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Bar takes on anti-lawyer rhetoric, nixes pro bono reporting (access required)

An effort by the S.C. Bar to reach out to Republican Gov. Nikki Haley in the wake of an election season that jarred the image of lawyers surfaced as members met in Hilton Head Island for their annual convention. In a Jan. 21 videotaped speech to the House of Delegates, Bar President Carl Solomon (pictured) praised Haley for appointing lawyers to her cabinet and said he had written her a letter congratulating her on the appointments. "She sought out attorneys to handle very difficult issues in difficult situations," Solomon said of the governor.

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USC’s pro bono program celebrates 20 years of public service (access required)

Twenty years ago, Pamela Robinson had a conversation that ended up putting the University of South Carolina School of Law in the vanguard of student pro bono action in the early 1990s. She was an assistant to then-Dean John Montgomery, and they were talking about the concept of mandatory pro bono service, "which we both considered pretty much an oxymoron," Robinson recalled.

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Easement holds despite ‘harsh result’ for homeowners (access required)

A legal battle over plans to replace a Pee Dee bridge took a turn against homeowners when the state Supreme Court ruled that the highway department held a decades-old easement across their land. In what the court called a "harsh result" for homeowners, justices held that the department had held the easement since 1930. The owners argued that they didn't know the easement existed when they bought their land and built homes. W.E. "Billy" Jenkinson III (pictured), a lawyer for homeowners said he plans to seek a rehearing.

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‘Bad’ outlook for money to pay Rule 608 appointments (access required)

The tab for unpaid Rule 608 civil appointments is now up to about $500,000 and could exceed $1 million by the end of the fiscal year. That's the latest word from the state Commission on Indigent Defense, which is charged with administering the 608 system despite a lack of legislative funding dating back years. And it isn't likely to get better any time soon. Executive Director Patton Adams said the commission asked a legislative subcommittee on Jan. 19 for $1.9 million to pay for civil appointments in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

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No procedural due process for administrators under Teacher Act (access required)

Overruling 15-year-old precedent, the state Supreme Court has held that school administrators do not have the right to a hearing to contest reductions in pay or reassignments under the Teacher Employment and Dismissal Act. The justices made the ruling in an answer to a certified question from the U.S. District Court in a lawsuit brought by a former Fairfield County deputy superintendent for human resources. Attorney Carol B. Ervin (pictured) said the plaintiff made both federal due-process and state-law claims against the district, but the federal and state claims were bound together. "The issue of whether or not the plaintiff had any due-process rights turned on whether or not she had a property interest in her position and entitlements."

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Mass. decision could wreak ‘havoc’ on mortgage industry (access required)

A recent decision from Massachusetts' highest court could impact courts across the country and lead to a flood of overturned foreclosures, exacerbating the mortgage mess. The Massachusetts court is the first state supreme court to rule that only the holder of a mortgage may foreclose on a property, upholding a Land Court judge's earlier decision in U.S. Bank v. Ibanez.

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Defects covered? No, says the Supreme Court in its latest CGL coverage decision (access required)

One word stopped Myrtle Beach condo developers from getting an insurance company to pay their commercial general liability claim for damages arising from a multi-million-dollar settlement in a construction-defects suit. It was the policy term "occurrence." But it was how the state Supreme Court's interpreted "occurrence" that really bothered David Miller, a lawyer for development company Crossmann/Beazer Homes.

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Day care settles claim over girl’s severed finger for $140K (access required)

The mother of a girl whose fingertip was severed when another child slammed a door on it has reached a $140,000 settlement in a lawsuit against a day care center where the injury occurred. Lawyers said the plaintiffs' daughter was 4 years old and attending a Charleston County day care operated by The Sunshine House, Inc., when she went into a girls' bathroom adjoining her classroom. A boy followed her and, when she told him to leave and pointed the way out, he slammed the door on her finger. The impact severed the tip of her left index finger. An attempt to reattach it failed when the fingertip fell off about two months after the March 2008 injury, lawyers said. "The tip of her finger turned black and fell off while she was in the bathtub. That was very traumatic for the child and for the parents," said Steven M. Abrams (pictured).

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Resurrected equity line comes back to haunt lender (access required)

Columbia attorney Kevin Hall said a BB&T's home-equity line of credit was like Jason from "Friday the 13th" in his hockey mask - "You think he's dead, but he comes back to life." Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., thought Sharon and James Umbarger's equity line had been extinguished when it was paid off in 2002 when the Umbargers refinanced their mortgage. But it wasn't. According to the S.C. Supreme Court's unpublished opinion in Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. v. Umbarger (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-007-0011, 4 pp.), the equity line required a written request in order to be closed, but no written request was tendered.

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Lawyer aids nuclear charge (access required)

A move to land South Carolina in the forefront of a predicted renaissance in nuclear energy is gaining headway with the help of a Columbia lawyer. Doug Rosinski (pictured) is guiding a Midlands consortium, which includes the University of South Carolina, through the technical mazes and regulatory tangles surrounding small modular reactors, or SMRs, which proponents see as a potential economic boon for the state.

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