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South Carolina
Judicial Department
Supreme Court Published Opinions - September 2020

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.


9-2-2020 - Opinions

27971 - State of South Carolina v. Key

Kathryn Martin Key was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in summary court. Her conviction was based upon the testing of her blood, which was drawn without a warrant while she was unconscious. The circuit court reversed and remanded, finding the summary court should have suppressed evidence of Key's blood alcohol concentration because the State did not obtain a warrant. The State appealed to the court of appeals, and the case was transferred to this Court. We vacate the circuit court's decision and remand this matter to the summary court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

27990 - Sanders v. SCDMV

We affirm the decision of the court of appeals, which upheld a ruling suspending the driver's license of Bradley Sanders pursuant to South Carolina's implied consent statute after he refused to take a blood-alcohol test following his arrest for driving under the influence.

27991 - Weaver v. Recreation District

Appellant brought this declaratory judgment action to challenge the constitutionality of S.C. Code Ann. section 6-11-271 (2004), which addresses the millage levied in certain special purpose districts. The circuit court found Appellant failed to meet his burden of establishing any constitutional infirmity. We affirm.

27992 - State v. Washington

We granted Washington's petition for a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals' decision in State v. Washington, 424 S.C. 374, 818 S.E.2d 459 (Ct. App. 2018). We hold the trial court erred in giving an accomplice liability instruction, and we hold Washington was prejudiced by this error. Therefore, we affirm in part, vacate in part, and reverse in part, and we remand to the circuit court for a new trial on the charge of voluntary manslaughter.

9-9-2020 - Opinions

27993 - Crenshaw v. Erskine College

William Crenshaw, a tenured professor of English at Erskine College, brought this lawsuit claiming he was wrongfully fired. An Abbeville County jury found in favor of Dr. Crenshaw and awarded him $600,000. We hold the trial court properly granted Erskine's motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict because, as a matter of law, Erskine did not breach its contract with Dr. Crenshaw. We reverse the court of appeals.

27994 - SC Coastal Conservation League v. Dominion Energy

The Court dismisses this appeal from the Public Service Commission because two of the appellants lack standing to appeal and, as to the remaining appellant, the appeal is moot.

9-16-2020 - Opinions

27995 - Grays Hill Baptist Church v. Beaufort County

This appeal arises from Beaufort County's refusal to issue Grays Hill Baptist Church a construction permit to build a fellowship hall adjacent to its existing sanctuary. The court of appeals reversed the master's order and reinstated the Beaufort County Planning Commission's decision to deny the permit because the Church's 1997 development permit did not include the fellowship hall and had expired. We reverse the decision of the court of appeals and order Beaufort County to issue the Church a construction permit for the fellowship hall under its original 1997 development permit.

9-23-2020 - Opinions

27996 - Duggins v. Lucas

We granted Petitioners' request to hear this action for declaratory and injunctive relief in our original jurisdiction. Prior to the oral argument scheduled in this matter, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation to amend the election laws to "pave[] the way for South Carolinians to safely exercise their right to vote in November despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 . . . [and] help[] ensure the integrity of the voting process." Statement by Senators Massey and Campsen in support of Amendment 8, Journal of the Senate of the State of South Carolina, No. 47 at ____ (Sept. 2, 2020). The Governor signed the bill into law on September 16, 2020. In light of these actions, we dismiss this case. See Bailey v. S.C. State Election Comm'n, 430 S.C. 268, 274, 844 S.E.2d 390, 393 (2020) (holding the enactment into law of the relief requested by the plaintiffs rendered the plaintiffs' claim moot).