Headlines in the Midlands
Supreme Court Upholds Ruling In Favor Of School Board
McNair client to proceed with expansion plans for high school after long legal battle
COLUMBIA, SC - March 12, 2012 - McNair Law Firm, P.A., announced today that the South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled in favor of its client, School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties, after a long legal battle over plans to renovate and expand one of the school district's most overcrowded high schools. With this ruling, the school district can proceed with a large-scale renovation of Chapin High School, in Chapin, SC, to accommodate up to 1,700 students. Enrollment has more than doubled since the school was built 40 years ago to accommodate no more than 600 students.
McNair Law Firm shareholder Pam Baker, a member of the firm's environmental practice group, served as lead attorney representing the school district in the case along with fellow McNair shareholder Liz Crum.
"We are pleased that the school district finally has a clear path for the much-needed expansion of Chapin High, and we are hopeful that this ruling will also serve as precedent in helping businesses in South Carolina that face situations similar to those of Lexington-Richland Five," said Pam Baker.
In the case, Kim Murphy v. School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, school board member Kim Murphy filed suit to stop the expansion plans, citing environmental concerns over the filling of a stream on the property. Murphy received support from environmental groups seeking to narrow the scope of projects allowed in wetlands and streams. However, the Supreme Court ruled against Murphy's argument and affirmed a lower-court order upholding the issuance of a Water Quality Certification to the school district for its expansion plans.
In the court's decision, writing for a unanimous court, Justice Kaye Hearn wrote that "substantial evidence" supports the school district's assertion that functionality of the stream would not be impaired by plans to fill a portion of it for the expansion. Justice Hearn also noted that the court agreed with the lower court's findings that no other feasible alternative to the expansion plans existed that would have less adverse results.
McNair Law Firm, P.A.
McNair Law Firm, P.A., is a full-service law firm serving businesses, government and individuals from eight offices in South Carolina and one in Charlotte, N.C. The firm traces its origins to 1971, when former governor Robert E. McNair founded a firm dedicated to handling legal needs in the Carolinas, especially where business and government interests intersect. For more information about the firm and Pam Baker, visit www.mcnair.net.