October 30, 2013 South Carolina Court of Appeals published opinions

State v Hilton

Hilton moved to exclude his blood alcohol test arguing amendments to the breath test statute applied retroactively. The circuit court agreed and exclude the test results. The panel reversed and remanded. It held that the General Assembly made the amendments to South Carolina code 56-5-2950 prospective only through the use of a savings clause which stated in part that the amendment of any law by the amending statute did not affect pending actions or extinguish any liability incurred under the amended law. As the test complied with the applicable three hour videotaping requirement, the test results were admissible and the case was remanded.

Ward v Washington

Washington was held in criminal contempt for refusing to allow Ward visitation during Labor Day weekend in 2011. The panel reversed in part holding that while the visitation order did allow Ward to select Labor Day weekend for visitation, Washington’s interpretation that the order being “in lieu of “ standard holiday visitation was reasonable though incorrect thus negating willfulness. The case was remanded to consider the effect of the appeal on the award of attorney fees to Ward.

Delta Apparel Incorporated, v Farina

Delta sued Farina to enjoin him from disposing of funds paid by Delta to satisfy a Honduran judgment in a labor mater. The circuit court granted default and a default judgment to Delta. Farina moved for relief under Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) which the circuit court denied. The panel reversed. It held that Farina was properly served as a police officer served the summons and complaint on Farina’s roommate in California and Farina had actual notice of the case and even consulted an attorney in South Carolina about the case. The panel next held that the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over Farina as California sent tax levies to Delta’s Georgia office, the parties entered into a settlement agreement in the underlying labor dispute in Georgia and there was no evidence that Farina ever went to Delta’s South Carolina offices at any point for any reason. Thus, the judgment was void and the circuit court was reversed.

Frampton v South Carolina Department of Transportation

Frampton sued Department alleging it blocked access to his property during a bridge construction project. The circuit court agreed and a jury awarded damages. The panel affirmed. It held that Frampton alleged interference with his easement right to access public roads which is a physical takings claim. Thus the circuit court properly rule that a taking occurred. The panel held that the record contained sufficient testimony and photographic evidence of the fencing and equipment which blocked access to sustain the takings finding and the evidence of the period when the rental home was vacant supported the finding of a 16 month taking. The panel hulled the amount of the award holding the jury was entitled to believe Frampton’s expert and Department agreed to allow the consideration of interest as part of the award. The panel finally held that attorney fees were properly awarded under South Carolina Code 28-11-30 as it is more specific to inverse condemnation than the eminent domain statute 28-2-510 and applying 510 here would create a higher burden on claimants that the legislature intended.

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