Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Palmer v. State

Court of Appeals of South Carolina

April 17, 2019

Robert Palmer, Appellant,
v.
State of South Carolina, Horry County, and David Weaver, Defendants, Of which State of South Carolina is the Respondent. Appellate Case No. 2017-000567

          Heard December 6, 2018

          Appeal From Horry County Benjamin H. Culbertson, Circuit Court Judge

          Gene McCain Connell, Jr., of Kelaher Connell & Connor, PC, of Surfside Beach, and Roger Dale Johnson, of Law Office of Roger Johnson, of Conway, both for Appellant.

          Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Solicitor General Robert D. Cook, Deputy Solicitor General J. Emory Smith, Jr., and Andrew F. Lindemann, of Lindemann, Davis & Hughes, PA, all of Columbia; Lisa Arlene Thomas, of Thompson & Henry, PA, of Conway, for Respondent.

          KONDUROS, J.

         Robert Palmer appeals the circuit court's dismissal of his complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP. He contends the circuit court erred in finding no constitutional or civil remedy exists for a previous wrongful conviction. We affirm.

         FACTS/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Palmer and Julia Gorman-his girlfriend-were caring for Gorman's seventeen-month-old grandson (Victim) while Gorman's daughter traveled across the country. After suffering from ant bites and allergies on July 1, 2008, Victim was prescribed a liquid antihistamine (Xyzal), which has a sedative effect. The prescribed dosage of Xyzal was half a teaspoon per day. Victim was regularly given more than the prescribed dosage, up to 2.5 teaspoons per day-five times the prescribed amount. On July 14, Palmer was alone with Victim while Gorman was at work. Gorman returned home at 4 p.m. that day and observed Victim sleeping and breathing normally. Gorman checked on victim again at 6 p.m. and found him "slack," making "really strange noises," and with saliva at his mouth. Victim was treated at multiple hospitals before finally being removed from life support by his parents on July 16. Doctors that examined Victim before death and during the autopsy found evidence indicating he received hits to the head as well as atypical bruises on various portions of his body.

         Palmer and Gorman were tried jointly for the death of Victim. At the conclusion of trial, both were convicted of homicide by child abuse, aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse, and unlawful conduct towards a child. On appeal, this court reversed both Palmer's and Gorman's aiding and abetting convictions but affirmed their homicide and unlawful conduct convictions.

         On July 29, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court affirmed the reversal of both Palmer's and Gorman's aiding and abetting convictions but overturned Palmer's convictions for homicide and unlawful conduct towards a child. State v. Palmer, 413 S.C. 410, 776 S.E.2d 558 (2015). Palmer initiated a civil action against the State, alleging malicious prosecution, false arrest, negligence, and violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Palmer also sought a declaratory judgment, requesting the circuit court declare a remedy existed for wrongful conviction in South Carolina under both the United States and South Carolina Constitutions. The State moved to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP. The circuit court granted the State's motion on November 17, 2016, with prejudice. Palmer moved the court to reconsider, which the court denied. This appeal followed.[1]

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "Under Rule 12(b)(6), SCRCP, a defendant may move to dismiss a complaint based on a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. In considering such a motion, the trial court must base its ruling solely on allegations set forth in the complaint." Spence v. Spence, 368 S.C. 106, 116, 628 S.E.2d 869, 874 (2006). "On appeal from the dismissal of a case pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), [SCRCP, ] an appellate court applies the same standard of review as the trial court." Rydde v. Morris, 381 S.C. 643, 646, 675 S.E.2d 431, 433 (2009). "That standard requires the [c]ourt to construe the complaint in a light most favorable to the nonmovant and determine if the 'facts alleged and the inferences reasonably deducible from the pleadings would entitle the plaintiff to relief on any theory of the case.'" Id. (quoting Williams v. Condon, 347 S.C. 227, 233, 553 S.E.2d 496, 499 (Ct. App. 2001)). "If the facts and inferences drawn from the facts alleged in the complaint, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, would entitle the plaintiff to relief on any theory, then the grant of a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is improper." Spence, 368 S.C. at 116, 628 S.E.2d at 874.

         LAW/ANALYSIS

         I. Consideration of Novel Issue under Rule ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.