June 11, 2014 South Carolina Court of Appeals published opinions

Coastal States Bank v Cosman 

Bank sued Cosman under guarantees he signed as part of a loan. The circuit court granted bank partial summary judgment ruling the statute of limitations had not run and a release of other guarantors did not release Cosman. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded in part. It held the statute of limitation did not run for the time of the loan as the loan had definite maturities and allowing it to run before a guarantee is signed would render guarantees unenforceable. The panel reversed as to the guarantee holding the language of the guarantee could be read to limit Cosman’s liability to what is owed after the release of the borrower and thus there is a genuine issue of fact as to whether Cosman is liable to Bank. The case was remanded for trial.

State v Gordon

Gordon appealed his DUI conviction to the circuit court arguing not all the sobriety tests were recorded. The circuit court agreed and dismissed the case. The panel affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded in part. It held that the applicable version of 56-5-2953 requires that all the tests be recorded. However, it held that the circuit court improperly reviewed the factual issues de novo and remanded for the magistrate to make findings as to whether all the tests were in fact recorded.

State v Abraham 

Abraham appealed his DUI conviction to the circuit court arguing his confession was not corroborated sufficiently. The circuit court agreed and reversed. The panel reversed. It held the evidence presented-that Abraham was at the scene of the accident with emergency personnel, he appeared drunk, blew a .22 and his car was in place consistent with his confession- were sufficient as they were virtually identical to facts held sufficient in prior cases.

Shanto v McLeod Regional Medical Center 

The South Carolina Supreme Court held that Shanto was an employee of McLeod and remanded for the Court of Appeal to determine if her fall was idiopathic. The panel held it was not and affirmed the workers compensation ward as that there was substantial circumstantial evidence that Shanto tripped on a cord or other item part of the work environment.

State v Gray 

Gray appealed his murder and lynching conviction arguing the autopsy photos were unduly prejudicial. The panel affirmed. It first held the photos of the victim’s exposed skull and brain were highly probative as to the cause of death particularly as the state could not know whether the defense experts would blame injuries suffered in an earlier beating for the death. The photos were graphic which could be prejudicial in that they could suggest an improper basis for decision. However, the manner of their description and the lack of emotional component made the prejudicial impact no more than moderate. Thus, given the high probative value and at most moderate prejudicial value, the photos were properly admitted.

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