Library Hours over Labor Day Weekend

Labor-day-9-7_0The Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library will be open over the Labor Day weekend of September 4th – 7th.  The library’s hours will be as follows:

  1. Friday, September 4th           7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  2. Saturday, September 5th       10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  3. Sunday, September 6th          Noon to Midnight
  4. Monday, September 7th         9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m./ Study Hall Only

Enjoy the holiday and happy studying!

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Law School Survival: Study Aids

lawschoolHaving survived your first week of law school, many of you, particularly the 1Ls, are now asking: “what else can I use to help me study and understand the law?”

The library has a few suggestions for study aids listed below.

  1. For more interactive learning, check out CALI lessons on a variety of topics at CALI.org.  You’ll need to register with your CSOL authorization code to start.  1Ls received the authorization code in their Orientation packets.  Others can acquire the code from the Reference Desk.  What is CALI?  CALI lessons take students through a series of questions on a particular subject, providing immediate feedback as the student provides answers.
  2. Students who are auditory and learn by listening should check out some of the audiovisual materials available on a variety of subjects.  Flashcards are also available.  These materials are located in the Reference office.
  3. Students who want to listen to cases or watch trials should check out Lexis Courtroom Cast which is hosted by Courtroom View Network.  This resource can be found on the library’s web page under Research Resources/Databases.  You can listen to the audio of cases, searching for cases by subject, party name, or case book.
  4. Check out the hornbooks, nutshells, Examples & Explanations, Understanding series and other study aids located in the Study Aid section of the library which is adjacent to the library’s Circulation Desk.  These print materials are designed to help you grasp and understand the concepts of black letter law in your classes.  To locate appropriate materials, physically browse the shelves or search the library’s catalog by selecting law in the keyword section and limiting your search to the collection study aids.

Happy studying!  Please stop by the Reference Desk if you have questions or suggestions.  We’re here for you.

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Opinions from the South Carolina Supreme Court

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On August 19th, the South Carolina Supreme Court published two opinions in State v. Harris and State v. Johnson.

In State v. Harris, Petitioner was convicted of criminal solicitation with a minor. The Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision which had affirmed the circuit court’s decision denying petitioner’s directed verdict motion. The State presented direct evidence that petitioner communicated with a person he believed to be a minor with the intent to entice her to engage in sexual activity. Further, petitioner’s statement that he only meant to teach Amy “a lesson” created a jury question whether petitioner had the requisite intent to entice Amy to engage in sexual activity. The Court held that offense of Criminal Solicitation of a Minor is complete when the defendant knowingly contacts or communicates with the minor, or a person he believes to be a minor, with the intent to entice her to engage in sexual activity.

State v. Johnson was a criminal appeal where the Court reversed the court of appeals and held that the trial judge’s credibility determination precluded a finding that Respondent unequivocally invoked her right to counsel during custodial interrogation.

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South Carolina Court of Appeals’ Opinions

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Last week, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published two opinions:  Stoneledge at Lake Keowee v. Clear View Construct and Stoneledge at Lake Keowee v. Builders Source.

In the first Stoneledge case, Marick Home Builders, LLC served as a contractor for the construction of townhomes known as Stoneledge at Lake Keowee. The owners’ association brought suit against Marick and others alleging construction defects. The circuit court granted summary judgment against Marick on its cross-claim for negligence, finding “Marick’s negligence claim is a claim for equitable indemnity.” The circuit court also found Marick’s fault required summary judgment on its equitable indemnity claim. The Court of appeals affirmed the court’s ruling that Marick did not have a separate claim for negligence. The Court also found, however, that Marick presented a question of fact on the equitable indemnity claim. The Court reversed summary judgment and remanded for trial on that issue.

Stoneledge v. Builders FirstSource was also a construction defect case where the Court affirmed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment against Marick on its cross-claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty, finding these claims were “merely disguised . . . claims for equitable indemnity and are not viable as alternative causes of action.”

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Library Reference Assistants for 2015-2016

Library5Please welcome the Charleston School of Law Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library Reference Assistants for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Joining us at the Reference Desk will be:

QueAndra Campbell

Kathryn Love

Lauren Pearson

Alexis Ramsey

Amy Sellers

Rachel Whitman

Shelby Winters

Again, please welcome them.

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Articles Worth Reading

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Check out the following articles for your reading pleasure:

  1. 7 Things I’ve Learned Since Starting a Law Firm
  2. Beloit Releases Annual “Mind-set List”
  3. Could Librarians Lead Strategic Law Firm Practice Growth?
  4. Five Critical Skills to Empower Students in the Digital Age
  5. Important New Article on Mindfulness and Thinking Tools
  6. Is Competitive BigLaw Similar to Amazon’s Survival-of-the-Fittest System?
  7. Is Happiness At Work Overrated?
  8. Law Departments vs. Law Firms: What Innovation Really Looks Like
  9. My Last Lecture: Unsolicited Advice for Future and Current Lawyers
  10. NLRB: Northwestern Football Players Can’t Form a Union

Happy reading!

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Opinions from the South Carolina Supreme Court

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Last week, the South Carolina Supreme Court published five opinions: State v. Gordon, Regions Bank v. Strawn, Brown v. Dick Smith Nissan, Chestnut v. AVX Corporation and State v. Anderson.

In State v. Gordon, the Court granted certiorari to review the court of appeals affirmation of the circuit court’s interpretation of SC Code Section 56-5-2953, Incident site and breath test site video recording. The appellate court found that the section required officers to record the head of the motorist when administering the HGN field sobriety test, and that Gordon (Respondent)’s head was not sufficiently visible. The statute, through its plain reading makes no mention of the motorist’s head.

This Court affirms the court of appeal’s conclusion that the statute requires the motorist’s head to be recorded in the video but found that the officer complied with the statute in recording Gordon’s HGN test. Gordon was stopped at a license and registration checkpoint by a SC Highway Patrol Officer. The officer administered several field sobriety tests recorded by the dashboard camera in the officer’s patrol car. The tests were administered at night, but the officer had Gordon stand in the light of his patrol car’s headlights and illuminated Gordon’s face by a flashlight. Gordon was arrested for driving under the influence in violation of S.C Code Section 56-5-2930.

This Court found that the statute at issue to be clear and unambiguous in mandating that the video recording “must include any field sobriety test administered” Here, the officer’s administration of the test and Gordon’s face are visible on the tape. Thus, the requirement that the head be visible on the video is satisfied. The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals’ decision and reinstated Gordon’s conviction.

Regions Bank v. Strawn, the Court granted a writ of certiorari to review the appellate court’s decision to affirm the trial court’s award of statutory damages for the bank’s failure to satisfy a mortgage. Regions brought a foreclosure action against the Borchers seeking to foreclose on the property they purchased from Cammie Strawn.  Cammie Strawn had acquired the home, by deed, from Richard Strawn, who had given a mortgage to Regions Bank to secure a line of credit. At closing, the Borchers’ attorney, James Belk , had an employee deliver a payoff check and a mortgage satisfaction transmittal letter to Regions Bank. However, Regions Bank did not satisfy the mortgage but instead provided Richard Strawn with new checks and a new line of credit. Later, Regions Bank attempted to collect Strawn’s debt by foreclosing on the Borcher’s home. The Borchers counterclaimed  against the foreclosure action seeking to recover damages pursuant to SC Code section 29-3-320 based on the bank’s failure to enter satisfaction of the mortgage within the three month time period required by section 29-3-310.

The Borchers’ won on their counterclaim at trial court and the appellate court. Regions Bank argued that the court of appeals erred and requested this Court’s consideration on two questions: 1.) whether open-end mortgages, per section 29-3-50, are an exception to section 29-3-310 in that only the granter may request satisfaction or cancellation of the mortgage; and 2.) whether the Borchers or any other mortgagor may assert a violation of sections 29-3-310 and 29-3-320 when their attorney had the authority to timely cancel or satisfy the mortgage pursuant to section 29-3-330.

This Court answered negatively to the first question holding that open-end mortgages are cancelled and satisfied in the same manner as other mortgages, section 29-3-310 controls the method to do so. The Court answered affirmatively to the second question finding that the law and the mortgage itself required Regions Bank to satisfy the mortgage as requested. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision.

In Brown v. Dick Smith Nissans, the Court reversed the appellate court’s decision and reinstated the trial judge’s decision that the motor vehicle dealer violated the South Carolina Dealers Act.

Latoya Brown entered into a contract to purchase a Mazda 6 automobile from Dick Smith Nissan; the purchase was contingent on acquiring third-party financing. After multiple failed attempts to secure financing, Kent Guthrie, the car dealer representative, contacted Sovereign Bank again. During his negotiation, he misrepresented that Brown was a relative of a Dick Smith employee and that he [Guthrie] needed a favor for the deal. Sovereign Bank approved the financing as requested by Guthrie for a Nissan Altima. Sovereign Bank requested proof of income of $2800 per month. At the time Brown’s monthly income was $1800 per month and her car selection was a Mazda 6.  Brown was unable to resolve the financing issues and returned the vehicle. Later the car was repossessed and sold by Sovereign Bank with a deficiency against Brown. Brown filed a complaint alleging violations of the South Carolina Dealers Act, specifically 56-15-30(a). The trial judge found in favor of Brown and award damages, interests as well as attorney’s fees and costs. The court of appeals reversed the trial judge’s decision. This Court disagreed with the court of appeals reasoning that the inaccuracies on the financing application were “puffing” and did not amount to bad faith, fraud or a deceptive act. Further the Court rejects the argument that Dick Smith is absolved from culpability because it warned Brown that her vehicle would be reposed. The violations of the Dealers Act occurred in the methods it employed to procure financing for Brown and the fact that it failed to assist Brown in correcting its mistakes that caused the issues with the Mazda 6. This Court agrees with the trial judge that Dick Smith acted in bad faith when it made no effort to assist Brown in correcting the financing paperwork or transferring collateral on the loan. According, the court of appeals’ decision is reversed.

In Chestnut v. AVX Corporation, the Court affirms the circuit court’s dismissal of Appellant’s nuisance and strict liability claims relating to their real property located in proximity to a contaminated site but reversed the dismissal of their negligence claim.

In State v. Anderson, the Court upheld the constitutionality of S.C. Code Ann Section 17-23-175 which had been challenged on Confrontation Clause Grounds, but reversed appellant’s conviction based upon the qualification and testimony of a forensic interviewer. The Court also placed limits on the acceptable scope of a forensic interviewer’s testimony before a jury.

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