Posts Tagged ‘Appellate Practice’

In praise of the additional sustaining ground

The Supreme Court opinion of Walker v. Brooks, 414 S.C. 343, 778 S.E.2d 477 (2015) was unique for my appellate experience in a number of disappointing ways. While I have lost a number of appeals, this was the first time I have lost when representing the respondent (it is much harder to lose when one […]

Maybe the judge is wrong

Earlier this week I spent two days presenting and attending a legal education seminar, “Family Law From Start to Finish.” As with most such seminars, I heard a number of war stories in the guise of questions where a lawyer would tell me about a case in which a family court judge had issued a ruling […]

How to draft a family court final order that will get sustained on appeal

Pursuant to South Carolina Rule of Family Court 26 (a & b): An order or judgment pursuant to an adjudication in a domestic relations case shall set forth the specific findings of fact and conclusions of law to support the court’s decision. By signing his name to an order in a domestic relations case, the […]

Why family court attorneys should know how to do appeals

There are approximately a half dozen family law attorneys in the Charleston, South Carolina area whom I consider extremely underrated.   Typically their hourly rate is in the $200 to $250 range but their work strikes me as equal, and sometimes superior, to attorneys who bill in the $300 to $400 per hour range.  What […]

Was it a mistake to prevent immediate appellate review of temporary family court orders?

It is extremely difficult to get family court temporary orders modified merely upon a claim that the order issued was unfair, based upon inaccurate information, or poorly reasoned.  Some (most?) family court judges will not reconsider their temporary orders.  They accurately note that Rule 59, SCRCP, which allows the court to alter or amend judgments, […]

Appellate decisions that reduce clarity

One important feature of appellate decisions is that they generally clarify the law.  This clarity leads to greater justice at lower expense as trial court judges, relying upon these appellate decisions, are more likely to treat similarly-situated individuals similarly and because attorneys, relying upon these appellate decisions, are more likely to be able to agree […]

More dang unpublished opinions

A few weeks ago, I complained about the South Carolina appellate courts issuing uncitable, unpublished opinions from cases that were not decided in a summary fashion. The business day after I posted this blog, the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed an unpublished Court of Appeals opinion: Eldridge vs SC Department of Transportation. This really should not […]

The problematic jurisprudence of uncitable appellate opinions in the internet era

Why should appellate courts be able to overrule or alter the decisions of lower courts?  Why should they have the authority to make important and often far-reaching decisions on matters of public policy–that can only be prospectively modified and can only be modified by legislative change or, when constitutional issues are involved, by amending the […]


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