News + Press

August 7, 2014

August 04, 2014

Welcome to the South Carolina Bar's E-Blast! 
August 7, 2014
E-Blast highlights upcoming activities, legal information and links to the Bar's website at Click here for the most recent CLE Edition, which highlights upcoming CLE opportunities.

Bar benefit news
The Bar is excited to announce that beginning Oct. 1, our new free legal research provider will be
Fastcase! Many Bar members are already familiar with the Fastcase mobile app, which was ranked the most popular legal app by the 2013 ABA Legal Technology Survey Report. Bar members can load the app for free immediately from the App Store or Google Play Store. Also, for the month of October, members will have access to both Casemaker and Fastcase on their computers to make for a smooth transition. Fastcase will present at the 2014 Solo & Small Firm Conference on Sept. 19 so mark your calendars. Stay tuned to E-Blast and SC Lawyer for more news about this exciting new benefit! Contact with any questions.

Perspectives annual report available
Perspectives, the 2013-14 annual report of the SC Bar, is
online! Browse the report to learn about the Bar's efforts in the areas of membership services, continuing legal education, public services and law related education, as well as the work of the Young Lawyers Division. To access a pdf version of the report, click here

Nominating Committee to meet
The Nominating Committee will meet in October. The Committee will be nominating persons to fill the offices of President-Elect, Treasurer, Secretary, one member each of the Board of Governors for Judicial Regions 2 (Circuits 5, 6, 8, 11) and 4 (Circuits 1, 2, 9, 14) and one State Bar Delegate to the American Bar Association.

Members of the Bar are encouraged to forward names to a Committee member for consideration for nomination to these offices. Names may also be forwarded to the Committee through Executive Director Bob Wells. Persons seeking office will be asked to submit materials to the Committee which demonstrate their leadership abilities in Bar activities and in other capacities in service to the legal profession.

The Committee members are Alice Paylor, Charleston, Chair; Dan Ballou, Rock Hill; Nick Clekis, Charleston; Doug Jennings, Bennettsville; Cynthia Ouzts, Columbia; Bill Pressley, Spartanburg; Pamela Roberts, Columbia; David Tedder, Beaufort; and Beth York, Hartsville.

Public hearings for judicial candidates
Public hearings are scheduled to begin Wednesday, Nov. 5, regarding the qualifications of the candidates listed in
this media release. Persons desiring to testify shall furnish written notarized statements of proposed testimony. These statements must be received by Tuesday, Oct. 21, at noon and should be mailed or delivered to the Judicial Merit Selection Commission: Jane O. Shuler, Chief Counsel, 104 Gressette Bldg., P.O. Box 142, Columbia, SC 29202.

Member survey
Earlier this year Bar members were invited to respond to a brief survey. The survey was distributed to 14,270 members, and 1,470 responded. Responses to the first portion of the survey may be found
here. The responses regarding communications and those to the open-ended questions were forwarded to the Board’s Strategic Planning Steering Committee.

Attorney Wellness Task Force
Are you creative and witty? Do you perform well on word association games? Were you the person in law school known for the nicknames you gave people? Do you sometimes wish you had gone into brand management and/or advertising? If you answered “maybe” to any of those questions, the SC Bar Attorney Wellness Task Force needs you! The Attorney Wellness Task Force is looking for an eye-catching name for its holistic, statewide Wellness Plan, which is currently being developed and will be unveiled in January 2015. Please submit any and all ideas to by Tuesday, Sept. 2. Moreover, since the Attorney Wellness Task Force wants to encourage balancing work with rewards, the work you put in could lead to a beneficial reward. After the potential wellness plan names are compiled, the Task Force will vote (submissions will be presented to the Task Force anonymously) and a winner will be selected. That winner will be announced by Oct. 8 and the winner will receive a voucher to attend a regular CLE seminar for free.

Recent scam pattern reported
Bar members are asked to be resources for the community in prevention of a recent scam pattern. In this scam, the victim, usually an elderly person, is contacted by someone claiming to be a specific Bar member. The scammer co-opts the Bar member’s mailing address and Twitter name and uses an e-mail address similar to the Bar member’s. The phone number given to the victim is a cell phone. The “Bar member” offers to represent the victim in connection with the collection of some funds to which the victim is allegedly entitled. The scammer requires a retainer in the thousands of dollars, which he requires be wired to a specific bank account prior to “representation.” While Bar members are not the initial contact point in this scam, they could notify as appropriate any community groups, civic organizations, etc., to prevent the scam from continuing.

2015 Leadership Academy application period open
The Bar is accepting applications for the 
2015 Leadership Academy. This seventh installment of the Academy will address the following topics: lawyers in public service, professionalism, career/leadership development, work-life balance, the path to the judiciary, pro bono and community service and service to the Bar. Sessions will take place Jan. 24-25 (Bar Convention–Columbia), Feb. 24 (Columbia), March 27 (Greenville), April 24 (Charleston) and May 8 (Greenville). The purpose of the Leadership Academy is to enhance the professional growth and leadership skills development of selected members to prepare them to make greater contributions to the legal profession and community. Interested applicants must meet and agree to the stated requirements and submit the required application and supporting documents by 5 p.m. on Aug. 29, 2014. Please see the application packet for complete details. For more information, contact Caitlin Watson at, (803) 576-3782 or 1-877-797-2227, ext. 182.

Workers' Compensation Commission survey
The Bar has implemented the second bi-annual survey of Workers' Compensation Commissioners to provide feedback and evaluate performance based on the experiences of those who have practiced before them. The survey has been distributed to members of the Bar's Workers' Compensation Section. Please note that any responses to the survey will be anonymous.

Summer of Standards
In 1993, the House of Delegates adopted Principles and Standards of Professionalism. While the Rules of Professional Conduct are mandates, the Standards are aspirational and intended to be a guide to higher thinking and conduct. This summer, the Bar will publish each of the 10 Principles in E-Blast as a helpful reminder, and link to the aspirational Standards of Professionalism for further reference.
Principle 3: A lawyer should strictly adhere to the spirit as well as the letter of the Rules of Professional Conduct, to the extent that the law permits and should, at all times, be guided by a fundamental sense of honor, integrity and fair play.

Motion for Case Assignment to the Business Court Pilot Program
By order of
July 29 the Motion for Case Assignment to the Business Court Pilot Program (SCCA Form 101) is approved for use in the SC circuit courts. The form was revised to include the signature of the non-moving party if applicable and to remove the Chief Justice's Order from the form. 

Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals summaries
Members of the South Carolina Law Review have summarized newly published cases from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The summaries can be found

Advance Sheet update
August 1, 2014
This opinion, originally filed May 14, 2014, was withdrawn, substituted and refiled Aug. 1, 2014. In this divorce appeal, the S.C. Court of Appeals affirmed the family court's denial of alimony to the wife, its decision to require the parties to pay their own attorney's fees and its admission of certain photographs into evidence. The court also affirmed the family court's order finding the husband and wife are entitled to a divorce on the ground of one year’s continuous separation.
Mick-Skaggs v. Skaggs, Op. No. 5229 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 1, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 74), is available

August 4, 2014
In this adoption case, the S.C. Court of Appeals held the execution of a consent to adopt document must strictly comply with S.C. Code Section 63-9-340. Because the execution of the consent document at issue did not strictly comply with the statute, the court affirmed the family court’s determination that the document is invalid and determined that the adoption must not proceed. The court declined to reach the remaining issues on appeal.
Brown v. Baby Girl Harper, Op. No. 5260 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 4, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. at 130), is available

August 6, 2014
Given its recent decision finding S.C. Code Section 15-79-125(a) incorporates S.C. Code Section 15-36-100 in its entirety, the S.C. Supreme Court reversed and remanded the circuit court’s order dismissing Brouwer’s medical malpractice case for failure to file an expert witness affidavit with her Notice of Intent to File Suit (NOI) pursuant to S.C. Code Section 15-79-125.
Brouwer v. Sisters of Charity Providence Hospitals, Op. No. 27427 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 14), is available
Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.

The Court affirmed the circuit court’s order dismissing the appellants’ claims with prejudice, finding the circuit court judge did not err in refusing to recuse himself or in dismissing the appellants’ claims and requiring them to pay costs and attorney’s fees as sanctions for their “willful” noncompliance with the circuit court’s discovery rulings. In arriving at its conclusion, the Court made clear it did not “hold [a]ppellants’ able, competent, and experienced counsel at fault for [a]ppellants’ discovery abuses.”
Davis v. Parkview Apartments, Op. No. 27429 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 26), is available
Justice Pleicones concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion.

The Court adhered to its decision in Stephen W. and affirmed the ruling of the family court denying the appellant’s request for a jury trial. The Court, however, recognized that the tension between the State’s power as parens patriae and a juvenile’s state constitutional right to a jury trial must be reconciled. The opinion noted “[a]lthough a juvenile is not entitled to a jury trial in an adjudication proceeding, the juvenile should be permitted to remove his case from the family court to a court of competent jurisdiction where a jury trial may be conducted.”
In the Interest of Kevin R., Op. No. 27430 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 58), is available
Chief Justice Toal concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion. Justice Pleicones concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion in which Justice Kittredge concurred.

The S.C. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded this case for a new trial after finding the circuit court improperly admitted certain opinion testimony from a non-expert.
Fowler v. Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Co., Op. No. 5256 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 84), is available

In this criminal appeal, the court determined the trial court did not commit a reversible error in charging the jury that time is not a material element of committing a lewd act on a minor. The court also determined the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting into evidence the DVD recording of the victim’s interviews with the forensic examiner. The court, therefore, affirmed Perry’s conviction and sentence.
State v. Perry, Op. No. 5257 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 95), is available
Chief Judge Few concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion.

The court determined the circuit court erred in failing to charge the jury on “guilty but mentally ill,” finding Curry presented sufficient evidence he lacked the requisite capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law so as to justify a jury charge of guilty but mentally ill. Accordingly, the court reversed Curry’s conviction and remanded for a new trial.
State v. Curry, Op. No. 5258 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 116), is available

The court affirmed the decision of the trial court holding that, although the trial court’s Jackson v. Denno finding was insufficient, the entire record on appeal establishes beyond a reasonable doubt any error in the admission of White’s statement did not contribute to the verdict obtained.
State v. White, Op. No. 5259 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 6, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 31 at 124), is available
Chief Judge Few dissented in a separate opinion.

Judicial discipline
By order of
August 6 the Court publicly reprimanded former Abbeville County Magistrate George T. Ferguson for misconduct in office. The Court noted that, because the respondent is no longer a judge and because he has agreed not to hereafter seek nor accept another judicial position in South Carolina without first obtaining express written permission from the Court after due notice in writing to ODC, the reprimand was the most severe sanction that could be issued.

Firm announcements
Callison Tighe & Robinson, LLC announces that Michal Kalwajtys has joined the firm as an associate located at 1812 Lincoln St., Columbia 29201. (803) 404-6900.

Cole Law Firm
 announces that Helena L. Jedziniak has joined the Anderson office as an associate located at 1303 Ella St., 29621. 1-877-INFO-DUI.

August 11
Tax Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call

August 12
Government Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call

August 13
Employment and Labor Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call

August 20
Annual Meeting of the Chairs, Conference Center

August 21
Diversity in the Bar Task Force Meeting, Bowman and Brooke

August 27
Memory Hold the Door Committee Meeting, Conference Center

September 5
South Carolina Lawyer Editorial Board Meeting, Bar Building

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