November 27, 2012
November 21, 2012
Welcome to the South Carolina Bar's E-Blast!
November 27, 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.
Post-Thanksgiving publications sale!
Don't miss the CLE post-Thanksgiving publications sale, going on now through Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.! Purchase up to four publications and take 15 percent off your order, or purchase five or more publications and take 25 percent off your order. Click here to see a list of titles excluded from the sale. View the sale by visiting the online publications store.
Join the new Animal Law Committee
The Bar's Animal Law Committee provides education, updates and analysis of relevant issues, and holds regular meetings to discuss the changes and new directions in animal law. The Committee offers CLE and public service programs and serves as a reference point to facilitate cooperation with government agencies, non-governmental humane societies and rescue organizations. For more information and to sign up, view the Committee's web page.
Administrative orders posted
In conjunction with the opinion issued in State v. Langford, Op. No. 27195 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed Nov. 21, 2012), the S.C. Supreme Court ordered that each circuit solicitor shall reconcile all pending General Sessions cases attributable to each county in their circuits with the records maintained by the county clerks of court, and that the clerks shall ensure all case dispositions are accurately reported to the S.C. Judicial Department. The Court further ordered that the clerks of court shall conduct monthly self-audits utilizing the county statistics self-audit portal to ensure the records transmitted to the S.C. Judicial Department are accurate. See the corresponding summary below.
By order of November 21, the Court set forth the procedures under which all General Sessions cases shall be processed. The order supplements the Disposition of Cases in General Sessions order of Nov. 21, and supersedes all previous administrative orders implementing differentiated case management in each county. It becomes effective Feb. 4, 2013.
Justice Pleicones did not join in the order, as he dissented in the original case.
By order of November 21, the Court set forth new procedures for all temporary hearings in family court. The order includes, inter alia, a four-week deadline for setting hearings on motions and allotment of 15 minutes for each routine temporary hearing.
PMAP–Your guide to ...
Good passwords. We all know it’s a no-no to use the same password for everything. If your computer or one of the companies you do business with online is hacked, the bad guys have access to everything you use that password for, from online banking to Dropbox to your firm’s network. You need two things: strong passwords and a way to remember them. For tips on choosing a good password, Microsoft offers some easy to follow suggestions. You won’t have to remember all your new passwords if you use a secure password vault, such as LastPass, KeePass or RoboForm. They will even assign a strong password for you. PMAP is free practice management advice. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (803) 799-6653 ext. 183.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Bar Foundation President to play Santa for a day!
Who better to have your children get a complementary Santa photo with than Bar Foundation President Jack D. Griffeth of Collins & Lacy! After enjoying Town Theatre’s Youth production of Bah Humbug on Dec. 16 at 3 p.m., your little ones can take a picture with Jack as Mr. Claus himself in front of a beautiful Christmas scene. Photos will be e-mailed to each participant. Tickets for the show, which lasts approximately one hour, are $10 each. The photos with Santa are complementary. Avoid the mall lines and treat your family to an afternoon of holiday cheer! Proceeds from the event will benefit the S.C. Bar Foundation’s Children’s Fund. Call the Foundation at (803) 765-0517 to order your tickets today!
Advance Sheet update
November 21, 2012
The S.C. Supreme Court held that the retroactivity clause in Section 38-61-70 of the S.C. Code violates the Contract Clause of both the U.S. and S.C. Constitutions; therefore, the statute may only apply prospectively to commercial general liability insurance policies executed on or after its effective date of May 17, 2011. In finding the clause unconstitutional, the Court established that: a contractual relationship existed; retroactively applying the new definition of "occurrence" from the statute would substantially impair pre-existing contracts by materially changing their terms; and the retroactive provision was neither necessary nor reasonable.
Harleysville Mutual Insurance Co. v. State, No. 27189, is available online.
Justice Beatty concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion. Justice Pleicones filed a separate opinion concurring with Justice Beatty's opinion.
The Court granted this petition for certiorari and affirmed as modified the decision of the S.C. Court of Appeals. Although the Court of Appeals erred in interpreting the former second-degree arson statute to be limited to structures designed for human occupancy, it properly concluded that the appellant's 1979 burning conviction should not have been used for sentence enhancement purposes under S.C. Code Section 17-25-45.
State v. Phillips, No. 27190, is available online.
On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the S.C. Supreme Court reaffirmed its previous holding that Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 205 preempts the appellant’s state-law products liability claims against Ford Motor Company. The Court found its decision consistent with the framework of recent U.S. Supreme Court case Williams v. Mazda Motor of America, Inc. since, when making its decision, the Court considered: the presence of a choice between laminated and tempered glass in FMVSS 205; the text of FMVSS 205; its history; and the reasons given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its regulatory decisions.
Priester v. Cromer, No. 27191, is available online.
Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.
In this appeal challenging a jury verdict in a negligence and loss of consortium action, the Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. The Court held the circuit court erred in: instructing the jury that a heightened risk creates a greater duty of care in a medical malpractice case; submitting a verdict form that strongly suggested HealthSouth was more culpable than the individual defendants; and permitting the respondent's counsel to inform the jury of HealthSouth's net operating revenue during the punitive damages phase.
Sulton v. HealthSouth, No. 27192, is available online.
The Court determined that S.C. Code Section 1-7-330 is unconstitutional because it exclusively vests in the circuit solicitor the responsibility of determining the order in which cases on the docket shall be called for trial. The Court held that vesting a member of the executive branch with the exclusive authority to perform an inherently judicial function is unquestionably a violation of separation of powers. Because the Court found the appellant did not suffer any prejudice as a result of Section 1-7-330, the Court affirmed the appellant's convictions.
State v. Langford, No. 27195, is available online.
Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.
In this family court action, the Court affirmed the family court order and clarified the effect of filing a notice of appeal from a temporary, pendente lite order. A notice of appeal from a temporary order does not, standing alone, operate to stay the effect or enforcement of the order. Perceived errors in family court temporary orders are to be redressed at the final hearing and any such challenge must be placed on the record at the commencement of that hearing. If a party desires to challenge the final resolution of the matter, the aggrieved party may then appeal from the final judgment.
Terry v. Terry, No. 27196, is available online.
Justice Hearn concurred in a separate opinion in which Justice Kittredge concurred. Justice Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.
The Court reversed the decision of the circuit court finding it erred in holding the respondents were entitled to directed verdicts. The Court opined that whether an activity is considered gaming/gambling is not dependent upon the relative roles of chance or skill, but whether there is money or something of value wagered on the game's outcome. The Court found that playing Texas Hold’em, for money, inside a residence falls within the meaning of gambling under S.C. Code Section 16-19-40, and therefore, the respondents were not entitled to directed verdicts. The Court also found that the circuit court erred in determining that if the respondents were not entitled to directed verdicts, their convictions must be set aside as Section 16-19-40 is either unconstitutionally overbroad or void for vagueness. After examining each theory in turn, the Court ultimately held that the statute was neither vague nor overbroad.
Town of Mount Pleasant v. Chimento, No. 27196, is available online.
Chief Justice Toal concurred in a separate opinion. Justice Hearn dissented in a separate opinion in which Justice Kittredge concurred.
In this appeal from a master-in-equity’s order, the S.C. Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for a new trial. The court held that, in an action to quiet title, a court has no authority to impose a compromise on parties that do not agree to it.
Riley v. Green, No. 5051, is available online.
The court affirmed the appellant's sentence for burglary in the third degree finding that a circuit court must consider an out-of-state burglary conviction when determining the sentencing range for third degree burglary.
State v. Donahue, No. 5052, is available online.
By order of November 20, the Court placed William Jones Rivers III on interim suspension. Nicholas W. Lewis is the trustee.
By order of November 21, the Court placed Mark Andrew Brunty on interim suspension. Elizabeth Jean Saraniti is the trustee.
By order of November 21, the Court imposed a three-year definite suspension on Michael D. Shavo (retroactive to September 22, 2009) for misconduct including violation of Rules 8.4(a), 8.4(b) and 8.4(c) of the S.C. Rules of Professional Conduct. Mr. Shavo’s reinstatement is subject to other conditions set forth in the order.
By order of November 21, the Court issued a Public Reprimand to Frank L. Valenta Jr. for violation of Rule 3.5(b), SCRPC, regarding ex parte communication with a judge during a proceeding.
Druanne White Law Firm announces its relocation to 209 E. Calhoun St., Anderson 29621, (864) 231-8090, and that Trevor B. White has joined the firm.
Ellis, Lawhorne & Sims, PA announces that Lana H. Sims IV and Lyndey Ritz Zwing have joined the firm as associates located at 1501 Main St., 5th Floor, Columbia 29201. (803) 254-4190.
Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA announces that Amity S. Edmonds has joined the Greenville office as an associate located at 55 Beattie Place, Ste. 1200, 29601. (864) 271-9580.
Theresa Wozniak Jenkins announces the opening of Theresa Wozniak Jenkins, Attorney at Law, LLC located at 1180 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Ste. 200, Charleston 29407. (843) 277-6991.
Kahn Law Firm, LLC announces that Wes Allison has joined the firm as an associate located at 562 Savannah Hwy., Charleston 29407. (843) 577-2128.
Lowcountry Legal Volunteers announces its relocation to 181 Bluffton Rd., Ste. A103, Magnolia Village Business Park, Bluffton 29910. (843) 815-1570.
Nexsen Pruet, LLC announces that Chase McNair and Michael Scott have joined the Charleston office located at 205 King St., Ste. 400, 29401, (843) 577-9440, and Kyle Brannon has joined the Columbia office located at 1230 Main St., Ste. 700, 29201, (803) 771-8900.
Pohl, PA announces that Natalie B. Chambers has joined the Greenville office located at 32 S. Main St., Ste. 215, 29601. (864) 233-6294.
The S.C. Supreme Court Staff Attorneys Office announces that Elizabeth Leverette, Kevin Pratt and Andy Yoho have joined the office located at 1231 Gervais St., Columbia 29205. (803) 734-1160.
Bar Foundation Board Meeting, Conference Center
Middle School Mock Trial State Competition, Lexington
Law School for Journalists, Conference Center
Project Citizen Training, Bar Building
We the People Training, Bar Building
Board of Governors Meeting, Conference Call
Elder Law Committee Meeting, Conference Call
Practice and Procedure Committee Meeting, Bar Building
Family Law Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Section Council Meeting, Conference Call
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.