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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - September 2021

Note: Beginning in June 2012, opinions will be posted as Adobe PDFs. You can download a free copy of Adobe Reader here.

The summary following each opinion is prepared to offer lawyers and the public a general overview of what a particular opinion decides. The summary is not necessarily a full description of the issues discussed in an opinion.


9-1-2021 - Opinions

5852 - Felder v. Central Masonry Inc.

This opinion affirms the Workers' Compensation Commission's decision that an insurance company misled an injured worker's employer into believing South Carolina coverage would be added to the employer's workers' compensation policy.

5853 - State v. Taylor

The question in this case is whether "inferred malice" is inconsistent with the specific intent to kill required for attempted murder. We hold it is permissible for the jury infer a defendant acted with a specific intent to kill.

5854 - Cruce v. Berkeley County School District

Berkeley County School District (the District) appeals the circuit court's denial of its motions for a directed verdict and a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) on Jeffrey Lance Cruce's defamation cause of action. The District contends it had absolute sovereign immunity because Cruce qualified as either a public official or a limited public figure. It also maintains Cruce failed to prove each element of defamation. We reverse.

5855 - SC Department of Consumer Affairs v. Cash Central

In this civil action, the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs appeals the circuit court's order granting final judgment in favor of Cash Central of South Carolina LLC as to the Department's allegations that Cash Central violated the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code by failing to file and post its maximum rate schedule. We reverse.

5856 - Town of Sullivan's Island v. Murray

Michael Murray appeals his municipal court conviction for violating the Town of Sullivan's Island's (TOSI's) ordinances related to his construction of a dock. We reverse.

5857 - Dawkins v. Sell

In this negligence action against James A. Sell, Maurice Dawkins appeals the trial court's denial of his motions for a directed verdict, a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV), and a new trial. Dawkins argues the trial court erred in denying his motions for a directed verdict and JNOV on (1) Sell's affirmative defense of Dennis Owens's intervening and superseding negligence and (2) Sell's negligence. Dawkins also asserts the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial because (1) the jury instruction on intervening and superseding negligence was unwarranted, (2) Sell improperly published Dawkins's interrogatory answer, and (3) Sell exceeded the empty-chair defense. We affirm.

5858 - Jolly v. General Electric Company

In this complex mesothelioma case, Appellants Fisher Controls International LLC and Crosby Valve, LLC seek review of the circuit court's denial of their motions for directed verdict and judgment notwithstanding the verdict, its granting of a new trial nisi additur to Respondents Beverly Dale Jolly (Dale) and Brenda Rice Jolly, its partial denial of Appellants' motion for setoff, and its denial of Appellants' motion to quash subpoenas for their corporate representatives. Among the multitudinous arguments made in their brief, Appellants assert there was no scientifically reliable evidence that Dale's workplace exposure to their products proximately caused his mesothelioma. We affirm.

5859 - Smith v. Lawton

In this probate action, the estates of Mary Smith, Annabelle Thornton, Emma Smalls, and Janine Gourdine (collectively, Children) appeal the circuit court's order affirming the probate court's order probating the will of Lucinda Pringle (Decedent), which devised property to Decedent's grandchildren: Evelina Moses, Thomas Brown, and Rebecca Brown (collectively, Grandchildren). On appeal, Children argue the probate court erred in probating the will because (1) there was no evidence the will was properly executed, (2) the will was altered, and (3) the reopening of Decedent's estate (the Estate) was not timely. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for an evidentiary hearing on whether there was proper execution of the will.

9-8-2021 - Opinions

5860 - Kelaher, Connell & Conner, P.C. v. SC Workers' Compensation Commission

In this negligence action, Kelaher, Connell & Conner, P.C. (KCC) appeals the circuit court's order granting the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission's (the Commission's) motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. On appeal, KCC argues the circuit court erred in (1) granting the Commission's motion to dismiss based on the South Carolina Tort Claims Act (the Act), (2) finding the Commission's actions were a judicial act, (3) failing to find the Commission was grossly negligent for its failure to notify KCC of the hearing, and (4) failing to hold KCC had a constitutional right to be heard. We affirm.

5861 - State v. Collins

Randy Collins was convicted of first-degree arson and conspiracy after the trial court admitted his recorded statement into evidence, finding the statement voluntarily made. We reverse Collins' convictions and remand for a new trial, holding his statement was coerced by law enforcement's misrepresentations and deceptive tactics, including a promise that his statement would not leave the room, conveying it would not be used against him.

9-15-2021 - Opinions

5862 - Mills v. The South Carolina State Ports Authority

In this personal injury action, the South Carolina State Ports Authority appeals the jury's verdict in favor of Curtis Mills, arguing the trial court erred in refusing to charge comparative negligence and denying its motions for a new trial absolute and new trial nisi remittitur. We affirm.