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TIPS: a Torts, Insurance and Products Blog

Weekly insights and updates from Nexsen Pruet's TIPS attorneys

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Editor: Cheryl D. Shoun


Arbitration emanates from contract, and the enforceability of an arbitration agreement is governed by general concepts of contract law. A power of attorney is a written document by which one, as principal, authorizes another to act on his behalf. When reviewing an action to set aside or interpret a power of attorney, South Carolina’s courts have turned to contract law. Whether interpreting an arbitration agreement or a power of attorney, the fundamental rule is to ascertain and support the intention of the parties. To do so, courts look to the language of the contract in question. The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently demonstrated application of strict contract construction to both an arbitration agreement and powers of attorney in Hilda Stott, individually and as Personal Representative of the Estate of Jolly P. Davis v. White Oak Manor, Inc, et al. 2019 WL 1926847 (May 1, 2019).

Generally, South Carolina applies the doctrine of lex loci delicti in tort actions, and thus, applies the law of the state in which the purported injury occurred. An exception to this general rule is the public policy exception; foreign law will not be applied if it violates the public policy of the state. What does that mean? The United States District Court recently addressed this exception in Hughes v. Medical Depot, Inc., et al 2019 WL 1772401 (April 23, 2019).

To those of you kind enough to visit this site regularly – no, you are not seeing double. On December 18, 2018 we addressed the United States District Court’s examination of binding nonsignatories to arbitration agreements1. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court undertook its own analysis of when arbitration may be enforced against nonsignatories to a contract including an arbitration clause. Wilson, et al v. Willis, et al 2019 WL 1549924, (April 10, 2019).

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently addressed the role of a victim or witness in circumstances giving rise to claims for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution, and the consequences thereof, in the matter of Huffman v. Sunshine Recycling, LLC and Aiken Electric Cooperative, Inc., 2019 WL 1372359 (March 27, 2019).

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