October 23, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinions

Austin v Stokes-Craven Holding Corp.

Austin filed a motion for trial, appellate and post-appellate attorney fees based on his successful appeal in the South Carolina Supreme Court concerning fraudulent behavior by Stokes-Craven. This was granted as to trial fees, but, the circuit court judge declined to rule on the appellate and post-appellate fees as he was not a sitting judge in the circuit.  Stokes-Craven appealed both the fee arward and the decision not to consider the rest of the motion and the appeals were consolidated and certified the Court. The Court, with one justice concurring in result only, affirmed and remanded. The majority held that the previous appeal held Austin was entitled to mandatory trial level fees under the Dealer’s Act, South Carolina Code 56-15-110(1), as two justices explicitly stated that holding, two justices did not reject it and, in this opinion, the same two justices agreed they meant for the fees to be awarded. The majority rejected Stokes-Craven’s argument that a summary denial for fees under the Rules of Appellate Procedure 222 barred the later claim for fees under the Dealer’s Act as Rule 222 is discretionary and the Act is mandatory. The Court remanded the case for a sitting judge in the Third Circuit to calculate the appropriate appellate and post-appellate fees.

Jervey v Martint Environmental, Inc.

The Court of Appeals Martint’s arguments that Jervey’s claim was bared by laches and waiver holding that defense was not raised within 450 days and further holding South Carolina Code 42-9-260 is not a statute of limitations baring the defense. Both parties sought certiorari. The Court denied Martint’s petition, granted Jervey’s and vacated the portion of the Court of Appeals opinion discussing 42-9-260.

In the Matter of Michael O’Brien Nelson

Nelson agreed to discipline based on his 30+ ex parte contacts with his cousin while the cousin was serving on a criminal trial jury. The Court accepted the agreement, suspended Nelson for six months retroactive to July 1, 2013 and ordered him to take the Bar’s ethics course.

In the Matter of Cynthia C Collie

Collie failed to provide the Court with a valid working email address after being ordered to do so 8 times. The Court suspended her license until further order of the Court.

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