The Omnibus


Welcome to the 'law blog' of Pratt-Thomas Walker. In addition to regular updates and news from our practice areas, partner, Andy Gowder, holds court on 'Grounded' - a special topic area dealing with land use rights and other matters.


Author Archives: Andy Gowder

ULI SC Program Tonight! Creating Value With Green Space

Tonight, I will be moderating a ULI South Carolina program entitled, “Creating Value with Green Space” to be held at the Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting Street. The featured speaker is Ed McMahon, ULI/Charles Fraser Chair for Sustainable Development. Conservation development technologies have been around for decades, but only in the past few years have developers, […]

County Council Members Can Be Sued for Civil Conspiracy

The South Carolina Court of Appeals ruled, in August, that a developer frustrated in its attempts to have a development plan approved in light of a County Council’s efforts to pass a height limitation ordinance, where there had been no limitation before, could maintain an action against Council members, in their unofficial, individual capacities for civil conspiracy, where the developer was able to allege the required elements of civil conspiracy in its complaint. On the other hand, where that complaint names the Council members only as individuals, and not as officials, no causes of action addressing their actions as Council members could be maintained.

Federal Preemption Defeats Case Based on South Carolina law

Preemption is a concept deeply rooted in the United States Constitution and in our system of federalism. When it presents itself in a state court room, however, the concept becomes more real, and hard-edged, particularly when it is used to defeat a wrongful death claim in favor of Ford Motor Company.

Local Motorcycle Helmet Ordinance Pre-empted by State law

The South Carolina Supreme Court recently decided in Aakjer v City of Myrtle Beach that the City of Myrtle Beach’s Helmet Ordinance, drafted in response to large motorcycle rallies in Myrtle Beach, was invalid because it was preempted by existing state statutes that already require motorcycle drivers to wear helmets and goggles or protective shields. […]

Live from the ABA Spring Meeting: Water Supply in a Time of Climate Change

The second outstanding program at the ABA Spring Meeting was a panel sponsored by the SLG Environmental Law Committee entitled: “Water Supply in a Time of Climate Change.” The panel was moderated by Michelle Diffenderfer, with the West Palm Beach, Florida office of Lewis Longman & Walker, P.A. where her practice includes seeking consumptive use […]

Live from the ABA Spring Meeting: Takings International

I have just returned from attending the American Bar Association State and Local Government Section’s spring meeting in Miami (April 28-May 2) and attended several compelling programs there that I’ll be featuring for you in the next few blog entries. The first program on Friday morning set the tone for the rest of the day […]

Exactions and Impact Fees in The Urban Lawyer

Annual report updating the law of exactions and impact fees has been published in the latest edition of The Urban Lawyer.

Welcome to Grounded

“So much has been destroyed/ I have cast my lot with those /who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, / reconstitute the world.”   Adrienne Rich Welcome to the first entry of my new blog, which I have named “Grounded.”  I want to explain the title and what I expect the focus of […]

Healing or Stealing?

In a college commencement speech delivered earlier this summer, the visionary environmental activist and entrepreneur Paul Hawken outlined for the graduates the rather bleak state of the planet, both from an environmental and a social perspective, and why that, ironically, is presents them with an extraordinary opportunity. He told them: