Williams v. Bordon's, Inc., 21144

Decision Date07 February 1980
Docket NumberNo. 21144,21144
Citation262 S.E.2d 881,274 S.C. 275
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesChristopher WILLIAMS, a minor by G.A.L., Esborn Williams, Respondent, v. BORDON'S, INC., Appellant. Cinderella WILLIAMS, a minor by G.A.L., Esborn Williams, Respondent, v. BORDON'S, INC., Appellant.

W. Paul Cantrell, Jr. of Holmes, Thomson, Logan & Cantrell, Charleston, for appellant.

Jackson V. Gregory, Walterboro, for respondents.

PER CURIAM:

This appeal involves (1) the constitutionality of Section 2-1-150, 1976 South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, granting immunity from court appearances to lawyer-legislators during legislative sessions and committee meetings; and (2) whether appellant was entitled to a continuance because of the absence of its attorney while he was attending a Session of the South Carolina General Assembly.

Separate actions were brought by respondents in the then existing, but subsequently abolished, Civil and Criminal Court of Colleton County to recover damages allegedly sustained from eating a food product manufactured by appellant. Answers were filed by appellant in each case through its attorneys Holmes, Thomson, Logan & Cantrell of Charleston, South Carolina, with Mr. Cantrell, a member of the South Carolina General Assembly, handling the matter for that firm. The case was subsequently set for trial and appellant's counsel notified. A request by appellant's counsel for a continuance, because of the claimed necessity for his appearances at Sessions of the General Assembly, was denied. The cases were consolidated and proceeded to trial in the absence of appellant or its counsel, resulting in a verdict for respondents in each case. This appeal seeks a new trial solely upon the ground that error was committed by the trial judge in denying appellant's request for a continuance.

In deciding the present issue, we must first determine the proper basis for the assertion by a lawyer-legislator of immunity from court appearances, where it is claimed that the court appearance conflicts with the performance of legislative duties, i. e., whether the continuance must be granted as a matter of right or is within the discretion of the trial judge.

Appellant's counsel contends that he was entitled to the continuance in this case as a matter of right and relies upon Code Section 2-1-150, which, as originally adopted in 1971, granted absolute immunity to lawyer-legislators from court appearances during legislative sessions and, at any other time, to attend legislative committee meetings. Section 2-1-150 was amended at the 1979 Session of the General Assembly (Act No. 178), effective August 1, 1979, which was subsequent to the decision from which this appeal arises, but prior to the filing of the briefs herein. Since appellant relies upon the amended version of Section 2-1-150, we confine our consideration to its provisions. This section now states:

Notwithstanding any other provisions of law or rule of court, no member of the General Assembly shall be required to appear in court as an attorney, who is the attorney of record, witness or otherwise during any regular legislative day, on any day in which the General Assembly is in special session, or on any other day when any legislator is required to attend any official legislative committee meeting. During the same period no case in which a member of the General Assembly is listed as an attorney of record shall be stricken from the calendar because such member of the General Assembly failed to appear for trial at the time designated by the court.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the right to a continuance, where such continuance is based upon an attorney in such case being a member of the legislature, shall be a matter of right except in the following situations and under the following circumstances, and none other, to wit:

(1) where litigation involves emergency relief and irreparable damage;

(2) where such attorney has previously been granted continuances for the same case for a period greater than one hundred eighty days; or

(3) in a criminal case where the client is incarcerated unless the defendant shall give his written consent to the continuance.

This section shall not affect or deny any other rights which a legislator may have to be excused from court appearances or appearances before administrative bodies or commissions provided by other provisions of law.

The foregoing statute is couched in mandatory terms and is, in effect, an assertion by the General...

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22 cases
  • Hundley ex rel. Hundley v. Rite Aid
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • February 28, 2000
    ...with it the inherent power to control the order of its business to safeguard the rights of litigants." Williams v. Bordon's, Inc., 274 S.C. 275, 279, 262 S.E.2d 881, 883 (1980). The court bears a great responsibility when signing a scheduling order which grants this special request, because......
  • State v. Langford
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • December 20, 2012
    ...to determine the order in which cases shall be heard is derived from its power to hear and decide cases.” Williams v. Bordon's, Inc., 274 S.C. 275, 279, 262 S.E.2d 881, 883 (1980). “This adjudicative power of the court carries with it the inherent power to control the order of its business ......
  • Collier v. Poe
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
    • May 20, 1987
    ...of the outcome, would change all witnesses' concerns, or that there were no other legal remedies available.20 Williams v. Burdon's, Inc. 274 S.C. 275, 262 S.E.2d 881 (1980); McConnell v. State, 227 Ark. 988, 302 S.W.2d 805 (1957); Johnson v. Theodoron, 324 Ill. 543, 155 N.E. 481 (1927); Kyg......
  • Hagy v. Pruitt
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • May 4, 1998
    ...interpretation. Henderson v. Evans, 268 S.C. 127, 232 S.E.2d 331 (1977). Our supreme court concluded in Williams v. Bordon's Inc., 274 S.C. 275, 262 S.E.2d 881 (1980), that a statute which attempts to exercise ultimate authority over the inherent power of the court is unconstitutional becau......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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