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2009-UP-162 - Chandler v. Bradford

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

Greg M. Chandler, Appellant,

v.

Arnoldean Bradford and Joyce P. Bradford and Ben L. Trotter, d/b/a/ Pickens Pest Control, Defendants,

of Whom Arnoldean Bradford and Joyce P. Bradford are, Respondents.


Appeal From Pickens County
Michael G. Nettles, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-162
Submitted February 4, 2009 – Filed April 6, 2009


AFFIRMED


Nathaniel A. Earle and Larry N. Briggs, both of Greenville, for Appellant.

Thomas Bailey Smith, of Easley, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: In this action stemming from the purchase of real property, Chandler asserts the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on his claims for breach of contract, breach of contract accompanied by a fraudulent act, fraud and deceit, negligent misrepresentation, and non-compliance with the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act.  We affirm the trial court pursuant to Rule 220(b)(2), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to breach of contract:  Ward v. West Oil Co., 379 S.C. 225, 239, 665 S.E.2d 618, 625 (Ct. App. 2008) ("If a contract's language is plain, unambiguous, and capable of only one reasonable interpretation, no construction is required and its language determines the instrument's force and effect."); Lindsay v. Lindsay, 328 S.C. 329, 340, 491 S.E.2d 583, 589 (Ct. App. 1997) ("The court must enforce an unambiguous contract according to its terms regardless of its wisdom or folly, apparent unreasonableness, or the parties' failure to guard their rights carefully."); First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n of South Carolina v. Dangerfield, 307 S.C. 260, 267, 414 S.E.2d 590, 594 (Ct. App. 1992) ("There is no breach of an implied covenant of good faith where a party to a contract has done what the provisions of the contract expressly gave him the right to do."); RoTec Servs., Inc. v. Encompass Servs., Inc., 359 S.C. 467, 473, 597 S.E.2d 881, 884 (Ct. App. 2004) (concluding that an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing is not an independent cause of action separate from the claim for breach of contract).

2.  As to fraud and negligent misrepresentation:  Baughman v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 306 S.C. 101, 116, 410 S.E.2d 537, 545-46 (1991) ("[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to the party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.") (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)); Schnellmann v. Roettger, 373 S.C. 379, 382, 645 S.E.2d 239, 241 (2007) ("The failure to prove any element of fraud or misrepresentation is fatal to the claim."); McLaughlin v. Williams, 379 S.C. 451, 458, 665 S.E.2d 667, 671 (Ct. App. 2008) ("[I]f the undisputed evidence clearly shows the party asserting reliance has knowledge of the truth of the matter, there is no genuine issue of material fact"); id. 379 S.C. at 459, 665 S.E.2d at 671 (holding buyer failed to establish the necessary element of reliance for claims of fraud and negligent misrepresentation where buyer had information of moisture damage prior to the sale).

3.  As to the Residential Property Condition Disclosure Act:  Even though the Act generally requires a disclosure statement absent an applicable exception, the trial court nonetheless did not err in concluding, as a matter of law, that proximately caused damages arising from the failure to provide the disclosure statement were lacking in light of the "as is" agreement between the parties.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 27-50-110 (2007) ("Nothing in this article is intended to prevent the parties to a contract of sale from entering into agreements of any kind or nature with respect to the physical condition of the property to be sold including, but not limited to, agreements for the sale of real property 'as is.'"); S.C. Code Ann. § 27-50-40(C) (2007) ("The rights of the parties to a real estate contract in connection with conditions of the property of which the owner has no actual or constructive knowledge are not affected by this article."); S.C. Code Ann. § 27-50-50(B) (2007) (providing in part that failure to provide the disclosure form required by this article to the purchaser does not void the agreement or create a defect in title); S.C. Code Ann. § 27-50-65 (2007) ("An owner who knowingly violates or fails to perform any duty prescribed by any provision of this article . . . is liable for actual damages proximately caused to the purchaser and court costs."); S.C. Code Ann. § 27-50-80 (2007) ("This article does not limit the obligation of the purchaser to inspect the physical condition of the property and improvements that are the subject of a contract covered by this article.").

Accordingly, the order of the trial court is

AFFIRMED.[1]

HEARN, C.J., PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


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