Daniel B. Dorn, in his capacity as the Parent and Natural guardian of E.D., R.D., and Y.D., Petitioner,
Paul S. Cohen and Susan Cohen, Individually and in their capacity as the Co-Conservators of the person of Abbie Ilene Dorn, a protected person and ward, and in their capacity as Co-Trustees of the Abbie Dorn Special Needs Trust, Respondents. Paul S. Cohen, M.D. and Susan Cohen, Respondents,
E.D., R.D., and Y.D., The Living Issue of Abbie Ilene Dorn, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Respondents below, Of whom E.D., R.D., and Y.D., The Living Issue of Abbie Ilene Dorn are the Petitioners, and the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is a Respondent. In Re: The Abbie Dorn Special Needs Trust. Appellate Case No. 2016-002393
Submitted November 29, 2017
OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
From Horry County Deadra L. Jefferson, Circuit Court Judge
A. Massalon and Christy Ford Allen, both of Wills Massalon
& Allen, LLC, and Daniel S. Slotchiver, of Slotchiver
& Slotchiver, LLP, all of Charleston, for Petitioners.
Kachmarsky, of Law Office of John Kachmarsky, of Charleston;
Virginia Lee Moore, of Moore Johnson & Saraniti Law Firm,
PA, of Surfside Beach; Bret Harlan Davis and Reese Rodman
Boyd, III, of Davis & Boyd, LLC, of Myrtle Beach; Lynette
Rogers Hedgepath, of The Hedgepath Law Firm, PA, of Conway;
and Shealy Boland Reibold, of Columbia, all for Respondents.
seek a writ of certiorari to review the court of appeals'
decision in Dorn v. Cohen, 418 S.C. 126, 791 S.E.2d
313 (Ct. App. 2016). We grant the petition, dispense with
further briefing, and affirm the court of appeals'
decision as modified.
Daniel Dorn filed a petition in the probate court to remove
respondents Paul and Susan Cohen as the co-trustees of a
Trust established for the care of Dorn's ex-wife, Abbie
Dorn, and further sought a temporary restraining order (TRO)
to prevent the Cohens from spending Trust money for any
purpose other than Abbie's medical care. The Cohens
subsequently filed a petition to affirm legal fees paid by
the Trust and to reform the terms of the Trust.
a hearing, the probate court denied Dorn's request for a
TRO and consolidated both petitions, requiring the Cohens to
amend their petition to name Dorn, Abbie's minor
children, and the South Carolina Department of Health and
Human Services as parties. The probate court appointed a
guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the children, and
appointed both a GAL and an attorney to represent Abbie.
petitions were tried together, and on the final day of trial,
petitioner Dorn challenged Abbie's status as a party,
arguing Abbie was not named in his petition and should not be
allowed to present witnesses. The probate court found that,
while Abbie was not named as a party, she was an
indispensable party to both actions because the actions
sought changes to her Trust, and the purpose of appointing
Abbie a GAL and counsel was to represent her interests in the
probate court subsequently issued an order adding Abbie as a
party to both petitions pursuant to Rule 19, South Carolina
Rules of Civil Procedure. Petitioner appealed, and the
circuit court dismissed the appeal as interlocutory.
court of appeals affirmed the circuit court's dismissal
of the appeal as interlocutory pursuant to S.C. Code Ann.
§ 14-3-330 (2017). Relying on Morrow v. Fundamental
Long-Term Care Holdings, LLC, 412 S.C. 534, 773 S.E.2d
144 (2015), the court of appeals found the appealability of
the probate court's order was determined by section
14-3-330, which governs appeals from the trial court. The
court of appeals applied Morrow and Neeltec
Enters., Inc. v. Long, 397 S.C. 563, 725 S.E.2d 926
(2012), in finding the probate court's order did not
affect petitioners' substantial rights under section
the court of appeals erred in applying section 14-3-330 in
determining whether the probate court order was immediately
appealable. Appeals from the probate court are governed by
section 62-1-308 of the Probate Code, which provides the
following, in pertinent part:
Except as provided in subsection (1), appeals from the
probate court must be to the circuit court and are governed