Category Archives: Argument

When Do Binding Cases Begin to Bind?

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently clarified when its decisions apply to all similar circumstances or only those that arise after the decision is rendered. In civil cases, decisions are presumptively retroactive. For the decision to apply prospectively only, it must create new substantive rights or impose new liabilities. Lord v. D & J Enterprises, Inc., Op. No. 27376 (S.C. Sup.Ct. filed April 9, 2014).  Continue reading

SC Supremes: Cite the Entire Ruling

Last month, I posted on attorneys who create accidents with contextomy. Sounds weird, I know, without defining the terms.

“Accident,” in this sense, is a logical fallacy in which one advocates a general rule without acknowledging any exceptions. Contextomy means taking something out of context. The post noted that the two often go together. Continue reading

Battling Straw Men on Appeal

Ever had opposing counsel misrepresent your argument? This post ends a series on logical fallacies that I have faced handling South Carolina appeals. Misrepresenting an opposing argument falls in a family of fallacies known as “ignoratio elenchi,” literally meaning “ignorance of refutation.” Continue reading

Facing the “You Too” Fallacy on Appeal

(Sony Pictures 1989)

(Sony Pictures 1989)

This post continues the series on fallacies that I have faced while handling South Carolina appeals. The last one discussed ad hominem or personal attacks and suggested how to deflate them. This one covers a particular type of personal attack and when it may properly work.

In the “tu quoque” attack, one charges the opposing party with  hypocrisy. The argument is “Yeah, you’re another” or “you’re one to talk.” It is fallacious because two wrongs do not make a right. Continue reading