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2008-UP-533 - Williamson v. Vanguard Homes, Inc.

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

Jane L. Williamson, Appellant,

v.

Vanguard Homes, Inc.; Dryvit Systems, Inc.; Caradon Peachtree, Inc., f/k/a Peachtree Doors, Inc.; Moser Design Group, Inc., and Coastal Concepts, Inc., Defendants,

of whom

Vanguard Homes, Inc., is Respondent.


Appeal from Beaufort County
 Curtis L. Coltrane, Master-In-Equity


Unpublished Opinion No. 2008-UP-533
Submitted September 2, 2008 – Filed September 11, 2008   


AFFIRMED


Thomas J. Finn, of Hilton Head, for Appellant.

Ryan A. Earhart and Robert W. Whelan, of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Jane Williamson sued Vanguard Homes, Inc. for alleged defects arising out of the construction of her home on Hilton Head Island.  The master granted summary judgment in favor of Vanguard based on the statute of repose, and Williamson appealed. 

We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authority. 1.  As to the issue of whether the master in equity improperly shifted the burden of proof:  Wilder Corp. v. Wilke, 330 S.C. 71, 76, 497 S.E.2d 731, 733 (1998) (“It is axiomatic that an issue cannot be raised for the first time on appeal, but must have been raised to and ruled upon by the trial judge to be preserved for appellate review.”). 

2.  As to the issue whether the master erred in determining that the statute of repose was not tolled by the delivery of the Summons and Complaint to the sheriff.: Hodges v. Rainey, 341 S.C. 79, 85, 533 S.E.2d 578, 581 (2000) (“Where the statute’s language is plain and unambiguous, and conveys a clear and definite meaning the rules of statutory interpretation are not needed and the court has no right to impose another meaning.”); Langley v. Pierce, 313 S.C. 401, 404, 438 S.E.2d 242, 243 (1993) (quoting First United Methodist Church v. U.S. Gypsum Co., 882 F.2d 862, 865-66 (4th Cir. 1989)) (the statute of repose “is typically an absolute time limit beyond which liability no longer exists and is not tolled for any reason because to do so would upset the economic balance struck by the legislative body.”).

3.  As to the issue of whether the master erred in finding that the gross negligence exception in the statute of repose was inapplicable Bradley v. Doe, 374 S.C. 622, 625, 649 S.E.2d 153, 155 (Ct. App. 2007) (“Once the party moving for summary judgment meets the initial burden of showing an absence of evidentiary support for the opponent’s case, the opponent cannot simply rest on mere allegations or denials contained in the pleadings.  Rather, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.”). 

AFFIRMED.

HEARN, C.J., HUFF and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.