News + Press

August 21, 2014

August 19, 2014

Welcome to the South Carolina Bar's E-Blast!
August 21, 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.

Young Lawyers Division garners top honors at ABA Annual Meeting
Congratulations to YLD, winner of three prestigious Awards of Achievement at the ABA Annual Meeting! The awards included first place in three categories: Comprehensive (overall programs), Newsletters (S.C. Young Lawyer), and Minority Service Project (The Color of Justice). Beth Palmer, SC Bar YLD member, was also named an ABA YLD Star of the Year.

Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal Addressed S.C. Judiciary at 2014 Annual Judicial Conference
Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal welcomed new Court of Appeals and Circuit Court judges, reviewed the performance of individual circuits and gave an update on technology in an address to the members of South Carolina's Judiciary at the Annual Judicial Conference on August 21. Read more about her address and see her presentation

2014-2015 Lawyers Desk Book now available!
The 2014-15 edition of the SC Bar Lawyers Desk Book is now available. Please note that member contact information was published as entered in the Supreme Court's Attorney Information System (AIS). All active Bar members were mailed a complimentary copy this week; please allow two weeks for delivery. Additional copies in print and downloadable electronic format can be purchased for $25 each, plus tax.
Order extra copies online or by calling (803) 799-6653, ext. 155.

E-recording in Laurens County

South Carolina added its eighth e-recording county this week, Laurens County, enabling attorneys, title companies, banks and others to record documents online in minutes through e-recording vendor, Simplifile. Laurens County Clerk of Court joins Berkeley, Greenville, Horry, Beaufort, Lexington, Richland and York counties in offering this digital recording technology for faster, more cost-effective recording of deeds, mortgages and other documents. High-speed Internet access, a PC and scanner are the minimum requirements to begin submitting documents electronically in these counties. For more information about e-recording in S.C., e-mail Randy Johnstone at

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 is publishing each of the 10 Principles in E-Blast as a helpful reminder and linking to the aspirational Standards of Professionalism for further reference.
Principle 5:  A lawyer should conduct himself or herself to assure the just, prompt and economically efficient determination and resolution of every controversy consistent with thoroughness and professional preparation.

PMAP Practice Pointer
It’s an inconvenient fact: in order to be paid, you must send a bill – preferably one your client will pay attention to. Clients are more likely to pay when you include a due date on your billing statement. Without a due date, your bill could end up at the bottom of your client’s stack. Also make sure to include entries that were done at “no charge,” as clients appreciate when this is pointed out. For more billing tips, read
"Billing Pointers That Can Improve Your Cash Flow." Contact PMAP for free assistance with your law practice at

After 43 years, it was time for a facelift!
The Bar Foundation invites you to take a peek at its updated website. From new forms for Cole Scholarship applications and Historical Society memberships, to a refreshed calendar of grantee activities, the new site is user-friendly and waiting for you! Visit

Advance Sheet Update
August 20, 2014
After finding the City of Columbia’s arguments unpreserved for review, the S.C. Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals’ opinion as modified, holding S&W’s estimate to continue services constituted an offer and the City’s authorization to pay $65,000 in interim architectural design services served as an acceptance. The Court remanded the case for further proceedings for a determination of the terms of the contract and whether the contract has been satisfied or damages should be awarded.
Stevens & Wilkinson v. City of Columbia, Op. No. 27433 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 14), is available

The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and held the Memorandum of Understanding at issue in this case was unenforceable as a matter of law, as there was no meeting of the minds on numerous material terms. The Court also determined the Court of Appeals erred in reversing the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the City on Garfield’s quantum meruit claim because there was no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the City retained a benefit. Accordingly, the Court reversed the opinion of the Court of Appeals and reinstated summary judgment in favor of the City of Columbia on the contract claims and on Garfield’s quantim meruit claim.
Stevens & Wilkinson v. City of Columbia, Op. No. 27434 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 19), is available
Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.

In this insurance dispute, the Court agreed with the circuit court that GEICO’s policy is not ambiguous but concluded the family step-down provision, which reduced the coverage under the liability policy from the stated policy amount to the statutory minimum, is violative of public policy and is, therefore, void. The court opined that the provision not only conflicts with the mandates set forth in S.C. Code Section 38-77-142 but its enforcement would also be injurious to public welfare.
Williams v. GEICO, Op. No. 27435 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 34), is available
Justice Pleicones concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion in which Justice Kittredge concurred.

In determining whether a limited liability company may be held liable for the actions of a promoter, the Court adopted the majority rule that a corporation is not liable on any contracts that a promoter makes for its benefit prior to incorporation unless the corporation assumes the obligation by its own act after incorporation. Because Hansen failed to present any evidence suggesting appellant ratified Fields’ or his related entities’ contracts, appellant was entitled to a directed verdict on the contract claims. The Court also adopted the prevailing rule that a corporation is not liable in tort for the preformation acts of is promoter and held appellant was not liable for any torts committed by its promoters. Accordingly, the Court held the circuit court erred in denying appellant’s motion for a directed verdict and reversed.
Hansen v. Fields Co., Op. No. 27436 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 54), is available

After certifying this appeal pursuant to Rule 204(b), SCACR, the Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of Sloan’s claims for declaratory and injunctive relief, reversed the denial of attorney’s fees and costs and remanded for a determination of Sloan’s reasonable attorney’s fees and costs in this action.
Sloan v. SCDOR, Op. No. 27437 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 63), is available

Because it found Malloy’s claim was not based on a duty derived from the agreements containing arbitration clauses as asserted by Merrill Lynch, the Court agreed with the circuit court that, as a non-signatory, Malloy cannot be compelled to arbitrate under the agreements. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the circuit court’s denial of Merrill Lynch’s motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration.
Malloy v. Thompson, Op. No. 27438 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 69), is available

The Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and concluded the trial court did not abuse its discretion in admitting the pre-autopsy photographs into evidence.
State v. Collins, Op. No. 27439 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 74), is available
Justice Kittredge concurred in a separate opinion in which Justice Hearn concurred. Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.

The S.C. Court of Appeals affirmed Pope’s convictions, finding the trial court did not err in denying the motion to suppress the evidence seized during the search of the vehicle because law enforcement had a reasonable suspicion to justify the traffic stop and probable cause to believe the vehicle contained evidence of criminal activity. The court also determined the trial court did not err in admitting either the scales or the drugs found in the police car because the scales were a non-fungible item. Therefore, the establishment of a strict chain of custody was not required, and a complete chain of custody was established for the drugs, which were a fungible item.
State v. Pope, Op. No. 5261 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 88), is available

The court affirmed the master’s decision denying Appellants’ motion to vacate or set aside the foreclosure sale. The court held the master did not abuse his discretion in determining the foreclosure sales price of the property did not shock the conscience of the court or in determining the Fingerhuts were bona fide purchasers for value pursuant to S.C. Code Section 155-39-870.
Bloody Point Property Owners Assoc. Inc. v. Ashton, Op. No. 5262 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 99), is available

In this action to quiet title, the court affirmed the master’s order regarding the stipulation to record title, respondents’ affirmative defenses and Demetre’s failure to quiet title in two lots. The court vacated the master’s order to the extent the master exceeded the mandate by finding the State was a necessary party, by finding any property interest in the State or respondents, by finding the 1965 plat was “incorrect,” and by determining the location of the mean high water mark.
The Milton P. Demetre Family Limited Partnership v. Beckmann, Op. No. 5263 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 107), is available

In this action for gross negligence, the court affirmed the trial court’s award of punitive damages and the trial court’s denial of Wal-Mart’s post-trial motions for Judgment Not Withstanding the Verdict and for the reversal or reduction of punitive damages.
Solanki v. Wal-Mart Store #2806, Op. No. 5264 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 123), is available

After finding the circuit court erred in denying the admission of evidence of McCombs’ prior bad act, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with its decision.
State v. McCombs, Op. No. 5265 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 134), is available

The court affirmed the first judge’s ruling revoking Blakney’s community supervision, giving him credit for prison time served and requiring him to begin a new two-year community service program (CSP). The Court reversed the second CSP judge’s order, which failed to consider the alleged violations, and concluded Blakney satisfied the terms of his burglary sentence when he completed 30 months of imprisonment and thus was no longer subject to community supervision. The court remanded for a new hearing on the violations allegedly committed.
State v. Blakney, Op. No. 5266 (S.C. Ct. App. filed August 20, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 142), is available
Chief Judge Few dissented in a separate opinion.

Firm announcements
Clawson and Staubes, LLC announces that Penn Wickenberg Ely and Michael L. Leech have joined the Charleston office as associates located at 126 Seven Farms Dr., Ste. 200, 29492. (843) 577-2026.

The Foster Care Review Board
announces that Lindsey A. McCallister has joined its office as a staff attorney located at 1205 Pendleton St., Ste. 436, Columbia, 29201. (803) 734-0474.

Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, PA announces that Jane C. Bouch has joined the Charleston office as an associate located at 134 Meeting St., 29401. (843) 722-3366.

The Hyman Law Group, PA announces that Jordan W. Hyman has joined the Conway office as an associate located at 1208 Third Ave, 29526. (843) 248-2024.

Morton & Gettys, LLC announces that Joseph L. Raad has joined the Rock Hill office as Senior Counsel at the firm's new location, 334 Oakland Ave., 29730. (803) 366-3388.

The Pearce Law Group, PC announces that Heath Atkinson and Todd Rigler have joined the firm located at 1309 Professional Dr., Ste. 202, Myrtle Beach, 29577. (843) 839-3210.

Ricardo Bunge announces the opening of The Computer Advisor, LLC and TCA Forensics, LLC. He can be reached at for more information.

Richardson Patrick Westbrook & Brickman, LLC
announces that Matthew A. Nickles has joined the Mt. Pleasant office as an associate located at 1017 Chuck Dawley Blvd., 29464. (843) 727-6500.

Sowell Gray Stepp & Laffitte, LLC announces that Beth Richardson has joined the firm as Of Counsel and Ben Gooding has joined the firm as an associate located at 1310 Gadsden St., Columbia, 29201. (803) 929-1400.

August 27
Memory Hold the Door Committee Meeting, Conference Center

September 4
Free legal clinic: End of Life Issues (Columbia)

September 5
Animal Law Committee Conference Call
SC Lawyer Editorial Board Meeting, Bar Building
Elder Law Committee Meeting, Bar Building

September 8
Free legal clinic: Wills, Estate and Probate (Lexington)

September 9
Professional Liability Committee Meeting, Conference Center
Free legal clinic: Family Law Issues (Spartanburg & Lexington)
Free legal clinic: Consumer Law Issues (Myrtle Beach)

September 10

Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee Meeting, Conference Center

September 11
Resolution of Fee Disputes Board Circuit Chairs Meeting, Brookland Baptist Banquet and Conference Center
Free legal clinic: End of Life Issues (Myrtle Beach)

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