Contract Law

Oct. 2014 - Jan. 2015

Attorneys’ Fees
A contingency fee agreement is but one factor for the court to consider in determining an award of attorneys’ fees under S.C. Code Section 28-2-510(B)(1) of the Eminent Domain Procedure Act.
SCDOT v. Revels, Op. No. 27469 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed December 10, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 49 at 67).

Third-Party Beneficiaries

The Court recognized a cause of action, in both tort and contract, by a third-party beneficiary of an existing will or estate planning document against a lawyer whose drafting error defeats or diminishes the client’s interest. Recovery under either cause of action is limited to persons who are named in the estate planning document or otherwise identified in the instrument by their status. Where the claim sounds in both tort and contract, the plaintiff may elect a recovery.
Fabian v. Lindsay, Op. No. 27460 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed October 29, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 43 at 30).

March - May 2014

Statute of frauds
A logo does not qualify as a legal signature for purposes of satisfying the statute of frauds.
Springob v. USC, Op. No. 27363 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed March 12, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 10 at 28).

Feb. - April 2013

Statute of Elizabeth
A subsequent creditor may set aside a voluntary transfer if it was made with actual fraudulent intent on the part of the grantor to evade creditors.
Judy v. Judy, No. 5101 (S.C. Ct. App., March 20, 2013) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 13).

A contractual limitation of a home inspector's liability is not so oppressive that no reasonable person would make it and no fair and honest person would accept it.
Gladden v. Palmetto Home Inspection Services, No. 27236 (S.C. Sup. Ct., March 27, 2013) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 14).

July - Oct. 2012

A nonsignatory to a contract may be bound by its arbitration clause if the nonsignatory knowingly accepts benefits resulting from the contract.
Pearson v. Hilton Head Hospital, No. 5036 (S.C. Ct. App., Oct. 3, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 35)

An unambiguous, unilateral contract is formed when one person accepts prices for services over the phone and then proceeds to perform the work discussed.
Southern Glass v. Kemper, No. 5021 (S.C. Ct. App., Aug. 15, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 28)

May - June 2012

For a counterclaim for unconscionability to be entitled to a jury trial, the claim must each be both legal and compulsory. The statutory unconscionability statutes do not provide for a right to jury trial, so the claim must be unconscionable under common law.
Wells Fargo Bank v. Smith, No. 4988 (S.C. Ct. App. June 13, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 20)

Feb. - May 2012

Absent an arbitration clause that is unconscionable (there is an absence of meaningful choice and the terms are oppressive), the clause should be enforced.
Lucey v. Meyer, No. 4960 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 28, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 11)

A breach of contract claim does not automatically put a party on notice for a claim conversion.
Hennes v. Shaw, No. 4948 (S.C. Ct. App., Feb. 29, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 8)

Federal Arbitration Act
The Federal Arbitration Act covers employment contracts that reference specific cases requiring out-of-court work.
Lucey v. Meyer, No. 4960 (S.C. Ct. App., Mar. 28, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 11)

Real estate
Despite a lack of a written contract, checks given as an advance for commissions can constitute consideration as part of an agreement between two parties to buy and sell real estate together.
Hennes v. Shaw, No. 4948 (S.C. Ct. App., Feb. 29, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 8)

Unfair Trade Practices Act
A UTPA violation requires evidence of a resulting public harm.
Hennes v. Shaw, No. 4948 (S.C. Ct. App., Feb. 29, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 8)

Oct. 2011 - Jan. 2012

Non-compete clause
The S.C. Court of Appeals interpreted the S.C. Supreme Court's holding in Poynter to mean that a court may not "blue pencil" the restrictions contained in a non-competition provision by inserting or subtracting terms not agreed to by the parties in order to make it valid and enforceable, and the parties may not, of their own accord, convert an overly broad territorial restriction into an enforceable one by entering into a subsequent agreement that artificially limits the actual terms used in the parties' original contract.
Team IA v. Cicero Lucas 61, No. 4889 (S.C. Ct. App., refiled Oct. 20, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 37).

July - Oct. 2011

By signing a contract, a party is charged with having read the contents and cannot avoid the contract’s effects by arguing that he was unaware of the inclusion of the waivers, which were unambiguous and conspicuous. A party could not have contemplated that, in signing a contract, he was waiving his right to a jury trial on claims arising from allegedly fraudulent conduct.
Wachovia Bank, Nat’l Assoc. v. Blackburn, No. 4874 (S.C. Ct. App., Aug. 24, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 29).