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2010-UP-380 - Full Steam Ahead v. Graham

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Full Steam Ahead, Inc., Respondent,

v.

Mary Graham, Appellant.


Appeal From Horry County
 Benjamin H. Culbertson, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-380
Submitted June 1, 2010 – Filed August 3, 2010


AFFIRMED


Irby E. Walker, Jr., of Galivants Ferry, for Appellant.

Kathryn M. Cook, of North Myrtle Beach, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Mary Graham appeals the trial court's denial of her motion for a new trial and the entry of judgment, arguing these decisions were error in light of evidence of juror misconduct.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities:  Rule 606(b), SCRE (preventing a juror from testifying "to any matter or statement occurring during the course of the jury's deliberations or to the effect of anything upon that or any other juror's mind or emotions as influencing the juror to assent to or dissent from the verdict or indictment"); Raby Constr., L.L.P. v. Orr, 358 S.C. 10, 17-18, 594 S.E.2d 478, 482 (2004) (placing the decision whether to grant or deny a motion under Rule 60(b), SCRCP, within the sound discretion of the trial judge); Shumpert v. State, 378 S.C. 62, 66, 67, 661 S.E.2d 369, 371 (2008) (recognizing distinction between external and internal juror misconduct and exclusion of juror testimony concerning internal misconduct, but also noting exception to this exclusion when misconduct undermines fundamental fairness of the proceeding); Vestry & Church Wardens of the Church of the Holy Cross v. Orkin Exterminating Co., 384 S.C. 441, 446, 682 S.E.2d 489, 492 (2009) ("Misconduct that does not affect the jury's impartiality will not undermine a verdict."); U.S. v. Basham, 561 F.3d 302, 318, 320 (4th Cir. 2009) (finding neither reversible error nor prejudice where jury foreperson contacted numerous media outlets and placed seventy-one telephone calls to other jurors during trial (cert. denied, Basham v. U.S., 2010 WL 2160795 (U.S. Jun. 1, 2010) (No. 09-617)); State v. Stone, 320 S.C. 395, 399, 465 S.E.2d 576, 578 (Ct. App. 1995) (holding a juror's "unambiguous and unequivocal response of 'Guilty' when she was polled cured any doubt regarding whether she assented to the verdict and cleared up any confusion that may have made her reluctant to go along with the verdict at first"). 

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., PIEPER, J., and CURETON, A.J., concur. 


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