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Civil Procedure

Trustees Could Sue Pastor for Defamation for Statements Made at a Congregational Meeting

In Banks v. St. Matthew Baptist Church, the supreme court, in a 3-2 decision, held that the circuit court had jurisdiction over a defamation suit concerning statements made at a congregational meeting.  The statements at issue involved allegations that the Board of Trustees of St. Matthew Baptist Church (“Trustees”) mortgaged Church property to purchase apartment buildings and failed to insure and properly manage the buildings.

Clinton Brantley was pastor of St. Matthew Baptist Church in North Charleston.  At a congregational meeting, Brantley stated that the Trustees: (1) mortgaged Church property to purchase apartment buildings, (2) failed to insure the apartment buildings; (3) mismanaged funds so that money was missing; and (4) deceived him constantly.  He subsequently asked the congregation to remove the Trustees, which they did.  Continue reading

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No Public Policy Exception Exists for the Full Faith and Credit Clause

In Widenhouse v. Colson, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that a judgment from North Carolina that violates the public policy of South Carolina is still enforceable under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution.

Sue Widenhouse sued Tammy Colson in North Carolina for alienation of affections and criminal conversion.  Widenhouse prevailed and a jury awarded her $266,000 in damages.  Widenhouse filed notice of the judgment in a Greenville County court.  Continue reading

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“I’m sorry, Your 7.39 and 3.6 Million Dollar Judgments Are Vacated; the State Court Lacked Jurisdiction over the Claims.”

In Limehouse v. Hulsey, the supreme court held that a state court does not have jurisdiction over a case remanded from federal court until the state court receives a certified remand from the federal court.

Lawton Limehouse Sr. (Father) and his son, Lawton Limehouse Jr. (Son), owned a staffing agency called L&L Services, LLC (L&L).  In 2004, The Post and Courier published five articles about house raids on L&L rental homes, including fines and fees paid.  Then, Paul Hulsey, of the Hulsey law practice, filed a lawsuit on behalf former employees against L&L alleging Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) violations.  Continue reading

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A Remand Order Under the APA Is Not a Final Judgment

In Bone v. U.S. Food Service, the supreme court held that “final judgment” as used in S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-390 (Supp. 2012) means “something that finally disposes of the whole subject matter of the action or terminates the action, leaving nothing to be done but to execute the judgment.”

Cathy Bone power washed and cleaned the inside of trucks for United States Food Service.  On June 26, 2007, she allegedly injured her back while lifting two pallets inside a trailer to clean underneath them.  She did not report the injury to her employer at the time.  On July 3rd, Bone was late for work because one of her car tires was flat.  When she got to work, she was crying and complained about her back being hurt on June 26th.  Her supervisors denied her claim for workers’ compensation because they believed the injury occurred when the tire was being changed and not on June 26th as she alleged.  Continue reading

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TLC’s Failure to Respond to a Letter from Opposing Counsel Did Not Constitute Waiver of Receiving a Written Order from the Court

 In Hollman v. Woolfson, the supreme court reversed a circuit court’s determination that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction and also reversed the circuit court’s construction of a protective order.

John Hollman underwent three laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgeries at TLC Laser Eye Centers and TLC The Laser Center (collectively, TLC).  His vision began deteriorating after the surgeries.  He instituted a suit against TLC and the individual physicians that performed the surgeries; his wife also joined the suit, seeking damages for loss of consortium. Continue reading

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The South Carolina Board of Dentistry Is Immune from Suit Under the Tort Claims Act

In Health Promotion Specialists, LLC v. South Carolina Board of Dentistry, the supreme court held that the South Carolina Board of Dentistry (Board) receives immunity from tort suits such that the plaintiffs could not file suit against the Board for promulgating an emergency regulation.

The General Assembly has enacted laws to “authorize, subject to certain restrictions, dental hygienists to provide various oral health services in public settings, including schools.”  The Board is the regulatory authority for dentists and dental hygienists in South Carolina.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 40-15-20 (2011).  The General Assembly amended the laws concerning oral health services in school to create fewer restrictions for dental hygienists to provide preventive dental services in schools. Continue reading

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Although the Insurer Was Not Notified by the Special Referee of Its Contractual Rights Being Changed, It Does Not Matter Because the Insurer Lacks Standing to Challenge the Special Referee’s Unilateral Action

In Narruhn v. Alea London Limited, the supreme court held that Alea London Limited lacked standing to raise a Rule 60(b) motion to set aside a special referee’s assignment of rights to permit Narruhn to raise claims against Alea London Limited directly.

Narruhn was shot while at The Red Room, a nightclub in Myrtle Beach.  She filed suit seeking damages from RKC Entertainment the owner of The Red Room, and she won the suit.  A special referee was appointed to determine if whether The Red Room could satisfy the judgment.  The special referee granted Narruhn an assignment of “any and all rights, including any claims, that [The Red Room] might have against Insurer, who had previously issued a liability insurance policy to [RKC Entertainment] for The Red Room.” Continue reading

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The General Assembly Almost Has Exclusive Authority over Its Members’ Ethical Violations

In Rainey v. Haley, the supreme court held that the circuit court properly dismissed the complaint seeking a declaration that Governor Haley violated the State Ethics Act because it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the claim.

Rainey filed a complaint seeking a declaration that Governor Haley violated the State Ethics Act while serving as a member of the House of Representatives because she “failed to disclose a reason for recusing herself from a vote, failed to abstain from a vote, solicited money from registered lobbyists for the benefit of her employer, and concealed all of the aforementioned activity by making false and incomplete disclosures required by law.”  Governor Haley filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that Rainey lacks standing and the circuit court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claim.  The circuit court granted Governor Haley’s motion to dismiss. Continue reading

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Nothing Good Ever Results When the Same Case Is Filed in and Decided on by Two Different States

In Ware v. Ware, the supreme court held that Wife was not entitled to bring a claim in South Carolina where she contested personal jurisdiction in an Alabama case and did not challenge the Alabama court’s erroneous assertion of jurisdiction over her and the marital property.

The parties got married in Berkeley County, and they lived, during their marriage, in Berkeley County.  Husband and Wife separated in 2001, and Husband moved to Alabama.

In January 2007, Husband filed a summons and complaint for divorce and a property division in Alabama; he alleged that he was a resident of Alabama.  Wife signed a certified mail receipt acknowledging service. In February 2007, Wife filed an action in South Carolina seeking an equitable division of marital property, but she did not request a divorce.  Continue reading

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