Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Judge Simmons’ Opinion in Pelham Spring Homeowners’ Association

February 14, 2014

From time to time, as readers of this blog are well aware, I have the great privilege and honor of being asked by some Judges in South Carolina to look at recent decisions in property and equity that – one way or another – raise questions about fairness, statutory interpretation, and principles of law and equity. If you recall, one of the prime maxims of Equity is that “Equity Follows the Law” and this maxim has particular applicability when it comes to statutes. This rule has special force when the General Assembly steps up an entire statutory scheme.

The Honorable Master in Equity of Greenville County, Judge Charles Simmons, Jr., in a very recent decision, carefully discussed both the conduct of the Home Owners Association (in not sending various notices) and specific sections of the South Carolina Horizontal Property Regime Statute (What in most other states are typically called Condominium Statutes) and concluded that undeveloped lots were not “apartments” under the Statutory Scheme and therefore not subject to unpaid Assessments.

It is a very interesting opinion and I truly thank the Master for permitting me to put his recent opinion on this Blog.

As always, please remember, this is such a recent decision it is of course subject to Motions to Reconsider, Subsequent Appeals and so on. And, merely to remind everyone – this blog is for educational purposes only and is not giving any specific legal advice or counsel on any aspect of any topic discussed herein.


Judge Spence’s Orders in Two Interesting Recent Property Cases

September 17, 2013

The Honorable James Spence, Master In Equity in Lexington County, South Carolina, was kind enough to come down to Charleston from Lexington and give a special lecture to my Real Estate Transactions Class on some property cases that he had recently decided. One of them – that is particularly interesting – was a commercial easement that he has now been kind enough to share not only with the class itself but he has granted me permission to post on Equity is Swell Blog. It is very instructive and it highlights that when purchasing property one should always be very careful to read all the conveyances that are involved in the transaction, including all of the easements. It is attached to this link. I recommend it to you as a very interesting South Carolina Order, worth of reading and perhaps even re-reading.

The second case that Judge Spence was kind enough to share with me is a fascinating case about the interpretation of a South Carolina deed. At the very end of this very scholarly  opinion, you will note that he expressly quotes an equitable maxim in his analysis. I highly recommend this order. as well. As an interesting aside, the deed was drafted in February of 1945 with World War II still on-going. Although the deed was written in 1945, the case itself was not decided until 2012.

Although Property law really does take a long time sometimes to  decide, even so, this case is probably somewhat unusual as it normally does not take 67 years to make that particular type of decision.

Both of these cases highlight the interactions between property and equity and suggest that the practice of law really does present unusual challenges to lawyers and clients. It is a real pleasure to have the opportunity to have this Judge in the classroom and his opinions on this blog.

Thanks, your honor. Your work is especially appreciated.

Judge Richard Gergel’s Opening Comments at the Law and Society Symposium on Religion and the Law

June 4, 2013

The Honorable Judge Richard Gergel, sitting Federal District Court Judge here in Charleston, S.C., gave a very memorable set of Opening Comments recently at the Law and Society Symposium about the history of the City where this Law School sits. He was kind enough to permit me to post this on the Equity is Swell blog. It elegantly states some very interesting history – and history that many of us, including the author of this Blog, were totally unaware of. I commend his opening remarks to you – I suspect (like me) you will find them genuinely of great interest. Thanks, Judge Gergel.

Commencement Speech Given by Chief Judge John Few of the South Carolina Court of Appeals

March 4, 2013

Chief Judge Few, of the South Carolina Court of Appeals, gave this commencement speech to the graduating students of the Charleston School of Law on December 16, 2012. With so much relentless criticism today of the legal profession, it is especially nice to consider this speech. As Judge Few reminds us – at its very best – law can be a highly honorable field and individual lawyers and judges really can make a true meaningful difference in this world. Thanks, Judge Few, for sharing this recent commencement speech with all of us and permitting me to post it on the Equity is Swell blog. Naturally, I always invite comments on anything that is posted here.


2012 in review

January 20, 2013

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

To Be Emailed New Posts on Equity Is Swell

October 17, 2012

To have every new post on Equity is Swell emailed to your email address, do the following. At the Equity is Swell site, click on the floating box in the lower right-hand corner that says “Follow.”

In the box that comes up, fill in the email address and click “Sign me up.”

Student Paper on Constructive Trusts in South Carolina

October 15, 2012

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.

Student Paper on Unclean Hands

October 2, 2012

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.

Lower Court Order — Setting Aside a Tax Sale

April 3, 2012

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.


The Honorable Associate Justice John Kittredge’s Speech

February 14, 2012

Last December, I was lucky enough to attend the Charleston School of Law December Commencement Graduation Ceremonies. The Commencement Speaker was one of the Associate Justices on the South Carolina Supreme Court, the honorable Justice John Kittredge. He is very kind and has permitted me, at my request, to post that talk on Equity is Swell. I think this is a really wonderful speech for law student graduates (and many others — including many lawyers) to read and reflect upon its content. An aside, Justice Kittredge was at first quite reluctant to let me post this talk because, as he quickly pointed out to me, it was written to be delivered orally and was never intended to be read. Nonetheless, with the qualification in mind, I have the privilege of passing it along just the way he wrote it. I frankly predict you will find it truly worthy of reading and I greatly appreciate his honor permitting me the privilege of posting it here. Thanks, Justice Kittredge.

Spitz / February 14, 2012