March 26, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court published opinions

Stevens Aviation, Inc. v DynCorp International, LLC

Stevens sued DynCorp arguing their contract required DynCorp to use Stevens exclusively for maintenance work on military planes. The circuit court granted summary judgment on that issue to Stevens. The Court of Appeals reversed and granted judgment to DynCorp. The Court reversed and remanded. It held a contract between Stevens and DynCorp could only exist if the agreement is interpreted to be a requirements contract as there would be no consideration otherwise under federal law. Here, the contract requires all work done on two fleets of planes (which the court understood to be all planes of that type) to be done by Stevens. The Court also pointed to the termination provisions as evidence that the parties meant to be bound and thus the relationship had to be exclusive. The Court held another fleet of planes was not covered by the contract as it was not mentioned in the operative text. The court vacated the judgment to DynCorp and remanded for further proceedings.

Holmes v East Cooper Community Hospital, Inc.

Holmes field several suits against Hospital; seeking review of certain admission privileges decisions. They were all dismissed. After the last case was disposed through summary judgment, the circuit court found the case was frivolous and ordered Holmes to pay attorney fees to Hospital as a sanction. The Court, with one judge dissenting in part, affirmed. The majority held that while the circuit court relied on incorrect wuhtotoyt in its analysis, the frivolity question was properly before the circuit court pursuant to South Carolina code 15-36-10. It held that the last suit was frivolous as the lack of subject matter jurisdiction had been decided in earlier cases and thus the final case barred by collateral estoppel and the jurisdiction issue was correctly decided under controlling South Carolina Precedent. The majority held that post-trial motions for sanctions under 15-36-10 can be made even after a notice of appeal is filed as the notice does not deprive the circuit court of authority to hear the motion. The majority affirmed the sanctions order as parties can be sanctioned including represented parties, Homes is a licensed attorney, knew that her last case was meritless based on the results of the prior cases and had cost Hospital time and money with her frivolous claims. The dissent argued that represented parties cannot be sanctioned unless they withhold information form their counsel that would have revealed the claim to be frivolous and as that did not occur here, the only person who could be sanctioned is the attorney representing Holmes.

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