South Carolina Man Wins Damages for Being Wrongly Identified

December 17, 2013

A Clarendon County jury has awarded $890,000 in damages to a South Carolina man after members of the governing board at his condominium wrongly identified him as a registered sex offender.

James E. King thinks the situation stemmed from a dispute with the board of directors because he was behind on association fees.

Testimony indicated that board members circulated a flyer from the S.C. Sex Offender Registry website about a registered offender which included a picture and information about a man named William James King. While circulating the flyer, some board members wrongly told people that the King in the flyer was the same King at the condominium complex.

One Santee Resort board member even called King’s bank in Orangeburg – where he had taken out a mortgage – and told the loan officer that King was a sex offender, according to trial evidence.

“It was totally the wrong man – not only is James King not a sex offender, he doesn’t even have a criminal record,” said attorney Shaun Kent of Manning, who was one of two attorneys who represented James King.

“There are certain names you just can’t call people, unless you truly check your facts,” Kent said. “It’s beyond reprehensible that someone would call someone else a sex offender without really knowing that they are.”

Defense lawyers have until Monday to file post-trial motions, including an appeal. The two lawyers who represented the condominium board had no comment on the decision from earlier this week.

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