If your family prefers to check-out real haunted sites in South Carolina, check out this article. Even the names of “Greenville Tuberculosis Hospital” and “South Carolina Lunatic Asylum” are menacing!
I grew up in the Low Country (otherwise known as “God’s Country), and the story of Alice Flagg, a ghost in Murrells Inlet, is considered fact.
The story, according to this article, is that in 1849, a wealthy doctor named Allard Flagg moved into The Hermitage and invited his beautiful sister, Alice, to live with him. (They’re always beautiful.) Alice, of course, falls hopelessly in love with an unsuitable man, who is sent away by her brother.
Alice continued to see her suitor secretly. When her brother discovered the assignations continued, he sent sweet Alice off to a boarding school in Charleston. She contracted malaria, and just before she died, her brother brought her home. After her death, he found an engagement ring on a ribbon around her neck and furiously threw it into the marsh. Beautiful Alice has spent the last 150+ years clutching her chest while walking around All Saints Cemetery.
I bet that story would scare your kids, especially if you tell it after dark in the cemetery!
If you’re like me, though, 2020 has been scary enough. “Casper, The Friendly Ghost” is pretty much the most my family can handle this year. I wish you and your family more treats than tricks this weekend. Stay safe and Happy Halloween!
I’ve often said that title insurance underwriting is an art and not a science. A lawyer facing a title defect issue might obtain different opinions from different title companies and even from different lawyers employed by a single title company.
During my 28-year career as a lawyer for a title company, I have often joked that I try very hard to agree with myself!
If a lawyer calls to describe a title defect and says, “Claire, this is bad, isn’t it?”, it’s easy for me to agree. The closing attorney is, after all, often the best judge of marketable title in the community. But what if a different lawyer calls weeks later with basically the same facts, and explains why the defect is technically a problem but won’t cause a claim from a practical standpoint? That lawyer may be more familiar with the opposing parties or the history of the property. The underwriting answer may be different. Or what if the second lawyer says, “this is my best client” and asks for a one-time favor? You see where I’m going here. Answers may vary on the same facts, and an underwriting attorney can easily get into trouble with her agents!
I don’t know this lawyer, but he apparently had a successful litigation practice across many decades. In 2013, he was placed on interim suspension when a former associate filed a complaint alleging operational and case management issues, including concerns relating to the mismanagement of his trust account. The lawyer filed a petition for reconsideration, and the suspension was lifted with conditions. Notably the lawyer was prohibited from accessing or controlling the law firm’s trust and operating accounts. An associate was made responsible. (Huh? A senior partner who manages an associate couldn’t touch the trust account, but the associate could?)
Six years later, in 2019, formal charges were filed by the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. There was much discussion in the case about the ODC’s delay and whether that delay was a mitigating factor.
The underlying facts indicate that prior to 2012, the lawyer allowed his staff to routinely disburse funds from the trust account for operating expenses. Disbursements were made before deposits, funds were comingled, and funds were missing. A law firm formed by former associates demanded trust account funds for a particular client, and the funds were not available until this lawyer infused personal funds into the account
There was never a client complaint and, apparently, no client actually lost funds.
But the differing opinions about the appropriate sanction makes this case remarkable. The panel of the Commission on Lawyer Misconduct recommended a suspension of six weeks. In a dissent, Justice Hearn said she would impose a one-year suspension in light of the lawyer’s lengthy, unblemished disciplinary history and the prejudice sustained by the delay of the ODC.
In an opinion authored by Chief Justice Beatty, the majority disbarred the lawyer and chastised the ODC for its delay. The majority said that the delay was not prejudicial because the lawyer was allowed to practice law in the interim. An interesting added fact is that $21.5 million passed through the trust account since 2013.
In a concurring opinion, Justice Few said the case had nothing to do with Rule 417, the financial recordkeeping rule. Rather, he stated this lawyer stole client money from his trust account. Justice Few also said the delay of the ODC was the failure of the Court to supervise the professionals the Court employs.
So try to wrap your legal, logical brains around this. The panel recommended a six-week suspension and Justice Hearn recommended a one-year suspension on facts where Justice Few said the lawyer stole money from clients.
Apparently attorney discipline, like title insurance underwriting, is an art and not a science!
* In the Matter of Wern, South Carolina Supreme Court Opinion 27998 (October 7, 2020)
This is the time of the year when many of us are feverously working on budgets. My own crystal ball is particularly murky this year as COVID-19 has created more uncertainty than usual about the future of the real estate market in South Carolina.
Our state received excellent economic news on October 1, however, when Boeing issued a press release announcing the company will consolidate the production of its widebody jet in North Charleston. Our gain is Washington State’s loss. This move seeks to improve efficiencies during the market downturn caused by the pandemic to position the company for recovery and long-term growth.
The change won’t happen immediately. The press release indicated Boeing will continue to manufacture its 787-8 and 787-9 jets in Everette, Washington until it reaches its previously announced rate cut to six jets per month, which will probably occur sometime in mid-2021.
The release said that a company study confirmed the feasibility and efficiency gains created by consolidation will enable the company to accelerate improvements and target investments to better support customers. The North Charleston plant has lower production costs because labor is less expensive in South Carolina, and it’s a non-union plant.
Anyone who has driven from Columbia to Charleston has witnessed the extensive growth in the North Charleston area of not only Boeing, but the industries and housing developments that support Boeing. This is excellent news for us at a time when we need it!
South Carolina licensed lawyers have been nudged by our Supreme Court to provide assistance with our greatest responsibility as citizens: voting! See the attached Order of the Court granting CLE credit to lawyers who work the polls on November 3.
There are, of course, guidelines. You must work the entire day, for example, and you can’t get paid. Pay attention to the details if you seek the credit.
What a great way for lawyers to demonstrate we are leaders in our communities! And in this problematic political environment, the more clear-headed, logical, calm lawyers who can be present, the better!
In other election news, the United States Supreme Court held on Monday that South Carolina mail-in ballots must be witnessed. Help get that word out to your family, friends and clients.