Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2007-UP-554 - Harris v. Penn Warranty Corporation

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


Ronald C. Harris, Appellant,

v.

Penn Warranty Corporation and West Main Automotive Respondents.


Appeal From Richland County
 Alison Renee Lee, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2007-UP-554
Submitted December 1, 2007 – Filed December 14, 2007 


AFFIRMED


Ronald C. Harris, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Robert Charles Brown and J. Austin Hood, both of Columbia and Stephen Bucher, of Mt. Pleasant, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM:  Ronald C. Harris filed this action against Penn Warranty Corporation (Penn) and West Main Automotive (West Main) arising out of Harris’ purchase of an automobile.  Harris appeals the trial court’s order granting a motion to compel settlement.  We affirm.[1]

FACTS

This action was settled on the record after Harris presented his case during a jury trial.  The trial court dismissed the action.[2]  Penn and West Main remitted the settlement checks to Harris.  Harris returned the checks and refused to honor the settlement.

West Main and Penn moved to compel settlement.[3]  At the hearing on the motion, Harris argued that although he agreed to the settlement on the record, he misunderstood the procedural posture of the case and disagreed with his attorney regarding settlement.  The court granted the motion to compel settlement. 

LAW/ANALYSIS

Harris argues his attorney “entrapped” him into making the settlement and the settlement is unfair.  “It is a long-standing and well-settled rule that an attorney may settle litigation on behalf of his client and that the client is bound by his attorney’s settlement actions.”  Motley v. Williams, 374 S.C. 107, 111, 647 S.E.2d 244, 246 (Ct. App. 2007).  “Any communication failure or mistake on the part of an attorney is directly attributable to his client.”  Id. at 112, 647 S.E.2d at 247.

At the hearing on the motion to compel settlement, the trial court reviewed the record and noted Harris’ agreement to the settlement.  The judge at the trial queried the attorneys and Harris himself to verify all issues were settled and then asked:  “Mr. Harris, do you have any questions, sir, at all?”  Harris asked about any possible counterclaims and was assured all potential counterclaims were also settled.  The trial court dismissed the action.  We find no error by the trial court in granting the motion to compel settlement.

Harris also argues the settlement documents contain stipulations that were not agreed upon on the record at the trial.  Harris does not explain this allegation and did not raise the issue to the trial court at the hearing on the motion to compel settlement.  Thus, the issue is not preserved for appellate review.  See Elam v. South Carolina Dep’t of Transp., 361 S.C. 9, 24, 602 S.E.2d 772, 780 (2004) (stating an issue must be raised to and ruled upon by the circuit court to be preserved).

Based on the foregoing, the order on appeal is

AFFIRMED.

ANDERSON, SHORT, and WILLIAMS, JJ., concur.


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

[2]  For background facts, see this Court’s opinion at Harris v. Penn Warranty, Op. No. 2007-UP-00546 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Dec. 11, 2007). 

[3]  West Main filed the motion and Penn later joined in the motion.