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Civil Practice

Jun 25, 2018

Civil Practice – Venue – Contract – Forum Selection Clause – New Jersey Denny’s Franchise

Where an experienced franchise owner willingly agreed to litigate her claims in South Carolina courts, this court will enforce the forum selection clauses in the parties’ franchise and guaranty agreements. The court denies defendants’ motion to dismiss for improper venue or to transfer venue to New Jersey. Although a number of relevant events occurred outside […]

Jun 22, 2018

 Civil Practice – Venue – Contract – Forum Selection Clause – Franchise

The parties’ franchise agreement includes a valid, mandatory forum selection clause, selecting South Carolina as the forum for litigating disputes; furthermore, transfer of this action from South Carolina to Kansas would only shift the burden of inconvenience from defendants to plaintiff. The court denies defendants’ motions to dismiss for improper venue and to transfer venue. […]

Jun 21, 2018

Civil Practice – Court lacked jurisdiction to weigh equitable tolling

A petitioner filed her “innocent spouse” tax claim one week late because IRS representatives allegedly misinformed her of the filing deadline, but the U.S. Tax Court had no authority to waive compliance. Background The IRS charged Shari and Derek Nauflett as jointly and severally liable for unpaid taxes, interest, and penalties for tax years 2002–04 […]

Jun 14, 2018

Civil Practice – PETA can challenge N.C. employee access law

Animal rights groups sufficiently alleged an injury-in-fact to support their standing to challenge a recent North Carolina statute allowing employers to hold their employees civilly liable for damage caused by unauthorized access to nonpublic areas. Background The North Carolina Property Protection Act provides a private right of action against any person who “exceed[s] the scope […]

Jun 14, 2018

Civil Practice – $150,000 sanction on counsel, firms upheld

Attorneys’ “egregious” conduct was designed to, and did, mislead the district court, the 4th Circuit affirmed. They challenged the authenticity of a loan agreement for two years before revealing that they possessed an identical copy, obtained from their client, before filing the complaint. Their firms ratified their conduct and were thus jointly liable, though an […]

Jun 14, 2018

Civil Practice – Judgment debtor didn’t delay payment owed to Medicare

A plaintiff who was owed a medical-malpractice judgment that would partially be reimbursed to Medicare had standing to sue the judgment debtor for delayed payment. However, the 37 days between the judgment and payment did not constitute “delay.” Background In 1980, Congress enacted the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, making Medicare an entitlement of last resort, […]

Jun 12, 2018

Civil Practice – FAA service of final decision was proper

The Federal Aviation Administration’s extensions of its own decision deadlines were not equitable justification for untimely filing of a petition to review its ultimate determination. Background The Grand Strand Airport is a public use, general aviation airport located in Horry County, South Carolina. Petitioner Skydive Myrtle Beach Inc. is a commercial skydiving operator that uses […]

May 29, 2018

Civil Practice – Rule 21 – Insurance – Workers’ Compensation – Guaranty Association

Our appellate courts have not yet decided whether an unincorporated business trust can be sued after it has voluntarily dissolved; therefore, it was not within the circuit court’s discretion to dismiss such a claim under Rule 21, SCRCP. We reverse the circuit court’s grant of defendant CompTrustAGC of South Carolina’s motions to quash discovery and […]

May 29, 2018

Civil Practice – Judgments – Post-Mediation Dismissal – Clerk’s Jurisdiction

Even though the parties had agreed to settle their dispute, the clerk of court had no authority to dismiss their case without notice or hearing. We reverse the trial court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion under Rule 60, SCRCP. After the parties settled their dispute in mediation, the clerk of court signed and filed a Form […]

May 29, 2018

Civil Practice – Rule 59(e) – No Extensions – Banks & Banking – Non-Customer

We reiterate that the 10-day deadline in Rule 59(e), SCRCP, is an absolute deadline. A trial court does not have the power to alter or amend a final order if more than 10 days pass and no Rule 59(e) motion has been served, nor does a trial court have any power to grant the moving […]

May 18, 2018

Civil Practice – Personal Jurisdiction – Chinese Manufacturer – U.S. Distributor

Though the Chinese defendants manufactured tires for distribution in the United States and entered into a contract with a U.S. company to distribute those tires, these facts do not constitute purposeful availment of the South Carolina market. The court grants defendants Huangzho General Rubber Factory and Huangzhou Zongce Rubber Co., Ltd.’s (collectively HZR) motion to […]

May 18, 2018

Civil Practice – Abstention & Res Judicata – Real Property – Mortgages

In a separate lawsuit (Whitt I), plaintiff alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations and various state-law claims; in this lawsuit (Whitt II), plaintiff challenges defendants’ pursuit of foreclosure while they were simultaneously offering plaintiff a loan modification. Where Whitt I was dismissed on abstention principles, there was no final judgment on the [&hell[...]

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