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Judge Perry recounts civil rights struggles for Bar (access required)

Lawyers at the S.C. Bar's annual convention sat spellbound as Senior U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr. told of standing for the rule of law at a time when the law didn't necessarily stand for him and others like him. During the Bar's plenary luncheon Jan. 21, Perry told of racial intolerance through which he lived and lawyered as an African-American attorney. As a young lawyer in the 1950s and 1960s, Perry gained a reputation for winning cases that promoted desegregation of beaches, parks, restaurants and public schools in South Carolina. In 1979, he became the first African-American judge to sit on the state's U.S. District Court.

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Emerging Legal Leaders recognized for service to community, profession

Lawyers from around the state gathered in Columbia Thursday to celebrate the achievements of top young attorneys as South Carolina Lawyers Weekly held its 2011 Emerging Legal Leaders awards reception. The event was the first in which the newspaper honored lawyers whose professional excellence, community involvement and contributions to the practice of law set them apart as up-and-coming leaders. Ten award winners were chosen from among 18 finalists. More than 100 well-wishers applauded as Publisher Tonya Mathis named finalists and winners and Managing Editor Gregory Froom handed out awards at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

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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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