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Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
Judicial Department
Court of Appeals Published Opinions - July 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.


7-7-2021 - Opinions

5830 - State v. Smart

In this criminal appeal, Jon Smart appeals the trial court's sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for an offense committed as a juvenile following a resentencing hearing pursuant to Aiken v. Byars. Smart argues the trial court erred in its consideration of the factors required by Miller v. Alabama and Byars. We affirm.

5831 - Taylor v. Taylor

Allison M. Aldridge (Mother) appeals the family court's order finding her in contempt for violating the visitation provisions of her divorce order (Divorce Decree). Mother and Melissa F. Brown, Mother's counsel in the contempt proceedings, (collectively, Appellants) jointly appeal the family court's order quashing subpoenas they issued. Appellants also appeal the family court's orders finding the subpoenas imposed an undue burden and expense and ordering Appellants to pay David G. Taylor's (Father) and Kendra Christmas's, Father's girlfriend, attorney's fees as a sanction. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

5832 - State v. Rowell

Adam Rowell appeals his conviction for felony DUI resulting in death, felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury, and sentence of thirteen years' imprisonment. On appeal, Rowell argues the trial court abused its discretion in admitting blood samples (1) without the proper chain of custody, (2) after 50% of Rowell's blood volume was replaced, and (3) after 150% of Rowell's blood volume was replaced. Rowell also asserts the trial court erred in failing to conduct an evidentiary hearing with a juror who failed to disclose he had pending charges during voir dire. We affirm.

5833 - Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois v. Palmetto Contract Services, Inc.

In this breach of contract action, Appellant Palmetto Contract Services, Inc. (Palmetto) appeals the circuit court's order granting Respondent Zurich American Insurance Company's (Zurich) motion to strike Palmetto's jury trial demand. Palmetto argues it revived its right to a jury when it raised counterclaims for the first time in its amended answer and counterclaim. Additionally, Palmetto asserts its counterclaims raised new issues of fact that also revived its right to a jury trial. We affirm.

7-14-2021 - Opinions

5834 - Williams v. Jeffcoat

This is an appeal from an action for partition of real property brought on behalf of Sandra P. Perkins (Decedent) by Vanessa Williams (Daughter) as conservator and guardian of Decedent and as the personal representative of Decedent's estate. On appeal, Bradford Jeffcoat, Decedent's domestic partner of twenty years, asserts the Alabama Probate Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to appoint Daughter as the conservator and guardian for Decedent. Jeffcoat additionally contends the master-in-equity erred in granting Daughter's motion for summary judgment and compelling the partition and sale of the property at issue. We affirm.

5835 - State v. Williams

James Caleb Williams appeals his conviction for attempted murder, arguing the circuit court erred in denying his motion for a directed verdict because no direct or substantial circumstantial evidence supports a finding that Williams had a specific intent to kill the victim. We find the doctrine of transferred intent inapplicable to this charge of attempted murder, reverse Williams's convictions for attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, and remand for a new trial.

5836 - Alterna Tax Asset Group, LLC v. York County

Alterna Tax Asset Group, LLC (Alterna) filed this case against Respondents related to York County's sale of the subject property at a delinquent tax sale. Alterna alleges the procedures followed by York County in conducting the delinquent tax sale violated the statutory requirements rendering the sale void. Respondents moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP. The Master granted the motion to dismiss. We affirm, holding that as the alleged purchaser of the property at the tax sale, Alterna may not, under the circumstances and causes of action alleged here, seek to cancel its ownership of the subject property.

7-21-2021 - Opinions

5837 - 5Star Life Insurance Co. v. Peek Performance, Inc.

5Star Life Insurance Company (5Star) appeals the trial court's orders entering an entry of default on Peek Performance, Inc.'s (Peek) counterclaims for breach of contract and defamation and ordering it to respond to discovery. We dismiss the appeal as interlocutory, and we remand to allow for discovery and a damages hearing.

5838 - Rainey v. SCDSS

In this action alleging gross negligence, Elizabeth Hope Rainey (Guardian) challenges the circuit court's granting of summary judgment to the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS). Rainey argues the circuit court applied an incorrect gross negligence standard to find DSS exercised slight care during its investigation of infant Owen C.'s abuse and neglect case. She further asserts the circuit court improperly weighed the evidence in addressing proximate cause. We reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand to the circuit court for further proceedings.

5839 - In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Thomas Griffin

Thomas Griffin appeals his commitment to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (the Department) as a sexually violent predator (SVP). On appeal, Griffin argues the trial court violated his procedural due process rights in denying his request for a competency evaluation. We affirm.