Category Archives: Latest News

Once high-profile Mexican restaurateur to plead not guilty in Valentine’s Day killing

The State 

July 17, 2107 

By: John Monk

Until several years ago, Greg Leon was known for running a chain of seven Mexican restaurants in Richland, Newberry, Lexington and Orangeburg counties. He was an avid University of South Carolina sports fan. Born in Mexico, he had become a naturalized citizen. But in 2016, he admitted to the Valentine’s Day slaying of his wife’s lover while the pair was embracing in the back seat of a Toyota Tundra pickup in a deserted Lexington County parking lot.Leon turned himself in to authorities after calling 911 and telling the operator, “I shot my wife’s lover.” Now, however, he is asking for a jury trial and plans to plead not guilty to the murder charge, according to his lawyers.

Attorney Eric Bland, who with attorney Dick Harpootlian is representing Leon, said Leon is working and obeying the court’s rules.

Read the entire article from The State here

Suit: Doctor’s flawed report of child abuse shattered family

South Carolina Lawyers Weekly

July 5, 2106

By: Phillip Bantz 

X-rays revealing fractured bones in 5-week-old twins spurred a hospital pediatrician to report the babies’ parents to the South Carolina Department of Social Services and Richland County Sheriff’s Department for suspected child abuse.

The doctor’s report set in motion a bureaucratic thresher that ripped apart Michael and Heather Livingston’s family: The couple’s twins and 9-year-old daughter were placed in foster care after Michael Livingston, a military veteran and medical worker, was coerced into confessing to child abuse and barred from seeing his family for nearly three years, during which time he slept on a friend’s couch.

But if Dr. Susan Luberoff, who evaluated the twins at the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital in Columbia in 2013, had investigated further, rather than relying solely on the X-ray images, she could have discovered that the twins and Heather Livingston had a congenital form of brittle bone syndrome known as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, according to an attorney for the Livingston’s, Eric Bland of Bland Richter in Columbia.

Both twins had fractured ribs and one had a skull fracture — injuries that Bland argues occurred during birth. He said the boys had no bruising or other external evidence of trauma, and their sister, who was not diagnosed with EDS, also showed no signs of abuse.

Read the entire article from South Carolina Lawyers Weekly here.

Army officer gave a false confession to protect his family

Michael and Heather Livingston are the parents of three beautiful children; a daughter, Hannah, and two twin boys, Jacson and Joseph. This family of five had their world turned upside down when their son, Jacson, and later their son Joseph, were wrongfully assumed to be suffering from child abuse. It all started when concerned mother, Heather, took the then 5-week old Jacson to the Doctor after noticing a bump on the back of his head.  A CT scan result showed the infant had a mild scull fracture. How did this lead to discovering fractures on his brother Joseph’s ribs, Social Services taking all three of the children away from their parents, and Michael Livingston giving a false confession in hopes of keeping his family together?

Read the full story here to learn how our team at Bland Richter is helping the Livingston’s put this terribly misconstrued past behind them as they try and move forward with their lives as a happy, healthy family unit.

Group providing legal service for police has gone unregulated for years, S.C. agency says

Post and Courier

April 26, 2017

By Andrew Knapp aknapp@postandcourier.com

A police group that hired the first attorney for the officer who shot Walter Scott is a legal service that has gone unregulated for 17 years, a state agency has found.

The development emerged Wednesday through a lawsuit by local officers seeking a refund of dues paid to the Southern States Police Benevolent Association for what they call a fraudulent insurance policy. The association could face regulatory penalties.

The group stopped funding Michael Slager’s defense in April 2015 after video emerged showing the North Charleston policeman shooting Scott in the back. Slager is now being prosecuted in state and federal court.

Read more from The Post and Courier here. 

Comments on settlement in teen’s death gets judge suspended

Judge denies motions in Troutman vs. Clemson case

A circuit judge on Wednesday denied a motion by attorneys for Eugene Troutman, the fired executive secretary of Clemson University’s board of trustees, that sought documents Troutman’s lawyers believed would bolster their case that Clemson instigated criminal charges against Troutman.

Judge Robin Stilwell also ruled against Troutman’s attempt to get access to letters and emails between the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, Clemson University officials and others pertaining to the prosecution of the criminal charges that Troutman illegally took boxes of documents and computer disks belonging to the university, and that he had files wiped from his computer.

The judge said those documents are not exempt from attorney-client privilege.

But he said that Troutman’s attorneys, Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, could hold a new deposition of the assistant solicitor involved and ask questions to try to get at the information they’re seeking.

Bland told the court that in an earlier deposition of Assistant Solicitor Sylvia Harrison, she admitted she lied to Troutman’s attorney in the criminal case, Dick Harpootlian, and admitted that she knew that that Troutman hadn’t destroyed any documents as had been alleged.

Read more from the Greenville News.

Upstate Today: Tiller Fired From Seneca PD

On July 26, 2015, 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, of Seneca, was shot and killed by Lt. Mark Tiller of the Seneca Police Department. SLED closed its investigation of the shooting and recommended that no charges should be filed against Tiller. 

On September 4, 2016, Officer Mark Tiller was fired. 

Read the full article here.

SC officer who killed unarmed teen fired 13 months later

On July 26, 2015, 19-year-old Zachary Hammond, of Seneca, was shot and killed by Lt. Mark Tiller of the Seneca Police Department. SLED closed its investigation of the shooting and recommended that no charges should be filed against Tiller. 

On September 4, 2016, Officer Mark Tiller was fired. Seneca Police Chief John Covington declined to give a reason for firing Mark Tiller, calling it a “personnel matter” in a short statement. He said Tiller would remain on the department’s payroll until Friday.

Read more:

The Herald: SC officer who killed unarmed teen fired 13 months later

Fox Carolina: Seneca police chief says Tiller fired after one year on leave 

RELEASE: Bland Richter sends second notice to SC DOT of dangerous conditions on Delemar Highway

A letter sent in March to the South Carolina Department of Transportation concerning Delemar Highway in Summerville has resulted in months of silence and inaction

CHARLESTON, SC – Bland Richter, LLP of Charleston and Columbia, SC sent the South Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) a second notification letter concerning Delemar Highway today, Thursday, September 1, 2016.

The first letter was sent on March 18, 2016 and served to give the DOT actual notice of a dangerous condition on Delemar Highway from Cooks Crossroads to Ashley Ridge High School (ARHS). The letter was sent per S.C. Code §15-78-60(15), which mandates that the DOT correct all defects in a reasonable time.

However, since the original letter was sent no action has been taken by the DOT and no response with exception of a 10-word email reply stating that the DOT will “look into the suggestion.”

Two tragic accidents have occurred in the interim. A 23-year-old driver was killed on Delemar Highway near ARHS and a dump truck collided with ARHS Bus #38 on a road that feeds into Delemar Highway.

“Despite the heroic efforts of local governmental officials, the project is once again stalled.

School has commenced in Dorchester District Two and the ARHS family is truly living on borrowed time,” says Scott Mongillo, attorney at Bland Richter.

Recent related articles:

Delemar Highway a ‘Gauntlet of Danger’

23-year-old driver killed in wreck on Delemar Highway amid safety complaints

Delemar delayed…again

About Bland Richter
Bland Richter’s practice areas include a concentration complex litigation matters and partners, Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, have a combined 45 years of legal experience. With offices in both Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, the firm serves the entire State of South Carolina and beyond. In addition to its members being admitted to practice law in South Carolina, Eric Bland is also a member of the Pennsylvania and Florida bars. Bland Richter is available for association anywhere in the Country where its services may be necessary.

To learn more about Bland Richter visit http://www.blandrichter.com

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Michael Slager, Police Group Settle Dispute Over Attorney Fees

Former North Charleston officer Michael Slager and a police group that refused to cover his attorney fees in Walter Scott’s shooting death have agreed to settle their dispute for an “undisclosed sum,” a court filing stated Tuesday.

Ronnie Richter said in paperwork Tuesday that the former policeman and the association had “resolved … Slager’s claim for benefits for an undisclosed sum of money to the parties’ satisfaction.”

Read more from The Post and Courier.

Live 5 News: Michael Slager, police group settle dispute over legal fees

ABC News 4: Slager reaches settlement agreement with PBA for ‘undisclosed sum’

Charleston City Paper: Both sides to settle in Michael Slager’s lawsuit against police group