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2005-UP-073 - Puckett v. George
THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Lester Joe Puckett, Sr.,        Respondent,

v.

William George, Jr., also known as G.G. George,        Appellant.


Appeal From York County
John C. Hayes, III, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2005-UP-073
Submitted January 1, 2005 – Filed January 27, 2005


AFFIRMED


James Mixon Griffin, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Charles S. Bradford, of York, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: This is an appeal from a grant of summary judgment in a foreclosure action.  We affirm.

FACTS

In 1999, William George contracted with Larry Puckett to purchase Joe’s Mini-Mall.  Both the title to the real estate and the closing statement identify the sales price as $1,100,000.  George made a down payment of $100,000 and signed a promissory note for $1,000,000.  At the real estate closing, George also executed a separate $150,000 mortgage note. [1]   In October 2000, Puckett filed an action against George Properties, LLC, for the foreclosure of Joe’s Mini-Mall.  On June 13, 2001, the court awarded Puckett a judgment of $1,064,044.45 and ordered the property be sold at a public auction.  Puckett purchased the property at the sale for $2,500.  George Properties, LLC, did not appeal the decree of foreclosure and sale in the action concerning Joe’s Mini Mall.   

Seven months prior to the filing of that case, Puckett filed an action against George seeking to collect on the $150,000 mortgage note.  The trial court granted Puckett’s motion for summary judgment.  George appealed the decision to this court and we affirmed the trial court.  Puckett v. George, 2002-UP-671 (Ct. App. 2002).  When Puckett initiated actions to collect on the mortgage note judgment, George filed a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment, claiming he should get credit against the judgment for the amount that the fair market value of the property exceeded the foreclosure judgment amount.  The trial court denied the motion based on its finding that the mortgage note “was not related to a real estate transaction, but to the sale of goodwill and other intangible property.”  This appeal followed.

LAW/ANALYSIS

George claims the trial court erred in failing to reduce the judgment on the mortgage note by the value of the property obtained by the mortgagee in a prior foreclosure action on the promissory note.  We disagree.

The $150,000 note signed by George was unrelated to the real estate transaction and was clearly a separate debt on which Puckett foreclosed.  The attorney for the real estate closing of Joe’s Mini-Mall testified by affidavit that “the note represented the intangible value” of the property, which included among other things, goodwill and location.  He further stated, “The exact terms of the note were something that had been discussed and agreed to, in [his] presence, several months prior to the actual document closing.”  Furthermore, Puckett’s accountant’s affidavit cited the total purchase price of Joe’s Mini-Mall as $1,250,000, a combined total price of the note for the real estate and the note currently in dispute.  In its order for summary judgment, the trial court found “no reference in the promissory note to any real estate transaction.”  Finally, this court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on this same issue. 

Any unappealed portion of a judgment is the law of the case and must therefore be affirmed.  Toler’s Cove Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. Trident Constr. Co., 355 S.C. 605, 610, 586 S.E.2d 581, 584 (2003); Rumpf v. Massachusetts Mut. Life Ins. Co., 357 S.C. 386, 398, 593 S.E.2d 183, 189 (Ct. App. 2004).  George did not appeal this court’s decision; he simply tried to make the same argument to the trial court once Puckett attempted to enforce the judgment.  The trial court and the court of appeals have found the notes to be separate and distinct debts.  In keeping with Toler’s Cove and Rumpf, these factual and legal conclusions are “law of the case.”  George was not entitled to a reduction of judgment on the mortgage note by the value of the property obtained by the mortgagee in the prior foreclosure action on the promissory note.      

CONCLUSION

For the reasons stated herein, the trial court’s denial of relief from judgment is

AFFIRMED. [2]

HEARN, C.J., GOOLSBY and WILLIAMS, JJ., concur.


[1] Throughout his brief, George refers to the $150,000 note as the mortgage note, and the $1,000,000 note as the promissory note.  To prevent confusion, this opinion will identify the documents in the same manner.

[2] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.