Opinions from the South Carolina Supreme Court

125px-SCSupreme_CourtSealToday, the South Carolina Supreme Court published one opinion:

In the Interest of Justin B. Justin B., a minor, was found delinquent for committing criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree. The family court imposed the mandatory, statutory requirement that he register as a sex offender and wear an electronic monitor, both for life. Justin B. appealed claiming that the mandatory imposition of lifetime registration and electronic monitoring on juveniles is unconstitutional.  This Court found that the requirement that adults and juveniles who commit criminal sexual conduct must register as a sex offender and wear an electronic monitor is not a punitive measure, and  bears a rational relationship to the Legislature’s purpose in the Sex Offender Registry Act to protect S.C. citizens from repeat sex offenders. The Court found the requirement to be constitutional and affirmed the order of the family court.

J. Beatty and J. Hearn concurred in result only.

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Opinions from the South Carolina Court of Appeals

Court of AppealsToday, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published three opinions:

In Chapman v. SCDSS, Chapmen filed a grievance against his employer, South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS), alleging his termination was improper. On appeal, he argues the Administrative Law Court (ALC) erred in (1) finding he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by not timely filing his grievance, and (2) failing to find DSS was estopped from raising the issue even if he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.

This Appellate Court reversed on both issues finding that Chapman did timely file his grievance when counsel, filing a letter on his behalf, included the substantive information that was required pursuant to Form 1449 of the Grievance Procedure Model Policy. The court noted to find otherwise would elevate form over substance, where the purpose of the form was to provide notice was satisfied. Additionally the Court found that because Chapman’s filing was sufficient, and therefore timely, that he complied with the applicable regulations to file his grievance within the required fourteen calendar day limit. Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded the case  to the ALC.

In State v. Scott involved an appeal of the circuit court’s finding that Scott was immune from prosecution for murder based on S.C. Code Ann § 16-11-440. The statute codifies the common law Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground defenses. The Court affirmed the circuit court’s finding that Scott was immune from prosecution pursuant to subsection (C) of the § 16-11-440, because the evidence showed that Scott’s actions of firing a firearm was in direct response to an attack, not just the vehicles driving by his home. The Court declined to address the circuit court’s ruling under subsection (A) and vacated the circuit court’s order to the extent it equates Scott’s belief the vehicles posed a threat with an attack. Accordingly, the Court affirmed as modified.

J. McDonald concurred in a separate opinion.

In Davis v. SCDMV, the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) appealed the administrative law court’s (ALC) decision to reinstate James Davis’s driver’s license. This Court upholds the ALC’s ruling, finding the DMV’s six-year delay in declaring Davis a habitual offender was fundamentally unfair and required reinstatement of Davis’s driver’s license.

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Articles Worth Reading

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For your information needs and reading pleasure, check out the following articles:

  1.  3 Ways to Improve Collections and Get Cash Flowing;
  2.  10 Tips for Creating Winning Trial Visuals;
  3.  Chadbourne Votes Out Partner Behind Gender Bias Suit;
  4.  Congress Tells SEC to Rein Itself in With CHOICE Act 2.0
  5.  Five Capabilities We Need Now to Lead and Manage Change;
  6.  Free AI Legal Tech Tool LISA Launches to Protect Entrepreneurs and Students;
  7.  Good Management Predicts a Firm’s Success Better Than IT, R&D, or Even  Employee Skills;
  8.  Here’s How I Complete My To-Do List Every Day;
  9.  In First, Fourth Circuit to Livestream Travel Ban Hearing;
  10.  Lawyers in Flow:  Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Case;
  11.  Legal Whiteboard Ceasing Publication;
  12.  Let’s Talk About Half-Hearted Innovation;
  13.  Make Motions More Powerful by Writing Openers that Focus on “Deep Issues”;
  14.  Should You “Facebook” the Jury?  Yes. No. Probably.;
  15.  Tales of Doom and Gloom Can Help Win Cases;
  16.  Technology Tools for the Art of Legal Marketing;
  17.  The Complete Guide to Office 365 for Law Firms;
  18.  The Information Governance Evolution From the Insider’s Perspective;
  19.  Top 100 Verdicts 2016:  Juries Return Four Billion-Dollar Awards;
  20.  Video Depositions May Come of Age in the Cloud Era; and
  21.  Why Artificial Intelligence Can’t Compete With Humans, and Vice Versa,

Happy reading!

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South Carolina Supreme Court Opinions- 4-27-2017

On Wednesday, April 27, 2017, the South Carolina Supreme Court published two opinions:

In Machin v. Carcus Corporation, the Court answered four certified questions for the U.S. District Court addressing the legislative tension at the intersection of worker’s compensation and tort law. The four certified questions that the Court addressed are as follows:

Upon review of the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, the Court answered the first three questions in the affirmative and the fourth question in the negative.

In Smith v. Tiffany, the Court interpreted the South Carolina Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act (S.C. Code Ann § 15-38-10 to -70). Based on the unambiguous language found in the act, the Court  affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment and dismissal of Appellants’ third party complaint.

J. Pleicones dissented in a separate opinion.

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Opinions from South Carolina Court of Appeals

Court of AppealsToday, the South Carolina Court of Appeals published two opinions:

Taylors v. Heirs of William Taylor,  involves a property dispute between families competing for ownership of a ten acre tract of land in Beaufort County. The master-in-equity granted title for the entire tract to Respondents Maxine Taylor, Stanley Taylor, Joe Taylor, and Martha Brown. Appellants appealed arguing (1) the master erred by finding Respondents owned the entire tract; (2) they established title to portions of the tract by adverse possession; (3) they were entitled to a presumption of a grant for portions of the tract; and (4) the boundary line was mutually recognized and acquiesced for ten years.

The Court reversed the master’s order that Appellants failed to prove the elements of adverse possession because there was no evidence to reasonably support his finding. The Court found that Appellants established each element of adverse possession  with regard to parcel five and, further, that Respondents failed to offer any contrary evidence that could have reasonably supported the master’s finding.

In South Carolina Community Bank v. Salon Proz,  Salon Proz, LLC (Salon), appealed the master-in-equity’s order denying Salon’s motion to transfer the case to the general jury docket. Salon argued (1) it did not waive its jury trial demand, (2) the clerk of court lacked the authority to refer the case, (3) if the clerk had the authority to refer the case, the clerk erred in doing so, and (4) a return to the jury docket is required because Salon’s amended answer demands a jury trial and creates new issues of fact.

On the issue of jury waiver, the Court reversed the trial court’s decision,  declining to presume a waiver occurred when any evidence supporting such was sparse and ambiguous.

On the issues of the clerk’s authority and act of referring the case to the master, the Court reversed the trial court’s decision. Despite the power given to the clerk to transfer such under SCRCP 53(b), the Court found that the clerk does not retain such power when a party has already made a valid jury demand. Because Salon demanded a jury trial in its initial answer, the clerk should not have referred the case. Accordingly, the master erred in denying Salon’s motion to transfer the case to the jury docket.

On the issue of Salon’s counterclaims, reversed the trial court’s finding due to the Court reviewing the counterclaims and found that at lease one of the counterclaims (UPTA claim) was both legal and compulsory the court erred not returning the case to the jury docket.

Accordingly, the Court reversed and remanded with instructions that the case be returned to the jury docket for further proceedings, including a hearing before the circuit court to determine the nature of any remaining counterclaims and any request for an order of reference as to equitable matters.

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Library’s Carpet Will Be Cleaned Wednesday, May 10th

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The library’s carpet will be professionally cleaned on Wednesday, May 10th.  This means that furniture will be moved around, and it will be noisy.  We apologize in advance for the inconvenience but it is necessary.  Thanks in advance for your patience and cooperation.

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Library & IT Information, Including Hours, During the Exam Period

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Classes end tomorrow.  Exams begin Tuesday.  The library will be very busy. Please remember that it is a space that everyone must share. It is primarily used for researching and studying, two activities that contemplate and require quiet. Take cell phones and other conversations to the Barrister.  Use your whisper voice while in the stacks!

There is a lot of information in this email to I am going to break it up into parts:

  • Library Hours
  • Circulation, Reference, and Help Desks
  • Copier/Printer Money
  • Crunch Time & Stress Relievers
  • ExamSoft
  • Study Aids
  • Study Rooms

Library Hours

The library will begin extended hours on Friday, April 21st.  Starting tomorrow, the library will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 2:00 a.m., daily, until Friday, May 5th.  On Saturday, May 6th, it will open at 7:00 a.m. and close at 5:00 p.m.  Regular operational hours will resume on Sunday, May 7th.  Many thanks to CSOL Security for making this possible!

Circulation, Reference and Help Desks

The Circulation Desk will run its usual operating hours during the exam period. However, since it is staffed primarily by students, there will be some empty time slots for the Desk during the exam period. Security has graciously agreed to provide coverage during those times.  Please continue to follow the library’s policies and procedures regardless of who is seated at the Circulation Desk.  Please be polite to the students and Security who are staffing the Circulation Desk.  Their job is to enforce the library’s policies rather than debating the wisdom of the policy.

The Reference and Help Desks will provide limited service. If you need reference assistance, stop by my office, Professor Katie Brown’s office, or Ms. Allison Jones’ office. We can help.

IT will provide support for exams so stop by the 3rd floor of the 385 Meeting Street building for IT assistance. Someone from IT will be stationed outside of Dean Lawton’s office.

IT Student Support, i.e. the Help Desk, is in the Barrister area to provide laptop support as exams near. They will be there until Friday, April 21st. Please stop by to make sure that your laptop is ready for exams.

Copier/Printer Money

If your copier/printing funds are running low, you can add funds to your Equitrac account either with cash or check.  Please see one of the librarians to add money to your copier/printer account.

Crunch Time, Stress Relievers & Circulation, Reference & Help Desks

As part of Student Services’ Crunch Time, the library will provide pizza at noon on April 25th (Tuesday), May 2nd (Tuesday), and May 5th (Friday) during the exam period.   We’ll also have pizza at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26th.

Stress balls, puzzles, and chocolate will be available at the Relaxation Station upstairs. Coloring books, coloring pencils, and play dough will also be available.  Relax and engage your inner child.

ExamSoft

Download, install, register and take a mock practice exam, using the ExamSoft software before exams begin. ExamSoft exam taker tips can be found here while demo videos for PCs and MACs are here. If you have a MAC, make sure that you have downloaded this week’s patch to avoid a computer freeze during exams. 

Do MAC updates and Windows updates for PCs before exams start.

Don’t reformat your laptop’s hard drive until after you receive your grades.

Study Aids

Study aids, such as hornbooks, nutshells, and other series, are available.

Browse the titles located on the shelves adjacent to the Circulation Desk or search the library’s catalog via Collection Type: Study Aids.

Lexis Nexis Courtroom Cast

This resource provides students with access to the audio versions of selected cases and casebooks. It also provides access to training videos and selected trials and other trial related videos.

Study Guides for 1Ls

Last year’s library research assistants were busy last fall preparing research guides to help the 1Ls study and prepare for exams. Check out:

  1. 1L Guide to Surviving the First Year
  2. Civil Procedure I
  3. Contracts Study Aids
  4. Property Law Study Aids
  5. Torts Study Guide Resources

Study Rooms

Study rooms are very popular and will be in continuous demand during this time. Reserve your study room via the online reservation system @ http://www.charlestonlaw.libcal.com/ .

To allow everyone an opportunity to use the study rooms, study room policies will be strictly enforced regarding groups (2 or more) and time limits (3 hours.) If no one is waiting for a study room, the study room will be renewable.

Each group of people can have one 3 hour consecutive time slot in a 24 hour period. Please do not double book rooms. Your second reservation will be deleted. If you attempt to double book three times, you will not be able to reserve study rooms for the rest of the exam period.

Please be courteous to other students, or the circulation student workers, when asked to vacate a room when your time is up.

Please remember to keep your volume down, both outside and inside study rooms. The walls are thin and sound travels.

Please remove all trash from study rooms when leaving so that the person behind you does not have to clean up.

Remember:  the library is a resource that we all share.  Please be courteous to everyone you encounter here.  Please be quiet too!  It is time for noses to the grindstone.

Good luck on exams!

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