Winter Break Closure & Library Availability

As we wrap up another semester, we want to make note of library details and resources that you can use during break.

Holiday Hours

  • The library, along with the law school, will be closed for the holiday break from Tuesday, December 19th, through Tuesday, January 2nd.
  • Regular operating hours will resume on Wednesday, January 3rd.

Book Exchange

  • We have some donated books available on the 1st floor of the library! Feel free to take one or two home during break!

Book Checkout

  • We also have a great collection of books with vocational guidance for the legal field that you can borrow over the break. Find a list of available titles by searching the subject field in the library’s catalogusing the search terms (law vocational guidance).

Social Media

Electronic Resources

  • While our print collection will not be available, our electronic resources, i.e. the discovery tool, the library’s catalog (with links to online resources), the library’s databases, and the library’s Internet portal, remain available and accessible.

Safe travels and we hope you enjoy the break. Happy Holidays!

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Exam Break Today: Pizza

hot-slice-of-pizza-clipart-thumb2759981-copy

The library is sponsoring an Exam Break today at 5pm in the Barrister. Stop by for pizza, soda, and encouragement from the staff.

Enjoy and good luck on exams!

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Articles Worth Reading

articles-worth-reading

For your reading pleasure and information needs, check out the following articles:

  1. En banc 7th Circuit Reinstates Brendan Dassey’s Conviction in ‘Making a Murderer’ case;
  2. Passage of Senate Tax-Reform Bill Leaves Colleges Scrambling;
  3. Answering Your Questions About the 2017 Tax Bill;
  4. Lawyers Are Getting Their Clients’ Sentences Reduced By Showing Judges Short Documentaries;
  5. 5 Things Successful Job Seekers Do (Long Before They Ever Start Their Job Search);
  6. The Limited License Legal Technician is the way of the future of law;
  7. House committee lawyers are split on Trump Jr.’s privilege claim; what do experts say?;
  8. What It Means For Newly Minted Lawyers To Take Their Oaths;
  9. The Two Keys To Managing Your Workflow; and
  10. Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library Research Fellows Gain Valuable Experience While Serving Patrons.

Happy reading!

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Opinions from the South Carolina Supreme Court

125px-scsupreme_courtsealIn November, the South Carolina Supreme Court published nine opinions.

State v. Looper: Petitioner (Looper) was granted a pretrial motion to suppress evidence of a DUI charge by arguing that they were the fruits of an unconstitutionally prolonged traffic stop. The State appealed and the circuit court reversed and remanded. Petitioner appealed to the court of appeals and it found that the he was not aggrieved because he wasn’t convicted and sentenced. Petitioner filed an appeal challenging the court of appeals’ dismissal, arguing that the court of appeals erred by concluding that he was not aggrieved and not entitled to appeal the circuit court’s decision due to the fact that he was not convicted.

The Court held, inter alia, that absent the presence of an exception to the final judgment rule, appealability is determined by a final judgment and an aggrieved party (See also Rule 201, SCACR). In the criminal cases, a judgment is final when sentence is imposed. There was no final judgment since the Petitioner was not convicted and sentenced. Since no exception to the requirement of a final judgment is applicable in this case, Petitioner’s appeal is premature and must be dismissed.

The Court affirmed the circuit court’s finding and clarified its rules on appealability.

State v. Mitchell arises from a court of appeals’ holding that the circuit court order estreating a surety bond was proper and that remitting one-half of the bond forfeiture was not arbitrary or capricious. The circuit court decided the following: that the purpose of the bond was to ensure Mitchell’s (Defendant) appearance and good behavior while on bond, that Mitchell’s violations and his bondsperson’s (Jenkins) failure to fulfill obligations and take appropriate action were willful, and that the State incurred expenses from addressing the matter resulted in the issuance of a moratorium on the use of electronic monitoring in the circuit.

The Court held, inter alia, that in an estreatment proceeding, to determine whether and to what extent a bond forfeiture should be remitted, the circuit court may consider evidence of a bondsperson’s willful failure to fulfill their obligations as the bondsperson, in addition to the factors expressed in Polk. The Court concluded that the circuit court properly weighed the relevant factors pertinent to this case, such as the Mitchell’s willful daily violations of house arrest and the bondsperson’s failure to supervise and remedy Mitchell’s noncompliance.

The Court affirmed the court of appeals’ decision.

In Jacquelin S. Bennett v. T. Heyward Carter, Jr., the Court granted certiorari to review the court of appeals’ decision in Bennett v. Carter, reversing part of a circuit court order granting Petitioners summary judgment on an aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action.

The S.C. Supreme Court agreed with the court of appeals that Respondents provided sufficient evidence that Petitioners knowingly participated in the Stevenson brothers’ breach. It modified the court of appeals in part and found that the language “in addition to taking no further action” could not be interpreted as Petitioners’ non-disclosure and knowing participation, which allowed Respondents to pursue their aiding and abetting claim under the theory that Petitioners should have disclosed the brothers’ withdrawals. Petitioners were prohibited by 26 U.S.C. § 7216 from disclosing the Stevenson brothers’ withdrawals to Respondents. Furthermore, the Court ruled that the power of attorney did not create a separate and independent obligation on Petitioners to disclose the withdrawals to the mother’s attorney-in-fact. Notification to the mother’s personal attorney was also sufficient. Lastly, the court found that the aiding and abetting claim survived the Mother’s death because there was no applicable exception of survivability of the claim under S.C. Code Ann. § 15-5-90.

The Court affirmed and modified the court of appeals’ opinion.

In Conits v. Conits, Spiro E. Conits petitioned the Court to review the court of appeals’ decision that an issue on the size and value of a farm (in a divorce action) was not preserved for appellate review. The Court granted the petition and dispensed with further briefing. It found that Spiro had the same issue on appeal that he had at trial in his Rule 59(e) motion, which the family court ruled on. Therefore, the issue is preserved. The Court reversed the decision and remanded the case to the court of appeals.

In Doe v. State, the Court refiled the opinion (originally filed on July 26, 2017 – summary found here). The Court granted Jane Doe’s petition for original jurisdiction to consider whether the definition of “household member” in S.C. Code Ann. § 16-25-10(3) (Supp. 2015) of the Domestic Violence Reform Act and S.C. Code Ann. § 20-4-20(b) (2014) of the Protection from Domestic Abuse Act are unconstitutional under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Court found, inter alia, that the text of the statutory definition of “household member” didn’t overtly discriminate based on sexual orientation, and is facially valid. However, the Court found that the particular sections of the Acts are unconstitutional “as applied” because they discriminate between same-sex couples that lived or had lived together differently than all other couples without a rational reason to justify the disparate treatment. This violates the Equal Protection Clauses of the state and federal constitutions.

The Court declared sections 16-25-10(3) and 20-4-20(b) unconstitutional as applied to Doe, and ruled that family court may not use these statutory provisions to stop Doe or persons in similar same-sex relationships from pursuing an Order of Protection.

Justice Few concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion.

In State v. Barrett, the S.C. Supreme Court dismissed a writ of certiorari improvidently granted to Gerald Barrett for review of a court of appeals’ decision (in State v. Barrett, 416 S.C. 124, 785 S.E.2d 387 (Ct. App. 2016).

In the Matter of Henry H. Taylor, In the Matter of Bennett Joseph Schiller, III and In the Matter of Ray A. Lord, the Court publicly reprimands named attorneys for misconduct.

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Articles Worth Reading

book stack

For your reading pleasure and information needs, check out the following articles:

  1. Week Ahead at SCOTUS: Is It December Already?
  2. New UBE news from the Old North State: North Carolina is in!
  3. Who’s the Real Head of the Consumer Watchdog Agency? A Legal Fight, Explained
  4. Can Police Track You Through Your Cellphone Without A Warrant?
  5. How To Improve The Accuracy Of Your Legal Research
  6. New Amendment to Federal Rule of Evidence 902: Evidence That Is Self-Authenticating
  7. ABA voices opposition to elimination of school loan interest deduction in Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
  8. House bill to reportedly call for federal student loan caps, end of Public Service Loan Forgiveness
  9. Chemerinsky: Is there a constitutional right for a business to not serve customers?
  10. NCAA Says Ole Miss Lacked Control Over Football Program

Happy reading!

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Opinions from the South Carolina Court of Appeals

Court of AppealsIn November, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published three opinions:

In Lollis v. Dutton, Appellants/Respondents (Kathleen Lollis and Linda Campbell) and Respondents/Appellants (Lisa, Dennis, and Kelsey Dutton) filed cross appeals from a circuit court order. Appellants/Respondents argued that the circuit court erred by concluding (1) Kathleen Lollis (Mother), acting through her late son, Frank Lollis (Frank), entered into binding contracts with Lisa Dutton and Dennis Dutton to sell two tracts of land; and that (2) Lisa Dutton (Lisa) overpaid Appellants/Respondents by $850.96. The Duttons argued that the circuit court erred by declining to award them attorney’s fees and costs.

The Court held, inter alia, that: (1) the preponderance of the evidence shows an agency relationship between Kathleen and Frank as well as his apparent authority to sell Tracts A and A2 to Dennis and Lisa. Therefore, Frank’s actions were binding on Mother. Also, (2) we vacate the denial of attorney’s fees and costs, and remand to the circuit court for consideration of three grounds for attorney’s fees and costs [Section 15-36-10 of the FCPSA, Rule 37(c) of the SCRCP, and Section 15-53-100 of the South Carolina Code (2005), part of the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act (UDJA)]; and for the required analyses of the underlying specific facts.

The Court affirmed the circuit court’s finding that the contracts were binding and that Lisa overpaid the Appellants/Respondents. It vacated and remanded the denial of attorney’s fees and costs.

In Smith, Jr. v. Fedor, Appellant appealed a circuit court order granting Respondent (Fedor) a motion for relief from judgment. Appellant (Smith, Jr.) argued that (1) the trial court erred in refusing to consider the confidential settlement agreement in determining whether Fedor satisfied the confession of judgment, (2) the trial court should have considered the merits of Smith’s motion for reconsideration even though it was not provided to the court within ten days of filing, and (3) the Court of Appeals should remand the matter to the trial court for denial of the motion for relief from judgment because the confidential settlement agreement is sufficiently clear, explicit, and unambiguous.

The Court held, inter alia, that: the confidential settlement agreement did not comply with the 2002 version of Rule 43(k) of the SCRCP and it was proper for the trial court to apply the 2002 version to the confidential settlement agreement since the signing of the settlement agreement was in 2002 before the 2009 amendment. Also, the trial court was proper in denying Appellant’s motion for reconsideration because he failed to provide a copy of the motion to the judge within 10 days of filing, a requirement of Rule 59(g) of the SCRCP. Since the trial court did not err in denying that initial motion, its arguments and the arguments raised after the trial court issued its order, were not preserved. Lastly, even though there was competing evidence as to the confession of judgment, the court concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted Respondent’s motion for relief from judgment.

The Court affirmed the circuit court’s order.

Cothan v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, arises from a circuit court order granting summary judgment to Respondents (The Cothrans). Respondents brought the initial action against Appellant (State Farm) for breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, and breach of an insurance contract. Appellant (State Farm) argued that “the circuit court erred by granting summary judgment in the Cothrans’ favor”. There were two issues on appeal: (1) whether the circuit court erred by finding section 38-77-144 of the S.C. Code invalidates the Excess Provision; and (2) whether the circuit court erred by finding public policy prohibits a setoff of personal injury protection (PIP) benefits because it prevents workers’ compensation carriers from asserting an equitable lien against PIP benefits?

The Court held, inter alia, that: the circuit court erred by invalidating the Excess Provision because section 38-77-144 does not prohibit the type of exclusion contained in the provision; it only prohibits tortfeasors from reducing liability to a claimant by the amount of PIP benefits the claimant receives. Therefore, the parties were free to contract as they wanted. Next, PIP is not required by the legislature and is therefore voluntary. As a result, public policy does not prohibit a policy exclusion that reduces PIP benefits by the amount the insured recovers under workers’ compensation law.

The Court reversed the circuit court’s holding on both issues and the order.

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Final Exam Study Aids & Library Availability

studying

We have a vast amount of resources available through the library that can help you prep for final exams. If you need assistance in deciding what study aid may be more helpful, we have handouts in the library that will help you decide on the right study aid for you.

 

For practicing multiple choice and essay questions:

  • The Rigos Bar Review series provides access to multiple choice and essay questions for a variety of subject areas such as, torts, civil procedure, evidence, and constitutional law. Those materials are available in the Bar Review collection across from the Reference Desk.  Find a list of titles by searching the library’s catalog, using (Rigos) in the words search field.
  • The Steven Emanuel’s Bootcamp for the MBE series offers 13 titles, ranging from Constitutional Law to Torts, which include practice multiple choice questions. These titles are also available in the Bar Review collection across from the Reference Desk, as well as in the General Collection.  Find a list of available titles by searching (Bootcamp for the MBE) in the title field of the library’s catalog.
  • With over 30 titles available, the Questions and Answers series includes practice multiple choice and short answer problems and answers. They are located in the Study Aid and General Collection sections of the library. You can look for each location by searching the library’s catalog, using (Questions & Answers) in the series search field.

Other exam prep resources:

  • The Law in a Flash Series is available for check out in the library. It offers 18 titles, ranging from Administrative Law to Wills and Trusts.  The titles are available in the Flash Card collection across from the Reference Desk. Find a list of available titles by searching the series field in the library’s catalogusing the search terms (Law in a Flash).
  • Interactive Online Lessons through CALI are available, with over 1,000 lessons on various subject areas. Contact one of the librarians for the access code.
  • LexisNexis Courtroom Cast supplies you with audio of legal opinions from cases in the various subject areas. Each case has the full text of the opinion, fact summary and the rule of law. You have to create an account to access this resource, using your charlestonlaw.edu email.
  • There are Outlines available through BarBri, which is provided by the law school to 1Ls & 2Ls. BarBri outlines are also available (to all students) through LexisNexis here. You can get Emanuel Law Outlines through the W-K Study Aid Trial, and Black Letter Outlines & Gilbert Law Summaries through the West Study Aid Trial.

There are many other study aids available through the library, such as: Sum and Substance Audio, the Acing Series, Examples & Explanations, Short & Happy Guides, and Emanuel CrunchTime (to name a few). Many are available for check out in the library or through the online W-K and West Study Aid Trials. For more information on the trials, see this announcement.

Finally, remember that the library is open for extended hours during exams, from 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. on Friday, December 1st through Saturday, December 16th. The librarians and library staff are also here to assist you during normal hours.

Good luck on exams!

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