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2008-UP-575 - Owens v. Town of Allendale

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


George Owens, Respondent,

v.

Town of Allendale, Appellant.


Appeal From Allendale County
Perry M. Buckner, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.   2008-UP-575
Heard September 18, 2008 – Filed October 14, 2008


AFFIRMED


Stephanie P. McDonald and Sandra J. Senn of Charleston, for Appellant.

Robert N. Hill of Newberry and Mark B. Tinsley of Allendale, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  The town of Allendale appeals from a jury verdict awarding George Owens $1.3 million[1] in damages for injuries he sustained in an automobile accident with a town of Allendale police cruiser driven by Officer Darryl Long.  On appeal, Allendale asserts the trial court erred in:  excluding the police report prepared by Officer Long; allowing the deposition of Dr. Johnson to be read at trial; and, denying Allendale’s motion for a new trial absolute.  We affirm pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:  S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1290 (Supp. 2004) (preventing the introduction of police reports required by sections 56-5-1260 through 56-5-1280 to establish the negligence or due care of either party in an action to recover damages); S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1270 (2006) (requiring a report from every law enforcement officer who, in the regular course of duty, investigates a motor vehicle accident that results in injury); S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-1360 (2006) (excluding police reports required by town ordinance from evidence in any trial); Rule 403, SCRE (excluding evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury); Mibbs, Inc. v. S.C. Dep’t of Revenue, 337 S.C. 601, 605, 524 S.E.2d 626, 628 (1999) (noting rulings not appealed become the law of the case); Rule 32(d)(3)(B), SCRCP (deeming objections not made at the time of deposition waived where a timely objection could have cured the basis for it); Pearson v. Bridges, 344 S.C. 366, 372, 544 S.E.2d 617, 620 (2001) (holding the proper test for determining the admissibility of evidence of future damages is whether the evidence, if otherwise competent, tends to establish the nature, character, and extent of injuries which are the natural and proximate consequences of the defendant’s acts); Cock-N-Bull Steak House, Inc. v. Generali Ins. Co., 321 S.C. 1, 9, 466 S.E.2d 727, 731 (1996) (stating the trial court should only grant a motion for a new trial absolute where the jury verdict is so excessive as to shock the conscience of the court and clearly indicates the figure reached was the result of passion, caprice, prejudice, partiality, corruption, or some other influence outside the evidence); State v. Holland, 261 S.C. 488, 499, 201 S.E.2d 118, 123 (1973) (quoting State v. Dewitt, 254 S.C. 527, 534, 176 S.E.2d 143, 147 (1970)) (“[s]omething more must appear . . .to warrant interference with a jury's verdict than the mere brevity of their deliberations[.]”).

AFFIRMED.

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


[1] The trial court reduced the award to $300,000 pursuant to the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.  S.C. Code Ann. § 15-78-120 (Supp. 2007).