This student paper, titled Constructive Trusts in South Carolina: Equity in its Finest Form As It Relates to Real Property Transfers , was written for my Spring 2012 Equity class by Miles Bland and Kyle Ward.
This student paper, titled Player v Chandler An Unsuccessful Claim for Specific Performance, was written for my Spring 2012 Equity class by Brianna Hewett, Michelle Matthews, and Katie Maucher.
This student paper, titled Judicially Mandated Foreclosure Intervention Programs in South Carolina; How Do We Determine If a Community is Ripe to Benefit?, was written for my Spring 2012 Equity class by John Cane, Renee Anderson, and Captain Charles George.
This student paper, titled Unclean Hands: Residential Real Estate Loan Modifications in South Carolina and the Unauthorized Practice of Law, was written for my Spring 2012 Equity class by Ricky Thomas, Gary Patterson, and Corey Smith.
This student paper, titled An Equitable Solution for the “Choice” Between Death and Insanity: State v. Wilson, was written for my Spring 2012 Equity class by Annamarie Ammen, Michelle Elsey McMahon, and Elizabeth Leverette.
This student paper, titled Vane v Lord Barnard Equitable Waste and Mandatory Injunctions, was written for my Spring 2012 Equity class by Benjamin Joyce, Sarah Lohman, and Jenna Peyser.
The Honorable Garrison Hill, a Circuit Court Judge, in South Carolina recently wrote a very exciting and educational lower court equitable order dealing with the doctrine of judicial estoppel. The Court was kind enough to grant me permission to put in on this blog and I am doing just that. As Judge Hill so succinctly noted, in a memorial equitable opinion, “equity abhors a charade.” Read on, this Judicial Estoppel Circuit Court Order is worthy of study by lawyers and law students. A genuine thanks to Judge Hill for permitting me to post this opinion.
Most of the time this blog focuses on Equity and Equitable Remedies. But, careful or frequent readers also know that from time to time, I also post other matters related to the legal profession and the study of law in general. This post is not so much equity – as a look at the legal profession itself.
Of course, we all have heroes or people who we truly admire in every profession. The late Louis Nizer is a lawyer who I immensely admired (although I never had the privilege of knowing him personally).
Dean John Benfield of the Charleston School of Law asked me to speak to a group of accepted students at an open house this coming Saturday, June 9th, about how a single lawyer can make a dramatic difference in the world and in our society.
After thinking about the assignment – I seized on a single incident that has been written about in Nizer’s own book, My Life in Court, about the trial of Quentin Reynolds v. Westbrook Pegler long ago in 1954. Nizer was looking for witnesses who would back up the claims of his client, Quentin Reynolds, that Reynolds served honorably in World War II as a reporter and was not, as asserted by Pegler, a “war coward.”
Nizer travelled to London to interview Lord Louis Mountbatten about a difficult period of time in World War II – the so-called Dieppe Raid in August of 1942. For many reasons, this was a very sensitive topic for Lord Mountbatten to discuss – and at first, he told Nizer he would only have 3 minutes to ask questions and discuss it. In fact, the men spent hours talking about Reynolds’ heroic role in the raid and Lord Mountbatten’s testimony was instrumental in a jury returning the largest single damages award for libel ever reached by an American jury up until that date.
Nizer explains in his book what he did and said to convince an indifferent / if not outright hostile witness to talk for hours. It is a perfect example of how a lawyer can make a huge difference in the world – in just a few minutes. It is a story I hope to share with these future law students about why – even in this age of endless criticism about law / lawyer / law schools – there remains something very grand, and great, and honorable, about this profession.
After you see the attached PowerPoint, for interested readers, I certainly would recommend Nizer’s book, My Life in Court, which is a “great read” and if you want to know a little bit more about Quentin Reynolds, listen to the You Tube broadcast of “London can Take it” from the German Blitz in the year 1940.
The topic of the PowerPoints for this class lecture is Constructive Trusts. It truly is an intriguing type of equitable remedy. It certainly does not depend upon the parties’ own intentions – in fact, often, the parties had everything else in mind rather than creating a trust. It is an equitable fiction – designed by the Court to prevent true injustice. When one party wrongfully violates a fiduciary duty or otherwise commits an “equitable fraud” one equitable remedy is simply to declare them an involuntary “trustee” holding property or monies or other tangible assets for the equitable benefit of a victim. We start with a classic New York case, Sharp v. Kosmalski, which is almost a short novel. Only – it was real. A man in his 50s, in a desperate effort to court a woman who was much younger – gave her title to his dairy farm, title to his house, and then first access and finally title to all his bank accounts. When she had obtained everything in the world he owned, she promptly evicted him, leaving him with $300 and nothing else. The tale is in the telling – it is truly an interesting case. We then turn to South Carolina and study some somewhat similar cases – dealing with a breach of confidence when one party entrusted his worldly goods to another.
In a very interesting recent case out of Greenville, South Carolina, the Master in Equity set aside a tax sale on rather unique and special facts. As lawyers are sometimes in the habit of saying, the Order “speaks for itself” and I genuinely thank the Greenville Master In Equity for permitting me to post this very interesting lower court order.