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Double jeopardy applied after solicitor ‘goaded’ mistrial, justices rule (access required)

man who was convicted of murder after two trials was barred from prosecution in the second trial under the Double Jeopardy Clause because of prosecutorial misconduct, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled. In a rare invocation of the clause, Jack Edward Earl Parker won reversal of his conviction by arguing that a prosecutor goaded defense counsel into moving for a mistrial during the first trial. A lawyer for Parker said the decision means his client, formerly accused of shooting and killing his sister's boyfriend, can walk free. "They can't prosecute him again on this charge," said Chief Appellate Defender Robert Dudek (pictured).

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$1.65M pretrial settlement reached in Wadmalaw Island wreck

A Lowcountry man who suffered severe injuries to his left arm in a 2009 auto collision has settled for $1.65 million in mediation over alleged reckless driving - and he did it without ever filing a complaint. In pre-litigation negotiations, lawyers for plaintiff James Fallon worked out the details of the settlement almost two years after Fallon was in a wreck on Wadmalaw Island in Charleston County. Not that it was easy.Fallon's lawyers, David Hoffman (pictured) of Charleston and Nathan Hughey of Mount Pleasant, said it's unusual to mediate a large settlement in an auto collision case. And, as far as the cause of the accident, about all they had to go on was that the defendant's trailer had shifted into their client's lane.

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Jury holds web host liable after site sold counterfeit golf clubs (access required)

A federal jury has awarded damages in a trademark-infringement action against an Internet company for helping to build and host a South Carolina website that sold counterfeit golf clubs. In what lawyers say may be a first nationwide, Roger Cleveland Golf Co., Inc., of Huntington Beach, Calif., won $770,750 in statutory damages against Bright Builders, Inc., of Utah for contributory trademark infringement and unfair trade practices. Internet intermediaries include companies that design websites, host them or provide search and optimization services, said Jeffrey Patterson (pictured), a Columbia lawyer who represented the plaintiff.

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How much is your nonprofit’s brand worth?

"It's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A . . . " As the theme of the song goes, the YMCA has long been a leader in youth and adult recreation. The YMCA is a globally recognized nonprofit with a presence in over 3,000 communities. According to a 2009 study, the brand value of those four letters is over $6 billion and will only continue to grow as time goes on. Nonprofit organizations are an integral part of South Carolina's and the nation's economy. But how can these groups protect the goodwill that they strive so arduously to achieve?

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Companies increasingly targeted in lucrative suits over expired patents (access required)

Are your numbers up to date? That's the question patent lawyers are asking corporate clients as plaintiffs nationwide continue to file dozens of lawsuits over mismarked patent numbers. The cases began piling up in 2009 after a lawsuit brought under a 1952 federal patent act tested a previously untried provision that bans companies from marking products with erroneous or expired patent numbers. The provision, at 35 U.S.C. § 292(b), gives anyone standing to sue, and violators are liable for up to $500 for each mismarked article in a product line.

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Upstate snack distributor faces harassment trial (access required)

When your biggest client is sexually harassing your employee, it's a tough situation to manage. The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals hasn't officially looked at whether an employer can be liable for harassment by non-employees. But three members of the court tip their hand in a new unpublished opinion that lets an employee try his claim that he was harassed by the client's staff.

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With taxes in flux, estate planners try to make heads or tails (access required)

Nothing is certain but death and taxes - but right now, estate taxes are anything but certain. The Tax Relief Act of 2010, signed into law on Dec. 17, 2010, increased the estate and gift tax exemptions and reduced the tax rates, but the measure contains a sunset provision that will increase the rates and reduce the exemptions in 2013. That is, unless Congress changes it again.

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Strict requirements limit the number of certified specialists in SC (access required)

Surfside Beach attorney Kathryn DeAngelo still vividly remembers taking the written exam 17 years ago for her elder law certification. "I took my little portable typewriter with me for the test," she recalled, noting she had been a high school typing teacher for 12 years before getting her law degree in 1984. DeAngelo passed the National Elder Law Foundation exam. Today, she is one of only five certified elder law attorneys in South Carolina, records show. The total number of certified specialists in the state is small: As of Jan. 25, there were 277 attorneys with the designation, according to the S.C. Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization.

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Are health courts coming to a state near you? (access required)

Buried in the White House's federal budget plan is a proposal to encourage states to reform their medical-malpractice laws. The budget proposes a total of $250 million in Department of Justice grants to "provide incentives for state medical malpractice reforms," $100 million for 2012 and $50 million for each of the next three years. It's not the first time President Barack Obama has mentioned med-mal tort reform.

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