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Smith v. Haynsworth, Marion, McKay & Geurard

Court of Appeals of South Carolina
472 S.E.2d 612 (1996)


Facts

The law firm of Haynsworth, Marion, McKay & Geurard (Haynsworth) (defendant) provided representation to two different parties involved in a real estate development project. Two of the firm’s partners also invested in the project. Haynsworth represented the developer, Bashor, in several matters related to the project. Bashor paid attorney fees to Haynsworth for transactional services on behalf of two other principal investors, Smith (plaintiff) and Murray (plaintiff). Smith and Murray filed malpractice claims against Haynsworth after the development project collapsed and the real estate went into foreclosure. At trial, in order to identify the applicable standard of care, Smith and Murray sought to introduce testimony from a law professor about the state’s rules of professional conduct. Haynsworth moved to exclude the professor’s testimony on grounds that the professor was not licensed to practice in South Carolina and did not practice real estate law. The trial court granted Haynsworth’s motion to exclude the professor’s testimony, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of Haynsworth. Smith and Murray appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Waller, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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