February 28, 2013
February 26, 2013
Welcome to the South Carolina Bar's E-Blast!
February 28, 2013
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.
High School Mock Trial Regional Competition results
The 2013 High School Mock Trial Regional Competitions were held Saturday, Feb. 23. Congratulations to Bob Jones Academy, Team A (Greenville); Chapin High School; Fort Dorchester High School (N. Charleston); Fort Mill High School; Governor's School for Science and Mathematics (Hartsville); Johnsonville High School; Lexington High School; Montessori School of Anderson; N. Myrtle Beach High School (Little River); Socastee High School (Myrtle Beach); Strom Thurmond High School (Johnston); and Wando High School, Team A (Mt. Pleasant). Students will compete in the State Competition March 8-9 at the Marc H. Westbrook Lexington County Judicial Center.
Compliance reporting deadline is tomorrow
All active attorneys licensed before March 1, 2012, must file their 2012-2013 compliance reports with the Supreme Court Commission on CLE and Specialization by Friday, March 1. Currently, more than 45 percent of Bar members have not yet filed their reports and established compliance with the mandatory CLE requirements. Reports can be mailed to the Commission at P.O. Box 2138, Columbia, SC 29202, or hand-delivered (or overnighted) to the Commission’s office located at 950 Taylor St., Ste. 120, Columbia, SC 29201. The Commission on CLE will have extended office hours until 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and notary will be available on site during this time. Reports postmarked after March 1, 2013, must include the late fee. Questions should be directed to the Commission at (803) 799-5578 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
List of accounting professionals available
Looking for an accounting professional who has been educated on the intricacies of trust accounts? View the list of CPAs who completed the “Trust Accounting for Law Firms” class, co-sponsored by the S.C. Association of Certified Public Accountants and the S.C. Bar.
The social media site LinkedIn has proved problematic for S.C. Lawyers, owing to an as-yet unremovable section on each lawyer's page titled “Skills and Expertise.” Any member of the public may endorse a Bar member and note areas of “expertise." However, under Rule 7.4 of the S.C. Rules of Professional Conduct, only certified specialists may use the term “expert” or other forms of the word. To avoid possible discipline while maintaining your LinkedIn page, follow these instructions on how to hide skill endorsements and minimize the risk. For ethics and professional responsibility assistance, contact Risk Management Director Jill Rothstein at email@example.com. For questions about running your law practice, contact PMAP Director Courtney Kennaday at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us “whet your whistle” at Gala 2013!
Early auction items up for grabs on March 22 include a wine tasting with Jean Pierre Chambas (co-hosted by Pete Strom and Susan Edwards), a 2014 Bar Convention registration (donated by the S.C. Bar CLE Division), and business card printing and design (donated by Professional Printers)! These are just a few of the items that will be part of the silent auction during the gala. Purchase your tickets today by calling (803) 765-0517 or ordering online. If you would like to donate an item for the auction (or know a business that would be a good fit), please call (803) 765-0517. Gala 2013 helps the Foundation in its quest as the only statewide entity that funds legal aid and educates the public about the civil justice system.
Advance Sheet update
February 27, 2013
The S.C. Supreme Court affirmed the administrative law court's (ALC) decision authorizing Kiawah Development Partners to construct a bulkhead and revetment on Captain Sam's Spit (the Spit) on Kiawah Island. The ALC did not err in refusing to defer to DHEC's interpretation of the applicable statutes and regulations, or in regarding the consideration of potential long-range cumulative impacts on the Spit. In addition, the Court found the ALC had the authority to modify the proposed bulkhead/revetment and that substantial evidence supported the ALC's findings that the proposal complied with the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Coastal Zone Management Program and with Regulations 30-11 and 30-12 of the S.C. Code of Regulations.
Kiawah Development Partners II v. S.C. DHEC, No. 27065, is available online.
Justice Kittredge concurred in result in a separate opinion. Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion in which Justice Hearn concurred.
In this employment case, the Court reversed the decision of the trial court and held that all of Landers' causes of action bore a significant relationship to the arbitration agreement and are subject to arbitration. Landers and Atlantic Bank and Trust entered into an employment agreement containing an arbitration clause stating that "any controversy or claim arising out of [or] relating to this contract, or the breach thereof, shall be settled by binding arbitration." The Court took the occasion to comment that the terms "significant relationship" and "touch matters" were never intended to be separate and independent tests for analyzing the scope of arbitration clauses. In keeping with S.C. jurisprudence, the Court employed the "significant relationship" term in this case. The Court also noted that, in the future, if ever there did appear to be an appreciable conflict between the two phraseologies, the Court would necessarily find that the "touch matters" term hues more closely to Congressional intent concerning the FAA.
Landers v. FDIC, No. 27223, is available online.
The Court affirmed Stanko's conviction and death sentence for murder and armed robbery. The Court held the trial court did not err in: accepting Stanko's waiver of his trial counsel's conflict of interest where that counsel was subject to pending accusation of ineffective assistance of counsel for his representation of Stanko in a prior capital murder case; refusing to disqualify a juror who acknowledged she knew that Stanko had received the death penalty for a prior capital murder, and stated equivocally that she would vote to impose death in every instance whether the State proved an aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt; denying to grant a change in venue; allowing all jurors aged 65 and older to opt out of jury service; or ruling that Stanko's execution did not violate the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court took the “opportunity to hold that, for the purposes of Section 14-7-480, persons aged 65 or older are not a distinctive group” pursuant to the Sixth Amendment. The trial court did err in instructing the jury that malice could be inferred from the use of a deadly weapon where the appellant presented an insanity defense. However, this did not constitute a reversible error.
State v. Stanko, No. 27224, is available online.
Justice Pleicones concurred in result only.
This case presented the Court with the question of whether the denial of a motion to disqualify an attorney is immediately appealable. The Court held it is not and dismissed the case as interlocutory.
EnerSys Delaware, Inc. v. Hopkins, No. 27225, is available online.
The Court granted certiorari to review a Court of Appeals' opinion which construed a counterfeit goods statute in the context of an owner's suit to have the seized goods returned. Farmer v. Florence Cty. Sheriff's Office, 390 S.C. 358, 701 S.E.2d 48 (Ct. App. 2010). The Court vacated the Court of Appeals' opinion and held the circuit court erred in failing to dismiss the respondent's suit. The respondent's remedy under these circumstances is in Section 39-15-1195(H) of the S.C. Code; instead, the respondent brought this replevin action specifically forbidden by Section 39-15-1195(D).
Farmer v. Florence Cty. Sherriff's Office, No. 27226, is available online.
Justice Hearn concurred in part and dissented in part.
The Court found the settlement reached in this probate dispute was not a fair and just resolution of a good faith controversy. The agreement reached served to transfer a large portion of the estate assets in contravention of the decedent's stated desires; therefore, approval of the agreement was improper. The Court affirmed the circuit court's decision to remove the appellants from their fiduciary positions, finding it was in the best interest of the estate. Further, in light of its decision invalidating the circuit court's approval of the compromise agreement, the Court directed the circuit court to appoint new, neutral fiduciaries to oversee these matters. Accordingly, the circuit court's decision was affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded to the circuit court for further proceedings.
Wilson v. Dallas, No. 27227, is available online.
Justice Hearn concurred in result. Chief Justice Toal concurred in part in a separate opinion.
The Court affirmed the trial court's decision, finding the penalty portion of Section 56-5-1210 of the S.C. Code does not offend the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In analyzing proportionality under the Eighth Amendment in non-capital cases, the Court adopted Justice Kennedy's concurrence in Harmelin v. Michigan, 501 U.S. 957 (1991). Accordingly, S.C. courts shall first determine whether a comparison between the sentence and the crime committed gives rise to an inference of gross disproportionality. If no such inference is present, the analysis ends. In the rare instance that this threshold comparison gives rise to such an inference, intrajurisdictional and interjurisdictional analysis is appropriate. Courts may then look to whether more serious crimes carry the same penalty, or more serious penalties, and the sentences imposed for commission of the same crime in other jurisdictions. Courts should use this comparative analysis to confirm the gross disproportionality inference and not to develop an inference when one did not initially exist.
State v. Harrison, No. 27228, is available online.
Justice Pleicones concurred in result only.
Brock & Scott, PLLC announces that Jim Hindersman has joined the firm as managing attorney over S.C. Real Estate located at 3800 Fernandina Rd., Ste. 110, Columbia 29210. (803) 454-3540.
Elizabeth Dyal Medlin announces the opening of Medlin Law Firm, LLC located at 1027 W. Main St., Laurens 29360. (864) 681-1340.
Nancy Jo Thomason and Christopher Pracht announce the formation of Thomason & Pracht, LLP located at 303 E. Greenville St., Anderson 29621. (864) 226-7222.
Real Estate Practices Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
South Carolina Lawyer Editorial Board Meeting, Conference Center
Administrative and Regulatory Law Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Construction Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Animal Law Committee Meeting, Conference Call
Elder Law Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Practice and Procedure Committee Meeting, Bar Building
High School Mock Trial State Competition, Lexington
Senior Lawyers Division Retreat, Charleston
Government Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Employment and Labor Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Health Care Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Tax Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Corporate, Banking and Securities Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Bar Foundation Board Meeting, Bar Building
Ethics Advisory Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Project Citizen Training, Bar Building
Board of Governors Meeting, Conference Call
Family Law Section Council Meeting, Bar Building
Lawyers' Fund for Client Protection Meeting, Conference Call
Street Law Training, Bar Building
Bar Foundation Gala, Columbia Marriott
Professional Responsibility Committee Meeting, 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.