South Carolina courts treat Rule 59(e), SCRCP, motions to alter or amend a judgment as a tool to preserve claimed errors for appeal. Whether you may make the motion, and when you must, may be confusing. Here is a flow chart of questions to ask.
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
The South Carolina Court of Appeals clarified yesterday that respondents may raise on appeal issues that they lost on summary judgment. This does not violate the rule against appealing orders denying summary judgment. Continue reading
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.
So 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