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SC Supreme Court takes second whack at GPS for sex offenders (access required)

GPD tracking

Big questions that bubbled up in the wake of the South Carolina Supreme Court’s first ruling on the constitutionality of satellite monitoring have been answered in a second recent decision, though a few unknowns remain. When the court initially weighed in on State v. Dykes last May, it created widespread confusion about how the holding was going to be interpreted by the state’s trial judges. The most serious issue was whether the broad decision overturning mandatory lifetime monitoring could be applied retroactively to sex offenders throughout the state who wear GPS monitors.

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Court: ‘Strong interest in access’ trumps Honda’s desire for confidentiality (access required)

Honda logo

The U.S. District Court for South Carolina has ruled that the public’s right to access information outweighs a defendant’s right to enforce a confidentiality agreement that would have redacted the settlement amount in a wrongful death case. Plaintiff Michelle Martin of Greer brought the action against defendant American Honda Motor Company, Inc. after her husband Gerald Martin died in 2011 while operating a power buffer at work.

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Court rules homeowners pass ‘manifest disregard’ test (access required)

hard hat blueprints

It was a craftily semantic legal defense. A Lexington-based general contractor that built a home without a valid license argued that it wasn’t unlicensed—it was merely “under-licensed.” That reasoning made perfect sense to an arbiter who allowed the company to enforce its contract for the unlicensed work in defiance of state law, but the South Carolina Supreme Court overturned the decision, ruling that the arbiter had acted in “manifest disregard” of the law.

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In small cases, lawsuit investments draw heated reaction (access required)

money bags

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but medical bills and missed paychecks add up fast. In personal injury cases, plaintiffs waiting for a recovery can sometimes get an advance against their potential payout to help keep up with living expenses, but the practice remains controversial. Proponents say such funding ensures desperate plaintiffs don’t have to accept a low ball settlement offer to stave off financial ruin. Opponents say plaintiffs are charged usurious rates that can make them reluctant to settle cases.

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