3 Ways a Brief Can Lose a SC Appeal

Last week, the South Carolina Court of Appeals reminded lawyers how to draft briefs. In McLaughlin v. Ninan, Op.No. 2013-UP-261 (S.C. Ct.App. filed June 19, 2013), the Court summarily affirmed a circuit-court order for three missteps:

Arguing unpreserved issues

The appellant brief raised issues that were not raised and ruled on in the trial court. A series of earlier posts explains that South Carolina appellate courts will almost never hear issues that are raised for the first time on appeal.

Drafting the issue statement poorly

The brief argued issues that were not set forth in the separate statement of issues or were framed too broadly in the issue statement. Tips on how to state issues are available here.

Making conclusory statements

The brief lastly failed to divide the argument into separate sections to match the issues raised, and made conclusory statements that were unaccompanied by argument and citation to authority. I earlier posted on this too.


The Court concluded strong by reminding everyone that it presumes that trial-court orders are correct, appellants bear the burden of proving reversible error, and that the Court does not sit to figure out on its own whether error exists.

Any thoughts? Please leave me a reply or reach me here.



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