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2005-UP-417 - Gonick v. Dalton Carpets

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

Katherine Gonick,        Respondent,

v.

Charlie Saad Dalton Carpets,        Appellant.


Appeal From Greenville County
Charles B. Simmons, Jr., Master In Equity


Unpublished Opinion No. 2005-UP-417
Submitted May 1, 2005 – Filed June 27, 2005


AFFIRMED


William S. Brown and Peter G. Siachos, both of Greenville, for Appellant.

Craig Horger Allen, of Greenville, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Charles Saad appeals from a determination holding him personally liable for a judgment against Charlie Saad Dalton Carpets.  We affirm.[1]

FACTS

In December 1999, Katherine Gonick purchased carpet from Dalton Carpets of Greenville and entered into a verbal contract for its installation.  However, due to delays and damage, the carpet was never properly installed.  

On February 22, 2000, Gonick signed a complaint in magistrate’s court naming “Charlie Saad (Dalton Carpets)” as the defendant.  On March 1, 2000, Gonick served a summons and complaint on “Dalton Carpets—Charles Saad.”  The court entered a five thousand dollar judgment against “Charlie Saad Dalton Carpets” on April 24, 2000.  Saad did not appeal from the magistrate’s judgment.  Thereafter, when Saad did not pay the judgment Gonick initiated supplemental proceedings in an attempt to find assets available to satisfy the judgment.

During a supplemental proceeding, Gonick requested information about Charles Saad’s personal assets.  Saad objected on the basis the judgment was not against him personally, but against a business he once owned.  Saad had owned and operated Asia Rug Company, Inc., which did business as “Dalton Carpets of Greenville,” from June 1996 until December 1999.  In late 1999, Saad became ill and closed his carpet business.  When Saad recovered, he opened another carpet business some time around July of 2000 at another location and incorporated it as “Charles Saad Dalton Carpets, Inc.,” which also did business as “Dalton Carpets of Greenville.”  The underlying cause of action in this case resulted from Gonick’s purchase of carpet in late 1999. 

The trial court overruled Saad’s objection to requests for information concerning his personal assets because the court interpreted the judgment against “Charlie Saad Dalton Carpets” as meaning Charlie Saad doing business as Dalton Carpets.  Saad argued that he had never operated his business as a sole proprietorship.  Ultimately, the court found Charles Saad was personally liable.  Saad appeals.

LAW/ANALYSIS

Saad argues the trial court erred by determining that he was personally liable because the work at issue was performed by Asia Rug Company, which was properly incorporated, and therefore, he is insulated from any personal liability.  Saad also points to Asia Rug Company’s ability to operate under a trade name and suggests that he operated his business under the trade name “Charlie Saad Dalton Carpets.”

“It is a fundamental rule of law that an appellate court will affirm a ruling by a lower court if the offended party does not challenge that ruling.” Lindsay v. Lindsay, 328 S.C. 329, 338, 491 S.E.2d 583, 588 (Ct. App. 1997).  “Failure to challenge the ruling ‘is an abandonment of the issue and precludes consideration on appeal.’” Id. (quoting Biales v. Young, 315 S.C. 166, 168, 432 S.E.2d 482, 484 (1993)).  “The unchallenged ruling, ‘right or wrong, is the law of the case and requires affirmance.’”  Id. (quoting Buckner v. Preferred Mut. Ins. Co., 255 S.C. 159, 161, 177 S.E.2d 544, 544 (1970)).

Saad had notice of the lawsuit, responded to it, and suffered the judgment to be entered against his individual trade name.  Thereafter, Saad did not challenge the magistrate’s ruling.  Thus, Saad abandoned the issue of the use of his trade name in the lawsuit, and the unchallenged ruling has become the law of the case. 

AFFIRMED.

HEARN, C.J., BEATTY, and SHORT, JJ., concur.


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