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
In The Court of Appeals
Michael Ziegenfus, Appellant,
Fairfield Electric Cooperative, Inc., Respondent.
John C. Few, Circuit Court Judge
Unpublished Opinion No. 2006-UP-378
Submitted October 1, 2006 – Filed November 21, 2006
William P. Walker, Jr., of
Lexington, for Appellant.
Pope D. Johnson, III, of
Columbia, for Respondent.
PER CURIAM: In this personal injury action, Michael Ziegenfus (Ziegenfus) appeals the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Fairfield Electric Cooperative, Inc. (
In July 2001,
On August 1, 2001, Ziegenfus filed a Form 50 seeking workers’ compensation benefits for his injuries as an employee of Branyon. At the time of the injuries, Branyon was operating under the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act; its compensation carrier was Monumental General Casualty Company (Monumental). On December 18, 2001, Ziegenfus filed an Amended Form 50 joining
On June 18, 2002, the Single Commissioner of the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission held a hearing to determine which employers and carriers were liable for compensation to Ziegenfus. The Single Commissioner found that Branyon, and Monumental as its carrier, were liable for the injuries sustained by Ziegenfus. The Single Commissioner further found that in the event Monumental appealed the order and it was determined that Monumental in fact had no coverage,
On March 1, 2004, Ziegenfus filed a civil action against
On April 21, 2005, the circuit court granted summary judgment in favor of
STANDARD OF REVIEW
When reviewing the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment, the appellate court is instructed to apply the same standard that governs the circuit court under Rule 56(c) of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure; summary judgment is proper when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fleming v. Rose, 350 S.C. 488, 493, 567 S.E.2d 857, 860 (2002). To determine whether any triable issue of fact exists, the evidence and all inferences, which can reasonably be drawn therefrom, must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Faile v. S.C. Dep’t of Juvenile Justice, 350 S.C. 315, 324, 566 S.E.2d 536, 540 (2002). “If triable issues exist, those issues must go to the jury.” Young v. S.C. Dep’t of Corr., 333 S.C. 714, 717, 511 S.E.2d 413, 415 (Ct. App. 1999).
On the other hand, “summary judgment is not appropriate where further inquiry into the facts of the case is desirable to clarify the application of the law.” Vermeer Carolina’s, Inc. v. Wood/Chuck Chipper Corp., 336 S.C. 53, 59, 518 S.E.2d 301, 305 (Ct. App. 1999). All ambiguities, conclusions, and inferences arising from the evidence must be construed most strongly against the moving party. Bayle v. S.C. Dep’t of Transp., 344 S.C. 115, 120, 542 S.E.2d 736, 738 (Ct. App. 2001). Summary judgment should be denied even when there is no dispute as to evidentiary facts, but only as to the conclusions or inferences to be drawn from them. Hall v. Fedor, 349 S.C. 169, 173-74, 561 S.E.2d 654, 656 (Ct. App. 2002). Summary judgment is a drastic remedy; it should therefore be cautiously invoked to prevent the improper deprivation of a trial of the disputed factual issues. Lanham v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 349 S.C. 356, 363, 563 S.E.2d 331, 334 (2002).
I. Application of the Doctrine of Res Judicata
Ziegenfus contends the circuit court erred in granting
The Supreme Court of South Carolina has held that res judicata applies if the following elements are met: (1) the identities of the parties are the same as in the prior litigation; (2) the subject matter or cause of action is the same as in the prior litigation; and (3) there was a prior adjudication of the issue by a court of competent jurisdiction. Johnson v. Greenwood Mills, Inc., 317 S.C. 248, 250-251, 452 S.E.2d 832, 833 (1994); Griggs v. Griggs, 214 S.C. 177, 51 S.E.2d 622, 627 (1949).
In the application of the doctrine of res judicata, if it is doubtful whether a second action is for the same cause of action as the first, the test generally applied is to consider the identity of facts essential to their maintenance, or whether the same evidence would sustain both. If the same facts or evidence would sustain both, the two actions are considered the same within the rule that the judgment in the former is a bar to the subsequent action. Moreover, before the doctrine of res judicata is applied in such cases, it should appear that the precise question involved in the subsequent action was determined in the former action.
Griggs, 214 S.C. at 177, 51 S.E.2d at 626.
As to the first element of res judicata, Ziegenfus filed an Amended Form 50, naming
As to the second element of res judicata, Ziegenfus directly presented to the Commission the determination of whether
Moreover, under the Griggs test, the Commission found that
As to the final element of res judicata, the Commission found
Based on the above, we find all three elements of res judicata were met in this matter. The circuit court, therefore, did not err in applying the doctrine of res judicata based on the Commission’s adjudication that
For the foregoing reasons, we find Ziegenfus failed to present facts sufficient to raise a genuine issue of any material fact as to whether the doctrine of res judicata applied in this matter. The decision of the circuit court is accordingly
HUFF, SHORT, JJ. and CURETON, AJ., concur.
 We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.
 The Single Commissioner’s reference to