August 7, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinions

In the Mater of Eugene Charles Fulton

Fulton agreed to discipline based on three cases he failed to diligently pursue three cases and worked on two of those cases while suspended for failure to complete CLE requirements. The Court accepted the agreement and publicly reprimanded Fulton and ordered him to complete the bar’s ethics course within nine months.

Progressive Max Insurance Company v Floating Caps, Inc. 

Progressive settled a claim on behalf of one of its insured for injuries caused by a car on pedestrian collision. The release did not extinguish liability for floating. Progressive later sued Floating for contribution. The trail court denied its motion. The Court affirmed. It held that as Progressive confessed that the release was unambiguous and did not release Floating, Progressive sought reformation of the release agreement. The Court reaffirmed that in general, extrinsic evidence is admissible in reformation actions. Here, however, the Court held that because Floating’s liability expired with the running of the statute of limitations before the release was signed, it would be unfair to allow progressive to end run the statute of limitations and obtain contribution on these facts.

Widenhouse v Colson

Widenhouse obtained a money judgment in North Carolina based on alienation of affections and criminal conversation. She sought to enforce the judgment in South Carolina. Colson argued alienation of affection and criminal conversation have been abolished in South Carolina and the judgment was thus against public policy and should not be enforced. The trial judge ordered the judgment to be enforced. The Court, with three justices concurring in result only, affirmed. Two justices joined an opinion arguing judgments based on alienation of affection and criminal conversation do violate south Carolina public policy and therefore are not enforceable under South Carolina Code 15-35-960. However, the opinion further argued that under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, US Constitution Article IV, Section 1, the North Carolina’s judgment must be enforced as there is no public policy exception to the federal full faith requirement.

 

 

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