Published by the International Society of Primerus Law Firms in Paradigm
South Carolina is among the majority of jurisdictions that have recognized tort liability for intentional interference with a person's economic relationship with a third party. Tort liability is imposed for intentional interference with the performance of an existing contract or the formation of a prospective one.
[*38] Emerging case law involving the implied waiver of privileges has revealed a pitfall for employers defending against discrimination allegations. Employers in those cases unintentionally waived any privileges covering their internal investigations of employee discrimination complaints by relying on those investigations as an affirmative defense in ensuing litigation involving the complaints. The courts refused to allow employers to use privileges as a sword rather than a shield and, consequently, forced employers to produce confidential information and materials gathered during internal investigations and required their legal counsel to divulge privileged communications and work product relating to the investigations.
In 1995 the South Carolina Supreme Court promulgated the South Carolina Rules of Evidence, which largely track the counterpart Federal Rules of Evidence. Rule 703, which is a verbatim copy of the then existing federal rule, permits an expert witness to offer an opinion based upon factual information or hearsay that has not been admitted in the proceedings.
The decisions of the 4th Circuit have a history of engendering confusion and misunderstanding as to whether supervisory employees can be held individually liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the federal statute prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion or national origin.
A recent trend by private litigants to name corporate executives as defendants in lawsuits brought against motor vehicle dealerships under the South Carolina Motor Vehicle Unfair Trade Practices Act (MVUTPA) n1 has aroused considerable interest in the scope of personal liability under that Act.