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2009-UP-171 - SCDOT v. Hood

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

South Carolina Department of Transportation, Condemnor, Appellant,

v.

Gloria G. Hood, Landowner, Respondent.


Appeal From Fairfield County
 Kenneth G. Goode, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-UP-171
Submitted April 1, 2009 – Filed April 27, 2009   


VACATED


Paul D. de Holczer and Robert L. Brown, both of Columbia, for Appellant.

Creighton B. Coleman, of Winnsboro, and Robert J. Sheheen, of Camden, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: The South Carolina Department of Transportation (the Department) appeals the circuit court's award of attorney's fees to Gloria Hood.

On June 30, 2004, the Department filed a notice of condemnation in Fairfield County to acquire a 3.5-acre portion of Gloria Hood's 14.2-acre tract for a highway project.  The Department then filed an action to determine the value of the condemned property.  After a jury trial resulting in a $100,000 verdict to Hood, the circuit court awarded attorney's fees pursuant to section 28-2-510 of the South Carolina Code.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 28-2-510(B) (Supp. 2008) (providing a landowner who prevails in the trial of a condemnation action may recover his reasonable litigation expenses).  

The Department thereafter filed two appeals with this court.  In its first appeal, the Department argued the circuit court erred in admitting evidence of an expired unexercised option contract to prove the value of Hood's property.  This court agreed, reversing and remanding the action to the circuit court.  See S.C. Dep't of Transp. v. Hood, 381 S.C. 318, 672 S.E.2d 595 (Ct. App. 2009).  Prior to the issuance of this court's opinion, the Department filed the instant appeal concerning attorney's fees. 

Based on this court's reversal of the Department's initial appeal, we hold Hood is not entitled to attorney's fees under section 28-2-510(B) because Hood is no longer the prevailing party.

VACATED. [1]

KONDUROS, J., CURETON, A.J., and GOOLSBY, A.J., concur.


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