Posts by Mark

SC Lawyer’s Weekly: Family of man killed in prison settles case for $275k

January 16th, 2020 Posted by News No Comment yet

By Renee Sexton

The family of an inmate who was killed by two other inmates in a South Carolina prison has received $275,000 in a mediated wrongful death settlement, the family’s attorneys report.

Mark Peper and Marvin Pendarvis of the Peper Law Firm in Charleston report that the family of Michael Lorenzo Jones sued the South Carolina Department of Corrections in McCormick County Circuit Court for wrongful death and negligent hiring, training, and supervision.



The family’s attorneys said that Jones was serving a sentence at McCormick Correctional Institution in 2016 when he was attacked by the other two inmates and stabbed with a homemade shank. Jones received routine medical care and returned to his cell, but died about half an hour after he was stabbed.

At the time of the attack, a single correctional officer was covering the unit where the incident occurred and all interior doors–including all cell doors and those leading into and out of each wing–were unlocked and open, which allowed inmates to move around at will and unsupervised, Peper and Pendarvis said.

Information obtained through discovery revealed overcrowding at the prison, a lack of adequate supervision due to a shortage of staff correctional officers, failure to properly train, monitor and supervise correctional officers, failure to have proper policies and protocols in place to provide for inmate safety, and failure to provide the proper level of security in the wing after being notified of prior violent incidents there, the attorneys said.

The attorneys also argued that SCDC employees had failed to properly locate and dispose of contraband, properly classify and monitor inmates, and provide immediate medical care. Pendarvis said Jones had filed complaints with SCDC saying that he had been threatened and feared for his life and asking for help.



One of the inmates was charged with murder. The other was charged with accessory to murder.

“What happened to Mr. Jones was the result of a number of missteps that led to him ultimately being killed,” Pendarvis said. “If you have a facility that has a reputation, if you’ve got a unit within that facility that has a reputation of being a unit where certain types of violence occur, and you do nothing to address the ability for inmates to get their hands on chains or weapons that could carry out harm, you’re negligent.”

Jimmy King of Anderson mediated the settlement, which was approved on Nov. 12.

Pendarvis said the demand was limited by the cap on damages imposed by the South Carolina Tort Claims Act. He said the family knew at the beginning of the process that the settlement amount would be limited, but they hope the suit will force SCDC to address its staffing issues at McCormick.

“It’s clear that it’s understaffed. It’s clear that there are things that continue to take place within the department that need to be addressed,”Pendarvis said. “Just because someone’s been sentenced to time doesn’t mean that it’s a death sentence. It shouldn’t have to be that way, especially when it could be prevented and you have officers that are tasked with ensuring that inmates are able to serve their time without fear of death, and they need to be held accountable.”

Steven Pruitt with McDonald Patrick in Greenwood represented the SCDC. Neither he nor the department responded to a request for comment.

Follow Renee Sexton on Twitter @BobcatRenee


Amount: $275,000

Injuries alleged: Death

Case name: Estate of Michael Lorenzo Jones v. South Carolina Department of Corrections

Court: McCormick County Circuit Court

Case No.: 2018-CP-35-055

Mediator: Jimmy King of Anderson

Insurance carrier: South Carolina Insurance Reserve Fund

Attorneys for plaintiff: Mark Peper and Marvin Pendarvis of the Peper Law Firm in Charleston

Attorney for defendant: Steven Pruitt of McDonald Patrick in Greenwood

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The History of the Bow Tie

April 16th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

There’s no hiding the fact that bow ties matter to us here at Peper Law Firm. Let’s look back at the history of this iconic dress wear staple to understand its origins and importance!

The bow tie can first be traced back to the Thirty Years’ War of the 17th century, where Croat mercenaries used a scarf around the neck to hold together the opening of their shirts. French soldiers brought the look home with them after the war, and the style was soon associated with the name cravat, coming from the French for “Croat.” It wasn’t until the beginning of the 19th century that the bow tie officially entered the fashion scene as its own style of necktie.

Once the bow tie became a more recognized addition to men’s fashion, different adaptations to the style came to be. In addition to formal or traditional wear, the bow tie was seen in street, runway, and celebrity fashion, showing the possibility for versatility.

Today, the bow tie is seen as a stand-out fashion piece in both men and women’s fashion across the world.

St. Patrick’s Day in Charleston, SC

March 8th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

While our sister city to the south, Savannah, may be notorious for their celebrations for this holiday, Charleston has quite a few events that will get you feelin’ lucky!

  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade

    • South Carolina’s largest parade for the holiday, the day kicks off with a celebratory mass at St. Patrick’s Church downtown at 8:00am. The parade starts at the corner of King and Radcliffe Streets at 10:00am and continues south all the way to Broad Street. Expect to see Irish entertainment, dancing, and floats adorned with orange, white, and green! Once the parade comes to a close, City Hall has a ceremony at 11:30am where they raise the flag of Ireland.

    • For more info on the event, head to

  • St. Patrick’s Day Block Party

  • St. Patrick’s Day Concert

    • The Taylor Music Group is hosting a concert which will feature a blend of classical and folk music on Sunday, March 17 at 3:00pm at the Circular Congregational Church on Meeting Street. The concert includes Na Fidleiri, Charleston’s Celtic fiddling ensemble, and Champion Dancer Addie Bacharott from the Legacy School of Irish Dance.

    • For more information on how to get tickets for this event, head to

And don’t forget that The Peper Law Firm is having a St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Block Party this Saturday from 12pm- 6pm in North Charleston. Stop by the PLF tent next to Southern Roots Park Circle. We can’t wait to see you there! For more info:

Cristell Wooten vs. CCSD

March 5th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

For full document, click here:

Cristell Wooten vs. CCSD


Spring Guide to Charleston

February 28th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Temperatures are starting to rise and days are beginning to last a little longer- it’s almost Springtime! Here are a few great events to attend to celebrate the warmer weather in the Lowcountry.

  • Charleston Food and Wine Festival: March 6-10, 2019
    • Calling all foodies and culinary connoisseurs! The Charleston Food and Wine Festival is a must if you want to engage hands-on with one of the most unique food and beverage industries in the United States. Grab a day-long ticket for their Culinary Village, or take a specific class on everything from tequila to truffles.
  • High Water Festival: April 13-14
    • Hosted in North Charleston, this music festival is perfect for music lovers of all ages. Some of the headliners include Texas native and soul singer Leon Bridges, as well as Indie Folk Band, Head and the Heart.

Put an END to Child Marriage

January 24th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Throughout South Carolina, there have been over 7,000 child brides in the last twenty years. According to state law established in 1962, the minimum age for marriage was 18 but 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to wed with parental permission. There is also no minimum age requirement for brides if she is pregnant or has given birth. This has led to girls as young as 12 or 13 being married off to men much older than them. Most of these marriages also meet criteria to be categorized as child rape. An adult in South Carolina could face felony charges for having sex with a minor, but also marry his pregnant victim with approval from her parents.

Countless activists across the state have stepped out in opposition to this law, including Carole Swiecicki, executive director of the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center in Charleston. “‘It’s like legalizing statutory rape,’ she said. ‘I actually had no idea this law existed…it’s a crime,’” (Swiecicki, Post and Courier). Joining the efforts was Senator Katrina Shealy, a Republican from Lexington, SC. Back in June, Shealy claimed she would do everything she could to change the system. Just last month, she filed a bill in the State House that would eliminate the opportunity for women of any age to get married in the state if they are pregnant.

The bill Senator Shealy filed, if signed into law, would be the first piece of legislation in the state of South Carolina that protects children from child marriages in almost 20 years. Shealy is expecting to have bipartisan support if the bill is pushed through. “Who thinks a 12-year-old ought to get married….I can’t even fathom that,” (Shealy, Post and Courier).

For more information about the child marriage statutes in South Carolina and the persistent group of people trying to rectify the situation, check out and

Federal Employee Freebies during Government Shutdown

January 24th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

As we enter the second month of the government shutdown- the longest in the United State’s history- financial strains on all furloughed federal government employees become even more strenuous. If you’re someone struggling in the Charleston area from the shutdown, here are some places that are offering freebies until the government reopens.

    • SkyZone: a trampoline park and great place to bring the family, is offering all federal government employees who are furloughed or going without pay a free 60-minute jump session for them and up to three of their immediate family members. Participating SkyZone locations offer this deal every Tuesday through Thursday until January 31, 2019.
    • Charleston Carriage Rides: Want to learn more about Charleston history and are a federal employee going without pay? Take a historic carriage ride through downtown Charleston for free through this Friday, January 25th.
    • Rosetta Stone: Want to pick up a new language during the shutdown? Rosetta Stone is offering furloughed government workers a 3 month gift to the Rosetta Stone app. Just email your name and validation info to to get set up.


For more federal employee freebies going on during the shutdown, check out:

New year, new rules

January 9th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

As the new year begins, many people are experiencing changes due to laws that went into effect January 1, 2019.

There will be changes to what crimes are eligible for expungement which means South Carolinians with criminal records will have the opportunity to have minor offenses erased from their record, and those with multiple offenses can have their record expunged if the crimes are considered connected. This will allow for South Carolinians with a criminal record to have more employment opportunities as well. Read more about the new criminal record expungement law here.

Wondering why you’re paying 2 cents more per gallon of gas? In July 2017, the SC motor fuel user fee increased and has a planned increase of 2 cents every year for the next five years. The money raised by this increase will be used towards repairing and maintaining the South Carolina transportation system. The good news? You can claim up to two registered motor vehicles for an income tax credit, so keep your gas receipts! Read more about the gas tax credit here.

2019 is also bringing more expanded tax credits to low income families.

Another law requires Homeowners Associations to be more “transparent,” which means setting a clear list of do’s and don’t’s for residents. This needs to be complete by January 10.

For more information on ALL of the new changes this year, go to

Lawsuit filed on behalf of minor victim of former CCSD employee

January 2nd, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Read full document here:

Filed Summons and Complaint 2019-CP-10-0002

Exhibits to Complaint

A Gift Guide for the Lawyer in your life

December 17th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized No Comment yet

Do you have a lawyer in your life that is difficult to buy for? Well, no worries, we’ve created a gift guide for the law student, lawyer or paralegal in your life.

Here are the essentials that every lawyer needs:

A good chair

After a long day in court, there’s nothing better than coming back to the office and having a nice, comfy chair to sit in. Every lawyer needs one. Here’s one we recommend:

High-back Executive Chair


After all, we need something to hold all those documents in! Here’s two from Mark & Graham, and they can even be personalized.

Bedford Laptop bag

Harvey briefcase

Business card holder

It’s a basic essential that any professional needs.

This card holder is at Staples for under $10! Stocking stuffer? We think so!

Buxton Slim Card Case

And another option..

Tory Burch Slim Card Case


Skagen Men’s Brown-leather watch

Skagen Women’s Tan- leather watch


A Christmas themed bowtie? Sure, add it to the list.


Swell Waterbottle


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