Articles & Other Items Worth Reading

articles worth readingFor your reading pleasure and information needs, check out:

  1.  1L Guide to Surviving the First Year
  2. Attorney at Work: Enterprising Lawyer Daniel Lewis
  3. How to Clinch That “A” and Not Lose Your Mind
  4. Jonathan Zittrain: Fighting Link Rot in Court Opinions and Legal Scholarship
  5. Killer Legal Reality Radio by Joe Balliro, Jr.
  6. Law Firm Competency Models and Student Professional Success: Building on a Foundation of Professional Formation/Professionalism
  7. Law Firm Marketing: Boost Your Search Engine Visibility with Google Ad Words
  8. Soft Skills Are What Make Good Lawyers Great
  9. Startup Looks to Establish “First Free Market for Legal Advice”
  10. Stressing Out in Law School is a Matter of Choice

Happy reading!

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Unaccompanied Minors Pro Bono Project

uacOn Friday, October 16th, the South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center and the Legal Services of Southern Piedmont will hold a day long training CLE at the Charleston School of Law at 414 King St. in Room 107/109 for the unaccompanied minors pro bono project.

What is the unaccompanied minors pro bono project?  The purpose of this project is to help local attorneys understand Special Juvenile Immigrant Status (SJIS), immigration removal defenses, and to represent unaccompanied minor children in South Carolina Family Courts.

Unaccompanied minors, living in South Carolina, will need legal representation in South Carolina Family Courts to obtain SIJS status and avoid deportation.  This CLE will provide an overview of the project, information about immigration law and removal defenses, and suggested strategies for working with these children to avoid deportation.  Sue Berkowitz, Nina Cano, Amanda Keaveny, John Duffy, Susan Chang, and Lisa Smith-Butler will be speaking.

Register here for the CLE.

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South Carolina Supreme Court Opinions


On Wednesday, September 9th, the South Carolina Supreme Court published four opinions:  In the Matter of Christopher Gerald Harper, State v. Scott, Stokes-Craven Holding Corp. v. Robinson, and Azar v. City of Columbia.

In the Matter of Christopher Gerald Harper, the Court published a disciplinary opinion in which the Court disbars a lawyer.

State v. Scott was an appeal of a murder conviction where this Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision that the evidence presented did not support a jury instruction on involuntary manslaughter. The Court held that Scott did not present any evidence that he acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others. Thus, an involuntary manslaughter charge was not warranted. 

In Stokes-Craven Holding Corp. v. Robinson,  Appellant  appeals the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of its trial attorney and his law firm based on the expiration of the three-year statute of limitations. Appellant contends the court erred in applying this Court’s decision in Epstein v. Brown, 363 S.C. 372, 610 S.E.2d 816 (2005), and holding that Appellant knew or should have known that it had a legal malpractice claim on the date of the adverse jury verdict. We overrule Epstein, reverse the circuit court’s order, and remand the matter to the circuit court.

In Azar v. City of Columbia, Appellants brought this action contending the City of Columbia is prohibited by Section 6-1-330 of the South Carolina Code from using a percentage of the approximately $110 million in water and sewer revenues the City generates each year for purposes unrelated to water and sewer. The trial court granted summary judgment for the City. This Court reversed the holding and remanded the matter to the trial court.

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South Carolina Court of Appeals’ Opinion


On September 23rd, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published two opinions: Sifonios v. Town of Surfside Beach and State v. Brown.

In Sifonios v. Town of Surfside Beach, John Sifonios appealed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Town of Surfside Beach (the Town) as to the validity of a lease agreement. Although the Town never signed or delivered the lease agreement, Sifonios asserts that sufficient signatory and delivery acts occurred when the Surfside Beach Town Council  approved the proposed form of the lease and posted the minutes recording this approval on its website.

The Court found Sifoni’s claims  that the Town intended to deliver the Lease Agreement when it posted the meeting minutes to be without merit for two reasons: First, this argument ignores the conditions precedent to delivery, which the record reflects were explicitly stated several times in the Town Council’s meeting minutes However, the minutes from Town Council’s special meeting evidence a clear intent to reconvene or, at a minimum, receive the results of the background and credit checks before it would authorize the Town Administrator to enter into the Lease Agreement.  Second, Appellant’s own failure to act in accordance with the Lease Agreement’s terms confirms that neither party interpreted the posting of the minutes to constitute valid delivery. Pursuant Article II, section 2.2. of the lease, Sifonios was to pay the Town a security deposit upon delivery. Sifonios offered no evidence to show that he had tendered this security deposit. Accordingly, the Court affirms.

In State v. Brown, Lamar Sequan Brown appeals his conviction for first-degree burglary, arguing the trial court should not have admitted evidence obtained from a warrantless search of the contents of his code-locked cell phone. The State argues the trial court properly found the police could search the phone without a warrant because it was abandoned property left at the scene of a crime. This Court agreed with the State’s argument and  affirms the holding of the trial court.

On Wednesday, September 16th, the Court of Appeals published one opinion in Canal Insurance Co. v. National House Movers.  This was a declaratory judgment action, in which, Canal Insurance Co. appealed the circuit court’s finding that National House Movers, LLC’s (NHM) commercial automobile insurance policy provided indemnity coverage for injuries Kevin Jones sustained while working for NHM. This Court disagreed with Canal’s contention that Jones was an employee, as opposed to a “temporary worker,” and affirmed the circuit court’s order.

On September 9th, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published one opinion in Lucero v. State. The Court reversed the PCR court’s finding that the standard in Padilla v. Kentucky, 559 U.S. 356 (2010), applied retroactively in South Carolina. In Padilla, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “counsel must inform her client whether his plea carries the risk of deportation.” In Chadiez v. U.S., 133 S.Ct. 1103, 1107 (2013), the Court found that Padilla did not apply retroactively and “defendants whose convictions became final prior to Padilla therefore cannot benefit from its holding.

Here, Lucero argued that even thought Padilla created a new rule, which would usually forbid retroactive application, South Carolina should apply it retroactively. This Court rejected that argument and found that Padilla is not a watershed rule and therefore cannot be applied retroactively.

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Articles Worth Reading

download-google-books-freeCheck out:

  1. 4 Essential iPad Deposition Apps
  2. A 4-Step Information Governance Program for Legal Hoarders
  3. Amazon Web Services, GoDaddy Named in Ashley Madison Related Litigation
  4. Getting a Second Chance Again
  5. Google Adds Collaboration Features for Classroom and Docs
  6. Internet of Things Will Lead to Complex Legal Questions
  7. More to Metadata Management than Cleaning
  8. Nexsen Pruet Selects Iris Arc for E-Discovery, Document Review
  9. Preparing for Service: A Template for 21st Century Legal Education
  10. Supporting Bar Preparation: Offering a Bar Passage Support Program
  11. The Future of AI and White Collar Automation for Legal Services
  12. What Legal Education Can Learn From Medical Education About Competency-Based Learning Outcomes Including Those Related to Professional Formation

Happy reading!

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South Carolina Court of Appeals Decisions


On Wednesday, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published six opinions: State v. Cain, Glassmeyer v. City of Columbia, Rogers v. Lee, Williams v. Lexington County BoardHelicicopter Solutions v. Hinde and State v. Cardwell.

In State v. Cain, Cain appealed his attempted trafficking of methamphetamine conviction, arguing the circuit court erred in (1) admitting testimony from the State’s forensic chemistry expert regarding the “theoretical yield” of methamphetamine he could have produced and (2) denying his motion for a directed verdict. This Court affirmed the circuit court.

In Glassmeyer v. City of Columbia, The City  appealed the trial court’s declaration it violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by failing to disclose to George S. Glassmeyer the home addresses, personal telephone numbers and personal email addresses for applicants to the position of city manager. It also appeals the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees to Glassmeyer. This Court affirm in part and reverse in part finding that the trial court erred in ordering the City to disclose the home adddresses, personal telephone numbers, and personal email addresses for applicants to the position of city manager and thus reversed the holding,. The Court affirmed the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees to Glassmeyer.

Rogers v. Lee was a legal malpractice action where the Court affirmed the trial court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the attorney and his law firm.

In Williams v. Lexington County Board of Zoning Appeals, Appellant Scarlet Williams seeks review of the circuit court’s order upholding the Lexington County Board of Zoning Appeals’ unanimous decision that the county zoning ordinance prohibits Williams from operating a dog grooming business at her home. Williams argued that the home occupation exception under Lexington County, S.C., Code of Ordinances Section 21.22 permits her to engage in dog grooming- despite section 21.10’s prohibition of permits for kennels- because the ordinary meaning of “kennel” does not include dog grooming.  This Court disagreed finding that the governing body’s intent as embodied in the ordinance “must prevail if it can be reasonably discovered in the language used. ” This Court affirmed the zoning board’s decision.

In Helicopter Solutions v. Hinde, Appellant Richard Hinde appeals the circuit court’s ruling that a helicopter sight-seeing tour facility is a permitted use within the Amusement/Commercial (AC) zoning district pursuant to Article VII, Section 712.1 of the Horry County Zoning Ordinance (County Ordinance). Hinde contends the circuit court erred in failing to recognize and defer to the findings of fact made by the Horry County Board of Zoning Appeals (Zoning Board) and by expanding the range of permitted uses in the Horry County AC zoning district to include a heliport or airport. This Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision..

In State v. Cardwell, Sarah D. Cardwell (Cardwell) appeals her conviction for two counts of unlawful conduct toward a child and two counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Cardwell argues the circuit court erred in refusing to suppress her laptop computer and a video seized from the laptop without a search warrant. She contends that the search and seizure violated her Fourth Amendment rights because law enforcement instructed a computer technician to locate, play, and copy the video prior to obtaining a search warrant. Cardwell further asserts that her constitutional rights were violated when the Johnsonville Police Department provided the video to a Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office investigator, who viewed it prior to obtaining a warrant.

The Court held that the circuit court properly denied the motion to suppress the video file. While the Court disagree with the circuit court’s statement that Cardwell had no concept of privacy in the computer and its data when she voluntarily turned the computer over to the repair technician, the Court agreed with the decision to deny to the motion to suppress as to the particular video file at issue. The file contained images of minors engaging in sexual conduct- once the sexually suggestive still image appeared, no warrant was required to open and view this file containing that very image. There is no question that a computer repair professional is required to report a client to law enforcement after discovering child pornography in a client’s computer files. 

This Court finds that Cardwell had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the photograph of Minor 2 as it fell under the plain view exception. The Court also concluded that the inevitable discovery doctrine further supports the circuit court’s denial of the motion. Accordingly, this Court affirmed the circuit court’s decisions.

Last month, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published two opinions: Donevant v. Town of Surfiside Beach and State v. Samuel.

Donevant v. Town of Surfside Beach was a wrongful termination action, in which Surfside Beach (the Town) appealed the circuit court’s denial of it’s motion for directed verdict.  Donevant,  the building official and Director of Planning, Building and Zoning sued the Town for wrongful termination alleging it fired her in a violation of a clear mandate of public policy. Donevant asserted that she was fired in retaliation for issuing a stop-work order to a restaurant that was performing construction with only a demolition permit and not a construction permit. The town claimed it terminated Donevant for attendance issues, punctuality issues, and insubordination.

The Town argued that by denying its motion, the trial court erred in 1.) expanding the public policy exception to at-will employment beyond situations where the employer requires the employee to violate criminal law or the reason for the for the employee’s termination itself is a violation of criminal law. According to the Town, Donevant’s claim that she was fired for issuing a stop-work order at the Pier Restaurant does not fall under the public policy exception as applied by our courts because the building code merely “authorizes” Donevant, as building official, to issue stop-work orders but does not subject her to criminal punishment for failing to do so. This Court disagreed, “The public policy exception clearly applies in cases where either: (1) the employer requires the employee to violate the law . . . or (2) the reason for the employee’s termination itself is a violation of criminal law.”

By instructing Donevant not to “change, ameliorate, or in any other manner amend any action that was taken during her absence[,]” Duckett was requiring Donevant not to perform her legal duty as a building official to enforce compliance with the building code. If Donevant had followed Duckett’s directive and not taken action in response to the unlawful construction at the Pier Restaurant, she could have been charged with misconduct in office for failing to discharge this legal duty. Accordingly, Donevant’s claim for retaliatory discharge falls within a recognized exception to the doctrine of at-will employment in this state because she was required by her employer, “as a condition of continued employment, to break the law. The Court found that the trial did not err in denying the Town’s motion for a directed verdict and affirmed accordingly.

In State v. Samuel, Appellant appeals his conviction for murder arguing the trial court erred in refusing to allow him to represent himself. This Court affirms the trial court’s decision.

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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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