PACER’ New Generation of the Judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) System.

On August 11 PACER announced that a change was made to the PACER architecture in preparation for the implementation of the next generation of the judiciary’s Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. NextGen CM/ECF replaces the older CM/ECF system and provides improvements for users, including a single sign-on for PACER and NextGen CM/ECF.

 As a result of these architectural changes, the locally developed legacy case management systems in the five courts listed below are now incompatible with PACER; therefore, the judiciary is no longer able to provide electronic access to the closed cases on those systems. The dockets and documents in these cases can be obtained directly from the relevant court. Contact information for each court is available on the Court Locator page. All open cases, as well as any new filings, will continue to be available on PACER.

 Courts now incompatible with PACER:

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit for cases filed prior to January 1, 2010

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit for cases filed prior to January 1, 2008

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit for cases filed prior to January 1, 2010

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for cases filed prior to March 1, 2012

U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California for cases filed prior to May 1, 2001

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August 27, 2014 South Carolina Court of Appeals published opinions

Bagwell v State

Bagwell moved for post conviction relief arguing ineffective assistance of counsel. The circuit court denied his motion. The panel, 2-1, reversed. The majority held that trial counsel was ineffective when she failed to have blood samples form the crime scene tested because she knew the evidence existed and had an independent duty to test. The deficient performance was prejudicial as the state’s case was weak and the solicitor pointed to the blood samples to connect Bagwell with the crime scene. The panel rejected Bagwell’s argument that his attorney should have argued for the introduction of evidence of bias of a witness as the proposed testimony had already been held irrelevant in a prior appeal. The dissent argued there was no prejudice from the lack of testing as there was a plausible alternate explanation for the blood samples which was also consistent with Bagwell’s guilt and the case was ultimately about whether Bagwell or his accusers were more credible.

Tuten v Joel 

Joel appealed a legal malpractice judgment. The panel, with one judge concurring separately, affirmed. The majority held that the circuit court properly granted partial summary judgment as to liability to Tuten as she signed a retainer agreement with Joel; Joel failed to terminate the relationship as he never communicated his intent to terminate the relationship and the letter actually sent can only be reasonably read to mean Joel remained Tuten’s lawyer as he was to receive part of any fees earned in the case; the attorney Joel relied upon did not prosecute Tuten’s claim and this breach of duty is Joel’s responsibility as the other attorney was Joel’s agent; and these actions caused at least some of Tuten’s damages because the suit was dismissed and the defendant in the dismissed case had insurance coverage which could have satisfied at least some of any judgment obtained.   The majority upheld the denial of a new trial motion as the damage award was supported by the evidence of Tuten’s injuries including broken vertebrae and ribs and a collapsed lung. The concurrence argued that part of the majority’s reasoning, that Joel admitted his attorney-client relationship in this case when he filed an unrelated lawsuit against a different attorney seeking return of fees paid to that attorney, was not correct as the existence and allegations in that lawsuit did not contradict the testimony and evidence in this case.

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August 27, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinion

Whigham v Jackson Dawson Communications 

Whigham suffered a leg injury at a kickball event he organized for Jackson. He filed a workers compensation claim which was rejected on the ground that Whigham was not in the course of employment when injured. The rejection was affirmed on appeal. The Court, 3-2, reversed and remanded for a benefits award. The majority held that the facts of the case-that Whigham and his supervisor both believed he was required to attend the event, he organized the event at Jackson’s direction, Jackson promoted the event and used the event as part of Whigham’s evaluation-mean Whigham was required to attend the event as a matter of law and he was thus in the course and scope of his employment. The dissent argued there was conflicting testimony as to whether Whigham was required to attend and thus the rejection should be affirmed on substantial evidence review, there was no requirement to participate tin the event and the majority approach favors supervisors over line workers.

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Library Open Labor Day

labordayThe Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library will be open its regular operating hours on Saturday and Sunday, August 30th & 31st.  It will be open as a study hall only on Labor Day, Monday, September 1st, from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.  Many thanks to Charleston School of Law Security for making this possible.   Happy Labor Day!

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Beloit Mindset Class of 2018

beloitThis morning Beloit College released its annual Beloit Mindset List for the upcoming Class of 2018.  According to the list,

“[s]tudents heading into their first year of college this year were generally born in 1996.  Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Tupac Shakur, JonBenet Ramsey, Carl Sagan, and Tiny Tim.   On Parents’ Weekend, they may want to watch out in case Madonna shows up to see daughter Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon or Sylvester Stallone comes to see daughter Sophia.”

The list then proceeds to list 55 facts common to the Class of 2018.   Check it out here and enjoy.

Hat Tip:  Billie Jo Kaufman

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August 22, 2014 4th Circuit published opinion

United States v McLaurin and United States v Lowery 

McLaurin and Lowery were convicted of conspiracy and firearms charges arising from an agreement to rob a drug stash house. They appealed arguing they were entrapped. The panel, with one partial dissent, affirmed except as to McLaurin’s sentence which was vacated and remanded. The panel held that the district court properly charged the jury both as to the elements of entrapment and as the meaning of government inducement. It held that evidence that Lowery possessed a firearm eight months prior to the proposed robbery was relevant to prove his intent to commit the robbery and thus was admissible to prove predisposition which would negate the entrapment defense. Alternatively, Lowery testified he wasn’t serious about participating in a robbery and this opened the door to the firearms possession evidence. The panel held that there was no error in admitting the fact that McLaurin had been convicted of a robbery as his attorney’s cross examination left a false impression that no evidence existed that McLaurin had ever participated in a robbery. The majority held that Lowery’s firearm charges were properly joined as the evidence that he sold firearms to the same confidential informant that introduced him to undercover agents would have been admissible to prove predisposition and thus there was no prejudice from the joinder. The majority finally vacated McLaurin’s sentences holding the criminal history was incorrectly scored, this increased the sentencing range and the sentencing judge indicated it was troubled at the high guideline range. The dissent argued that there was no logical relationship between the conspiracy and firearms charges and thus joinder was improper. It also argued this error was not harmless as the firearms evidence would not have been allowed at a separate trial as possessing a gun and robbing a house are not similar.

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Articles Worth Reading

articles worth readingCheck out the following articles:

1.  Analyzing Carnegie’s Reach:  The Contingent Nature of Innovation

2.  Checklists Can Help Firms Manage Vendors

3.  Designing a Law Library to Encourage Learning

4.  How to Turn Your iPad into an iPhone

5.  ILTA Flies High with Opening Keynote

6.  Justice Ginsburg Laments ‘Real Racial Problem’ in US

7.  Measuring Merit:  The Shultz-Zedeck Research on Law School Admissions

8.  The Suffolk Flaherty Legal Technology Audit:  Ready, Set, Go!

Enjoy.  Happy Friday!

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