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2004-UP-050 - Lindsey v. Spartan Roofing Company, Inc

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

James Lindsey,        Respondent,

v.

Spartan Roofing Company, Inc.,        Appellant.


Appeal From Spartanburg County
John W. Kittredge, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2004-UP-050
Submitted October 15, 2003 – Filed January 22, 2004


AFFIRMED


Kirby D. Shealy III, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Norman Douglas Brannon, of Spartanburg, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:   The Lindseys sued Spartan Roofing, alleging breach of contract. The jury found for the Lindseys; Spartan Roofing appeals. We affirm.

FACTS

Homeowners James and Polly Lindsey sued Spartan Roofing for negligence and breach of contract after Spartan failed to repair the Lindseys’ home to the Lindseys’ satisfaction. The Lindseys alleged that the roof of their home was still leaking, even after Polly Lindsey pointed out the problem to Spartan. The Lindseys then consulted Mr. Burgess of Cannon Roofing. Mr. Burgess determined that the roof was leaking in two places. Polly Lindsey asked Mr. Burgess if he "could repair the leaks and provide a warranty” on it. Mr. Burgess replied that he could warrant only a whole new roof, not one he repaired in part. However, when asked whether the whole roof had to be replaced because of the two leaks, Mr. Burgess  declined to offer an opinion. At trial, the Lindseys attempted to introduce into evidence Mr. Burgess’s estimate to replace the whole roof and to warrant it for two years. Spartan objected.

Spartan argued that the Lindseys were attempting to arrive at a better position than where they were before; that the Lindseys would in essence have a brand new roof with a two-year warranty, not just a repaired roof. Spartan insisted that the measure of damages was the cost of fixing the two leaks, not of replacing the whole roof. The Lindseys countered that they had "contracted to replace the entire roof” originally with Spartan, and were therefore entitled to the replacement and the warranty.

The trial judge first indicated that he might sustain the objection. However, Mr. Albert, the owner of Spartan, subsequently testified that the Lindseys had indeed contracted with Spartan to "install a new roofing system.” Mr. Albert also testified that that work carried a two-year workmanship warranty. The trial judge then allowed into evidence Mr. Burgess’s estimate for the replacement and warranty of the whole roof. The jury found for the Lindseys and awarded them $11,393 in "actual damages.”

ISSUES 

(1) Did the trial court err in allowing Mr. Burgess’s estimate since there was no testimony that the whole roof needed to be replaced? 

(2) Did the trial court err in denying Spartan’s motion for a new trial since there was no evidence to substantiate the jury’s award of damages?

ANALYSIS

"The admission or exclusion of evidence at trial is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial judge, whose discretion will not be disturbed on appeal in the absence of an abuse of such discretion amounting to a manifest error of law.” Cooks v. S.C Dept. of Hwys. and Pub. Transp., 309 S.C. 179, 184, 420 S.E.2d 847, 849 (1992) (citing Grand Strand Constr. Co. v. Graves, 269 S.C. 594, 595, 239 S.E.2d 81, 81 (1977)). "The grant or denial of new trial motions rests within the discretion of the trial judge and his decision will not be disturbed on appeal unless his findings are wholly unsupported by the evidence or the conclusions reached are controlled by error of law.” Vinson v. Harley, 324 S.C. 389, 405, 477 S.E.2d 715, 723 (Ct. App. 1996) (citing Umhoefer v. Bollinger, 298 S.C. 221, 224, 379 S.E.2d 296, 297 (Ct. App. 1989)). "In deciding whether to assess error to a court's denial of a motion for a new trial, [appellate courts] consider the testimony and reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Id.

Spartan Roofing argues that the trial judge erred when he allowed Mr. Burgess to introduce into evidence the estimate to replace the whole roof. We disagree. At trial, Mr. Albert himself admitted that Spartan had been hired to "install a new roofing system” and that Spartan "was paid $14,218 for a new roof.” Mr. Albert also testified that a new roof carried a two-year warranty. That testimony is bolstered by the Lindseys’ contention that they contracted with Spartan to replace the roof completely. (R.179). There is ample evidence to suggest that the Lindseys contracted for a new, warranted roof with Spartan, and therefore were entitled to obtain the same. See Minter v. GOCT, Inc., 322 S.C. 525, 528, 473 S.E.2d 67, 70 (Ct. App. 1996) ("The purpose of an award of damages for breach of contract is to put the plaintiff in as good a position as he would have been in if the contract had been performed.”).  

Since the evidence supports the jury’s award, we need not address Spartan’s other issues.

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, STILWELL and BEATTY, JJ., concur.