Turner Padget Blog
Welcome to the Turner Padget blog. This site is updated periodically by our firm's lawyers in an effort to serve as a source for helpful information on various legal issues and to share our recent courtroom achievements.
South Carolina has Adopted the Dual Persona Doctrine
In answering a certified question from the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina, the South Carolina Supreme Court, in Mendenall v. Anderson Hardwood Floors, LLC et al. (Op. No. 27219, Feb. 13, 2013), recently held that the state recognizes the dual persona doctrine as an exception to the exclusivity provision of the Workers’ Compensation Act. Therefore, South Carolina’s employers have an increased vulnerability to civil suit even when an injury is covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Is “Best Mode” Still Required under the New Patent Law?
Edwin H. Land, the inventor of the Polaroid camera, once stated, “The only thing that is keeping us alive is our brilliance. The only way to protect our brilliance is patents.”
In bizarre fashion, the America Invents Act (AIA), enacted September 16, 2011, and its patent law predecessor are both in effect until March 16, 2034. Murky areas exist between the two sets of patent laws with which inventors should familiarize themselves to avoid dire problems with their patents that they may continue to protect their brilliance.
S.C. Supreme Court Defines “Physical Brain Damage” to Mean More than Just a Minor Concussion
The South Carolina Supreme Court recently filed opinions in two cases regarding brain injuries, and these cases make clear that an injured employee’s burden of proof in establishing a brain injury and entitlement to lifetime benefits has been heightened. In Sparks v. Palmetto Hardwood, Inc. (Op. 27229 March 6, 2013), the court limited compensability of brain injury claims where lifetime benefits are requested to only those brain injuries that are “both permanent and severe.” This rule was reaffirmed and explained in further detail in Crisp v. SouthCo., Inc. (Op. 27230 March 6, 2013).
The 2011 America Invents Act - What Else is New?
Last time, we introduced the America Invents Act (AIA), enacted September 16, 2011, and discussed the legislative and executive branches’ stated intention of fixing the “convoluted” U.S. patent process. As a result of their efforts, two sets of patent laws are in effect until March 16, 2034.
Back Yard Fun Park
A homeowner in Omaha, Nebraska is in a bitter fight with his homeowners’ association about a “fun park” he built in his backyard. The Omaha World-Herald reported in January that Eric Marsh has sued a member of the board of directors of Fire Ridge Estate’s homeowners association seeking a restraining order, and the association has filed a separate suit against Marsh seeking an injunction. Both suits are centered on certain improvements Marsh made on a lot adjacent to his home.
As cities, towns and suburbs increasingly encroach into the natural habitat of wild animals, the interaction between people and these animals is growing more common. Wild animals such as bears and alligators are becoming accustomed and desensitized to the presence of humans, and are becoming increasingly aggressive in their search for food around and inside of homes. This clearly creates safety issues for people, their families and their pets.
Maximum Weekly Compensation Rate Increases for 2013
According to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, the maximum weekly compensation rate will increase to $743.72 for injuries that take place on and after January 1, 2013.
Bone v. U. S. Food Service
Question Presented: Whether a decision by the Circuit Court reversing the Workers’ Compensation Commission’s denial of compensability is directly appealable.
Thom Salane Prevails in Declaratory Judgment Action
Thom represented a major insurer in a declaratory judgment action in which the company sought to disclaim coverage, and therefore relieve the insurer from a duty to defend or indemnify based on a Designated Premises Endorsement.
The 2011 America Invents Act - The New and Improved Patent Law?
The America Invents Act (AIA) was enacted September 16, 2011 with the ostensible goals of removing barriers to innovation, expediting new products to market, and helping create jobs for American workers.
Charlie Hill and Ginny Williams Triumph in a Legal Malpractice Lawsuit
Charlie Hill and Ginny Williams represented a two-person law firm in a suit arising out of a divorce action. In the underlying case, the wife sued her husband for divorce and equitable distribution of marital assets.
Cindy Dooley and Sam Sammataro Prevail at Every Stage of a Workers’ Compensation Matter
The employee worked as a general laborer and apprentice electrician. He alleged repetitive trauma injury to his right shoulder.
Eric Englebardt and Sarah Day Hurley Obtain Summary Judgment in Employment Case
The plaintiff was a long-term employee who suffered a bad break of her ankle and was out of work on FMLA leave for twelve weeks.
Thames Secures Defense Verdict
Troy successfully defended a dog bite case in Charleston County.
Belcher Secures Early Dismissal for Employer
Reggie represented a life insurance company and two of its managers.
Belcher Obtains Summary Judgment for Employer
Reggie Belcher represented a trucking company in this matter.
Employee’s Rights to Temporary Total Disability Benefits and Termination
Case Law Analysis: Cranford v. Hutchinson Construction, Op. No. 4939 (Ct. App. 2012)
The Changing Face of the Commission
If there is anyone who has been out of the loop with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission for the past few months, what they will see when they come back are some significant changes in the Commission itself.
Firing an Employee for Alleging a Fraudulent Workers’ Compensation Claim
The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently handed down the decision of Crosby v. Prysmian Communications Cables and Systems USA, 397 S.C. 101, 723 S.E.2d 813 (Ct. App. 2012), which could play a significant impact on an employer’s decision to fire an employee for filing a fraudulent workers’ compensation claim. In Crosby, an employee alleged she sustained an injury while in the course and scope of her employment. The employer and its carrier denied the claim, and the employer fired the employee for filing a fraudulent claim. The case proceeded to a hearing, and the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission held that the claimant had sustained a compensable injury.
Josey and Payne Secure a Victory for Bank Client
The bank was sued for defamation by the proposed manager of a new business venture arising out of a refusal by the bank to loan the venture funds.
Dooley and Sammataro Prevail on Appeal
The appeal arose from a denied claim for partial reimbursement of workers' compensation benefits from the Second Injury Fund.
Unenforceable Rules and Regulations
In late 2011, the South Carolina Court of Appeals handed down a decision denying a homeowners’ association relief based on unenforceable rules and regulations. In Rawlinson Road Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Jackson, 395 S.C. 25, 716 S.E.2d 337 (S.C. App. 2011), the Court of Appeals determined that keeping a boat on a lot in the subdivision - an activity prohibited by the unrecorded rules of the association - was not an activity prohibited by the recorded restrictive covenants.
Can Condominium Liens Survive Foreclosure?
Generally, the liens for unpaid condominium owners’ association assessments do not survive a mortgage foreclosure action if the mortgage has priority over the association’s lien. However, even though §27-31-210(b) provides that condominium liens with junior priority do not survive a mortgage foreclosure action, the liability for the amounts underlying the lien can survive other types of foreclosure actions, including an action foreclosing the condominium lien itself.
Priority of Liens for Assessments
A question faced by many homeowners’ associations is whether the association’s lien against a property for unpaid assessments has priority over a mortgage on the property. This issue can arise in many circumstances, but most often when the mortgage lender starts a foreclosure action against the property.
Spruill and Williams Triumph
Duvall Spruill and Drew Williams filed suit to stop an owner of a neighboring commercial tract from building a portion of his new project ...
Trayvon Martin’s Death Raises Concerns for Community Associations Nationwide
The recent shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla. has attracted a flood of national attention due to the highly charged legal, political and cultural issues involved.
Summary Judgment Secured by Jake Kennedy Affirmed
In this employment law case, the employee alleged the employer violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Jake Kennedy Obtains Summary Judgment
Jake's client owned a trailer used to transport chickens to its processing plant.
Atkinson Delivers Defense Verdict
Heath Atkinson delivers a defense verdict in a motor vehicle case where both liability and damages were in question.
John Blincow and Ashley Heslop Deliver Defense Verdict
John and Ashley represented a cardiologist who was sued by the widow of one of his patients.
Brandon Hylton and Sam Sammataro Prevail in Workers’ Compensation Matter
The claimant alleged injury to his left knee by repetitive trauma and by accident from a fall from his truck that occurred while making a delivery.
Reggie Belcher Secures Summary Judgment for Employer
The company fired the employee after he violated a safety rule, as his violation could have caused serious injury or death to himself or others.
Reggie Belcher Obtains Summary Judgment in Defamation Case
Plaintiff provided financial and accounting-related services to a school district where Defendant served as statewide superintendent.
Julian Allen Secures Defense Verdict in John Doe Action
The Plaintiff’s cases were consolidated for trial. Plaintiff husband was driving when he claims that a black SUV hit the front of his car, causing it to roll over twice.
Gerald Chambers Obtains Defense Verdict in Medical Malpractice Case
Chambers obtained a defense verdict in a week-long medical malpractice case representing a general surgeon.
South Carolina Court of Appeals Upholds Dismissal Obtained by Rene Josey
By declining a rehearing en banc, the South Carolina Court of Appeals upholds another dismissal obtained by Rene Josey.
Eric Englebardt and Adam Russell Obtain Favorable Verdict
Defendant and another driver were racing their Mustang GT’s through Fountain Inn, South Carolina, including a two mile stretch of Main Street around 3:30 p.m. on a weekday afternoon. Speeds reportedly hit 80-100 MPH.
Brad Easterling and Sam Sammataro Triumph in Workers’ Compensation Matter
The claimant alleged he sustained a compensable hernia injury while moving heavy equipment at the employer’s mill.
Tom Kennaday Argues Case of the Month for January 2012
As part of his probate litigation practice, Tom was asking the court to recognize a new cause of action, intentional interference with an inheritance, and a new form of damages for civil conspiracy, lost expected inheritance.
Mike Chase and Sam Sammataro Prevail on Behalf of Employer in Workers’ Compensation Matter
The claimant alleged he sustained a compensable hernia injury while moving heavy equipment at the employer’s mill.
Adam Russell Successfully Defends Automobile Accident Case
The Defendant entered the Plaintiff’s adjacent lane of travel causing the accident.
Rich Dukes Secures Defense Verdict for Title Insurance Company
The dispute involved a million dollar claim plus interest and attorney’s fees.
Wayne Byrd and Audra Byrd Obtain Verdict of $6,450,000 on Personal Guaranty
The Defendant had signed the guaranty in connection with a loan from a bank to his company.
Frank Shuler Secures Reversal by the South Carolina Court of Appeals
The appeal was of a Family Court case involving the termination of the mother’s parental rights.
Heath Atkinson Prevails in Two Automobile Accident Cases
In the first case, Heath not only defeated the Plaintiff’s claim, but his client was awarded $20,000 on her counterclaim.
South Carolina Supreme Court Vacates Decisions by Full Commission
In a matter handled by Sam Sammataro and Shayne Williams, the South Carolina Supreme Court vacates decisions by the full commission and the circuit court.
Walt Barefoot and Sam Sammataro Represent Large Regional Hospital
They obtain reversal of an award by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
David Marshall Secures Judgment
David Marshall secures judgment in favor of an automobile manufacturer on appeal
Michelle Clayton Prevails in Four-Day Nonjury Trial
The case was an equitable action involving who should bear the costs of replacing portions of a storm water drainage system.
Troy Thames Obtains Favorable Verdict
A defense verdict is rendered in a motor vehicle accident with disputed liability and damages.
Julian Allen Triumphs on UIM Claim
The claim arose from a four-car accident.
Adam Russell Prevails in Dog Attack Case
Defendant's dog was running free and approached Plaintiff and his dog.
Julian Allen Secures Favorable Verdict
A favorable verdict is secured on an uninsured motorist claim.
Chuck Turner and Anne Culbreath Settle Motor Vehicle Negligence Case
The case was settled for $10,000 where the minor Plaintiff had medicals of more than $290,000 from a serious neck surgery.
Chuck Turner, Anne Culbreath and Adam Russell Settle Major Case
Chuck Turner, Anne Culbreath and Adam Russell successfully team to settle a major case against a local college.
Thom Salane Obtains Defense Verdict After Multiple Day Trial
The client ran a plastics recycling operation in a leased portion of an old mill.
Ralephata Obtains Summary Judgment
Nosizi Ralephata obtains summary judgment in an insurance coverage case.
Josh Shaw Obtains Favorable Verdict in Property Damage Case
Plaintiff truck driver claimed his truck was damaged by rocks coming from Defendant truck driver's trailer.
David Sligh Successfully Defends Property Owners Association
Plaintiff brought causes of action for breach of fiduciary duty and declaratory judgment.
Ed Cole and Audra Byrd Obtain Directed Verdict Against Finance Company
When the Plaintiff’s account became delinquent, the company hired a towing service to repossess the vehicle.
David Sligh Delivers Substantial Verdict on Debt Owed to Client
The primary issue in the case was whether the business that incurred the debt was solely owed by one of the defendants.
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment Obtained by Jake Kennedy
The decision was in favor of an employer who terminated a worker for insubordination.
Julian Allen Prevails in Admitted Fault Wreck Case
Plaintiff was a 17 year old who was a passenger in the adverse vehicle.
Julian Allen Again Prevails in Admitted Fault Wreck Case
Plaintiff was a 45 year old male who claimed two disc herniations.
Sam Sammataro and Cindy Dooley Win at Every Stage
The workers’ compensation case was appealed to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
Shannon Bobertz Prevails on Assault and Battery Claim Against Her Deceased Client
Plaintiff was a 65-year old male who claimed a 57 year old woman beat him with a golf club and a baseball bat.
Thom Salane Prevails for Second Time in Insurance Coverage Case
The case arose out of underlying state and federal lawsuits by Plaintiff for wrongful death of an individual under confinement.
Charlie Hill Successfully Defends Medical Malpractice Case
The case against a Columbia hospital ended abruptly on the second day of trial.
Nosi Ralephata Prevails on Motion to Dismiss in U. S. District Court
Plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that the display and use of her photographs as part of the promotional material for an exhibit.
Josh Shaw Obtains Favorable Verdict for Non-Profit Corporation
The suit was against a former employee for return of advance payments made to the employee prior to the employee’s resignation.
Thorne Barrett Obtains Reversal of Trial Court Decision
The appeal was of an automobile accident case in which Shannon Bobertz represented the defendant at trial.
Jeff Payne and Jake Kennedy Win Summary Judgment in Federal Court for Banking Client
The presiding judge granted the client summary judgment on all claims brought by a bank customer.