South Carolina Supreme Court Opinions for March

In March, the Supreme Court published four opinions:

In Clemmons v. Lowe’s Home Centers, the Court determined whether a claimant’s ability to work can affect his entitlement to disability benefits under the scheduled-member statute of the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act (the Act). The scheduled-member statute, in part, states that in cases where there is fifty percent or more loss of use of the back, there is a rebuttable presumption that the injured employee suffered total and permanent disability. The claimant injured his back and neck while working at Lowe’s. The Commission awarded him only permanent partial disability despite all of the medical evidence indicating that Claimant lost more than fifty percent of the use of his back. The court of appeals’ affirmed.

This Court  reversed the court of appeal’s decision and held that the Workers’ Compensation Commission erred in denying the petitioner permanent total disability. The Court found that evidence of a claimant’s ability to hold gainful employment alone cannot preclude a determination of permanent disability under the scheduled-member statute.

Justice Pleicones concurred in part and dissented in part in a separate opinion.

In State v. Bash, Bash was indicted for trafficking in cocaine and cocaine base. The circuit court found the arresting officers conducted an illegal search, and suppressed the drugs. The State appealed. The court of appeals reversed the circuit court’s suppression order and remanded for trial. This Court issued a writ of certiorari  to review the court of appeals’ decision. The Court reversed the court of appeals decision and reinstated the circuit court’s order suppressing the evidence. The Court found that the grassy area intruded up by the police is considered part of the curtilage of the home and within the umbrella of the Fourth Amendment protection. Accordingly, the evidence was rightfully suppressed.

In Stone v. State, the Court affirmed the PCR court’s denial of post-conviction relief for Stone convicted of murder for killing a member of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

In Retail Services v. SCDOR, the Court reversed the circuit court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Respondents, holding that sections 61-6-140 and 61-6-150 of the S.C. Code (collectively, code sections) are unconstitutional.

Retail Services attempted to open a fourth liquor store in Aiken, however, SCDOR refused to grant Retail Services the necessary fourth liquor license under sections 61-6-140 and 61-6-150 of the S.C. Code, which limit a liquor-selling entity to three retail liquor licenses.  Retail Services brought a declaratory judgment that these code provisions are unconstitutional. Retail Services argues that the code provisions exceed

This Court found that Retail Services satisfied the burden of showing that the code sections were unconstitutional as violative of the General Assembly’s police powers under VIII-A, section 1 of the South Carolina Constitution,  finding that the State’s regulation exceed constitutional bounds and

Justice Kittredge dissented in a separate opinion.

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