured on his parents’ Allstate policy, which also provided a total of $200,000 in UIM coverage. […]

Aug 31, 2023

Criminal Practice – Kidnapping, Robbery & Murder – Confession – Other Bad Acts – Sentencing

In interrogating defendant, the detectives in this case went up to the line of what is permissible. However, despite their misrepresentations, their mentions of the death penalty, and their promise not “to slap a robbery charge on you,” the detectives did not cross that line so as to render defendant’s confession involuntary. We affirm defendant’s […]

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