Decisions from the South Carolina Court of Appeals on 10/1/2014

scctappealsRoe v. Bibby involved a tort action, alleging negligence and wrongful infliction of emotional distress.

Roe and her children lived across the street from Bibby, Bibby’s wife and grandchildren.  The Bibby grandchildren played with the Roe children.

In 1995, Bibby was accused of molesting his then 16 year old daughter.  He admitted the allegations.  In 2009, Bibby was accused and convicted of molesting his young granddaughter.  At the time that the allegations of abuse against his granddaughter surfaced, Bibby was also accused of molesting Roe’s children.  Bibby was not convicted of these charges.

Roe sued Bibby’s wife, Michelle, alleging that Michelle Bibby owed her a duty of due care that was breached.  Roe argued that Bibby owed her a duty to warn about her spouse’s prior sexual abuse, utilizing both the special relationship and premises liabilities theories.  Bibby requested that the Circuit Court grant her a motion of summary judgment which it did.  Roe then appealed.

A majority of the South Carolina Court of Appeals upheld the summary judgment for Bibby.  Noting that it confronted a “novel issue” as to whether a homeowner had a duty to warn a visitor of a spouse’s admitted prior sexual abuse, the Court agreed with Bibby and upheld the summary judgment.  The Court’s majority concluded that it would not impose a duty to warn a visitor of a spouse’s admitted prior sexual abuse under either the special relationship or premises liabilities theories.  Judge Williams dissented.

Mick-Skaggs v. Skaggs involved a divorce proceeding.  At issue before the Court of Appeals were the grounds for the divorce and the award of alimony.  Both parties introduced and proved, to the Family Court’s satisfaction,  evidence of the other’s adultery.  While Mick-Skaggs requested that the Court grand the divorce on the grounds of the husband’s (Skaggs) adultery, the Family Court instead granted the divorce on the grounds of a separation of one year.  Because adultery was proven against the wife, Mick-Skaggs, the Court refused to award alimony.  Mick-Skaggs appealed but the South Carolina Court of Appeals refused to change the grounds for divorce and upheld the refusal to award her alimony.

About Lisa Smith-Butler

Lisa is the Associate Dean for Information Services at the Charleston School of Law, Sol Blatt Jr. Law Library. She teaches Advanced Legal Research & Children & the Law.
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