Category Archives: Raised and Ruled On

Sua Sponte Orders Are a Trap for Appeals

South Carolina appellate courts lack plain error review. To appeal an issue, the issue must generally first be raised and ruled on in the trial court. If an issue was raised but not ruled on, a party who wants to appeal must timely make a Rule 59(e) motion and ask for a ruling.

So what happens if the converse is true? Say a trial judge rules on an issue that was never raised. Must you make a Rule 59(e) motion when the trial court rules sua sponte?  Continue reading

Additional Sustaining Grounds on Appeal: Only Winners Need Apply

l am privileged to help defend a multimillion-dollar judgment against an appeal. When my friends who tried the case asked for help, I first looked to see what issues were in play. In South Carolina, that means locating those issues that were raised and ruled on in the trial court. So I worked through opposing counsel’s lengthy post-trial motion and the order denying it.

scratching headSo far so good. But then the opening brief came in. Smack in the middle of it was a brand new attack on the judgment. Surprised, I went to double-check the post-trial motion, thinking the issue was buried in there somewhere, but then I saw that the opening brief described the point as an “additional sustaining ground.” And I smiled, confident that the issue will not be heard. Continue reading