April 16, 2014 South Carolina Court of Appeals published opinions

Hudson v Hudson

The family court found the parties prenuptial agreement unconscionable as to property division and awarded wife equitable distribution of the parties’ property. The panel reversed. It held the waiver of rights in the agreement was not unconscionable as wife had the option to not marry husband, she testified she would have signed even if unfair, was not under duress at the time of the signing and no change in circumstances existed making the agreement unfair given wife’s nearly identical financial situation at the time of signing and the time of the divorce hearing.

Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v Marian Amphitheatre, LLC

Wells Fargo sought foreclosure of property owned by Marian and another entity. The entity cross-claimed against Marian and two individuals. The individual defendants defaulted and the special referee entered judgment for the cross claiming entity based solely on an affidavit by an officer of the entity as to the real property’s value. The panel reversed. It held that the value of real property is subjective and is not a liquidated damage amount, sum certain or readily calculated. Thus, the damage award was unsound and the case was remanded for a hearing on damages.

Moorhead Construction, Inc. v Enterprise Bank of South Carolina

Moorhead sued to foreclose mechanics liens on property which Bank lent money for the construction project. The master granted Moorhead a money judgment without foreclosing the liens. The panel, with one judge partially dissenting, vacated and remanded. The panel held that there was no legal basis to award judgment to Moorhead as the only potential liability by Bank was under the lien. The majority remanded for the master to determine if the lien should be foreclosed. The dissent argued the lien claim no longer existed as Bank had posted a bond. Thus, the dissent would remand for a damages determination only.

Goodwyn v Shadowstone Media, Inc.

Goodwyn sued media under South Carolina Code 41-10-10 et seq. claiming failure to pay wages owed. The jury awarded part of the wages sought and the trial judge awarded treble damages under 41-10-80. The panel, with one judge concurring only in result, reversed the treble damages. The majority held that there was a good faith dispute as tot eh wages owed based on the terms of the hiring letter, the change in payment structure during Goodwyn’s employment and the jury award of less than the amount sought. As good faith precludes treble damages, the award was reversed.

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