Welcome to the South Carolina Bar's E-Blast!
June 28, 2012
E-Blast highlights upcoming activities, legal information and links to the Bar's website at www.scbar.org.
Click here for the most recent CLE Edition, which highlights upcoming CLE opportunities.
PMAP–Your guide to …
Useful iPad tips. Typing on the iPad’s on-screen keyboard can take some getting used to. Check out this guide to using the iPad’s shortcuts feature to save time and cut down on embarrassing typos. Adding words to your auto-correct dictionary will also save you time and spare you the headache of battling with auto-correct when typing words or nicknames you often use that may not be grammatically correct. Or if you’re simply tired of being corrected, you can opt to turn off iPad autocorrect. PMAP is free practice management advice. For more information, call (803) 799-6653, ext. 183 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Ethics Advisory Opinions issued
The Ethics Advisory Committee has issued three new opinions. The text of all opinions is available here.
12-07 Rules 1.5 and 1.8 do not prohibit an attorney from obtaining an interest in property to secure payment of a fee, as long as the requirements of both Rules are met. The fact that a client requires advice regarding a particular course of action and that course of action may impact the amount or collectability of the attorney’s fee does not create a conflict of interest, unless the attorney reasonably believes he cannot provide competent and diligent advice to the client under Rule 1.7. In most instances, the best practice may be to seek the client’s informed consent to the potential conflict created by the creation of a personal interest of the lawyer under Rule 1.7 at the same time.
12-08 An “offsite desk review” of attorney trust accounts by title insurance companies must ensure that steps have been taken to preserve confidentiality of client information. A method should be in place to comply with the audit and to provide specific data about any transaction involving the title insurance company, while simultaneously preserving the confidentiality of any information not necessary for compliance.
12-09 An out-of-state law firm may advertise on billboards in South Carolina and include pictures of firm members not licensed in South Carolina when picture, name and office of the lawyer who is licensed in South Carolina are included. The billboard must also meet all additional advertising regulations.
ABA CoLAP announces winners of Law School Assistance Award
Congratulations to Megan Seiner of the USC School of Law and Brett Barker of the Charleston School of Law, winners of the ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs (CoLAP) Law School Assistance Award. The award recognizes those who have significantly contributed to the mental and physical wellness of law students by way of education, intervention and programming. Ms. Seiner and Mr. Baker will be recognized for their support and encouragement in providing the Student Mental Health Awareness Day (USC School of Law) and the Mindfulness Stress Management series (Charleston School of Law). The awards will be presented at the CoLAP Annual Conference Oct. 9-12.
Bender Registry aids attorneys with disabilities
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is committed to providing persons with disabilities every opportunity to be hired and advanced on the basis of merit. To further this effort, it has identified resources such as Bender Consulting Services (Bender) that will aid it in its ability to attract qualified candidates with targeted disabilities who have a specific interest in working for the federal government. Bender recruits, screens and directs candidates for a variety of positions, including attorney jobs, and maintains an electronic registry of potential candidates who have been certified as job-ready. When filling an attorney vacancy, every office within the DOJ is now required to consult the Bender Registry to identify qualified attorney candidates.
Potential attorney candidates with disabilities interested in getting on the Bender Registry should submit their resumes to email@example.com. More information is available at www.benderconsult.com. If you have any questions about DOJ outreach initiatives, contact Allison Nichol, special counsel for disability resources, at (202) 307-6387 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Court adds FLC
On June 20, the Court licensed Carolin Schulz-Burgess as a Foreign Legal Consultant.
Advance Sheet update
June 27, 2012
In this case arising from a taxpaying citizen seeking to invalidate the severance agreement between Anderson County and its former county administrator alleging that the agreement violated the common law and South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the S.C. Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded. The Court affirmed the trial court’s holding that the appellant lacked standing for his claims under both the S.C. Constitution and the public importance exception. However, the Court reversed the court’s decision that the appellant lacked standing for the FOIA claim because, per the terms of the act, traditional standing principles do not apply to FOIA claims.
Freemantle v. Preston, No. 27138, is available online.
The Court reversed the appellant’s verdict for tortious interference with a contract and the jury’s award of damages and held that the appellant, as the manager of a limited liability company, cannot be held individually liable in tort for a contract that the company breached. The respondent presented no evidence of the appellant exceeding his authority as manager and acting in an individual capacity; therefore, a claim holding the appellant individually liable in tort was not established.
Dutch Fork Dev. Group II, LLC v. SEL Prop., LLC, No. 27139, is available online.
The S.C. Court of Appeals affirmed this appeal from the Administrative Law Court, holding that the appellant’s property should be assessed at the six-percent ratio instead of the four-percent ratio allowed for a legal residence. The appellants rented out their home for 91 days in one year, thus Section 12-43-220(c) of the S.C. Code applying the four-percent ratio does not apply because the residence was rented for profit during the tax year.
Ford v. Beaufort Cnty. Assessor, No. 4992, is available online.
The court affirmed the circuit court’s dismissal of the appellant’s causes of action for fraud and fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, constructive fraud, breach of duties as corporate officers, negligence and gross negligence, and violation of S.C. Blue Sky laws. The appellants alleged that the respondents misrepresented the financial stability of Wachovia stock, preventing them from selling their shares at a more favorable price. Applying N.C. law, the court held that there is no fiduciary duty between the officers and directors of a corporation and that corporation’s shareholders, no special duty existed in this case and the appellants could not bring a direct claim because they did not have a separate and distinct injury. Additionally, the court held that it was not error for the circuit court to apply law from North Carolina, Delaware and Georgia. Finally, the court held that it was not error for the circuit court to find that the appellant failed to allege reasonable reliance on an agent’s misrepresentation.
Rice-Marko v. Wachovia Corp., No. 4993, is available online.
Affirming the circuit court’s convictions of first-degree burglary and first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the court held that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion when it denied the appellant’s motion for a continuance. The appellant sought the continuance to obtain testing on a comforter; however, he had significant time to do so after he was arrested before his trial. The court also held that the circuit court did not err in denying the appellant’s motion for a mistrial and request for a curative instruction because the solicitor’s comment that the appellant argued warrants a mistrial did not shift the burden of proof and was not improper. Finally, the court held that the circuit court did not err in denying the appellant’s motion for a directed verdict as to the burglary charge because substantial evidence was presented from which the jury could conclude the appellant possessed intent to commit a crime at the time of entry into the home.
State v. Meggett, No. 4994, is available online.
In this case arising from a student who broke his back and became a paraplegic as a result of a fall to the ground from a climbing tower the appellant designed, the court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of a motion for directed verdict and JNOV. The court found there was evidence to support the jury’s verdict that the appellant was liable under strict liability, negligent design and negligent training theories. The court also found that the school’s and another student’s subsequent negligent acts did not break the chain of causation, as their actions were foreseeable. Third, the court found that the circuit court did not err in denying the appellant’s directed verdict motion and JNOV motion with respect to punitive damages because there was evidence to support the jury finding that the appellant was reckless. However, the court did find that the circuit court erred in interpreting the jury verdicts as multiple awards and requiring the respondent to elect which cause of action would be his remedy because the doctrine of election of remedies does not apply since the respondent sought only one remedy.
Keeter v. Alpine Towers Int’l, Inc., No. 4995, is available online.
Judge Thomas concurred in a separate opinion.
In this appeal from a conviction and sentence for murder, the court affirmed the circuit court and held that there was no error in admitting into evidence a photograph of a “mug shot.” Introduction of the photograph was neither unfairly prejudicial nor needlessly cumulative because the photograph was used in a photographic lineup where the appellant was identified, and attacking the reliability of this lineup was a main strategy the appellant used at trial.
State v. Stephens, No. 4996, is available online.
William Otis Kneece, 76, of Columbia died June 19, 2012. His obituary can be found here.
Jackson LaVelle Barwick Jr., 87, of Chapin died June 23, 2012. His obituary can be found here.
By order of June 22 the Court placed Howard Hammer on interim suspension.
By order of June 27 the Court suspended (with additional conditions) Gloria Y. Leevy for three years for misconduct which included issuing a check from her trust account for a business expense, failing to complete monthly reconciliations of the trust account, failing to diligently pursue client matters, failing to adequately communicate with clients, failing to safeguard client funds and materials, and failing to answer the Notice of Investigation.
By order of June 21 the Court reinstated (subject to conditions) Kenneth B. Massey to the practice of law.
Butler, Means, Evins & Browne, PA announces that Virginia Hayes Wood has joined the firm as an associate located at 234 N. Church St., Spartanburg 29306. (864) 582-5630.
Jackson Lewis, LLP announces that Stephanie E. Lewis has become managing partner in the Greenville office located at 55 Beattie Place, Ste. 800, 29601. (864) 232-7000.
McNair Law Firm, PA announces that Kip McAlister has joined the Columbia office located at 1221 Main St., Ste. 1800, 29201. (803) 799-9800.
Nexsen Pruet, LLC announces that Jay R. Hoodenpyl has joined the Myrtle Beach office located at 1101 Johnson Ave., Ste. 300, 29577, (843) 213-5400, and Robert H. “Bobby” Mozingo has joined the Charleston office located at 205 King St., Ste. 400, 29401, (843) 577-9440.
Pratt-Thomas Walker, PA announces that Thomas P. Gressette Jr. has joined the firm as of counsel located at 16 Charlotte St., Charleston 29403. (843) 727-2249.
Smith Moore Leatherwood, LLP announces that Matt Moore has joined the Charleston office located at 171 Church St., Ste. 210, 29401. (843) 300-6600.
Staci M. Rollins announces the opening of The Rollins Law Firm, LLC located at 606 Pettigru St., Greenville 29601. (864) 370-0082.
South Carolina Lawyer Editorial Board Meeting, Conference Center
Board of Governors Meeting, Conference Call
Street Law Training, Bar Building
We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution Training, Bar Building
Family Law Section Council Meeting, Bar Building
LRE Technology Training, Bar Building
Ethics Advisory Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Professional Responsibility Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Foundations of Democracy Training, Bar Building
To be added or deleted from the E-Blast mailing list, please contact Donna Oelhafen in Membership Services at email@example.com or (803) 799-6653, ext. 171. To change your e-mail address, you must log on to AIS at www.sccourts.org/ais.