Fried Goldberg prides itself on staying up to date on the latest court decisions in both Georgia and South Carolina. We do so to both provide our clients with the best possible legal service as well as to share our information with the wider legal community. By practicing this, we are doing our part to make sure those who have been injured through other’s negligence receive quality legal representation. Attorneys who would like to obtain regular case law updates can sign up for our Practice Pointers. Fried Goldberg offers regular Practice Pointers for plaintiffs attorneys practicing in Georgia and South Carolina.
Here, we have compiled a summary of major court decisions and Georgia case law updates for 2023.
YEAR END CASE LAW UPDATE 2023
South Carolina courts cannot exercise personal jurisdiction over a company unless the company purposefully availed itself of the privileges of conducting business in South Carolina and the cause of action relates to those activities. Abdulla v. Southern Bank, 439 S.C. 391, 887 S.E.2d 138 (2023).
Plaintiff is entitled to a reasonable time to substitute in the administrator of an estate of a defendant after the defendant dies, and there is no specific time limitation during which this must be accomplished. Bell v. Bentley, 438 S.C. 619, 885 S.E.2d 409 (2023).
An employer can be held liable for the negligent selection of an independent contractor if the independent contractor was not competent, and the negligent selection is a proximate cause of the injury. Ruh v. Metal Recycling Services, 439 S.C. 649, 889 S.E.2d 577 (2023).
DEFENSE TO NEGLIGENCE
A defendant’s negligence does not have to be the sole proximate cause of a plaintiff’s injury and instead must be at least one of the proximate causes of the injury. An intervening cause may be a superseding cause that relieves a defendant from liability but for there to be relief from liability, the intervening cause must be one that could not have been reasonably foreseen or anticipated. Glenn v. 3M Co., 440 S.C. 34, 890 S.E.2d 569 (2023).
The plaintiff has the power to allocate the settlement proceeds as he sees fit among multiple claims to the detriment of the nonsettling defendant, and the nonsettling defendant cannot complain unless there is collusion or fraud involved. Palmetto Pointe at Peas Island Condo Prop. Owners Association v. Island Pointe, 440 S.C. 190, 890 S.E.2d 603 (2023).
When a settlement made by a nonparty is for the same injury, the nonsettling defendant gets a setoff, but the trial court has discretion as to the amount of the setoff if the settlement involved multiple claims. Glenn v. 3M Co., 440 S.C. 34, 890 S.E.2d 569 (2023); Green v. Hudgins, 892 S.E.2d 520 (2023).
UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE
UIM benefits must cover any type of property damage and cannot be limited to just damage to automobiles. Nationwide Affinity Insurance Co. v. Green, 439 S.C. 137, 886 S.E.2d 225 (2023); USAA Casualty Insurance Co. v. Rafferty, 439 S.C. 130, 886 S.E.2d 222 (2023).
The amount that a plaintiff is legally entitled to recover under a UM policy is the amount for which the plaintiff has secured a judgment against an at fault driver. As such, an injured party who is a passenger is not entitled to UM benefits for the actions of a driver who is a co-worker because the injured party cannot sue the co-worker because of the workers compensation exclusivity rule. Connelly v. Main Street America Group, 439 S.C. 81, 886 S.E.2d 196 (2023).
Insurer’s failure to notify South Carolina Department of Revenue that liquor liability for business had lapsed or been terminated did not allow injured claimant to bring dram shop action against insurer. Denson v. National Casualty Company, 439 S.C. 142, 886 S.E.2d 228 (2023).
A charitable corporation, whose primary purpose is charity and not profit, is not liable for injuries resulting from the negligent actions of its employees when the corporation was not negligent in the hiring, supervision or retention of the employee. Doe v. Bishop of Charleston, 440 S.C. 640, 891 S.E.2d 522 (2023).
When a jury question is presented at trial and is not clear from the question what the jury is asking, the court must ask for clarification from the jury unless the parties can agree on how to answer the question. Estate of Jane Doe 202 v. City of North Charleston, 441 S.C. 131, 893 S.E.2d 319 (2023).
Request to admit can be published to the jury under South Carolina law. Hamilton v. Regional Medical Center, 440 S.C. 605, 891 S.E.2d 682 (2023).
Additional Legal Resources for Plaintiffs Attorneys
For more in-depth information on resources for plaintiffs attorneys, contact Fried Goldberg online or by calling (877) 591-1801. We are standing by with the most up-to-date South Carolina case law information and are here to provide valuable information and guidance. For those who need legal representation, we are here to evaluate your case when you are ready.